Music video legend and the director of Being John Malkovich, Where The Wild Things Are, and Adaptation, Spike Jonze revealed in a recent interview his one-time plans to make a feature film co-written and starring members of equally legendary New York hip-hop crew, Beastie Boys.
Jonze met Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch in the early 90s, while working as a photographer for Dirt magazine on an assignment to photograph the formidable trio, later directing their groundbreaking 1994 Sabotage music video.
A staple of rage guest spots and ‘Greatest Music Videos of All Time’ countdowns, the Sabotage video, which featured the three rappers lampooning 70s cop shows, received huge play on MTV, collected a raft of awards, and turned Jonze into a highly sought-after music video director.
But as the filmmaker recently told Indiewire, the clip also led the creative foursome to write a feature-length script that was abandoned post-development. Said Jonze:
“The four of us wrote a script together. It was called We Can Do This because it had…it was so surreal and out there and [Yauch’s filmmaker alter ego] Nathanial Hornblower was a character as the director.
“One of the characters from Sabotage, Sir Stuart Wallace, was a character. Both played by Yauch and it just would’ve been ridiculous and fun… There were no 1970s cops in it, but it was definitely in the same spirit.”
Jonze also elaborated on the plot of this never-made cinematic milestone, in the process offering some backstory on Mike D’s cowboy alter ego, Country Mike, excerpts of whom can be heard on the Beasties’ 1999 anthology, The Sounds of Science. As Jonze recounts:
“It was about Hornblower. Mike played a country star––those [country] songs [of his] we wrote for the movie, actually. Adam Horovitz played this kid, Nino Vincenzi, who lived on Roosevelt Island with his dad who was a mechanic, and [he] was a little bit a John Travolta [in] Saturday Night Fever.
“He had all these dreams and aspirations, but he was awkward and couldn’t dance. So he didn’t even have that going for him. But yeah, I forget all the different characters but…it would have been funny.”
While the film never materialised, both parties went on to have highly acclaimed careers, Jonze eventually taking his talents to Hollywood, while the Beasties remain the highest selling hip-hop act in history. The two did reunite in 2011 for the Don’t Play No Games That I Can’t Win video.
(Via Consequence of Sound)
Watch: Beastie Boys – Sabotage