|Exclusive Dan Aykroyd Webchat|
Ghostbusters 3, magic motorbikes and the return of Rick Moranis
Dan Aykroyd is a very personable man, walking into the Empire office with a beaming smile on his face and shouting, "Deadlines, people, deadlines!" The one-time buster of ghosts was in town promoting his particular brand of vodka - Crystal Head Vodka - which, would you believe it, comes in the shape of a crystal skull. Sitting next to one such skull, he answered questions about all sorts of things, from Ghostbusters 3 (of course) to the fine art of keeping a cigarette dangling on his bottom lip. All this and more in our exclusive Dan Aykroyd webchat transcript...
Vigo The Carpathian says: Dan, you are literally my favourite actor! Very excited to see you’ve moved into the beverage business - can you please share the recipe for your special vodka?
Certainly. What makes Crystal Head different than many other vodkas is the elimination of industrial oils common to vodka production. Many products use glycol, a cousin of anti-freeze, and citrus oil, which is a bug exterminant in its raw form, and also sugar is added, and one wouldn't want any more sugar in one's alcohol. So that's the secret - we eliminated all of the oils to produce the world's cleanest vodka.
Fluglehorn says: Dan, you're clearly a vodka man. What about gin? Do you drink that too? And if so, what's your poison?
My mother is a gin consumer, has at least two drinks a night and she loves it straight and usually enjoys a Bombay Sapphire or a Tanqueray. But with Mom, any gin'll do.
Dave Fox says: Dan, First of all thank you for sending a signed photo to my school last year to the kids who performed as the Blues Brothers - the cast loved it! Secondly another thank you for Ghostbusters - my favourite movie ever! My question is... any plans to write an autobiography? I would love to read it!
No, I have a lot of memories, and a lot of experiences that I'm just going to keep to myself because of their variety and richness. Being a public figure, I suppose one would expect to share some of these experiences, but I'm going to take the route of a private citizen and not leave behind any memoirs.
ElidirJ says: Hi Dan. As a music fan, do you have any opinion on Rick Moranis's country album? And what are the chances of ever luring him back onto our screens?
Rick is one of the most brilliant impressionists, actors and writers in our community. And his country album is not only funny but it succeeds on a musical level that was wonderfully surprising when it came out. If we can get the script to GB3 right, then it would definitely have Moranis as a major component. None of us would want to do the movie without having him as a participant.
Delgwapo says: Hey Dan! Are you aware of the work of the Glaswegian band Dananananaykroyd and if so are you a fan of their music?
Better send me a CD on that one! I would be happy to listen and give an opinion, but I've got to hear that music first. Love Glasgow! And I think probably the best experience would be to hear them in a bar up there, and maybe we can work that out sometime.
JediBobster says: My very favourite Santa image in any film is you eating that smoked fish all tangled up in your beard. Do you have a favourite movie Santa?
Oh yes, I definitely loved the Bad Santa movie with Billy Bob Thornton. I think that's really the model for Santa portrayals in the future.
A large and moving Torg says: Dan, is it true that you have footage of a real UFO? If so where can we see it?
I don't have the footage, but I refer everyone to the film clips and video that can be found now on Mufon.com. Also, there is a spectacular photo that can be found at Pinebush UFO April 97. It is one of the most unusual craft that any of us have ever seen, and there is a vivid picture of it if you Google that reference.
Vigo The Carpathian says: Hello Dan! During his Empire webchat a few weeks back, Nicolas Cage said he owns a Romanian staff with magical properties. What’s the most supernatural object that you possess?
My 2003 Harley Davidson police pursuit motorcycle, because when I ride it enables me to transcend all of the earthly stresses and cares and takes me to another dimension. You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!
welsh_evs says: Ever picked up a hitchhiker and had them say "Do you want to see something REALLY scary?" You know, like in Twilight Zone: The Movie?
Well, I used to pick up hitchhikers until Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole began to operate on the American highways. Mostly, once they got into the car and I started to talk, they were in a quick hurry to get out, but never had them say that phrase from Twilight Zone, but I was reminded of it recently when I worked with John Lithgow. We were both in that movie and had a small scene at the end, and he was talking about just how much he enjoyed working with John Landis, as I did. I do have a very scary mask at home that I wear occasionally for very scary fright experiences, and it looks like the Blue Goblin mask. I wear that to answer the door, drive up to Burger King...
TaraRenee says: Hi Dan, my eight-year-old son and I are looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at Gerry's and have my bottle of CHV signed. I was wondering, other than Bass-O-Matic being based on your Aunt, was there anything else on SNL that you got inspiration from friends and family?
Well, Fred Garvan, Male Prostitute was a little item that my girlfriend at the time and I cooked up one evening. So I got to practise the character and fully experience whatever Fred might have been able to do back then, and do things that I couldn't do on television, but it produced a great comic character.
OrlandoGhostbuster says: Dan, I recently read your father's book A History of Ghosts - would you ever consider writing something about your family?
Dad pretty well nailed the exciting elements in the Aykroyd family. Since that writing, other than the Crystal Head Vodka production and success, we haven't had much to talk about. But thank you for reading the book and you'll see in there that there were a lot of serious inquiries into psychic research at that time. So one cannot really dismiss a study of the supernatural offhandedly when there are people like Arthur Conan Doyle, Oliver Lodge, William Crookes and other serious investigators working on the matter at the time.
Fluglehorn says: Crystal Head has been around for a couple of years, right? Why come over here to promote it now?
We had to build the US market first, and Canada. If the product had not been a success in North America, then a trip would not have been necessary. The vodka has sold in excess of 2 million bottles, and people who try it enjoy the clean taste and bartenders, everyone in the mixologist culture, loves the product because it is a clean slate on which to build cocktails. Our success in North America gained us a tremendous amount of interest from the community here in the UK, and we felt it was time to bring it to market here. So far, the bartenders that we've met love the concept.
Stencil says: What was your best memory from being a part of Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom?
Actually, being able to do a scene with Kate Capshaw who was just lovely and welcoming. It was fun to be the villain that put them on a plane into the storm of jeopardy that they eventually went through. Of course, to be on a set with both Spielberg and Lucas is any actor's dream.
TRACO says: What is your best Second City memory?
Opening night, Toronto, with Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty and Brian Doyle Murray.
iain316 says: Hi Dan, great to see you on here. Just wanted to say my wife loves your vodka. We picked some up from Miami airport on the way back from our honeymoon and still use the skull bottle to this day for candles and flowers... looks great! On a totally unrelated note, do you have any plans to team up with Chevy Chase again soon? Loved the Family Guy episode!
Chevy and I are about to start work on a script concept for a comedy movie. Cannot say too much about the concept, but the joy of working with him again is one that I am extremely excited about. Chevy is one of my favourite people, and one of the great anarchistic and physically committed comedians in the business.
LeonDk says: Dan, are you still able to pull off those Elwood dance moves? And does it ever get tiring be all those kinds of awesome?
I have 80% of the moves left. Love playing concerts with James Belushi. We are quite busy this spring and summer with dates. And I'm tired all the time! In fact, I think I'm a narcoleptic. I could sleep on a railway track with a train running over me, in-between the rails.
isneddon84 says: Do you know if Ghostbusters 2 will be released on Blu-ray and if there will be extras and commentary? And do you own one of the original proton packs and a trap?
It's definitely coming out on Blu-ray, and there will be some extras and commentary. And all of the original packs and props are at Sony in Culver City so I do not own any myself.
Matt Guitar Murphy says: Hi Dan! What was the inspiration behind the amazing Crystal Head bottle? And if you assemble 13 of them, will a flying saucer appear?
The inspiration was definitely the legend of the 13 heads. When my friend, the artist John Alexander, designed the bottle, it looked very similar to the Mitchell-Hedges skull found in Belize in the late 1920s. This is the skull that is referenced in the Indiana Jones movie. With such a beautiful clear, clean looking bottle, we could only put the cleanest vodka in it, so that was the inspiration for the whole product. In the film, Spielberg references ETs as the originators of the heads. In Aztec, Mayan and Navajo culture, the heads are referenced as coming from "star children". There are five heads missing, and the current owner of the Mitchell-Hedges skull is now searching for the remaining 5. I will be happy to host the arrival or departure of saucers at my farm in Canada should the 13 heads be assembled. We have a nice big field for craft to land in and many willing abductees among my group of friends.
SorryLostYourName says: Is that really you and Tom Hanks dancing in the Dragnet song, 'City of Crime'?
My brother, Peter, wrote that song. That is Tom and I indeed dancing. This came at a time when videos were far more important and essential even in marketing films. So I approached my brother, who is a composer / writer / guitarist and sound engineer, and requested that he custom-build a video for us. Universal Pictures credits that video with helping Dragnet to open that weekend with substantially more numbers than we would have had if the video wasn't produced. I haven't seen it recently, but love the crunchy quality of the song.
oggy85886 says: What's the coolest prop you have kept?
The 1978 Dodge Monaco fully marked Illinois State Police car, with lights, siren and licence plates. I had that in New York City for about 3 years, and no one seemed to even look twice at an Illinois State police car, wherever I went in it. It was accepted that there must be some business in town that brought an Illinois trooper there.
TaraRenee says: Have there been any roles you turned down for whatever reason and then regretted not doing it?
No, I have been very fortunate in choosing the right parts and any offers that I have received and turned down were not in major feature films, so they don't really count.
Axeman says: Hi Dan - Who do you particularly admire from the current generation of SNL alumni, and would welcome the chance to work with?
Oh, that's easy. Basically, all of them! But specifically I enjoy Armisen, Wiig, and Sudeikis. They are all brilliant writers and creators, and I would love to share a set - either television or film - with any one of the new group.
chargomp says: Hi Dan, LOVE your work. The first vinyl I ever bought was 'Spies Like Us' because it had YOU on the cover! So, classic cheesy question - who inspired you as a kid in comedy?
Phil Silvers, Lucy and Desi, Danny Thomas, Eve Arden, Bob Hope, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy. Mainly the great Catskill comedians, Jack Benny, George Burns.
lebamski says: Hi Dan. If you were to make a reboot of the original Ghostbusters film, rather than a sequel, which actors would you pick to take the roles of Ray, Peter, Egon and Winston if you could have anyone you wanted?
Well, let me see. See, we don't ever think of making the original over again, but if I were to have to do that, hmm... Matthew Gray Gubler as Egon. Zach Galifianakis as Ray. Vince Vaughn as Peter. And for Winston, maybe Chris Tucker.
OiCockedUp says: Your favourite sandwich, what might that be?
That would be black pumpernickel bread, on either side of a slice of Swiss cheese, iceberg lettuce, mustard mayonnaise, Black Forest ham, sliced pickles and a little slathering of grape jelly.
JediBobster says: Dan you are clearly very skilled at doing so, but what is your personal record for holding a cigarette solely on your bottom lip?
That was a beautiful example of spontaneous synchronicity. I had no idea that the cigarette would say there when I opened my mouth. It was not intended to be that way; in fact, it was intended to drop to the floor. But when it didn't, I made sure that Ivan printed the take and once everyone saw it we used it in the film. And I might be able to do it again, with a little special effects help.
isneddon84 says: Do you have the Ghostbusters song on your iPod?
I do not. But I have Joanne Shaw Taylor, Ana Popovic, Susan Tedeschi, Sue Foley, Debbie Davies, all smokin' hot women guitar slingers.
stantz83 says: Ghostbusters 3, any news?
The script must be perfect. We cannot release a film that is any less so. We have more work to do.
OrlandoGhostbuster says: How do you feel about the crazy number of Ghostbusters franchises that currently exist around the world? And are you still coming to Florida in March?
Yes, will be at the UCP Charity event in Orlando on March 10. It is delightful to meet the various representatives of the State franchises. Virtually every State has a GB unit, and my dream is that if and when GB3 gets produced, it would be a great thing to have all 500 serious State Ghostbusters representatives to come visit the set - either in blocks of 10 or blocks of 100.
Pompey1 says: Any advice for blues musicians and presenters? On your 'House Of Blues' radio show you do it wonderfully... How do you approach your show?
We are on a mission from God. And that mission is to respect and venerate the hard-working blues artists on the road today. Bobby Rush, Bobby Bland, Buddy Guy, BB King, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, and the true great founders of the music. Then we must expose and provide support for the new artists who are coming up, especially the new generation. Shemekia Copeland, Bernard Alison, and the great legacy that is possible from children of the founding blues artists. My aim is always to sell tickets and records for these performers and also to expose people to their great talent.
welsh_evs says: Is it true that Bill Murray sent a Ghostbusters 3 script back shredded with a note that said: "No-one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts"?
Bill Murray is not capable of such behaviour. This is simply something that would not be in his nature. We have a deep, private personal relationship that transcends business. We communicate frequently and his position on the involvement in Ghostbusters 3 has been made clear and I respect that. But Bill has too much positive estimation of my writing skills to shred the work.
It's been a pleasure to be in the staff offices of Empire magazine. The owners should be very happy with the youthful countenance of employees and also their brilliant dedication to the world's best glossy devoted to the entertainment industry. There is no other in the world that is as detailed, as fun to read and as supportive to the motion picture and television industry as Empire.