Houston Writer Digs Up An Old Interview With A Movie Legend

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The late John Cassavetes is a criminally underrated filmmaker who made "indie movies" in the days before indie movies.

He died 20 years ago; a Houston writer has now unearthed a long, rare and interesting interview he did with the director shortly before he died.

At the time Joe Leydon, who now reviews films for Variety, was the film critic at the Houston Post (Look at this old ad to see how papers used to throw away money in those days). He could get only a very short version of his interview in the paper back then.

"I've been asked if I was surprised that I wasn't able to sell the John Cassavetes interview to some film magazine back in 1985," Leydon tells Hair Balls. "My response: Surprised and disappointed. Surprised, because it was my impression Cassavetes really didn't do much press at that point in time - and, more important, at that point in his life -- and he seemed to be in a very forthcoming mood when I spoke with him. Disappointed, because the feedback I got from a few editors suggested that - again, at that point in time - they didn't hold Cassavetes in quite the same regard as I did."

The current issue of Movie Maker magazine is rectifying the situation.

Cassavetes agreed to the interview, Leydon says, only because the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston was holding a retrospective of his work; his films were relatively rarely seen in those days.

Oddly enough, the movie he was working on when Leydon interviewed him in California was a comedy, not the usual intense, piercing dramas he was noted for.

Big Trouble was its name, and -- to put it bluntly -- it sucked.

"Funnily enough, Big Trouble was such a flop that it never had a theatrical run in Houston. Instead, it had it's local premiere at -- no kidding! -- the Rice Media Center," Leydon says.

-- Richard Connelly

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.