Shine A Light: The Rolling Stones Interview
In a LOVEFiLM exclusive, we caught up with The Rolling Stones in London, where the living legends of Rock and Roll took time out of their Shine A Light tour to talk to us about making the film. We asked them what it was like to be directed by the equally legendary Martin Scorsese and what were their individual highlights of the film?
LOVEFiLM: What was it like working with Martin Scorsese? Like two worlds colliding? Rock and Roll and filmmaking?
Mick Jagger: Making the film with Marti, it’s not really like two worlds... I mean, The Rolling Stones have done a lot of films. We’ve done a lot of films with a lot of famous directors and, you know, Marti was a person I knew already and so I had a certain sort of shorthand with him. He’s very respectful, but he knows what he wants and we had a lot of talk about what kind of film it was going to be.
But of course, on the day, when you actually get out there, when you’re doing rehearsals and the first show, it’s kind of difficult because there was so many cameras. I would say to Marti, “You’ve got far too many cameras, there’s no room for any people.” We did two shows. Most of this film is taken from the second show. The first show was a bit of a run through for everyone including the cameras and us. He had so many cameras that there were no people in front of us. So I said, “Marti, you know, it’s performing just in front of cameras. We’ve got to perform to an audience.” He’s very amenable to knowing where things could be better.
Ronnie Wood: Working with Marti is real easy stuff because he makes you feel so at home. Even though it’s like five or seven days of heavy pressure and you have to be ready to go at any time, Marti made it a lot easier because he’s such a down to earth guy and it makes it real comfortable to work with him.
Charlie Watts: He's just a little bloke running about really. He has a great eye and everything. And he just did his bit while we did ours. He was very lucky because we had a good night the night he filmed us. We were lucky because he could get it. He’s just fantastic! How he can cut things and that. But that’s what great directors do, isn’t it? I mean, he didn’t really direct us. We played, Mick went off on a thing... But he caught it all really well. I think it’s a very good movie. If it had been someone else, we couldn’t have done it really. I mean, we wouldn’t have even bothered. If it had been Clint Eastwood – I think he’s a really good director as well – Clint’s more in to the Jazz thing and he wouldn’t have appreciated the finer points of what we do.
LF: Did you purposely tease Marti with the set list? That’s the big gag at the start of the film...
MJ: Well, it’s kind of a gag. It’s half a gag and it’s a gag based on the truth. Because, you know, I had a lot of problems because you want to do certain songs and you want to do lots of different songs, but on the other hand, you can’t do so many songs that the band has got to learn them all. Because even though they’ve done them once in a recording studio 25 years ago, it doesn’t mean anyone remembers them, myself included. So you can’t throw too much at a band in a very nervous place like having to shoot with 25 cameras. In the end I think it all worked out, but it’s not easy doing these kind of shoots because you only get two days, which is why you want to shoot 500,000 feet of film!
LF: What’s are your highlights of the film?
RW: I think some of the highlights are the old footage from the archive. It’s good to hear Mick say, “The band might last another year or so” 40 years ago. And, you know, there’s some great live playing as well.
CW: The highlight of the movie for me are the guest stars. I think Buddy Guy... It was magic when he came on. I think we played really well with him. And I think Christina Aguilera did a great job, because usually girls singing with Mick, they either can make it or he’ll smother them somehow. And Jack White the same, you know? Jack was great.
LF: What is it that makes the Stones so good as a live experience?
MJ: Well we’ve had a lot of practice!