Phil Joanou introduces Rattle and Hum in Los Angeles

Original Story by Joshua Worrill (1999-06-30)

Earlier this evening, Phil Joanou, director of Rattle and Hum appeared at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles to show the film, and to answer some questions from fans in attendance. Joanou claimed he was going to have the sound turned up on the film so fans could experience it as if it was an actual U2 concert. The film started out with a rare look at the original trailer for the film which many had not seen before.

Joanou claimed that over a million and a half feet of film had been filmed for the movie, and that along the way there were 8 versions of the movie prior to the final edit that was released. There was also a plan in place to release some outtakes of the movie for fans, along with additional music, shortly after the release of the film. These plans were scrapped when the reviews started coming in with criticism of the film, and the band worried the whole project was overhyped. The band chose to put these plans for a fan release on the back burner and to date they remain unreleased. One of these unreleased versions included “I Will Follow” and another had been cut together as a 12-song bootleg. Joanou mentioned he was aware that the bootleg “Outtakes” videos were floating around but he himself had never seen them.

Joanou also had to fight with Bono to get the famous “Fuck the revolution!” speech left in the film. Joanou related that Bono and his family had received death threats from radical factions in Ireland (the IRA,) and there was some thought it might be left out. Although he won that battle, Joanou didn’t win them all, and he mentioned that he was asked to leave out several times where the band got up to antics after a few drinks were had. One example of footage that was left out was scenes filmed in Texas where there was some drink involved, and may have included a flash light being used to illuminate a band member’s bare bottom as they drove down the highway in a limo. Another scene that was cut was during “Silver and Gold” where Bono had a bit of a row with an audience member from the stage over a difference in politics. Bono berates her from stage, and it was Bono’s choice to have that interaction removed from the film.

Joanou expressed disappointment that there is not a letterboxed version of the film available on VHS, nor are there any plans that he was aware of that would see Paramount Pictures releasing “Rattle and Hum” on DVD.

Asked about the transiton from black and white to colour, Joanou explained he liked the intimacy of black and white, and the flexibility to get away with more visual mistakes. The colour part was the idea of the cinematography, but Joanou really liked how it turned out. Asked about the slow motion used throughout “Bad” Joanou said that Bono had run into the audience and was shaking hands with fans and giving out hugs, and the band felt it would be too much like the footage from Live Aid and chose to leave it out.

Joanou did speak about the band, and said that they are in Dublin finishing the album, and working hard in the studio to try to finish it for the end of July. He suggested the new album would not be released until sometime after January 2000, and was not finished at this point. He did say that the band was very happy with how the album was turning out, and confirmed that he had been told that the new album would be a return to the “band’s roots” and that some of it would be acoustic in nature. And that the eventual tour would be scaled back from the PopMart monster, at least at first, although he thought there would be possibilities to expand it later as the band did with Zoo TV.

Joanou’s film “Entropy” will be released to theatres, but it would be a limited engagement in a handful of cities, and that a lack of funding was holding up a wider release. He said that the filming of “Entropy” included scenes that took place during the U2 PopMart concert held in Johannesburg in South Africa, and that during the concert Bono was given several minutes of dialog to perform while onstage, but much of that went unused. He also detailed that the band have several speaking scenes besides this concert footage. No video release plans for “Entropy” were discussed.

Joanou throughout the questions and answers was friendly, and came across as a fan of the band. He did mention that seeing it would be his first time seeing the movie since it had originally premiered in 1988.

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