Executive creative director at ELVIS Neale Horrigan tells us why John Landis is his creative hero
LBB > Who would you say is your creative hero?
Neale Horrigan > John Landis, the director, writer, producer and former stuntman.
LBB > How long has this person been important to you and what are your first memories of meeting them or coming across their work?
Neale > I have some incredible memories of seeing some of John Landis’ films for the first time in the mid to late 80s: The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Spies Like Us, Coming to America and An American Werewolf in London. I was only young at the time and was just blown away by these films. Landis worked with comedy legends like Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy to achieve pin-sharp comic timing, slapstick silliness and incredible storytelling. And then on the flipside of that, he created a horror like American Werewolf with special effects on a level that changed the industry for good. Absolutely mind-blowing. Watching it now is still impressive.
LBB > If it’s someone you personally know, how did you get to know them and how has your relationship evolved over the years? If you don’t know this person, how did you go about finding to learn more about them and their work?
Neale > I essentially watched these films on repeat and was just glued to the screen. I then bought every book I could about special effects and production, as I just had to know how all this was created and how he made his vision a reality.
LBB > Why is the person such an inspiration to you?
Neale > Because not at any point during this infatuation did I ever want to be a director or producer. It wasn’t about that. It was about creativity. Quite simply, it made me realise that I was a creative person, and it was creativity that excited me.
LBB > How does this person influence you in your approach to your creative work?
Neale > It’s made me question everything, and make sure we leave no creative stone left unturned. A lot of the work that we do for Cadbury Creme Egg, for example, goes through a process of initial creation which we then revisit over and over again to make sure nothing is missed and it’s the best it can be at every turn. We push ourselves hard every year to outdo our previous year’s work, and raise the bar each time.
LBB > What piece or pieces of this person’s work do you keep coming back to and why?
Neale > All of the above-mentioned films. They are still so good on every level. However, I hear Landis has just written the screenplay for a remake of An American Werewolf in London, which makes me a bit twitchy. I might have to have a word and nip that one in the bud.