The Man Behind the Throne (2013) Movie Script

Look at this.
Isn't it incredible?
This will be on the top of a body.
So you can imagine the size of this.
And there'll be two of them.
But is this gorgeous?
Oh, my God. I just love this thing.
Oh, I just love him! He's so cute.
Vincent has always been
an innovator.
And the stars
that he has worked with -
Madonna, Michael Jackson,
he's worked with so many -
when they have listened to him
and when they have taken
those steps with him,
it has sent their careers
on a new path.
You've been hit by
a smooth criminal
One of the things
about Vincent is,
in a way,
he's a really well-kept secret.
There are some people
that are going after the celebrity.
Vincent, he's never cared
about that.
He's really
always been about the work.
That's it.
Bang. That's great.
Oh, he's reached the public -
you know, millions and millions
and millions of people -
in many ways, and ways
that people don't even realise.
Boom, boom, lift, four.
Boom, boom, lift, four.
"Dear friends and family,
"Here we go again -
journal entry number 1.
"I finally arrived to stay
for a while in Montreal.
"Every moment of my day is filled,
"so I might not write
as often as I used to.
"After two years of preparation,
"the show is finally moving
from paper to reality.
"A Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show
about Elvis Presley.
"This one might be the one
I retire on.
Sketches, sketches...
This is like my script, basically.
The movie medley section -
Rock-A-Hula will be
the last of that.
And then we go to Jailhouse Rock
with that bizarre thing.
The great thing about working
here at Cirque du Soleil
is that it's like being a kid
in Santa's workshop, you know?
Whatever you put in your head, if
you can find a way to make it work,
you know, they go, "Yeah."
And if the world has
never seen it before,
"Yeah! That's what we want."
Blue Suede Shoes...
And that was what I was weaned on
with Michael and Madonna.
"All we want you to do is
create something phenomenal
"that nobody in the world
has ever seen before.
"We want to be the first.
So let your imagination go nuts."
And that's what I did.
That's what I've always
had the luxury of doing.
And now to kind of be
in the same situation again,
where there's almost no limits...
I'm blown away.
I mean, it's a director's dream
to have a theatre
built around your idea,
and that's what this is -
they built the theatre
based on the concept that I wrote.
Wow! Great!
Yeah, guys!
Sick. Just sick.
Yeah, nice!
Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
- I hope you enjoyed it.
- Are you kidding?
- Special hug.
- Oh, shit. Oh, man.
- Can I introduce you to my mom?
- Oh, I'd love to meet your mom.
- Hi. I'm Vincent.
- I'm pleased to meet you.
What's your first name?
- Claudia.
- Claudia. Nice to meet you.
- Well, it is nice to meet you.
- Thank you.
It's a wonderful show.
It's just the beginning.
Yes, my friend.
- You know when I did the shake over there?
- Mm-hm.
- Is that something I can keep in?
- No, I love it!
- Cool, because it's...
- I love it!
It's inspired by Elvis -
why not have something shaking?
Exactly! I love it.
In late news from Los Angeles,
the LA Times is reporting that
pop star Michael Jackson has died.
Katie, startling news
here this evening.
The LA paramedics got a 911 call
at about 12:21 this afternoon
from Michael Jackson's
posh house in Bel Air.
They rushed to the house
and found him in cardiac arrest,
not breathing.
Michael, really,
is responsible for my career,
believing in me at the beginning,
when I had very few credits.
Saying, "I liked it
when you danced on Beat It,
"and you were really cool
"when you were
the assistant choreographer
"and danced with me on Thriller.
"And why don't you take this song
Smooth Criminal
"and create something for me?"
I had done so little.
I had done a few little...
cheesy commercials
and, you know,
one small piece in a dance concert -
I mean, nothing,
nothing that put me on the map.
And here was Michael Jackson,
the biggest and most successful
artist in the world after Thriller,
turning to me and saying,
"Come on over to the recording
studio where I am tonight.
"I want to play a song for you."
And before I left, him saying,
"Well, take it with you
"so that you can listen to the music
"and let the music tell you
what it should be."
And I said,
"Well, what do you mean?"
"Well, I want you
to come up with the concept
"and create the video for me."
This is the way
Michael and I would work,
the two of us
playing together and...
And I had already given him
the sketch of this.
He was learning it and modifying
a couple of little moments
that he felt worked better
for his body.
Playing with rhythms.
Don't forget the rhythm over
the part is...
Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,
pa, pa-pum, pow!
When he rehearsed,
he put on all the clothes -
the shirt, the tie,
the shoes, the spats,
the hat, the jacket, the pants -
to see if the movement
that he was creating for himself,
or that I was creating for him
felt really comfortable and organic
in the clothes that he wore.
Michael would stand
in front of that mirror
just doing the same exact movement -
SAME exact movement -
hours and hours and hours on end,
coming back
to the same little section
and repeating it and repeating it
and repeating it.
I'm excited to do some more,
but I'm so beat.
"Montreal, July 2.
"The New York Times
called me last night
"for their front-page article
about Michael.
"I realised that the show
I'm doing about Elvis
"could easily be translated
into a show about Michael Jackson.
"I feel a fascinating connection
with Michael and Elvis,
"and blessed to have both
of their spirits watching over me
"and... guiding me on this path."
One, two...
...I want to involve every genre
in which I've worked in my life.
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
I've been with Vincent,
like, over 20 years, probably.
Worked with Michael Jackson
with him, Smooth Criminal.
There was a ton of commercials
with him, movies.
I've assisted him,
I've helped him choreograph,
but this is the first time that
he went, "Here. This one's yours.
"I'm gonna direct this.
I need you to choreograph this."
One, two, a-three, four,
five, six, seven...
It's very different for him
because he's, you know, so used to
directing and choreographing.
And I think it's the first time
he's ever handed anything to anybody
and it was a big gift on his part,
to give that part up,
'cause it's very hard for him to do.
When I was first approached to do
this project by Cirque du Soleil,
they would like me to create a show
that DIDN'T have acrobatics in it,
that was basically music and dance.
And I said, "No, you know,
I want to put acrobatics in it,
"but I want to find a way where the
acrobatics have an emotional impact,
"where they fit into
the biography of Elvis Presley."
- To sink in the position and stay in it.
- Mm-hm.
And breathe in it and then move.
- Yes, so we can enjoy it.
- Yeah.
For him, a dance is a scene.
He makes people want to find out
who their characters are -
what is your name?
Where did you come from?
What is your story?
He lets people know that
no matter where you are on stage,
you are a vital part of his picture.
I had no thoughts about dance
being any part of my life.
It was really about theatre.
It really wasn't until I was 25 when
I really got hooked into the dance.
And once I took my first
dance class,
it was like
those endorphins started flowing
and it was like a drug hitting me,
and it was like, "Wow!"
The education I had had
in the theatre
gave me all of that
internal workings.
I would put the role on,
I would put the character on.
And that's how
I got the role in Beat It.
All the other guys
who would come into the room
came in looking like dancers.
And I came in
looking like the character
that they were looking for -
the leader of a gang.
- Beat it
- Beat it
- Beat it
- Beat it
No-one wants to be defeated...
I assisted the choreographer,
Michael Peters,
for Beat It and Thriller.
As the assistant,
you cleaned everything.
And I was considered,
like, THE best assistant around,
because I was crazy.
I made every finger precise,
every head precise,
everywhere you looked precise,
every movement precise.
So when it became my turn
to actually create
and be the choreographer,
that was one of the things that
I felt I really wanted to do.
So, Annie, are you OK?
Are you OK, Annie?
Annie, are you OK?
Will you tell us that you're OK?
There's a sign in the window
That he struck you
a crescendo, Annie
He came into your apartment
And left the bloodstains
on the carpet
And then you ran into the bedroom
You were struck down
It was your doom...
I remember we worked hard
on that precision part.
The moves were extremely tight.
I do remember one time
Vince came in and said,
"You know, now, we need
to work a little harder here
"because it's not really
as sharp as it needs to be."
And Michael asked me, "Are these
really the best dancers in LA?"
It's like the gauntlet
being thrown down, you know?
You'd better show
that you are the best.
- Annie, are you OK?
- Are you OK, Annie?
- Annie, are you OK?
- I don't know
- Will you tell us that you're OK?
- I don't know
- There's a sign in the window
- I don't know
- That he struck you a crescendo, Annie
- I don't know
- He came into your apartment
- I don't know
- And left the bloodstains on the carpet
- I don't know why, baby
And then you ran into the bedroom
You were struck down
It was your doom...
Vince really approached this...
giving us the assignment.
All the dancers were
asked to come up with characters,
like names of characters,
and have a backstory
so that there was a reason
why we were in the setting
that was given to us.
He brought, to a dance job,
a theatrical storytelling point
of view, not just dance technique.
Dag gone it, baby
- There's a sign in the window
- Dag gone it, baby
- That he struck you a crescendo, Annie
- Hoo! Hoo!
He came into your apartment.
This is the area that I grew up in.
And this was a very conservative,
fairly, you know, repressed,
depressed area.
We lived sort of
on the wrong side of the tracks,
but close enough that
you could smell what was going on
on the other side, you know?
I guess a little bit like
Elvis Presley, actually.
Where he could...
He was on the white side
and the blacks were on the other.
With us, it wasn't a racial thing.
But I kept wandering
into those other little worlds.
Wow. Bizarre.
It's so small.
Can you imagine seven of us
living in that house?
If you want.
That was my bedroom,
up there in that top window.
After going to Catholic school,
we would sit and be so scared
because the nuns would tell us -
we're gonna turn right -
the nuns would tell us that
the end of the world was coming,
and we would sit and cry.
- Hello.
- It's good to see you.
- How are you?
- Nice to see you. Fine, thank you.
Our sisters would be thrilled
that you're here.
- Oh, they would be.
- Oh, my gosh. A long time ago.
- 'Cause we've been here a long time.
- I was here a VERY long time ago.
- We used to call it BrookHEAVEN.
- Oh.
Instead of Brookhaven,
they called it Brookheaven.
Good afternoon, boys and girls.
Good afternoon, Mrs Damson.
God bless you.
Good. God bless you too,
boys and girls.
We have a group of boys
that has a hip-hop club.
Oh, my gosh.
Some of them might be in here.
May I see the hip-hop boys
that are in the third grade?
Come and identify...
identify yourselves.
- This is Mr Paterson.
- Hi. How are you guys?
One of his jobs
is as a choreographer.
Do you know what choreographers do?
A choreographer is somebody
who makes up the dances.
Like, I made up many dances
for Michael Jackson...
My favourite singer?
Really? Yeah.
I'm the guy in Beat It who has the
little knife fight and all of that.
- That was me.
- Oh, yeah!
Yeah, that was me, so...
And what do you do, like,
little routines and stuff?
We didn't have music class
and we didn't have...
All the dance that we had
was square dance.
Did you have gym outside?
- We didn't have gym at all.
- Oh.
My father taught social dance
in different places -
the jitterbug and the cha-cha -
and taught me
when I was a little kid.
My parents loved music
and that's kind of the way it was.
And they were both very young,
so, you know...
we kind of all grew up together.
He kind of had to take over,
you know, when his father left.
And it was a shame, because he was
only a 13-year-old boy,
but he tried to help me
as much as he could
with the raising of children,
you know?
Of course, we put
a lot of responsibility on him.
Tried not to,
but it just happens, you know?
- Yeah.
- But, uh...
No, he was... he was a good boy.
I thought he'd be an actor.
I thought he'd be more into acting,
because that's what they did,
you know?
And he'd dress up the kids
and my nieces
in their different little outfits
and they'd all perform.
I was an artist.
I didn't know what kind of artist,
but I knew I was an artist.
And I knew that there was
nothing in this area
that would ever give me
an opportunity
to... to understand what that meant,
that driving force inside of me.
You got the right one, baby
You know when it's right...
Oh, we've done
many, many, many, many commercials.
I can't even remember, so many.
- Diet Pepsi
- Alright
- Uh-huh, uh-huh
- Uh-huh, uh-huh...
And on the set,
I would introduce him to the person
and then walk away and let him
do whatever he wanted to do.
I don't think I ever
made any comment about his work.
It was always brilliant and special.
He has an unbelievable way
with people.
He had an unbelievable way
with Michael.
Michael Jackson actually
didn't introduce me to Vincent.
I was doing a video with Michael
called The Way You Make Me Feel.
And Michael had told me that he
did not want to dance in the video.
And I went down there
several days before we were filming
to check on the pre-lighting,
and I heard music
coming from way in the back.
I go back,
and there's Michael and Vince...
...and some dancers
choreographing something.
And Michael introduced me,
reluctantly, to Vince.
And I just thought, you know,
"You said you weren't gonna dance."
But here they were
choreographing this
very elaborate piece back there.
Michael was like that.
He was kind of cool.
So I met Vince,
and Vince choreographed the piece,
and then he eventually
staged the whole video.
That you're the one for me
- The way you make me feel
- The way you make me feel
- You really turn me on
- You really turn me on
He cast gang members
for some of the cast,
from two dangerous gangs
in Los Angeles.
So we had
a lot of police on the set.
Vince saw the gang members...
They did this
kind of street-corner posturing
and he put that in,
and it worked beautiful.
And, actually, Michael kept a lot of
the moves, even till he passed away.
- The way you make me feel.
- GROUP: Ohh!
I did a Pepsi commercial
with Madonna.
This is a very good story.
When I met Madonna
to do this commercial,
she actually
didn't want to work with me.
When I had
my first meeting with her,
not having known her or met her,
I wondered who she wanted
as a choreographer for the piece.
And she said she didn't want to sing
and she didn't want to dance -
that her contract
didn't call for that.
But I wanted Vince to work on
the other performers in the piece,
just to give it some energy.
And she walked into the set while
he was rehearsing the other dancers.
And she came over to me and asked me
to introduce her to Vincent.
When you call my name
It's like a little prayer
I'm down on my knees
I wanna take...
And next thing you know,
she's in there, dancing.
In the midnight hour...
And he gave her every suggestion,
changed her completely.
Just like a prayer
You know I'll take you there...
There's a pre-Vincent Madonna
and a post-Vincent Madonna.
And the post-Vincent Madonna
is a better performer
than the pre-Vincent Madonna.
She knows how to use her body
much better
after Vince got a hold of her.
"Stick your butt out, honey."
OK, a little dance history.
This is an Ann-Margret step.
This was created for Ann-Margret.
If you watch Ann-Margret movies,
this is what she did.
A signature move.
Now, you can think that you're
waving away the fart smells
if you want.
But I would prefer
that you think that,
"My ass is so fucking hot, kids..."
" can't even be touched.
"The flames are just shootin' out,
baby!" Alright?
That's the move.
So, don't do it out here,
because it doesn't make any sense.
You're gonna do what they're doing,
"Montreal, July 10.
"My cold is doing much better.
"Thanks for the love
from those who sent it.
"What a fantastic week.
"I love sharing my stories,
"giving dance history lessons
about great choreographers
"of whom these kids
have zero knowledge.
"Bonnie and I got through staging
a huge chunk of the show,
"at the end of the day, playing with
the final beats of Viva Las Vegas."
"I love this part of the process
SO much.
"The joyful way we play and work
in the studio, I just love it.
"I can't imagine ever giving it up."
Oh, this is so sick.
We were working on Black Or White
and he wanted to have this
crazy, strange section in it.
That section
wasn't specifically choreographed,
it was just that the two of us
worked together
on a lot of different pieces.
We were working around
and I did something that went... this.
And Michael said, "Oh, my God!
"I love that. What is that?"
"I don't know."
"Kind of cool. Let's take that
and make it into a move."
So at the end of Black Or White,
you see Michael
grabbing his crotch about 50 times.
And then he went even further
and did some unzipping of his pants.
Express yourself
You've got to make it...
And then when I choreographed the
video Express Yourself for Madonna,
there was a movement where
she's at the top of these steps.
She said, "Vince," and she's
yelling at me from up there,
what I do with my other hand?"
And I said,
"Well, honey, grab your crotch,
"because you've got bigger balls
than mostly everybody in this room.
"So go ahead and grab 'em."
The 'crotch grab', yeah.
When I had choreographed
the video Express Yourself for her,
she wanted me to work on the tour.
Madonna hadn't really...
She wasn't the queen yet.
But Madonna thrived
on creating controversy.
She loved stirring up the sauce.
She actually named the tour
Blonde Ambition,
so I took that and ran with it
and thought,
"OK, well, then, this is great."
- 'Cause you...
- Heads.
...made me feel...
- Reach.
- Yeah, you made...
I was going to do this one piece,
Like A Virgin, and I said,
"OK, then this is really cool.
Now I know what I'll do with it.
"I'll put you on a big bed."
And at first,
I had the two guys, the dancers,
and they were going to be just these
beauties on the sides of the bed.
And then Gautier designed
these big, pointy bras,
so instead, I made them eunuchs.
Hold her.
There you go, that's the idea.
Like a virgin
Touched for
the very first time...
This tour,
this was the first time, really,
that anything like this
had happened,
with these kinds of major sets,
with the star dancing and singing
as much as she did.
Like a virgin...
The whole crucifix
and dancing with all the guys
that were dressed up like priests...
Feels so good inside...
Every number was a dance.
When you hold me...
She was so fit.
She danced hard, hard.
It was insane.
This tour really pushed her
over the top.
It was Madonna.
There was nobody else.
My most favourite review that I ever
got was from the Pope, actually.
"With the Blonde Ambition tour,
"Satan has been re-released
into the world."
I thought,
"Oh, my God! I did that?"
"Montreal, August 9.
"Oh, my God.
"Two and a half weeks,
and I'm out of here.
"We're moving into
the Montreal home stretch now.
"My first presentation went
beyond our wildest expectations.
"All of the powers that be
were like little kids.
"Guy Laliberte, the owner of Cirque,
snapped photos all through
"and smiled like it was
his 16th birthday.
"One of the producers tipped
his baseball cap to me
"and said, 'I'd give anything I own
"'to get inside your head
for one day.'
"I hung around
for the party afterwards.
"It was a good thing.
"But arriving at my apartment,
I emotionally crashed.
"Sometimes all of this
giving and giving and giving
"leaves me lost and forlorn.
"I never feel like
a creative genius.
"I always feel like an honest mule
who wears his heart on his hoof."
Wow, it's beautiful.
Oh, my gosh.
What did she give it to us for?
Uh, no reason.
Just 'cause we're neighbours.
How sweet.
- How's that?
- Oh, my gosh.
Yeah, I had to go talk to her
this morning about that...
I've lived
his whole career with him.
I mean, sometimes I think
I've been more optimistic
about what he had yet to do,
you know?
Yeah. So...
You know, in this business,
you're self-employed.
You finish your job, you don't know
where the next one's coming from.
And artists,
you know how they are, it's just...
They're never gonna work again,
they're never gonna eat again.
You know, it's gonna be
a really tough struggle.
And I've always just really felt
that at the height
of his first stage of his career,
he thought it was kind of like,
you know, "OK, I've done this."
And I always knew that there was
something bigger coming.
So, I'm gonna pour
some stuff... this in here.
Could you just hold this?
It would have been easier,
just the water, though.
No, it wouldn't.
My sister's the butch one
of the family.
Her boys don't even know
how to do this stuff.
This is why I want to retire.
- Why what?
- This is why I want to retire.
I can't see him retiring
and just doing this.
Shut up.
So I think this is just
the first and the last of the
mortar... the mortar and the rocks.
I'm gonna squirt her.
I think he needs a couple more years
to get it all out of his system,
before complete retirement.
This was Manon, the opera
that I did for Anya Netrebko -
the only opera
that I've ever directed.
It was the production of this opera
that kind of cinched the deal for
me working with Cirque du Soleil.
Oh, here I made
the dean's list in college.
I'm going back to college, you know?
They're making me a fellow.
You know, when I think of
where I came from,
you know, just this guy
who lived by the oil refineries,
and then I think that,
"Oh, my gosh!"
You know?
"They're making me a fellow
at this university."
And... That's kind of cool.
One of the things I've learned
by being around so many celebrities
is it's easy for them
to get the adoration of fans,
but when it comes back
to the personal level,
they really never know who to trust
and who really loves them
for being Madonna or Michael Jackson
or Elvis Presley.
The consequence of that, for me,
was to shy away from publicity
and NOT get my name pushed out
in The Times and the television
Entertainment Tonights,
and let it be about the work,
let it be about the work process,
the things that I really love.
I've always appreciated
and made the choice of being
the man behind the throne.
I like being behind it
and whispering in the ear, you know?
It's kind of how I've always
seen myself in this career.
"I think it's better
if you do this." You know?
"Las Vegas, September 15.
"Day one in the theatre.
"It is breathtakingly gorgeous.
"The stage is massive -
the largest in North America.
"I'm beyond ecstatic
with everybody's work.
"And I'm allowing the dreams
of a fantastic show
"to overpower any apprehension
that creeps into my soul."
This is the Jailhouse Rock set.
It's amazing.
It's so, so huge and beautiful.
But you know,
the funny thing is in most shows,
this one set alone
would be the entire show.
You know? This would be the show.
In our show, this comes out for five
minutes, and that's the end of that.
That's all you see it
in one evening.
"October 18.
"Yesterday we had a run-through
"of the first more than half
of the show.
"When we finished,
I sat down with the producers
"and their discussion
went something like this.
"'You can never forget the type of
audience we get in Vegas, Vincent.
"'Where are all the dancers?
"'The stage looks so big and black.
"'This is supposed to be a spectacle
and I don't see any spectacle.
"'This is not the show we want
for Cirque du Soleil.'
"Imagine my surprise.
"What they saw was nothing different
"than what they saw in Montreal
and salivated over."
"October 25.
"The guillotine falls daily.
"Sometimes there isn't time
to clean the blood from the blade.
"Chop! There go
my two young Elvises.
"Swoosh! There goes
some of Bonnie's choreography.
"Ram! There goes Leo
the Elvis character.
"Rip! There goes
a piece of my script.
"This is what I don't like
about this insane business -
"this frantic creative mind-changing
at the last minute.
"I thought this would be different.
"I'm baffled.
"Mamma, don't let your babies
grow up to do showbiz."
This is my first day of work.
Can you see that
that's snow out there?
Lars von Trier,
he was looking for choreographers
to work with him
on Dancer In The Dark.
And he had seen three things...
...Black Or White, Smooth Criminal
and pieces of
the Blonde Ambition tour.
He said, "Well, Vincent... Wincent, I
think you should come and talk to me
"because I was looking for
three different choreographers
"because of three different
pieces of work,
"and they're all yours.
"So it seems to me
"that you're the one who's
supposed to do this movie with me."
When I walked into the Zentropa
offices, I was kind of freaked.
The production was...
well, beyond disorganised.
It reminded me of the chaotic music
video productions I did in the '80s.
The casting wasn't complete,
the sets weren't built,
the music wasn't finished.
So, how's it going, Charlotte?
I had to keep reminding myself
that one of the reasons
I decided to do this film
was that it was NO a Hollywood studio movie.
- Childhood moment.
- The life.
It was written in the script
that there was an older Jewish man
who ran the little theatre
where Bjork's character, Selma, was
going to perform Sound Of Music.
And I kept saying to Lars, "Lars,
we're going to shoot this in a week.
"I need to have this actor here."
And Lars would say, to me,
"Oh, that's OK.
"He's coming, Wincent, he's coming,
he's coming soon."
Well, it got down to the deadline
and I basically said,
"Lars, really, if we don't have
the actor to do this,
"I think we need to change
the schedule around."
And Lars said, "Wincent,
I have the actor. I found him."
And I said, "You did? Where is he?
When am I gonna meet him?"
"You're gonna meet him now,
Wincent." And I said, "Really?"
And he puts his arm around me
and he walks me over to the mirror
and he goes, "Here he is."
Now side to side.
- Raindrops on roses...
- Other people can sing.
"Wincent, I've been watching you
in your rehearsals and everything,
"and you're exactly the kind
of character I want in this film."
Selma will put Kathy, like, here,
like this, right?
And then Selma,
with somebody lying down here.
And then someone will
turn her around like this.
- Mm-hm.
- They'll go up like this.
And then you should imagine...
Something they're holding...
Somebody upside down
with their head down there.
And she gets pulled into
the rhythm, right?
By this human machine.
- Mm-hm.
- And then she can dance.
Lars seemed to rewrite the movie
based on his observations
of how we all interacted.
I really love Lars.
His desire to allow imperfection
to surface in the film
really inspired me.
Lars wanted to shoot
the dance sequences
with a hundred small DV cameras.
So I would walk him
through the locations
and he would say, "OK, well,
let's put a camera up there."
And I would say,
"Let's put a camera over there,
by where the sheep are standing."
"OK, but we can't have
any moving cameras anywhere."
And I said,
"Well, what if something was moving
"and the camera was on
part of that?"
And he was, like, "OK, well, that
doesn't really break the rules."
I think we put, like, one
on the back of a sheep.
You've seen it all
and all, you have seen
The light and the dark,
the big and the small
After we shot I've Seen It All
for two days,
using, actually,
more than 150 cameras,
I rode home with Lars
in his camper.
Lars is at the wheel!
I remember he said to me,
"Wincent, I hate to say this, but
I think we've created a classic."
I remember being on the plane
back to LA
and I kept thinking
about Lars and Bjork
and how they both seemed
to live on the edge of madness.
I think genius lives
on the rim of reality
and it teeters
between the human world
and the nether regions of madness.
I wish I could be like that
with my work,
but me, I'm usually just
too damn conscientious.
I guess I'm jealous
of their artistic insanity.
9/11 had just happened
and Vincent had been asked
to choreograph
for the choreography awards
that year.
And he was like,
"Nah, I don't wanna do it."
And I'm, like,
"Oh, Vincent, I just have to dance.
"Please, let's just dance.
"Let's just learn the choreography
"and, you know, even if
we don't do anything,
"at least we'll have danced today."
'Cause it was...
we were pretty upset after... know, 9/11.
It was, like, the week after.
So we did this piece
and... it was magic.
We were at the very end
of the first act.
Lights go up, and Tony -
a friend of ours,
close friends with Vincent -
sees Pytka in the audience, crying.
So Tony goes, "Joe, hi."
And he goes,
"Hey! Who choreographed that?"
And Tony goes, "Well, you know him.
Vincent did."
He goes...
"That fucking fuck!
"Bring me to him!"
No joke, he says to me,
"What the fuck do you...
"Look at... look at my fucking face!
Look at my fucking face.
"Look at this! I've got fucking
tears rolling down my fucking face.
"What the fuck did you do
something like that to me for, man?
"What are you doing with this thing?
"What are you doing
with this fucking thing?"
"Joe, I'm not doing
anything with it."
"What do you mean, you're not doing
anything with it? What do you mean?
"What are you talking about? You've
gotta do something with this thing."
I said, "Well, I don't know.
"I just did it for this one event -
that was it."
He goes, "No, no, no, no, no.
No! Uh-uh, no.
"We're shooting this.
We're putting this down on film.
"You're directing it
and I'm shooting it."
It was amazing.
We had the best dancers
from all of the tours -
Madonna, Michael Jackson -
all those dancers were free.
You would never have
these dancers together - ever!
But everybody had to dance,
because all the planes were landed
and all the tours were stopped.
I never was an idle man.
I always worked.
But 9/11 had happened,
and the economy, especially in terms
of the entertainment industry,
had sort of gone downhill.
After things had gone
so well for so long,
I... wasn't... no-one was hiring me.
Nothing happened for me.
Nothing happened.
And... I...
I guess it was like withdrawal
with a junkie, you know?
Like, you stop shooting up heroin
and you start to, you know,
go a little mad.
And in a way,
I suppose that's what happened.
I kept thinking,
"That's it. That's the end.
"Nobody wants me,
and that's all it's about."
So it didn't matter.
Carl didn't matter, my family
didn't matter - nothing mattered.
I got a gun
and I drove up to Santa Barbara
and I went into a hotel
and I loaded the gun
and I put the gun in my mouth.
I was going to shoot it,
and the telephone rang.
A woman said,
"Do you want ice in your room?"
All of a sudden, I was like...
Whoo! Like, sucked me back,
you know?
And from that point, I sort of took
a different perspective of things.
"Las Vegas, February 21.
"To my lovelies
in my journal-reading world,
"We're almost done here in Vegas,
and I'll be home soon."
One says 'lamp'
and one says 'reading'.
The 'reading' is overhead.
I put that on.
The 'lamp'
is what I've been hitting.
- Oh, and 'goodnight'.
- No, that's when everything closes.
Some little man had to come up with
us and show us what everything does.
"Carl, as usual, has been
my guardian angel through this.
"He's faithfully been coming up
every weekend to be sure I'm loved,
"to cook delicious food,
to provide some laughs."
Of course.
Who else would I talk about?
"I've been working toward
incorporating the producers' notes
"as best I can.
"I changed song order,
I created new set concepts,
"cut entire sections
out of the show,
"restructured whole sections
of the show."
"Time magazine review
by Richard Corliss -
"'Viva Viva Elvis!
"'In 2006, Cirque pulled off
a Beatles homage, Love,
"'but that was sedate stuff
"'next to this audiovisual,
balletic, acrobatic explosion
"'from director Vincent Paterson.
"'He's concocted an experience
that's both symphonic
"'and in every way fantastic.'"
We're very excited.
I mean, Elvis is back.
He's here. He's back in Vegas,
where he belongs.
To see him here now,
in a way that's bigger
than we've ever presented him,
is very special to all of us.
"This is it for now.
"Sending you all love.
"Did I actually
once mention retiring?
"What the hell was I thinking?"
I can't believe it.
We used to do, like,
performance art.
We did a piece where I was Jesus,
with a crown of thorns,
and I carried a huge cross
all the way down this street
and I hung up here on a cross
for three hours.
I spent my life in here.
So cool.
Once you get out of here
and you get out into the real world,
a HUGE percentage of what you do
is politics.
You want to be an artist and you
live your life to be an artist,
and then you get into
whatever it is -
whether it's a play or a film
or a commercial or whatever -
and you realise that
it's all about the politics.
And you have to realise
what your place is and pay attention
to learn how to weasel your way in
to get your voice heard,
your art seen.
And it never stops, you know?
It never stops.
Madonna. Next topic.
She's very tough.
And I had the guys lift her up
in a big lift,
and she said, "I don't want to be
lifted like some GIRL."
Well, when you work with Madonna,
you learn that you have to be
father, brother, mother, boyfriend,
a psychoanalyst - everything.
So I said, "'Girl'?
Madonna, what are you talking about?
"You're a queen!"
Madonna said, "Lift me, boys."
It worked.
- Hey, you!
- Hi. Hi, baby.
Hi! Welcome.
Good. I'm fine, I'm fine.
Come on in.
- Oh, my God.
- So how are you?
- Are you good?
- I'm good.
You know, I'm getting over a cold
I had a couple of weeks ago.
It hung on for a while,
but, you know...
They've been after me
to do this in Valencia.
- Where's it supposed to go?
- Valencia, Spain.
- Do you know Julie?
- No.
This is Turko,
my friend since college days.
They live up in Atascadero.
OK, everybody!
I'm probably gonna cry.
But that's me. You know me.
I just want to say...
Oh, God, here it goes.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you so much for everything
that you've given me...
...and for being here today.
I love you all. Thank you so much.
"October 10.
"If I even THOUGH things would lighten up, I was nuts.
"Starting work
on a Duke Ellington piece
"and, would you believe it,
another project involving Elvis.
"Crazy world.
"I know you all told me,
and you were right.
"I'll retire when I'm dead.