With his latest effort, Aloha, failing to ignite at the box office, writer-director Cameron Crowe has been on the publicity trail – including giving an interview to Film School Rejects. During their conversation, the subject of Say Anything 2 – a sequel to his always popular debut movie – was broached, and Crowe had some surprising things to say.
Say Anything arrived in theatres in April 1989 and has remained an audience favourite ever since. Starring John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler and Ione Skye as Diane Court, the story charts the development of their complex romantic relationship between High School graduation and Diane’s scheduled departure for college. Also starring John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Pamela Adlon, Jeremy Piven and Eric Stoltz, the film became legendary for its depiction of youthful infatuation, and made a bona fide movie star out of John Cusack – thanks to a brilliant performance and a simple shot of him holding a boom box over his head.
Such was the love of these characters and their relationship that Cameron has been dogged with the question of a sequel ever since, and has generally wavered between non-committal and uninterested. Now, however, his tone toward the idea seems to have changed.
“I’ve even thought about revisiting Lloyd Dobler, to write about a stage in life where you’re looking at parenthood, wondering about your choices, and reconsidering some of the choices you made in past relationships.”
The more cynical among us might suggest that this is not surprising at all. Cameron Crowe’s career thus far has been a mixed bag at best, with as many creative disappointments as genuine successes. With his latest landing firmly in the disappointing category, it could be argued that a return to a past success is actually inevitable.
However, Crowe has never before revisited a main character from his fictional movies, so a sequel would be something of a departure for him. He and Cusack were last year seen to vehemently object to plans by NBC to develop a Say Anything television series based on the movie’s characters, and as a direct result, those plans were dropped. It seems now, though, that Crowe might be ready to take his own work in a different direction, himself.
“I don’t know if it would be a straight sequel. I just have ideas… It comes down to a few basic things. I really, really love writing for John Cusack. We have similarities as guys that really benefit him being a mouthpiece for stuff we both want to say. I haven’t quite figured it out. I only mentioned it to him once. In the spirit of the Truffaut movies, where Antoine Doinel would come back and be in a different context, I really did think that Lloyd could be worth revisiting in maybe a completely different context. So, I don’t know. I guess it would be a spiritual follow up. I don’t know how strict of a sequel it would be. I don’t know which characters would appear or reappear. It feels like a character I could still write for.”
The idea of a “spiritual follow up” featuring Dobler in a new context is an interesting one, but really goes to the heart of why some fans feel that a sequel may be problematic. As much as Say Anything is an incredibly romantic and charming film – one which generally features high on lists of films accused of encouraging unrealistic expectations of real-life relationships – does anyone actually believe that Lloyd and Diane would still be together, a quarter of a century later? So, any revisiting of the character of Dobler would be without Diane – and that would be disappointing, as she is a great character in her own right. It would be an unfortunate choice to simply erase her from the story.
So, perhaps Say Anything 2 could focus on Dobler, and Say Anything 3 could catch up with Diane. The only other viable option would be a Say Anything–High Fidelity cross-over, in which Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler suffers a crisis of confidence, and must embark on a quest to revisit his former loved one – Diane Court – to find out where it all went wrong. That would put a win in everyone’s column.