Ed Burns is widely known by many people around the film industry as an actor, a writer, a director, and a producer. His latest film titled “Nice Guy Johnny” is a film that will not be available in theaters but seems pretty interesting to me. The movie is based around a sports talk radio host that is told by his fiancée to give up his dream and get a job that pays more money.
This movie is particularly interesting to me. Number one, I think Burns is a pretty good writer and a good actor, but number two as a person that has been in the radio business for the last five years I can relate to this. The first thing that I was told in my first broadcasting class was to change majors and think about another profession because finding a job in broadcasting was very, very difficult. The second thing that I was told was that if I was at all concerned with money to think about a different direction because when you start out in broadcasting you have to take your lumps and you have to live paycheck to paycheck. The third I was told was that I should be prepared to relocate to start my career.
Being in this business is very, very fun and I love every second of it. I don’t mind the long days, I don’t mind the early mornings, I love talking and writing about sports, I love getting to cover sporting events, and I wake up every morning and look forward to going to work because I love what I do. To me, I wouldn’t trade that happiness for anything, even if it meant a bigger paycheck at a different job.
Ed Burns joined WSCR in Chicago with Mully and Hanley to talk about his newest movie about a sports radio personality, where the idea came from for this movie, what the premise of the movie is, why it will not be out in theaters anywhere, and whether or not he would rather be involved in bigger, more mainstream movies.
On where the idea of making a movie about a sports talk host came from:
“The idea was originally that I wanted to tell a story about a kid that is being asked to give up his dream in order to pursue a more financially responsible career path, which is something that I can relate to when I was starting off making Brothers McMullen. My parents at certain times were like are you sure you want to do this? ‘What about Cops, you get benefits?’ I have a good buddy of mine who is a sports radio junkie, he just couldn’t believe that was a real job that you could go on the radio, talk sports all day, and somebody would pay you. And I thought that’s the job that this kid should have to give up because if you’re a sports nut, who wouldn’t love that gig? His fiancée says you’re not making enough money, I want you to go back to New York and take a job with a company that his father is going to set him up with. He comes to New York for the interview, but makes a great mistake by coming into a bar that his uncle owns, who is played by me. I hear that he’s 24 and married and that’s mistake number one. Mistake number two is he’s going to give up a sports radio talk show gig which I also think is the greatest job you can have. I decide I’m gonna spend the weekend and try to derail him. That’s what happens. We head out to the Hamptons and I try to introduce him to some ladies.”
On whether he prefers doing these films or doing other more prominent films:
“I certainly prefer doing these films. When I went to film school I wanted to be a writer and director and kinda fell into acting. It’s kinda the gravy on the career that I got to work with (Tom) Hanks and (Stephen) Spielberg on that film and did a movie with (Robert) DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman. That side of my career is kinda the blessing that I never anticipated. You just keep your fingers crossed that once a year they give you a call and say hey do you want to do it again?”
On why the movie won’t be in theaters:
“That’s exactly what inspired the idea. We looked at a lot of the success that the bands were having. We said let’s just do the same thing. The other thing is by forgoing the theatrical, we’re saving millions upon millions of marketing dollars. Even when you spend those millions you can’t compete with the big films because they’re spending 38 to 45 million and you were spending two. It just made no sense so we’re just going to forego theatrical.”