Blues Brothers: Jake and Elwood's Secret Life

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"To begin with, the word is Universal is planning a Blues Brothers film, and Elwood is writing the script."

"The Scriptatron XL 9000 has to finish the script," Elwood recites mechanically. "It'll be the first screenplay by the amazing Scriptatron XL 9000; the first fully programmed script. It's almost half finished."

"But what's the plot? Some say it's the story of your veiled past."

"Yeah," Jake admits, scratching the bristly soul patch under his lower lip with a shrimp tail. "We play ourselves. Here's a simple synopsis: it starts with me getting out of jail after three years and I expect the band to still be together . . . "

"He got three years on a five-year rap," Elwood interrupts. "Armed robbery at a gas station. I was driving but he took the rap because he knew I would string myself up if I went to jail. He did it for the band."

"Well, the band demanded their per diem," Jake explains, "so I had to rob the place! But anyhow, the film is about finding the band members and trying to get it all back together again."

"We hunt them down like cops, like detectives," Elwood bubbles. "We have nothing, a scrap of paper with their last phone numbers and a coupla old addresses. We discover that each one now has a different trip; a couple of 'em are living suburban lives, mostly working day jobs. We were just getting hot when Jake went in the slammer, drawing big crowds in highway drinking halls. Now we've re-formed to try again!"

"It's like The Magnificent Seven," yells Jake, "or Force Ten from Navarrone!"

The liner notes on the back of their album jacket inferred that they grew up in orphanages, took a lot of grief from frustrated nuns, learned the blues from a black janitor named Curtis and staked out Calumet City, Illinois, as their stompin' grounds . . .

"Right," Elwood confirms, "but that wasn't the half of it.

"Both of us were victims of heavy corporal punishment as children," he reveals somberly. "And there's a scene in the movie, in fact, where we go back to one of the orphanages to fulfill a promise we made to a nun. We're both sitting in these little school desks, and Big Jake's wedged in, he's stuck, and she whacks the shit out of us with a steel-edge ruler. She's like a kendo artist. She moves in on us, and then vanishes because Jake says the 'F' word in front of her! The school is named St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage and the nun's name is Sister Mary Stigmata.

"There are blood references everywhere in the film and the halls of this orphanage are filled with the images of martyred priests, these grotesque statues of clergymen strung up years ago by pagans. It's a school for special children now but the subsidies have all fallen out from under it, the church won't support it anymore, and Sister Stigmata is really strapped for bucks. They're gonna ship her off to a mission if she can't keep up the rent.

"Now, she's the only family we have, see?" Elwood says passionately, "but she threw us out and said, 'Don't come back until you redeem yourselves! You're thieves and liars, so clear out!' It's a big Catholic guilt trip she lays on us, but we are thieves and [big grin] filthy-mouthed liars! So we come back and decide to do her a favor and raise some money for the school.

"We're pretty strapped financially at this point. I've got a job but I put most of the money into our car, the Blues Mobile, which is an ex-Indiana state police car with a 440 in it – from the pre-unleaded gas era. The speedometer just says 'certified calibration' and it's clocked for 140. All through the movie you'll see close-ups of the speedometer, the needle just banging in there at 130.

"We bought it at a municipal auction. We used to have a Cadillac, which I traded for a microphone, and Jake goes nuts when he sees this old Dodge I'm driving around in, but I soon prove to Jake how fast the Dodge is.

"And it helps during an incredible car chase at the end of the movie," he says with a sly wink.

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