Was it your decision to bring Tommy to the screen? How did you select Ken Russell?
What was your and the rest of the cast's relationship with Russell?
People, including Murray Lerner who is hosting the Tommy event, said watching the rock opera live was akin to a religious experience. Do you feel the film captured that feeling?
The original Tommy album was intended by me — from a composer’s standpoint — to provide the Who with a powerful live piece that would extend what I had done for the band with “A Quick One While He’s Away” — my first mini-opera. My interest in the Indian master Avatar Meher Baba and a fair bit of reading by Sufi authors and mystics at the time of the writing inspired me to try to create a musical piece that provided a spiritual travelogue through the so-called “planes” of consciousness. My deaf-dumb-and-blind hero was a cipher for those of us who are unaware of our spiritual life, either by choice or ignorance. . . .
Would you discuss the casting of the film, which includes such Russell veterans as Oliver Reed but such Hollywood types as Ann-Margret and Jack Nicholson?