My name is Steve Barron, and I am a film director/producer of lots of movies and music videos you may have seen. I started by working on films like Superman and A Bridge Too Far, and went on to make music videos for everyone from Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, and A-Ha. I've directed films such as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Coneheads, Rat, and Mike Bassett: England Manager amongst others.

I have created a kickstarter campaign to fund the last part of the upcoming Mike Bassett: Interim Manager, and would love to chat about that or anything else with you! My campaign manager Ross is helping me, and I will both answer questions now (I'm here from 2pm EDT), and any later that are popular and I don't get around to tonight! AMA!


Follow me on twitter! And Mike Bassett: Interim Manager on twitter and facebook!


thanks so much you guys - lots of great questions - id love to come back another time and chat more

Comments: 738 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

Bounce_hit442 karma

Hey Steve!

Pork rind?

Directorstevebarron459 karma

Pork rind!

wr3ckag3381 karma

Hi Steve!

As the director of what a lot of my generation considers the REAL TMNT movie, how do you feel about the one that was released this year?

Directorstevebarron543 karma

i went to see it on the opening night in NY, just as i did back in the day. i loved the flexibility of the CGI turtles. And their look was seductive. I also thought some of their humour was very good. I really didn't like the plot. It didn't feel in any way real - i know that sounds odd but we always believed in these characters and their situation when we did the first movie

ChuckEye233 karma

The video you directed for A-Ha's "Take On Me" has become an icon among music videos (as have many others you directed). What difficulties did you face from a technical standpoint? (Were the live elements shot using a chromakey to remove their settings? I know there were crude compositing techniques back then, but nothing like what people are using today.)

Directorstevebarron186 karma

no we didnt use chromakey because the animaters would trace then re-shoot their animation and we would composite the images. We anticipated the background for the band through the clear windows by using art dept 'squiggles' to look like the eventual animation

warpg8216 karma

The Original TMNT is the gold standard of all superhero movies for me. Thank you for that.

What's your take on the current state of comic-to-film releases? What would you do differently?

Directorstevebarron308 karma

I completely loved Guardians of the Galaxy - Marvel are the kings of finding the right tone - i think the tone is the hardest and most vital thing to a comic book adaption

nighserenity191 karma

Hi Steve, I really enjoy your interpretation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What characteristics of the Turtles did you most want to express when directing that movie?

Directorstevebarron342 karma

Teenage-ness.humanity. i wanted them to be grounded and real

RazorThought182 karma

Coneheads is an awesome comedy that never gets old. My girlfriend and I quote the movie all the time. Would you consider doing a sequel to Coneheads?

Directorstevebarron274 karma

Mebs!! I'd love to do a sequel - with Dan Ackroyd as president of Remulak on a diplomatic visit to earth???

adub887134 karma

Thank you for making my childhood enjoyable! What is the craziest on set story you can tell us?

Directorstevebarron333 karma

OK we were filming in North Carolina and when planes landed at the local airport the Turtles faces would go bananas because of radio control interference! Michaelangelo got lockjaw !!

15chainz129 karma

What was the biggest challenge filming Teenage mutant ninja turtles?

Directorstevebarron307 karma

heat for the performers inside the costumes - they had special seats like wooden horses to sit on where they could get air blown down their mouths between takes - i looked at them around the set one day and thought it was like a bizzare japanese art exhibit

IOTASNK126 karma

Who is your favorite Ninja Turtle?

Directorstevebarron270 karma

Raphael ! I don't know what he's gonna do

ChuckEye83 karma

Films based on SNL characters have had some hits ("Waynes World") and some definite misses ("It's Pat"). Did Lorne Michaels make your job harder? Or were there any points where his coming from a TV background didn't mesh with the scope of a feature film?

Directorstevebarron89 karma

Lorne Michaels was amazing to work with. He made it scary though- he had no fear that we were shooting a scene in 6 hours time and we didnt know what anyone was going to say yet.

Directorstevebarron64 karma

i think as you see nowadays the divide between TV and film was always smaller than everybody made out

ArynS67 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA, I'd love to know how was it working with Michael jackson, and how much work did he put into the dance scenes and the filming of his videos? Also if you happen to know how much of the choreography did he happen to do himself?

Thanks again for TMNT great movie from my childhood!

Directorstevebarron120 karma

when MJ started dancing to the chorus of Billie Jean it was as stunning to me as it was to the world who then watched it. All his manager had said was he 's been practicing a few moves in the mirror- just shoot it. I was gobsmacked after take one

Cadeamon59 karma

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Directorstevebarron102 karma

pepperoni. and extra pepperoni

Directorstevebarron72 karma

american hot from pizza express

Directorstevebarron97 karma

absolutely no anchovies!

Cadeamon59 karma

Mr Barron,

Out of all the talented people you've directed who do you think could successfully Gnarfle the Garthok?

Directorstevebarron92 karma

Rutger Hauer - he could Gnarfle anything

DEDmeat57 karma

Question! Do you like...Penicillin on your pizza?

Directorstevebarron54 karma


scruffygit52 karma

Where did the turtles get their money from?

Directorstevebarron99 karma

the props department

Directorstevebarron72 karma

hey we must have thought that one through in development - i cant bloody remember! you must have thought about it. Where did the Turtles get their money from?

dumaflachestoopnagle49 karma

Mr. Barron, when you scored the gig to direct TMNT did you have any inkling those green guys would make such a massive resurgence decades later? Also, how do you feel your movie compares to the new one (imo Bay's is nowhere near as good or as fun as yours)

Directorstevebarron76 karma

We had no idea it would become so big or stick around. We took to every studio in LA - nobody wanted to know. It so nearly didnt get made - the new one is fun - in parts

Random_Tangent30 karma

Are there any copies of Sally Menke's cut of TMNT out there somewhere? I heard bits and pieces about it from Bill Gordean when he was brought in as a guest artist and screened TMNT during my time at film school. I learned a lot more about the industry from his studio hatchet-for-hire tales than I would have from a nuanced discussion of Sharkey's Machine.

Menke's work was a big influence on my decision to become an editor and TMNT was a childhood favorite of mine. I don't know if I'll ever get my hands on a copy, but knowing that it's at least possibly out there would make me happy.

Directorstevebarron56 karma

The lovely late Sally Menke! Brilliant Editor. She introduced me to Tarantino a few years ago and he excitedly told me why he started working with her... 'Uma said to me who's Sally Menke?......Who's Sally Menke I said, Who's Sally Menke? Sally made Donatello fight!' 'Oh' said Uma. Apparantly

ruperthackedmyphone28 karma

What footballers can we look forward to seeing in Mike Bassett this time round?

Directorstevebarron38 karma

Well we've got to try and top Pele from the first one - but we hopefully going to get a certain player so that he can say 'Yeh, Mike Bassett always gave me good advice.. he told me to stop bending the ball, make it go in a straight line..'

nkleszcz25 karma

I am a fan of the movie/soundtrack of Electric Dreams.

In fact, your film is one of those examples where--with all the advances of technology in the past thirty years, this film is well worthy of a remake, to take advantage of the great advances since then. (And then they came out with Her last year).

Still, can you please share some wonderful anecdotes on the making of that seminal film in my adolescence?

Directorstevebarron27 karma

Virginia Madsen was trying to remake it before Her came out. I remember getting a very dodgy demo with Neil Diamond style vocals from the genius Giorgio Moroder and so I shoved Phil Oakey into the studio- after he'd spent 5 minutes writing the new lyrics - 'Together in Electric Dreams' was born.

erepheus24 karma

What is your biggest regret in life so far?

Directorstevebarron80 karma

that I wasn't spotted aged 12 by the Charlton Athletic scout on the touchline in Rotterdam

cronuts24 karma

Coneheads is the most underrated movie in history. I watched it SO many times growing up and it means so much to me. My father and I still tell each other we look like "a common flarthag on payday" whenever one of us looks like crap that day.

Thanks for the memories!!

I'm being told that the above comment was removed by the mods for not including a question (stupid). So my question is, what is the stupidest arbitrary rule placed upon you in your life?

Directorstevebarron26 karma

I got put into detention for singing in a maths class

IOTASNK20 karma

Which music video had the cheesier 3D graphics, Rush's The Big Money, or the Dire Straits' Money for Nothing?

Directorstevebarron47 karma

that's like a three cheese pizza question

eatmyflakes19 karma

Hi Mr. Barron, thanks for the AMA and some great youth memories. What was the worst thing to ever happen while you were on set?

Directorstevebarron43 karma

I nearly killed Madonna. It was her first music video and she was in a boat and I was in a 10 ton metal bucket with the camera when the back wheels started lifting off the ground.

Directorstevebarron19 karma

I nearly killed Madonna. It was her first music video and she was in a boat and I was in a 10 ton metal bucket with the camera when the back wheels started lifting off the ground.

cashless18 karma

Where did the Idea for the A-ha's "Take on me" come from?

Directorstevebarron37 karma

always wanted to work with animation as a kid - Jeff Ayeroff at Warners said A-ha - here's your chance! As a 6 year old I was obsessed with a comic book featuring a motorcycle sidecar race with villains with a tool kit!

Myrdoc17 karma

Your TMNT movie has kind of a dark/grittiness to it compared to the more lighthearted nature of the 1991 sequel. What are some inspirations you drew on and implemented to get that feel?

Directorstevebarron30 karma

the early comic books definitely. I also had made a Storyteller series with John Hurt where I first met Jim Henson and first worked with his creatures and learned that they were more believable and intriguing the less you saw.

karass_member16 karma

I'd like to thank you for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film--I watch it with my family at least once a year, and when I have kids, I'll show it to them with an introduction of "this made you Dad's childhood tolerable."

That said, the film touched on some darker elements of humanity--from the Turtles' (especially Raphael's) feelings of alienation to manipulating young minds.

My question: with some dark and complex themes that weren't prevalent in the cartoon at the time, how much resistance did you receive in making the movie you wanted to make?

Directorstevebarron32 karma

to be honest i never got to finish the movie i wanted to make. it was 90% there but due to disagreements about the darkness factor and not being allowed an extra crucial week of shooting it was a compromise

i'm still fond of the memories it sparks

OriginalHulaHoops16 karma

Hi Steve,

Will the new Mike Bassett film be done in the documentary style again? If so, is Martin Bashir lined up or will it be a new face?


Directorstevebarron19 karma

Hopefully, if the Kickstarter works we'll shoot it doco-style again !! I love those boundaries - the camera 'not knowing' whats going to happen next - no marks at the feet of the actors - patches of improv - one-takers - The first movie was probably the most fun i ever had directing.

ShucksyWucksy15 karma

Hello! Enjoy your work! Was it your idea to do a Prisoner homage for the Altered Images' clip for See Those Eyes?

Directorstevebarron19 karma

yes I loved the Prisoner as a youngster - those opening titles gave me chills - was so amazing to go and shoot at Portmeirion in North Wales. thats my niece Jessica who's the tiny 3 year old number Two!

escherbach14 karma

Hi Steve,

Going Underground by The Jam is one of the iconic new-wave/punk videos of all time - you must have been proud to see it used in Danny Boyle's Olympics ceremony - who decided on the minimalist style, you or the band?

Directorstevebarron13 karma

I didnt know Danny Boyle used it! Thats so cool - I missed the whole Olympics thing - The Jam are still the greatest - Stick on 'Down in the Tube Station at Midnight' and crank it up!

AGallagher41014 karma

Hi Steve! You're an awesome director. What's your favorite ride at Disney?

Directorstevebarron31 karma

it used to be Pirates of the Carribean and I used to think I want to feel what I'm feeling as a movie!! At the time Gore Verbinski was my P.A. - I never once said it out loud ! -

Anablue14 karma

Who did you find to be the most interesting person to work with ?

Directorstevebarron28 karma

John Leguizamo - he just creates and creates -- Helena Bonham Carter -Actress extraordinaire. scary in ADR

ChuckEye13 karma

Who currently owns the distribution rights to Electric Dreams and is there any chance we'll ever see it on DVD in the US (or better yet, BluRay)?

Directorstevebarron42 karma

i dont know who owns it but the eighties was a vortex of incompetent and inappropriate legal practices

Crow-T-Robot12 karma

Hi Steve, thanks for doing this AMA.

Out of all of the talented musicians you've worked with, who was the most natural at acting once the cameras started rolling?

Directorstevebarron20 karma

Adam Ant

lopanthewise12 karma

Steve, big original TMNT fan. My question is, did that game Casey Jones and Donatello play in the barn where they insult each other in alphabetical order something you came up with? Was it a game you (or someone you know) used to play? I've just always wondered that and never heard anywhere else.

My friend and I would play it as kids after that movie.

Directorstevebarron13 karma

it was a game from the early comics - i loved it too

awesomegrux11 karma

Were you approached at all for the new movie? Did they seek advice from you as far the filming making process goes?

Directorstevebarron21 karma


killaclown11 karma

Thank you for everything you have done. What does it feel like to have shaped the current 25+ year Olds out there?

Directorstevebarron26 karma

really? i wish i could take credit for you lot. You're going to do a lot better job than my generation! We fucked up big time

JetpackSpaceman11 karma

How much pizza did you eat on the set while making TMNT?

Directorstevebarron30 karma

mainly grits - North Carolina

DoctorDank11 karma

Thanks for doing this AmA, Mr. Barron, big fan of your work growing up. Also Mike Bassett: England Manager is one of the funniest things I've ever seen (being a big soccer fan), and I will definitely be donating to your kickstarter for the sequel. "FOUR, FOUR, FUCKING TWO!"

My question is this (kind of an oddly geeky question, but whatever): At the end of the music video for A-ha's "Take On Me," the lead singer bangs himself against the walls of the hallway in order to take himself out of the comic book reality, and into our reality. Were you in any way inspired by the very similar scene in the 1980 Ken Russell film Altered States? my friends and I have been wondering this for a long time, and I would be really happy if you could answer it for me! Thank you so much and keep on rockin!

Directorstevebarron11 karma

totally inspired by Altered States. Bit of a cop-out really because I'd written all the pieces for the story and couldn't think how he could shake himself of the animation. Thanks Ken. RIP

Iloveninjaturtles10 karma

Mr. Barron, I love the original turtles movie, and try to follow what you're up to by checking your IMDB page every once in a while. I'm glad to see you're still putting yourself out there, but I have to ask, considering the huge success of the original TMNT movie, do you think you didn't get as many career options afterwards? I'd love to see some Marvel movies directed by you in the same way guys like Joe Johnston went from Rocketeer to Captain America. Thanks for everything!!

Directorstevebarron12 karma

thanks - yeh i was always a bit miffed that I never got offered another comic book

Who-the-fuck-is-that10 karma

How the hell did you pull off the diving scene in Coneheads?

Directorstevebarron12 karma

painted out the splash!

TheeOrionPax10 karma

At the time, did you ever think any of your work would have such long lasting impressions?

Directorstevebarron21 karma

no. i thought i was going to be a footballer

MausRat10 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've heard on set?

Directorstevebarron23 karma

that's a wrap! After one shot and two takes on The Revenge of the Pink Panther

sword_k10 karma

How do you keep yourself going? What makes you "YOU"?

Directorstevebarron16 karma

a giggle

SpirallingOut8 karma

Hey Steve! I loved the first Mike Bassett film :D. Did you work on the tv series too? Very much looking forward to seeing how his story progresses!

Directorstevebarron8 karma

I didnt do the TV series but i'm psyched about the sequel

bedlam_au7 karma

Hi Steve. My mother is your cousin (Vanessa says hi) and 12 year old me absolutely dined out on this 24 years ago.

I've always been curious about your mother Zelda and her role in early film. Can you tell us about her influence?

Directorstevebarron13 karma

Hi family! in the early days of music videos i used to run round to her flat and she'd type out and correct and better my concepts at 120wpm on her qwerty typewriter- she wanted to form a band to rival the Jam and call it the Motherf***ers - she was an enormous influence xx

BWayne12125 karma

What would you say has changed in the entertainment industry from the 80s/90s to today?

Directorstevebarron10 karma


captain_proton4 karma

Hey Steve, is there any truth in that Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney might be involved someway in the new Mike Bassett film?

If you could pick anyone, what footballers/managers would you like to get involved?

Directorstevebarron7 karma

Jurgen Klinsman

josephtutora4 karma

What is it like to make music videos in contrast to a movie?

Directorstevebarron6 karma

its lovely to work to music. Half your tone and atmosphere and all of your rythmn for your film is pre-determined by the track - that can be great fun- or restrictive according to the music

MedicinalDank3 karma

What inspired Cone Heads?

Directorstevebarron5 karma

Saturday Night Live. And from Dan Akroyd's cone

Aisha_01ald3 karma

Hi Steve! How do you choose the Actors for the characters? And what's the most important thing that the actor should have?

Directorstevebarron6 karma

they must have brains. Most of it is instinct and gut feeling.