Shut Up Kids #73: The Warriors (1979) + Interview with James Remar Shut Up Kids #73: The Warriors (1979) + Interview with James Remar
Hey everyone, We discuss the cult classic film The Warriors. I also did a sit-down interview with actor James Remar about his role as Ajax in... Shut Up Kids #73: The Warriors (1979) + Interview with James Remar

Hey everyone,

We discuss the cult classic film The Warriors. I also did a sit-down interview with actor James Remar about his role as Ajax in the movie. Here is some of the interview for your eyeball pleasure and if you wanted to hear the whole thing (including more talk from James about The Warriors as well as some other projects he’s working on), click play below!

For more The Warriors insight, check out IAB’s analysis of it here.

Okay folks, hope you enjoy!

-Dan


SUK: The Warriors was one of your first films. How did you end up getting involved with the film?
James Remar: Like any young actor, I auditioned for it. They auditioned every young actor my age in the city of New York. It was a massive cattle call and I got to be one of the lucky ones.

SUK:  I know its been covered before, but for those that may not know, can you explain what you did during the audition to get noticed?
James Remar: The scene that I had to read was the park bench scene, where Ajax gets handcuffed to the park bench. Really, the only thing that I did that was outstanding was that I grabbed the corner of the conference table that Walter Hill, Frank Marshall, Lawrence Gordon and the casting director, Jeremy Ritzer, were seated at. It was a big, long table, about fourteen or fifteen feet long and six feet wide. And I started yelling and screaming the lines and with the energy and leverage, I lifted the corner of the table up. So I think Walter’s water fell over. He was pretty excited. “Oh, he lifted the fucking table up; we had to give him the part.” I guess that’s what set me aside and helped me stand out.

Ajax just wanted some lovin'!

Ajax just wanted some lovin’!

SUK: Did you do anything different to prepare for the part?
James Remar: Yeah, I was a very young actor. So when you say different… essentially, no. I didn’t do anything different. When you have a chance to do a part, you figure out as much as you can about it and try to model yourself after another human being. And lift a lot of weights.

SUK: This film has reached cult classic status. People still love this movie and talk about it. When you get approached do people bring it up to you?
James Remar: At conventions, sure. But it depends. For guys, there are a lot of Dexter fans now, some Warriors fans too. The ladies are more like Sex in the City fans. I do hear about it fairly frequently, but it is an old movie. At the conventions that I started doing fairly recently, there is a real affection for that movie. It’s managed to stay relevant to people’s minds. It’s still a pretty trippy movie. I think it’s because of the costumes and the lack of guns. There is only one gun in the whole thing.

SUK: Probably the most memorable line in the movie is “Warriors, come out an play” but you also have a one of the most memorable lines about shoving a baseball bat up someone’s ass to turn them into a popsicle. Was that completely scripted or did you add anything to that?
James Remar: No, that was entirely unscripted.

SUK: Really?
James Remar: We were filming in Riverside Park and the Baseball Furies are running around in these idiotic costumes on and Ajax being who Ajax is, I felt like I needed to comment on it somehow. And I talked about it a lot with Walter. I said, “This guy looks like a lollipop.” And Walter said, “Why don’t you say popsicle?” So it was a collaboration, where we just came up with it. Visually, it was very striking and it was very spontaneous. Walter and I collaborated 100% on that.

Ajax is ready to fight a popsicle.

Ajax is ready to make a popsicle.

SUK: That’s awesome. You ended up working with Walter quite a few times.
James Remar: A total of four. I mean, he’s my favorite director. He’s the guy who put me on the map and he’s a tremendous human being. And really, one of the great filmmakers.

SUK: In the world of reboots and remakes, would you ever want to see The Warriors remade?
James Remar: I mean, I don’t mind. Sure, why not? But it’d be hard to do now because historically, the timing of The Warriors back then was such that it was just barely conceivable that there may be gangs where only one guy had a gun. This was about three or four years before the crack epidemic when everyone was carrying very, very dangerous assault weapons. It was the tail end of when New York gangs would fight with chains and knives and a gun here or there. But the idea of a gang not having a gun nowadays is absurd in this country. So it would be hard to pull it together.

SUK: Right, right.
James Remar: We did it without comment. We didn’t say that “This is the future” we didn’t name anything other than the locations, so you don’t really know what year it is. There is a lot of ambiguity in it, but it’s just believable enough so that it can be a timeless story. But with all of that said, if someone had a good enough imagination, and they don’t try to go too crazy with effects, they might be able to do it. But like I said, it’s a very visceral movie and its essentially just a bunch of guys running and trying to get home. There’s no room for major explosions and effects. I think it would be hard to do.

These guys are ready to come out and play.

These guys are ready to come out and play.

SUK: I think so too. I totally agree with you. I don’t think it can’t be done, but if they tried to do it today, they couldn’t capture the same aesthetic and the same feel of the movie. I think they would have to put in those explosions and gunfire.
James Remar: And that would ruin it. Because that’s not what the movie is. If they do that then it’s not The Warriors anymore. The appeal of The Warriors to young audiences is that it’s very visceral. It’s people on their feet, running and fighting with their fists. So it’s very emotionally satisfying and close-up. It’s not mowing fifty people down with a machine gun or blowing them all up; which oddly becomes unsatisfying. And not very dramatic.

SUK: Right.
James Remar: If they shut off all of the lights and they had people running, and just had all of these gangs; maybe they could pull it off. If they tried to make it into something that it isn’t. There are some classic remakes, that I won’t mention because it’s probably career suicide, that went so far off the original, that they just screwed it up.

SUK: I can think of a couple. In recent years that took some great classic movies from the 80s and changed them up to where they weren’t the same identity anymore. That would be my fear if they tried to remake The Warriors.
James Remar: It’s like when you do Hamlet, you don’t change the words. Some genius doesn’t come along and say, “I’m going to rewrite Shakespeare.” And it can be successful over and over and over again. So if someone came along and did a remake of The Warriors and was true to the film, and it was a new crop of young actors running, maybe tweak a costume here and there. But if it’s barebones and people running on the ground and punching each other with their fists and there is one person who is carrying a gun; I don’t see why not.

Author Image

The Shut Up Kids

  • Bop

    CAN YOU DIG IT???

  • Bop

    God knows where you get the time to do a weekly DVD column, Dan.

  • I told him if he didn’t do it I’ll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle.

  • coffee?

  • Bop

    Give him some Lizzies and he will do the job.

  • DEXTER’S MOTHER FUCKING DAD YO

  • Bop

    Czar means emperor in Russian.

  • “two is like, more than one…” XD

  • Bop

    How I would love it if they could make a movie with the atmosphere of the Warriors.

  • Milzarskowitcz?

  • I gotta remember that

  • Bop

    No, thanks. 🙂

  • Bop

    Ajax and Luther are by far the best characters in the Warriors.

  • ColonHell

    He was great in “Aliens.”

  • Bop

    ColonHell!!!!!

  • Lynn Thigpen is the greek chorus of the film, for sure

  • Bop

    Yeah, the Warriors toilet fight. One of my top 5 action scenes in movies.

  • Bop

    Lynn Thigpen = hot lips

  • That was awesome

  • Bop

    Mercy biting that guy in the should made me LMAO.

  • ColonHell

    CARMEN SANDIEGO

  • Bop

    Hot song especially when I picture the Lizzies. 🙂

  • Bop

    Revenge movies are definitely one of my favorite genres.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    We should have Rockapella do our theme song.

  • That song is the first that came to mind when Lizzies were mentioned 😉

  • Reagan impressions FTW

  • ColonHell

    They should headline “Pitch Perfect 3.”

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Why is there a 2?

  • ColonHell

    Hey, off topic, but nothing about that “Ant-Man” trailer impressed me.

  • Bop

    The cuts in the beginning in the movie definitely set the tone of the movie some more.

  • ColonHell

    Because part 1 made money and has a big fan base. MONEY MOFO.

  • Bop

    Man, that rally. Look at how many people they collected for that scene.

  • I can’t even imagine that film beginning in daylight. Sooo happy they cut that shit out

  • Bop

    We in Europe got lucky with our VHS versions.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Fuck that garbage. Marvel making a mockery of their characters yet again.

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    Beats the hell out of CGI making six extras into six thousand.

  • ColonHell

    Oh shit, I had Mrs. Brown, essentially a typing teacher, for “independent study” my senior year. It was the hour block that included all three of the school’s 20-minute lunch periods. I rarely showed up. I’d go to my assigned lunch and then hang around another lunch period with some chums. Then, one day, Mrs. Brown said, “ColonHell! We need you to do some work around here or they’re going to bust my chops!” So I came in, did some typing tests, and she said, “ColonHell, those were the highest scores we’ve had in years. Go do whatever the hell you want.”

  • ColonHell

    “Is it too late to change the name?” Fuck off.

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    SKINNER!

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I don’t live in that world, sorry.

  • Bop

    They could never capture the magic of the Warriors in a remake.

  • Bop

    And the remake has been mentioned many times.

  • The Warriors cinematic universe is coming.

  • Tony Scott was working on it, but…

  • ColonHell

    Yeah, it’s not a Nick world.

  • I actually wouldn’t have a problem with that

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    I thought it was cool back in the day, but now it just looks silly.

  • Bop

    Yeah, Cleon got wasted very fast.

  • Bop

    Red Heat was fucking awesome. Great soundtrack and one of Arnie’s best movies.

  • ColonHell

    “The Warriors” is “The Odyssey.”

  • Bop

    I love Another 48 Hours.

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    The sequel sort of. Talk about looks silly now. Catman leotard dance off:

  • Bop

    Did anyone ever watch Sex In The City with James Remar?

  • I did, yeah.

  • I’m not saying yes in front of you guys.

  • ColonHell

    Orson Welles, next to Stanley Kubrick, was probably the greatest mind Hollywood ever encountered. And they fucking BROKE him.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I remember your extended lunches. Never forget our chants of “1-2-3 CUNT!”

  • Bop

    James Remar is an excuse. 🙂

  • Ha, I admit it. My wife watched it. So I watched it.

  • Bop

    Was he funny or very serious in that show?

  • ColonHell

    The dear, departed Mr. Kuhl didn’t know what to make of it.

  • Bop

    So what is the origin of that story? 🙂

  • A mix of both. He played this really rich, cocky bastard who fucked around with Kim Cottrel.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    And of course the interesting character, Pym, is relegated to a secondary character. You don’t want things to get too good, you know.

  • Ditto

  • Bop

    I might start watching those episodes then.

  • A gang? How about Vikings – running around with horned helmets and waving axes

  • And they write a weekly news column.

  • ColonHell

    A “Warriors” remake would have to be made by independent financiers and would have to focus on a different city that’s sort of like NYC was in the 70s and early 80s. “City of God” with costumes.

  • They could film it in Detroit

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    A crumbling, futuristic Atlantic City.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    It not like NYC but its a great setting

  • Bop

    A remake of the Warriors should not have any special FX. And definitely not guns.
    Just knives, chains, baseball bats and fisticuffs.

  • ColonHell

    “Crumbling, futuristic” is the best way to describe AC now. Only, it’s not a big city at all. There wouldn’t be much of a journey.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Yeah, that place has gone to hell from what I’ve heard.

  • ColonHell

    Yeah, instead of seeing him being a megalomaniacal, abusive dickhead, we’ll just get him trying to redeem himself.

  • ColonHell

    Garbage. So fucking depressing down there. Everything’s gone bust, and they did such a shitty job investing in the non-casino areas down there that it’s fallen apart.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    That’s too bad. It used to be fun.

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    Chicago is, I think current murder capital. Other contenders Washington DC, Baltimore Maryland.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    And I guess I like Paul Rudd, but I find him a bit bland.

  • Hillbilly Therapist

    Ow!

  • ColonHell

    Indeed it was. I lived there at its peak, and while it still had scary parts, the nightlife was incredible.

  • ColonHell

    I like him, too, but I need to see more of him here.

  • Yeah, there’s just one gun in film, and that single gunshot is mixed to sound like a cannon – kinda underlining it.

  • “Essentially it’s just a bunch of guys running.” Peter Jackson could make 9 movies out of that.

  • Bop

    James Remar is awesome. So cool how thankful he is for The Warriors. And there is not many actors who can say they have a legendary role. Immortalized forever as Ajax.

  • Remar coulda been the Cyrus for those young gangs

  • Bop

    Dick in Sex And The City. Now that is funny.

  • Ba dum tsss

  • That’s me described in three words.

  • Bop

    The Warriors is must see.

  • I can think of a couple of those remakes too, that Remar won’t mention

  • I thought that was pretty funny, ha.

  • Bop

    He is right. He shouldn’t blackball himself.

  • “I won’t name them, as that would probably be career suicide…”
    Great line

  • Bop

    What is the song?

  • At the end of the show? It’s Danger Mouse off the album Rome. Called “The Rose with the Broken Neck” with Jack White singing.

  • Bop

    I like it. Thanks.

  • Really cool album. They used the song “Black” in Breaking Bad.

  • For more of “The Warriors”, re-check my crazy ramblings of the subject:
    http://thesupernaughts.com/iabs-workshed/can-you-dig-it-part-2-the-warriors-1979/

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    The song with Norah Jones is damn good too.

  • Ah, yes. I wanted to put that in my post. Let me edit that to link up to it.

  • Nick’s Music columns need to return

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I concur!

  • A Bopping end-tag! Yeaah

  • Bronx Warriors 1-2 are worth seeing too. Some post-apocalyptic goodness

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Coming soon. The return of….

  • Bop

    In a top 10 of movie awesomeness this is definitely top 3.

  • And the bottles were David Patrick Kelly’s idea, if I remember right

  • Bop

    I was probably 14 or 15 when I saw The Warriors for the first time.

  • Damn. I was like 24…

  • Bop

    My favorite article of yours.

  • Thanks. I’m gonna get back to more reviews now, so I’ll take turns on mondays between the comic and reviews

  • Bop

    They were.

  • Bop

    Guilty pleasures.

  • Definitely. The second one was titled “Escape from the Bronx” here. Probably to somehow tie it with “Escape from New York”, lol

  • Very cool!

  • Bop

    DON’T WASTE MONEY ON THE DIRECTOR’S CUT OF THE WARRIORS. Try to find the normal release.

  • Bop

    Movies that represent the 70s for me are Dirty Harry, Shaft, The Warriors and Blaxploitation movies.

  • Bop

    My list of movies for men in no particular order

    The Warriors
    Dirty Harry
    Shaft
    The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane
    Out For Justice
    Bitch Slap
    Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman
    Predator
    Lethal Weapon
    The Last Boyscout
    Taken
    Shoot Em Up
    Crank 2
    Big Trouble In Little China
    UHF

    And I probably forgot many more.

  • Second that. Don’t mess with the original, as they say

  • Walter Hill probably got him cast as hicks in Aliens.

  • My Gang : The Razzies. Dressed as Raspberries, with blue sunglasses, and shotguns-

  • Winner!

  • Bop

    So did anyone read the original Warriors novel by Yurik?

  • I want to. It might be online, somewhere

  • the no gun thing was a rule for the big meeting yes ?? They would have guns at other times. Some of them anyway i think.

  • probably. Didn’t the Lizzies have a gun? I gotta rewatch….

  • WARRIORS ! COME OUT AND PLAY!

  • They did but everyone else didn’t. I think that was the point.

  • Bop

    My gang: The Hardcore Bitches. Hot and fit chicks with chairs, singapore kanes and trashcans full of stuff that can bash your head in and who are not afraid to get their asses kicked but definitely will give you a run for your money.

    Just for laughs: The Roid Monkeys: Very muscular guys with monkey masks, but who are not too bright.

  • That’s a great list

  • Bop

    Yeah, they did.

  • im just saying, Cyrus wouldnt have a no gun rule for the meeting if nobody had them anyway.

  • true

  • Come to think of it, funny the female gang had a gun and the male gangs didn’t. Like a penis envy thing, ha.

  • Was it a no gun rule or a no weapons rule?

  • Hmmmmm……

  • Bop

    They changed quite a few things for the movie. The Warriors is an all-black gang in the movie. And there is no Baseball Furies in it from what I remember.

  • another gang : The Movie Geeks : description : see comment section below

  • This is my rifle this is my gun
    This is for fighting
    This is for fun

  • Yeah I read the Wiki stuff about the book and was surprised how different it sounded. Also, the Warriors actually kill a bunch of people in the book, apparently

  • Bop

    That Lizzies dance in the movie was hot.

  • Bop

    They do.

  • We run around showing cat gifs and criticizing everyone who we come across

  • im not sure….. it might have been weapons….

  • that directors cut man……. wtf

  • That was some George Lucas-level shit

  • I really want to rewatch it now. But i have all these new movies today…….

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Great list. Let’s add to it!

    Stone Cold
    Cold In July
    Conan the Barbarian
    Sorcerer
    Killer Joe
    Robocop
    Thief
    13 Assassins
    Commando
    The Wolf of Wall Street
    Straw Dogs
    Edmond
    The Raid

  • It’s kinda funny, thinking the two characters that Remar plays in “Django Unchained”, first one gets killed by Christoph Waltz, the second one kills Christoph Waltz. It’s like some weird take on karma.

  • I was wondering why the show closed with Duran Duran’s Ordinary World, but then realised that the show just ended and my mp3 player just skipped on to my 90s tracklist ……

  • oops

  • Everybody who comes near Harry Knowles, “lives in his shadow”.

  • Oh that damn David Patrick Kelly. So easy to hate.

  • Walter Hill should make a modern comic book movie.

  • “Mystery Men” had a great homage to “Warriors”.

  • The bus chase is the best scene of “Red Heat”.

  • Playing Chicken with two massive buses. Badass

  • Bop

    How could I forget The Raid?

    Drive (Dacascos)
    The Transporter
    Cobra
    Tango & Cash
    Any Russ Meyer movie
    Fast and the Furious 5
    Fast And The Furious 6
    Fistful Of Dollars
    The 300
    Blind Fury
    Banlieue 13

  • Bop

    Definitely.

  • Bop

    The South Korean movie City Of Violence also has a small homage to The Warriors.

  • Gang involvement while filming

  • “a bunch of guys running”

  • No remake please. I heard the game was good. True?

  • Best movie tie-in game ever made

  • Bop said it was pretty awesome.

  • Ever read the Dexter books? Don’t.

  • I read one. Yeah…

  • I review you on iTunes, promised!

  • Bop!

  • That was a nice surprise

  • Bop

    Yeah.

  • Bop

    I agree.

  • Bop

    Very good game. Rockstar Games did it justice. If anyone could it was them.

  • “How can the Jackson Five be a gang ?” Good question.

  • Bop

    Holy shit. The Jackson Five gang is called The Boppers.

  • Bop

    Somebody did all the hard work to document the gangs.

    http://www.warriorsmovie.co.uk/gangs

  • Bop

    So David Patrick Kelly is in John Wick? I hope he has another slimey role. Can’t wait to see the movie.

  • That’s a good site. I did a bunch of research there

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Great song and album!

  • I dare anybody to not butcher my name.

  • ColonHell!!! How have you been?

  • I think that movie betrayed the spirit of the first film, specially with the reveal of who were the villains.

  • Actually, it’s based on another ancient Greek classic, Anabasis by Xenophon, which depicts a event in his own live when he and an army of Greeks worked as mercenaries for the Persian empire. When the Persian emperor suddenly died, the Greeks mercenaries found themselves deep into Persian territory, surrounded by enemies on all sides, and they had to trek their way toward the Black Sea as there they would find friendly Greek cities that could help them return to the Greece mainland. The story is a classic and it’s journalistic style makes it very easy for students who are learning ancient Greek to read it. Also, the story kicks ass.

  • It was an unofficial remake of 48 Hours.

  • The Warriors is based on an ancient Greek classic called Anabasis by Xenophon of Athens based on real events he experienced as a mercenary working for the Persians. The author of the book the movie is based from openly acknowledged that, and the screenwriters of the movie even made the inspiration more overt and obvious in their adaptation and made the plot of the film be more similar to Anabasis.

  • Bop

    To me The Warriors is also a movie about friendship.

  • Bop

    Who here didn’t ever say :”The best.” when someone tells them they are good?

  • Bop

    There is a band with your last name.

  • really?

  • Bop

    It’s a Japanese band.

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    Great movie

  • Japanese have a lot of imported words from Portuguese. And that’s a fact!

  • Stalkeye

    *CUE INTRO*

  • Stalkeye

    I’m halfway into the ‘cast and it’s going great! needless to say that Ajax was my favorite character from The Warriors who no doubt had the coolest and hysterical lines. (albeit politically incorrect at times, but hey that’s the 70’s for ya!)

    The Warriros was perhaps a precursor to my favorite Dystopian film of all time; John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. (Good call, Nick.)
    Definitely a cult classic and should be included in every Cinemaphile’s Blu Ray Collection!

    “Turtle face syndrome”? BAD NICKY!! *Wraps Newspaper*

    I nearly lost my lung when hearing about the “proposed” Warriors remake as Swan was supposed to be the straight a student who let his family down. LMMFAO

    Anyways, as you all were.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    This film needs to be left alone.

  • Stalkeye

    That’s an understatement.

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    There were a handul of genre pics of the day that I saw as a kid that made me scared of New York city. There was one called, “Times Square,” ESFNY, this one and some low rent police thrillers… on top of news stories of how at the time Times Square, which I was obessesd with at the time, really nasty and sleazy.

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    Haha. They couldn’t do a remake without it being politically correct and we all know why.

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

  • Stalkeye

    Being born and raised in NY, I can testify to the shit that went on in Times Square. That’s why I love exterminator so much, the portrayal of the Sleezo factor was on point. And how John (Eastman) dealt with it was even BETTER!

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    Exterminator was another one! HAha. I did not want to go that town… lol.

  • Did you ever see “The Park is Mine”, with Tommy Lee Jones?

  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    YES! An HBO flick, barely remember. Military guy goes wacky and takes Central Park over….

  • Really good one. And a killer Tangerine Dream soundtrack too

  • ErnestRister

    James Remar is an outstanding actor. That must have been a privilege.