"Thriller" Director on Michael

Singer Michael Jackson generic 1958-2009 AP Photo

John Landis says it never occurred to him that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" would become as huge as it did.

The director of what is arguably the most popular and influential music video of all-time told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill with a laugh he "had no idea it would become such a gigantic thing. The record company had no interest in making another video. It was (all) Michael. This was nobody's brilliant marketing plan, I want to stress that. It was just Mike wanting to turn into a monster."

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Landis got to work intimately with the singer, and said he was a professional at the tender age of 20.

"He'd been on stage since he was seven or eight. Confidence was not his issue," said Landis. "He was a professional."

Working with Jackson was "fabulous" said Landis.

He and Jackson had meant for "Thriller" to be a theatrical short instead of the fifteen-minute music video that it ended up being.

"He was completely enthusiastic, he always wanted to do the best, he was a hard worker, he rehearsed," recalled Landis. "He was a joy. It was like working with a really brilliant, gifted 12-year-old."

When asked why Landis described Jackson as a 12-year-old, Landis said simply, "He really was like a kid. He was very sheltered-he was very, innocent childlike, Peter Pan. He was really like a kid. A brilliant kid, ut a kid at the time."

Landis says he has many memories of Jackson, but the one he treasures most is going on the "Back to the Future" ride at Universal Studios with Michael in disguise.

To see the interview, click on the video below:


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