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Back on the road with 'Blues Brothers 2000'

Blues Brothers 2000 February 6, 1998
Web posted at: 10:55 p.m. EST (0355 GMT)

From Correspondent Michael Okwu

NEW YORK (CNN) -- They may be on a mission from God, but their roadside manners could still use some divine intervention. So fasten your seatbelts. Elwood and the Blues Brothers are back.

Eighteen years after the original cult classic was released, Dan Aykroyd has returned to the writer's desk to pen the Year 2000 version, with John Landis once again at the director's seat.

If things behind the scenes look familiar, there are new faces madly dashing from the law on-screen in this rapid-paced road odyssey through America's heartland.

CNN's Michael Okwu talks to the new Blues Brothers

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J. Evan Bonifant, 12, is the youngest new Brother. Late Night music leader Paul Shaffer is also along for the ride, sporting a new 'do that David Letterman will likely lampoon.

"Well, he's wig conscious anyway, you know that about him," Shaffer said. "When he sees this wig, I'm wide open."

And John Goodman is Mighty Mack McTeer, a less mischievous man than the late John Belushi's Jake Blues. When asked whether Goodman felt he had pretty big shoes to fill, he responded in the negative.

"Those shoes can't be filled," he answered. "They've been bronzed and hung up, and they're gone."

Dan Aykroyd, who reprises his role as Elwood Blues for this film, acknowledged the contribution Belushi, who died of a drug overdose in 1982, made to the original, and to comedy in general.

"John is irreplaceable, and he was my partner and my friend and I'm quite angry at him today for dying early on me, just as we were poised for great success," he said. "but I still have a lot of love in my heart and I forgive him. When I pass through the veil and he meets me on the other side we'll deal with it over a cold beer."

Blues Brothers dance

Meanwhile, he's got some cool tunes to console him. "The first (Blues Brothers movie) was about music and this one has more music," said Landis. "It's a musical!"

You think he's kidding? Try 14 major musical productions, with the likes of James Brown, B.B. King, Erykah Badu, Rapid Reading, Aretha Franklin, Travis Tritt, Bo Diddley, Steve Winwood, Wilson Pickett, Blues Traveler and Jonny Lang just for starters. The original Blues Brothers band also reunited for the flick.

"This mission from God thing was really about just focusing attention back on these great American artists," Landis said.

Joe Morton, who plays Elwood's semi-surrogate brother, found that at least in this case, music was a powerful motivator.

"You walk in and you have to do a number with Aretha Franklin, so you're gonna dance your heart out, you know?" he said. "You have to sing a song with James Brown so you're gonna sing your heart out, because it's James Brown!"


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