While on tour with Morissette in September 1996, Radiohead was sent the last last half-hour of Baz Luhrmann's film William Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet and asked to write a song for the closing credits. Band members were impressed by the clip, and Thom wrote theis song for the movie. At first he attempted to use lines from Shakespeare's play as lyrics, but finally ditched the idea. The moment in the film when Claire Danes (Juliet) holds a Colt 45 to her head was the actual inspiration for Exit Music. Thom also had the 1968 version of the film in his head: I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13 and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn't understand why, the morning after they shagged, they didn't just run away. The song is written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song.
Ed: Thom looked at Shakespeare's original text and tried to incorporate it into the song - but he gave up on that quickly. But I still think it fits with the film amazingly well, especially as the lyrics are actually quite personal.We wrote this on demand for the soundtrack of the 'Romeo And Juliet' movie. We were on tour in the States with Alanis Morissette, when we received the video with the last 30 minutes of the film.
Thom: When we saw the scene in which Claire Danes holds the Colt 45 against her head, we started working on the song immediately. I had something with 'Romeo & Juliet' a long time already. I had a crush on Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in the sixties, for a long time. I first saw the movie when I was 13. I just couldn't believe why Romeo & Juliet, after they had made love, didn't run away together. Romeo should have packed his bags, jumped out of the window and eloped with her! Romeo was an asshole I thought then.
Ed: The worst I think is that 'Exit Music' only starts at the end-credits. It will have to compete with the sound of chairs clapping up.