Hey folks, Harry here with Quint's interview with Ted Demme (director of BLOW). This is the film to see this weekend. I saw KISS THE GIRLS and very soon you will see a pissing bloody razorblades mad angry hateful review (that likes the direction and most acting but HATES THE STORY). Also you should be seeing a bunch of reader reviews today as well... Ted worked his ass off and finally made what I consider to be the absolute best work of his career to date and elevates his standing to an entirely different level in my mind. See the movie though for Johnny Depp, Paul Reubens, Penelope Cruz, Running Lola girl and the big TUNA!!!! Oh and Liotta friggin rules in this flick. Read on...>
Ahoy there, squirties! 'Tis I, the master interviewer (at least that's what I tell myself, and completely crusty seaman, Quint, here this time with a some scar sharin' with BLOW director, Ted Demme. He's also directed The Ref, Beautiful Girls, Life and recently appeared with Harry on Politically Incorrect.
A few points before the interview. I went through official channels on this one. Directly through New Line and as a result I only got 15 minutes to talk to him. He didn't even know which reporter from AICN he was talking to until the end of the interview. I think the interview ran around 20 minutes ultimately, but as a frame of reference, most of my interviews are an hour long, so this was a bit of an experiment for me. Can I cover 4 different movies, get a dirty joke, find out about his upcoming films and have time to bullshit on the side in 15 minutes? I think it turned out pretty good... But you should see for yourself.
QUINT: SO, WE’VE GOT 15 MINUTES, RIGHT?
TED DEMME: Yep.
Q: ALRIGHT. HOW CLOSE DID YOU WORK WITH THE ACTUAL GEORGE JUNG TO PREPARE FOR THE FILM, BLOW?
TD: Well, George was my number one advisor on the film. We’ve not only used the book as a huge reference, but George, you know, I’ve spent much time with him in prison and video taped him, had him read the script oncamera and do a whole bunch of stuff.
Then Johnny (Depp) and I went and saw George together probably for a week or two straight. Pretty much all throughout the writing of the script and the shooting of the film, George would have scheduled calls with us, two or three times a week, you know, where he’d call us collect. We’d talk him through some scenes and he’d tell us more about stuff that was going on. He was our constant advisor.
Q: I THINK THAT COMES ACROSS IN THE FILM. IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE JOHNNY DEPP PLAYING A CHARACTER, YOU GET A SENSE THAT HE’S KINDA BECOME A DIFFERENT PERSON.
TD: Yeah. You know, he loves to become every character he plays. He just dives into it 100%. If you put, like, Donnie Brasco, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and George Jung in the same room, it’d be pretty great. He’s just a chameleon. He just loves to change his colors. I knew I wanted someone to become George in this film. I didn’t want someone just starring in the movie and to me Johnny’s one of the few lead actors out there that loves to go through the transformation.
Q: WELL, SPEAKING OF ACTORS, I HAVE TO COMMEND YOU... I’M NOT A RELIGIOUS GUY, BUT GOD BLESS YOU FOR GIVING BOTH PEE-WEE HERMAN AND BOBCAT GOLTHWAIT GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT.
TD: (laughs) Well, thank you very much. I mean, Paul Reubens... he’s just one of those guys... I was watching Playhouse one day and was just kinda saying to myself, “What happened to this guy?” I hadn’t heard from him for so long, hadn’t seen him. So, I tracked him down, asked him over for Brunch, told him about the project, told him what I was thinking and 3 or 4 hours later he was in the movie.
I’m just so pleased with guys like yourself that have responded to his performance. I think he’s so great and he’s just a great person and I’m so glad that he’s come back with a vengeance.
Q: I’M A HUGE PEE-WEE FREAK. I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I SAW PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE IT WAS SO LONG AGO.
TD: I know. I know.
Q: LET’S SEE HERE... THE SOUNDTRACK FOR BLOW ROCKS THE HOUSE.
TD: Oh, great. Yeah, we worked really hard... There’s been so many movies that are period pieces, you know, and when people make movies about the ‘80s you hear the same 10 songs recycled and the same sort of outfits recycled and the same colors and stuff. I just wanted to change it up a bit. You don’t get the opportunity too much to do a period piece, especially one that takes place so much in the ‘70s when it was such a great, fantastic, inspiring time musically and cinematically... you know, revolutions going on with sex and drugs.
So, we just watched a ton of ‘70s movies and really paid attention to the stock and lenses and the way they used music. We tried to find sorta obscure songs that weren’t too obscure no one knew ‘em, but also were maybe Top 20s at one time, as opposed to Top 10s, you know. Then I could feel like I could throw in the Stones at the top and just kinda set the tone. So, we just tried to not be obvious with all those choices, but make it obvious enough that people would enjoy it and kinda rock with it.
Q: WELL, I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO RAM JAM’S BLACK BETTY OVER AND OVER AGAIN SINCE I SAW THE MOVIE.
Q: SO, THANKS FOR THAT.
TD: Oh, my God! Isn’t it insane?
Q: IT’S ONE OF THE EXCITING, UPBEAT SONGS I’VE EVER HEARD.
TD: It’s like that intro is just so sic! It’s like, “ba-bow! a-wocka-wau (he starts vocally performing the opening guitar licks of the song).” You know, it’s just like, “Who wrote that?” And to just see Johnny walkin’ down the hall in, like, a pimp daddy outfit... I was just like, “Yeah. That worked.”
Q: WELL, I GOTTA BACK TRACK A BIT HERE.
Q: YOU SEEM TO HAVE A REPUTATION FOR WORKING WITH “BEAUTIFUL GIRLS” (ain’t I smart, boys and girls? hello?...) I’M MEAN... JESUS! FRANKA POTENTE, NATALIE PORTMAN, UMA THURMAN, LAUREN HOLLY, MIRA SORVINO... I MEAN... ARE YOU JUST A CHICK MAGNET OR WHAT?
TD: Oh, yeah! Yeah! You should see me, man. The chicks flock all over me. I don’t know. I just have had the fortunate experience of having some good scripts that have had some really great female parts, you know. I just always shoot for the moon, you know. I get something in my head and I just go for it, I don’t stop until it’s over. Like when I saw Run Lola Run I was just amazed at not only the film, but at the acting and Franka... I was like, “Man! I need her in the movie!”
When I saw Penelope (Cruz) a year and a half ago in this Gear Magazine photo spread after I just saw Live Flesh, I was like, “I’m gettin’ her in this movie.” So, it’s about being threatening and aggressive, really. (laughs)
Q: NOW THIS IS SOMETHING I DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ‘CAUSE I’M A FAIRLY YOUNG GUY, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MAKING GROWN MEN FEEL GUILTY ABOUT VIEWING A 15 YEAR OLD NATALIE PORTMAN IN A ROMANTIC WAY?
TD: (laughs) That’s a theme with you guys at Ain’t It Cool News, isn’t it?
Q: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
TD: Harry and Moriarty have hit me with the same stuff.
Q: WHAT? NATALIE PORTMAN QUESTIONS? (laugh)
TD: Yeah, you guys... I don’t know, man. If you look at the film again, I always had a barrier between her and (Timothy) Hutton. There’s always something separating them, whether it’s a fence or a car... and they only touch once until he kisses her on the cheek at the end of the movie, that’s when she falls into his lap at the ice skating rink. It was a dangerous line to walk, but it was a fun one.
Q: NOW JUST A TAD FURTHER BACK TO WHAT’S PROBABLY MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF YOURS AND THAT’S THE REF.
TD: Thank you, that’s a special one to me, too.
Q: HOW DID THAT ONE COME TOGETHER?
TD: Well, when I got outta college in ‘85, believe it or not, I went to work at MTV and I worked in the promo department, then I created MTV Raps and I worked with Denis Leary a lot on some promo stuff. My first two films, Who’s the Man? and The Ref are direct projects that happened because of my MTV work. So, after my promos I’d do with Denis hit and Denis was taking off, Denis and I got offered a lot of projects together and the best one was this one that Richard LaGravenese wrote called The Ref. We just read it and were like, “We gotta fuckin’ do this! It’s great! It’s really funny.” We had no idea we’d be able to get two actors like (Kevin) Spacey and Judy (Davis) to be in it.
Q: AGAIN, I AM NOT A RELIGIOUS MAN, BUT I HAVE TO SAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR CASTING THE MARY POPPINS MOM.
TD: (pause) Oh! Glynis Johns!
Q: ESPECIALLY IN A ROLE LIKE THE ONE SHE HAD.
TD: Isn’t she the best?
Q: IT WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE I’M SITTING THERE WATCHING THE MOVIE GOING, “WHERE THE HELL DO I KNOW THIS OLD LADY FROM?” THEN IT HIT ME THAT SHE WAS THE MOTHER IN MARY POPPINS, THE MOST WATCHED DISNEY PRODUCTION OF MY CHILDHOOD.
TD: (laughs) Oh, I love that. I love that. A funny sidebar about that. You remember the scene just when Grandma realizes who he is and he’s running up the stairs with her and somebody answers the door and she nails him in the nuts and they fall down the stairs.
Well, Glynis really wanted to do that. I had a stunt double all ready to go and she got really pissed off at me. She was like (heavy, feminine British accent), “I beg your pardon!” She goes, “I do my own GODDAMN STUNTS.” I was like, “Oh, come on Ms. Johns! Please don’t do this to me.” She’s like, “All right... let me do one myself and if I don’t do it good enough you can give me the stunt man.”
I’m like, to Leary, “OK, take it easy on her. You know, just try not to hurt her, OK?” And halfway up the stairs she turns around and she belts him right in the nuts with the elbow. Square in the nuts. Drops him to his knees. She goes down too and we played the whole scene out and I knew that she got him, too. I could just tell. If you watch the scene again you can really tell. And he’s the whole scene (with a high pitch voice). You could tell, he’s got blue balls so bad. It’s really funny. That’s a one taker! We’re not gonna protect that one, guys. I hope we got it!
Q: YOU’VE WORKED WITH DENIS LEARY BEFORE ON SOME OF HIS STAND UP SPECIALS AND THE MTV PROMOS YOU MENTIONED ABOVE. DID YOU GUYS JUST CLICK OR WHAT?
TD: Yeah, you know I saw Denis’ one man show a long time ago, No Cure For Cancer, the first one he did. I saw it off Broadway and I remember just thinking that I hadn’t heard someone talk like I felt about certain topics. From Michael Stipes to, ah, coffee. We really just hit it off, we just clicked. We just became friends. We went out and shot those promos I was talking about, we shot another stand up piece. We just have a lot in common, a lot of the same things piss us off... he’s just funnier at it and better at it than I am.
Q: (AS I SEE THE 15 MINUTES ALLOTED ARE ABOUT USED UP, I START TO HURRY A BIT AND TRY TO FIT THE LAST FEW QUESTIONS IN) SORRY IF THIS SEEMS RUSHED. I’M NOT USE TO THESE SUPERSHORT INTERVIEWS.
TD: Naw, man. Don’t worry about it.
Q: I GOT A COUPLE MORE FOR YA’. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE READ ANY OF MY INTERVIEWS BEFORE, BUT...
TD: Do your interviews run on the channel?
Q: OH YEAH.
TD: What’s your... code?
Q: UH, QUINT.
TD: Oh yeah! OK, I didn’t know you were Quint!
Q: YES, I AM QUINT.
TD: Got it. Totally.
Q: SO, NOW YOU KNOW I GOTTA ASK WHAT YOUR FAVORITE DIRTY JOKE IS... OR ONE OF YOUR FAVORITES... SOMETIMES THAT GETS A BETTER RESPONSE.
TD: One of my favorite dirty jokes... Oh Christ! I really suck at these man... It’s just a good ol’ fashioned limerick, I guess.
Q: GO FOR IT.
TD: There once was a man from Bombast, whose balls were made from brass, when they clanged together they made stormy weather and lightning shot outta his ass.
Q: GOOD ONE!
TD: There once was a woman from Nantucket. No... There once was a man from Nantucket, whose dick was so long he could suck it. One day in bed, he rolled over in bed and said if my ear was a cunt I’d fuck it. (laughs) Really bad. Really old. What can I tell ya’?
Q: AT LEAST YOU PUT THE EFFORT IN! ALL RIGHT, ONE OF THE LAST ONES I GOT HERE IS... I HEAR YOU’VE BEEN SPOTTED WITH RICHARD LAGRAVENESE IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.
Q: YOU GUYS GOT ANYTHING COOKIN’?
TD: Richie and I are actually, and this is a good scoop for you, by the way, all kidding aside. Richie and I are working on a documentary together that the Independent Film Channel is sponsoring on 1970s films. I’m hoping to make the definitive look at artists and films that shaped and formed the ‘70s, the last great decade of modern american cinema and how they affect today’s artist.
Hopefully it’s gonna be fantastic interviews with the guys who made films back then and some of the people who are making films right now about how that decade influences the films that are being made now and kinda influence films in general. You totally have a scoop on that, man!
Q: AWESOME! I MEAN, THAT’S SOMETHING I’M INSANELY INTERESTED IN ANYWAY. MY SPY NAME IS QUINT, FOR GODSSAKES.
TD: Exactly! “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” I know you liked that reference. Did you catch it? Did you catch Johnny?
Q: OH YEAH. WHEN I SAW THAT IN BLOW, I LOOKED OVER TO SEE HARRY STARING AT ME AFTER THAT SCENE, SMILING. I MEAN HE HAD SEEN THE FILM, LIKE, FOUR MONTHS BEFORE AND HE HAD TO GAUGE MY REACTION.
Q: SO YOU GOT ANYTHING ELSE BOILING OTHER THAN THE DOC?
TD: That’s the one thing I’m doing right now. I’ve just been working so hard on this film because I’ve had it for, you know, 6 years now. It’s been one of those labors, you know. Having produced it and seeing the whole thing from inception, I’ve just been working so hard in getting it out.
Having to fucking beat Morgan Freeman’s Fucking movie (laughs). We’ll be in the theater until Pearl Fucking Harbor comes and invades us, you know... or The Mummy takes over the planet. So, I’m just trying to make sure that as many people can see this film... and actually haven’t had a chance to think too much about what’s next. I’m gonna do this documentary, which I’m really excited about, but I’ll definitely let you know when the next thing pops up.
Q: DEFINITELY. WELL, THAT SHOULD BE ABOUT IT. I DO HAVE TO PASS ALONG A WORD TO YOU FROM MORIARTY. HE SAID, “QUINT!!! YOU HAVE TO TELL DEMME THIS!” HE SAW YOUR IFC INTRO FOR WITHNAIL & I AND THIS IS A QUOTE FROM HIM, “THE FACT THAT HE (DEMME) LIKES THAT FILM MAKES HIM PERMANENTLY FUCKING HIP.”
TD: (laughs) I love Moriarty for that! That fucking movie is so funny... You know, I only saw that movie for the first time two years ago. I saw it at a theater in London where they did a revival of it and I fucking flipped over it. I just recently saw it again on tape and it’s just so fucking great. I love that he loves that movie.
Well, you guys have been so amazingly supportive of this movie and I just can’t thank you guys enough. I just love your guys’ site so fucking much, I’m at it all the time. Anything I can do to support you guys...
Q: COOL. I THINK YOU DID YOUR PART ON POLITICALLY INCORRECT WHEN BILL MAHER WAS ON THE ATTACK.
TD: (sighs) I felt like getting up and punching him, man. That was just so fucking not cool. You know, there’s something cool about being kinda “The Angry Guy,” but there’s something not cool about being “The Mean, Angry Guy.” You know, the fucking Chocolat thing was just a little too fuckin’ much. It’s like, “Yeah, you really look like you like chocolate.” It’s like, “All right, Harry. We’re both over 250, let’s fuck him up.”
I really wanted to fucking dump him, I really did. It’s just
inappropriate, man. I mean, what the fuck? “Well I know I could do your job,
but you can’t do my job!” It’s like, “You know what, Bill? A lot of guys
could do your job. Take it easy, babe. Put the fucking caffeine down.”
END OF INTERVIEW!!!
There you go, maties. A fun one to be remembered for the ages! Keep yer eyes on the horizon, squirts, 'cause this seaman is about to unleash a tidal wave of interviews (both big and small, but all fun), script reviews and by the end of next week, some exclusive onset reports from the coolest sounding indie film project shooting today. 'Til then, my lovely mermaids and adoring seaman from far and wide, this is Quint signing off.
Ok all you ivory soaped mouth puritan bastards, the Dirty Joke is back? Venture into the dark side and send me yours... come on... Hell ain't as bad as floating in the Pacific watching your mates be eaten by over-sized razor fanged guppies!!!