Quint and Jason Schwartzman shoot the sh!t about all sorts of movies! 80s cheese, music docs and all kinds of nostalgia!!!
Published at: Nov. 11, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This one is a little bit of a different sort of interview. I was offered the chance to talk to Jason Schwartzman about a week into the release of THE DARJEELING LIMITED. I accepted, of course, not really knowing what to talk about considering our own Capone had just locked in his own interview with Schwartzman and Wes Anderson.
I spent the night before trying to figure out what to talk about. Capone's interview also included a complete transcription of the Q&A after the film, so aside from a few incredibly rude questions about Natalie Portman, nothing really jumped to mind. I still figured out some okay questions, I think, but when I ended up sitting down with Schwartzman the conversation started with movies. As you'll see, we end up spending the entirety of the interview talking about films, so what you get isn't really an interview pimping THE DARJEELING LIMITED, but a 20 minute conversation between a few geeks.
You'll also see that he asked me more questions than I asked him on this particularly rainy and cold Austin morning, so forgive the larger role I play in this interview. Hope you like it.
Quint: You've got a good movie. It’s always weird… you agree to do interviews in advance, when you haven’t seen the movie, and you’re always like “God I hope the movie’s good.”
Jason Schwartzman: It means a lot that you liked the movie.
Quint: I haven’t seen an Anderson movie that I haven’t liked, so I know you’ve got a lot of people who were divisive over THE LIFE AQUATIC, but you can’t look at Willem Dafoe and Bill Murray in that movie and not crack a smile.
JS: I love that movie. It’s funny when I meet people that say they don’t like it. I always think… Well I think that’s the most interesting thing about movies the more I think about this and I said this the other night at the movie theater and I don’t mean to repeat myself, but a bunch of people can go see one movie and so much of your own stuff, either to that day or to your own experiences in your life thus far, whatever… you can not like it or you can like it, just based on who you are and so someone can like it and someone can not like it and they’re both… You can’t argue with the one who doesn’t like it really.
I remember I saw a movie and there was a lot of crying in it, everybody seemed to be crying, and personally it had been a while since I had cried and it had been so long since I had cried that I was aware of it, like “God, I can’t seem to shed a tear.” I remember hating the movie when I saw it and thought “Oh, cry cry cry… Everyone just cries. Grow up!” Years later I had a dog that died and I cried over this dog. It was really sad. Then I saw the movie again and loved it… I think it’s so interesting how where you are… Have you ever seen a movie that you loved and now you don’t like or vice versa?
Quint: I’ve seen movies that I have loved upon first viewing and then gotten cold to. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie where I really liked it and then I saw it again and was like “Man that was just horrible” unless I go back in my nostalgic period with movies when I was like five and six…
JS: Like GARBAGE PALE KIDS: THE MOVIE.
Quint: I still love GARBAGE PALE KIDS: THE MOVIE. That movie’s so batshit insane.
JS: I had the poster.
Quint: I love how that’s a kid’s movie, because that’s probably one of the scariest things ever made.
JS: That was one of the biggest ones for me when I was a kid. The first movie I ever saw in my whole life was THE LAST UNICORN. That’s got some fucked up shit in it.
Quint: Very much. Looking back, I even have memories of being very freaked out by the Rainbow Bright movie. There’s some really evil dark villains…
JS: Isn’t there an area where she was like in an ice planet or…
Quint: It’s the same thing with SUPERGIRL.
JS: Or the CAREBEARS one… with the Carebears cousins and a fucking little magician who goes crazy at summer camp and becomes a real dick…
Quint: There’s a lot of fucked up little kid’s movies…
Quint: LITTLE PRINCE.
JS: DARK CRYSTAL… WATERSHIP DOWN…
Quint: That was the feel good movie of my childhood.
JS: It’s funny when you look back on some movies and go “That’s very weird that I didn’t realize it was so fucked up…” The image that scared me the most, when I was a kid, was the wolf in THE NEVERENDING STORY.
Quint: And “the nothing”…
JS: The idea of “the nothing.” That’s kind of a heavy bad guy to throw at a kid, “all the bad guys you have ever seen in a movie… they all would die when ‘the nothing’ comes and eats them…”
Quint: What’s worse than that? It’s nonexistence.
JS: Is there a band called “The Nothing?” I feel like that’s just waiting to happen.
Quint: If it hasn’t happened then… There is a band called ATREYU.
JS: Yeah, there is. You know the image that haunted me the most was in AMADEUS, when this guy comes to his door and to tell him his dad is dead, but he’s in a black cloak thing… That fucked me up. That might have been the movie I think I saw the most as a kid.
Quint: AMADEUS is great.
JS: That movie was a revelation, because that was the first time someone old, like from the olden times seemed like someone that…
Quint: You could connect with.
JS: Yeah, because at that point they were all in paintings or in some movies like (with a thick accent) “Well, let the armada bring their fire…” And in this movie the guy’s like (does Amadeus’ high-pitched laughter). I was like “This guy is great.” Sorry, we should probably be more efficient.
Quint: I was going to say that since Capone talked to you and because he ran that whole Q & A that you guys did in Chicago, I had almost nothing, so if you wouldn’t mind I think it’d be cool to just talk about movies.
JS: Cool, yeah. Ask me… Talk…
Quint: We’ve already talked about childhood flicks, so let’s talk genre. What do you think about horror movies?
JS: That’s something that I need to know more about, because I think that I have a weird fear of vampires and I have reoccurring dreams to this day about being… I’m always stuck in a place like a resort or some kind of enclosed area… not a resort, but you know a place with a gate, but that’s not one building, but like a spread out gated community, apartment complex or amusement park, where I’m there and it gets overtaken by vampires and I end up being the last human and I’m running and they can smell me and I have all of these fears like “Should I just let them bite me and become one of them?” That’s why this weekend that movie 30 DAYS OF NIGHT came out and I was like “I can’t see this movie.”
But a movie like THE VANISHING scares me the most. That’s not horror though, it’s suspense?
Quint: It depends, because I remember when SILENCE OF THE LAMBS came out and everybody was like “This is a landmark horror film… It is a horror film…” and then it got nominated for the Oscars and then all of a sudden it became a psychological thriller… It seems there’s a line. If horror is done well, then it can’t be called horror anymore..
JS: Well the ones that scare me and I’m thinking the vampire ones like FRIGHT NIGHT or even LOST BOYS. You know, “Nanuk was protecting you!” (laughs) That’s my best Jason Patrick. But I don’t know a ton of horror movies. I just know the big ones like ZOMBIE, but it doesn’t go deep, because it scares the shit out of me.
Quint: I’m a big horror fan, but just talking about childhood, that’s what I obsessed on. I remember going to the video store and just going down and picking whatever had the best box art cover and I would just go over to the horror section.
JS: Were you just never afraid? You just loved them? What about it…
Quint: I like being afraid… Horror is the purest form of entertainment where you just see it and the whole point of the movies are to entertain or get a reaction. Of course I grew up loving FREDDY and all of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movies.
JS: That is some scary shit.
Quint: The first movie in particular
JS: That and in line with “the nothing,” a guy who… You have to sleep sometime. Ingenious.
Quint: You can’t escape. That’s how I found a lot of my favorites, really cheesy stuff, like the rip-off movies like SLEEPAWAY CAMP. All of this stuff and I love MONSTER SQUAD…
JS: “Kick em in the nads!” Is that also the same movie where the German’s got to throw the egg into limbo?
Quint: Kind of. The Scary German Guy. He has an amulet.
JS: Who become there friend!
Quint: Yeah. That was one of the first movies where…
JS: SILVER BULLET.
Quint: That’s good, too… Scary Busey’s in that.
JS: MONSTER SQUAD, though, is one of my favorites.
Quint: It’s such a fun movie and it just came out on DVD.
JS: What’s another one that I really loved? I like all kinds of different movies and I don’t know genre, but I’ve always been a fan of films like HUMAN HIGHWAY.
Quint: I haven’t seen that one.
JS: Neil Young’s in it and so is Devo… You would like HUMAN HIGHWAY. It’s bizarre. I’ve got this thing where I’ll like things like LAST DETAIL. I love those Hal Ashby movies. At the same time I have a side of me that will always love PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE… XANADU… SGT. PEPPERS: The Movie, LISTOMANIA. I have… that is a real thing for me and I like those kinds of things.
My favorite things lately… I’ve been watching a lot of “Makings of Records” type DVDS. I love music docs. Have you seen HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS.
JS: It’s a country music documentary from the 70’s, but it’s fantastic. I just watched this great documentary called HIGH LONESOME, the story of bluegrass and it’ll totally warm your heart, because these guys are older gentlemen, old famous bluegrass singers, and they’ll be talking about a song and then they’ll just… because they’ve been performing them so much that they’ll just sing them right there on camera. “My favorite songs growing up where uh… like Down By The River. Can I sing it for you? ‘Well down by the…’” They’ll just start singing and it’s just… “My momma… is buried there…” They just sing it. They don’t really move and so they just go “And then when I go home, I’ll lay ‘em down… Isn’t that a great song?” It’s totally amazing and so I love those.
Quint: It’s weird that so many musicians do that. I was on the set of KING KONG for a long time and when I was there…
JS: Why? They invited you down there?
Quint: Peter Jackson was a big fan of the site and for RETURN OF THE KING, I ended up going down there for a visit for like two weeks and then at the end of the two weeks, he was like “Well you’ve got to come back, because we’re doing all of the pickup shooting. Christopher Lee’s going to be here and you have got to see that,” so I ended up spending two months on RINGS now I go out to visit on everything he does at some point.
JS: Was he picking up the bill for you guys living there?
Quint: Nope. Completely out of my own pocket, but it sure was worth it.
JS: Was it expensive?
Quint: No, not when you’re splitting it with two or three other people. We rented a house, which was cheaper than a hotel and so we lived in New Zealand for two months. So, yeah, it wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t much more expensive than living in Austin.
JS: Were you writing from the set?
Quint: I wrote a couple of things, but it was a weird deal, because NEW LINE… We got the OK to write, because Peter wanted to see stories just because he’s a fan, I guess, and he would just randomly come up to me and just talk about stuff that had just hit the site. I’d be sitting on Minas Tirith and all of a sudden Gandalf would walk by and then Peter would run up and go “Did you see that review of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORIDINARY GENTLEMEN that just posted on Ain’t It Cool? Man, that movie doesn’t look good, does it?”
JS: He was excited that it didn’t look good?
Quint: He’s a movie geek, so he was just excited about the early word, like “Oh man, that doesn’t look good. Did you see this…?”
JS: Is it amazing? His whole set out there, how he’s got it all…
JS: Is it different than the Robert Rodriguez thing?
Quint: Yeah. Robert’s got the Austin Studios now, but he… You go to Stone Street, which is where Peter films, and it’s like he owns this complex and it’s massive and he’s got like eight stages, but it’s all very industrial because he took over from some industrial place.
JS: He owns it?
Quint: He owns it and he also owns WETA and so he owns this little film community.
JS: Do the studios give him money to keep updating the equipment and he rents it from himself basically?
Quint: Yeah, he pretty much rents it out to his own productions and he rents it out to local productions.
JS: Now is Robert Rodriguez’s thing pro, like big crazy lights and all of that shit, or how does he make them look so good, but…
Quint: The thing is, he pretty much shoots in a green box, but…
JS: Like greenscreens and stuff?
Quint: Yeah, but with GRINDHOUSE that was like the most locations he’s had for a movie in quite a while, but his set-up is really sweet, too.
JS: I love talking about this… So then for KING KONG, you had three months?
Quint: It was one of those things where I went out for a month and it was like “OK, let’s not impose” and on my last day he would be like “You need to come back again in February, because we’re shooting New York stuff and we can put you in the movie then.”
JS: Are you in the movie?
Quint: Yeah. I’m in there when Kong attacks the trolley when he’s in Time Square, I’m front and center on the trolley flailing around STAR TREK style.
JS: That’s insane.
Quint: But the whole reason I started that tangent, was because I saw Jack Black a lot and he was just like what you just mentioned, where you would just mention a song and then he would just sing a verse. It was almost like pressing a button and it was like “one thing that I really liked that you did that nobody ever talks about was the ‘Kick in the Cunt’ song” from RUN, RONNIE, RUN and then he would just go “Oh yeah” and start singing in cockney.
JS: It’s so amazing that that’s real… I don’t know what that personality is… It’s someone who can just do it and they just know that they’re good at it. I would get so nervous, like “Oh I won’t be as good,” but if you know any good music docs, I think that’s my… I’ve been watching a lot of these behind these classic albums series and they’re great. There’s this one on the making of The Band records and they’re great, because I think they were… because of Martin Scorsese or something. Robby Robertson was just savvy enough to be documenting all the time then, so that one, more than any of them has so much original footage of the band playing. It’s fucking amazing.
Quint: I’m pretty retarded when it comes to music, like when you said that, the only thing I could think of was LAST WALTZ.
JS: That’s the only thing you should think of.
Quint: I just got this DVD about THE WHO.
JS: How is it?
Quint: I haven’t watched it, I just received it and I haven’t had the chance. I’m going to Budapest tomorrow, so…
JS: For what?
Quint: HELLBOY 2.
JS: Oh really?
Quint: It’s cool, Guillermo is a great guy.
JS: Yeah yeah yeah. Tell them all I said “Hello.”
Quint: Yeah, “Jason says ‘hi’.”
JS: HELLBOY 2!
Quint: I’m going to be in Hungary and I’ve got a couple of free days, so I’ll hang out and by some Christmas presents.
JS: I wonder what the weather’s like in Budapest.
Quint: I just looked it up and it’s lower 50’s – upper 30’s and rainy on Tuesday. Right before I left, but I don’t get in until Wednesday.
JS: Do you think the weather’s going to be hard for me to fly out today to Dallas?
Quint: This is very sudden and Austin can sometimes put the brakes on whenever something sudden happens, even though it’s really not that big of a deal. To Dallas though, I don’t think you’ll have a problem.
JS: You don’t think they’ll say “this flight’s been delayed or cancelled?”
Quint: It won’t be cancelled.
JS: You think it will be turbulence?
Quint: It could be, but you’re in the air for like 30 minutes to get to Dallas.
JS: That’s it?
Quint: It’s either a three hour drive or a thirty minute flight, so…
JS: I’ll take the thirty minutes!
Quint: You’ll look at the itinerary and they’ll say “It’ll be an hour,” but you get on the plane and they’ll say “the flying time is thirty three minutes…”
JS: They incorporate the landing. What other genres…. I do love the screwballs.
Quint: Like BRINGING UP BABY?
JS: Yeah and that’s the best one. Well, to me, I love IT COULD HAPPEN ONE NIGHT, but…
Quint: I haven’t seen that one yet.
JS: To be honest with you, though it might not seem screwball, I think IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is one of the greatest movies, man.
Quint: It’s one of those movies, where I know a lot of people that knee-jerk against it, just because it is now the go to holiday movie, just like I’m starting to see people knee-jerk against A CHRISTMAS STORY.
JS: Don’t tell me that!
Quint: As a kid and even now, I really couldn’t imagine anybody not loving that movie.
JS: I wonder where that guy is.
Quint: Peter Billingsley?
Quint: He’s a producer now. He just produced IRON MAN.
JS: He did??
Quint: He works with Favreau. He produced MADE, ELF, DINNER FOR FIVE, the TV show…
JS: He did? That’s fantastic! That scene on the pole really fucked me up. I can’t walk by an icy pole without thinking about that… “I double doggy dare you…”
Quint: “Triple dog dare you…” That’s a great…
JS: That’s a great one. You know what movie I really love? It’s an obscure one, that I’ve always wanted to get and find, if you know how to locate it… There was a movie and I don’t know if it was just a made for HBO movie or what it was, but it was called THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION and it’s about this kid… This is probably the craziest fucking movie you’ve ever heard of, but it’s about a kid who…
Quint: Was it the kid who played the older brother on ET?
JS: Maybe, but I don’t think so, but it’s a film about a kid who’s walking home one night from school and he walks in this abandoned building and he sees something and it scares him so much that he goes bald, so he doesn’t know what to do and he has a wig and everybody makes fun of him and anyway one night he meets these two homeless people who wander into his kitchen or something and they’re eating all of the food and he’s like “Who are you guys? What are you doing? Get out of here” and they go “You’re bald, but I’ve got this thing that will help you…”
He writes down this recipe called “the peanut butter solution for how to grow your hair back” and the vital ingredient is peanut butter and he’s like “But don’t use too much…” He uses too much and his hair wont stop growing, like it just keeps getting longer and longer and he’s just cutting and cutting. This evil slave driving guy, who makes paint brushes, discovers that if he makes paintbrushes with this kid’s hair that he can paint a painting and then you can jump into the painting, so he kidnaps the kid and keeps him up high in this cell and his hair just grows out of the cell, down on to a cutting belt with kids just cutting them to make the paint brushes and sell them… It’s the weirdest movie and it’s something I’ve always wondered about and I figured you guys would be the guys to…
Quint: I have a very vague notion that a movie very similarly titled… Is it an eighties movie?
Quint: …just hit on DVD and I remember seeing the title and going “Man, that’s a really weird title” and it was somebody that I knew who played the kid.
JS: Maybe it’s that.
Quint: I’ll have to look into it. (Nope, the movie I was thinking about was I AM THE CHEESE).
Quint: I’ll do my investigation.
JS: Who’s that in the shark there?
JS: That’s you in the shark? That’s amazing.
Quint: “Quint.” The name’s from JAWS.
JS: That’s amazing. You got fucked. (laughs) Cool man, that was fun. Was that alright?
Quint: Worked out for me.
And that was out weird little chat. I love just bullshitting about movies with other movie lovers so, I had a great time. I hope it translated well for you guys.
Also, if you’re curious THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION seems to be a Canadian flick and I don’t see any English language DVDs available, but there are a few (expensive) VHSs on eBay and couple out of print “original French language” DVDs floating about online and at Amazon.
Sounds just as bizarre as Jason made it out to be and features, apparently, the very first Celine Dion songs put into a film.
Anyways, I hope you liked the talk and do go out and support DARJEELING LIMITED. It’s a damn good movie with a star willing to sit down and talk about NEVERENDING STORY and MONSTER SQUAD instead of pitching his own stuff. How cool is that?