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Daniel Day-Lewis spoke with poet, Eileen Myles in this 2002 interview. Photography by Terry Richardson.
 

Read Bjork's2001 interview with Juergen Teller from the index archives.



Kathleen Hanna discusses writing and making music in this interview from 2000 with Laurie Weeks.


Isabella Rossellini spoke with Peter Halley in this 1999 interview.


Check out our interview with Crispin Glover by Richard Kern from 2000.
Alexander McQueen's 2003 interview with Bjork.
 
  JERRY HALL
STEPHANIE SEYMORE
MARC JACOBS
  ASIA ARGENTO
DENNIS HOPPER
ABEL FERRARA
BRIAN WILSON
WILL OLDHAM
DJ SPOOKY



Crispin Glover, 2005
WITH RICHARD KERN

RICHARD: Your debut film, What Is It?, is generating great controversy. Several film critics were extremely disturbed by it. One reviewer claimed there was a character dressed in a Nazi uniform.
CRISPIN: Descriptions of the film have been wrong, and reviews inaccurate. Nobody is dressed as a Nazi. What I consider odd is that there are so many subjects that are not generally dealt with in popular media. There are not many films like What Is It? I’m proud of it.
RICHARD: Was it difficult getting the project off the ground?
CRISPIN: The film was shot in approximately twelve days. I’ve been working on it for the past nine and a half years. It’s the first in a trilogy. Originally the film was going to be a short to promote a screenplay that had similar concepts. David Lynch wanted to executive-produce that screenplay. The corporation I went to for financing was uncomfortable having a majority of the characters played by actors with Down’s syndrome.
RICHARD: Why was it important for you to cast people with Down’s syndrome?
CRISPIN: When I look at the face of someone with Down’s syndrome I see a history written of someone who has lived outside the culture. When most of the characters are cast with actors with Down’s syndrome it makes a world that feels outside of the culture.
RICHARD: Audiences may feel that addressing disability is taboo.
CRISPIN: I do not treat the members
of the cast with Down’s syndrome the way they’re usually treated by most media. They are treated like any other actor. Perhaps that’s taboo. Someone in the press claimed that kids with Down’s syndrome have sex in this film. No one has sex in this film. There are two people with Down’s syndrome that were boyfriend and girlfriend that kiss passionately. They were not children.
RICHARD: Have you had any response from people who have disabilities?
CRISPIN: When I screened What Is It? in Austin this past February, a couple with Down’s syndrome came up afterwards and told me they related to the couple in the film. The couple in Austin have been together for seventeen years.
RICHARD: I saw a lot of parallels between What Is It? and Werner Herzog’s 1970 film, Even Dwarves Started Small.
CRISPIN: Yes. Herzog’s film is influential. The entire cast of his film were short people that were not particularly nice to each other. When I was conceptualizing about the short film to promote casting a majority of actors with Down’s syndrome I reflected on his film. I admire Werner Herzog very much.
RICHARD: Has he seen your film?
CRISPIN: He came to the screening at Sundance. I had shown him a rough cut a long time ago. I asked him questions on the commentary for the DVDs of Even Dwarfs Started Small and Fata Morgana. At Sundance, he said it was the best improvement between a rough cut and a final print he had seen. He has been truly supportive and I appreciate it.
RICHARD: How would you describe your character in the film?
CRISPIN: My character’s name is “dueling demigod auteur and the young man’s inner psyche”. The film is a simple mythic structure. “Being the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are snails, salt, a pipe and how to get home, as tormented by an hubristic, racist, inner psyche.
RICHARD: You subjected snails to a gruesome death-by-table-salting.
CRISPIN: I received a letter from an animal rights organization. I don’t like pointlessly hurting animals, Yet, I knew there would be a certain visceral experience for the audience and that is worth that.
RICHARD: Not only have you maintained creative control of every aspect of this film, but you are also distributing it yourself. That must be exhausting.
CRISPIN: Yes, I have been traveling to cities showing the film. I present it after I perform a slide show of my books. I made the film for theatrical projection. I definitely won’t release it on DVD in the next few years. It would be helpful if there was public funding for media that is more conceptual and sits in the realm beyond good and evil.
RICHARD: There certainly isn’t any support from the film industry.
CRISPIN: There really are almost no films funded by corporate entities that genuinely question things right now. The current media climate encourages people to feel good about how things are and it will not promote thought that sits within the realm that could be considered beyond good and evil. If nobody counters the generally accepted cultural norm, there is no dialogue. That’s doom for a culture.
RICHARD: Experimental filmmakers have always reacted to the cultural conditions that disturb them.
CRISPIN: Luis Buñuel made L’Age d’or in 1930 in reaction to restrictive morality of the time. It definitely sits in the realm that is beyond good and evil. It ultimately makes fun of Jesus. Now people look back at it and say, “How quaint! Why would anybody be offended?” But you weren’t supposed to do that in1930 Catholic Europe. Buñuel started dialogue. This culture’s media likes to talk about the corruption of, say, dictatorship, that controls media through military power. But this culture’s media has difficulty pointing out its own corruption wherein the media is ultimately controlled by corporate interest.
RICHARD: Soldiers don’t enforce governmental censorship, but corporations that control the money determine what you can and can’t do.
CRISPIN: It is unlikely you will be hit with a bat, but nobody will fund your movie if it causes genuine discomfort. Supposedly censorship does not exist in this culture. But media corporations will not fund material that contains dissent. Whoever funds the film ultimately controls the project. The film industry largely consists of corporations producing films that conform to certain standards.
RICHARD: They choose an existing box office hit and use it as a model.
CRISPIN: What Is It? is a reaction to the existing film culture. The amount of propaganda that exists in the media makes it difficult for the population to understand that there are other ways of thinking.
RICHARD: Do you think there are some directors working within the film industry who succeed in making movies that pose questions and counter the status quo?
CRISPIN: Extremely rarely, especially if it funded by corporate interests. I’m all for movies making money. I’m definitely not against commercialism. I have great admiration for both Stanley Kubrick and the film director, Tod Browning.
They both worked within the studio system. At first Kubrick financed his films and they made money. Studios were interested. He indicated he would make films his way, or he wouldn’t do it with them. Kubrick utilized corporate interest to his advantage in a movie like 2001 that also appealed to what was called “the counterculture” at the time. Corporations could point to “ the counterculture” and say they would fund movies for them. There are all kinds of major blockbuster filmmakers today who lose money on their theatrical releases. Every single movie Kubrick made earned a lot of money in its theatrical release, and that’s extremely unusual. Tod Browning is also interesting. He directed a series of highly profitable movies featuring Lon Chaney, who was the biggest name in the silent era. With his success, Browning was able to have MGM fund Freaks. That is a remarkable piece of work.
RICHARD: Freaks is set in a traveling circus. It came out in 1932, but it is still shocking. How old were you when you first saw it?
CRISPIN: I was eight. It’s a beautiful story. The film is true to the power of the unusual, and the terror for those who are not sensitive to it.
RICHARD: While producing your personal projects, you’ve played roles in a number of big-budget, commercial studio movies such as Charlie’s Angels and Willard.
CRISPIN: When I’m working on films like that, I do it whole-heartedly. I utilized the money from Charlie’s Angels to fund the sequel to What is it? It is called EVERYTHING IS FINE! It was written by Steve Stewart. He had cerebral palsy, is in What is it? and is the main actor in the sequel which is currently being edited. It will probably be the best film I’ll ever have anything to do with in my career.
RICHARD: You’re one of the few people to successfully sue Steven Spielberg. After you declined to appear as George McFly in the sequel to Back to the Future, Spielberg hired an actor and put him in prosthetics to make him look like you.
CRISPIN: It was designed to fool audiences in to believing it was me. As a result of the lawsuit, the Screen Actor’s Guild instated rules preventing producers from doing that.
RICHARD: Your father, Bruce Glover, is an actor. He played the classic James Bond villain, Mr. Wint, in Diamonds Are Forever. What was it like growing up in a Hollywood family?
CRISPIN: I was born in New York City. My parents moved to Los Angeles when I was five. I went to a school for children with high IQs. The further away that gets, the more I realize it was an unusual way to grow up. There were two hundred students in the school It was insular. I was in a class with approximately the same twenty people the whole way through.
RICHARD: You seem attracted to more eccentric roles, like Willard, Layne in River’s Edge, and Andy Warhol in The Doors.
CRISPIN: I met Andy Warhol at Madonna and Sean Penn’s wedding in 1985, and he was nice to me. I watched him and studied how he moved, because I thought he would be an interesting person to play one day. When I heard that there was a Warhol role in Oliver Stone’s The Doors, I pursued it. I’m glad I got to do it.
RICHARD: Andy Warhol was an expert at handling the press.
CRISPIN: He understood certain things that journalists would not know how to properly deal with and he made his responses an art itself. I admire that about him.




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