HELLO, McFLY! Crispin Glover is coming to town, and here's what he has to say about his new, independent film What Is It?, eight obscure 18th-century books, that unfortunate Letterman incident, and much, much more:
TW: So you're coming to town this Sunday, February 23?
CG: Is it this Sunday? Okay, I didn't know. Yeah, I guess that's when it is. I'm a little...whatever. Yeah, okay. Sunday.
TW: Tell me about this feature film you're showing,
CG: It's a film I've written and directed.
TW: There's also a slide show?
CG: Yes, I'll also be doing the Big Slide Show. It consists of eight different books that I've taken from the 1800s and reworked, and turned into different books...into books that are (extremely long pause)
CG: ...their own, whole other kind of things than they originally were. There are eight different books in the slide show, and I narrate each one. One of them's called Rat Catching, a study in the art of rat catching; one's called Concrete Inspection, which is a family story, where a mother is looking for something, then she finds it; one's called Around My House, another is Son of Mother, a coming-of-age story, another is What It Is And How It Is Done...there's quite a few.
TW: What Is It? is the name of your film. Is there a connection there?
CG: They have nothing to do with each other. The film would be the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are snails...
TW: ...salt, a pipe...
CG: ...and how to get home. Do you already have this?
TW: It's printed on the poster.
CG: That is what it's about.
TW: What's this hubristic, racist monarchy you refer to?
CG: Well, let's see...being the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home, as told through the eyes (dramatic pause) of an hubristic, racist monarchy....
TW: Is that all you're going to tell us?
CG: Well, actually that says a lot. I'll tell you that most of the actors in it have Downs Syndrome, but it is not a movie about Downs Syndrome. I'm in it as well. And there's another actor I have a lot of scenes with who has cerebral palsy. This is actually Part One of what's going to be a trilogy, and he's written Part Three.
TW: The second one has also been written--it was actually the original screenplay?
CG: Yes, two fellows from Phoenix had approached me. They had written a screenplay that they wanted to have me act in. I had been approached by a lot of young, first-time filmmakers on that kind of project, and I was losing my interest in working with a lot of first-time filmmakers because I've been wanting to make my own films. And yet there were things in script that I thought were quite good and I had ideas about it, so I told them I would be interested in doing it if I were to direct it. David Lynch became involved with the screenplay; and I've reworked the screenplay, so now it's a screenplay all three of us have written together.
TW: So Part Two came first, then Part One, and now Part Three has also been written. And we're showing Part One here, which you've written and directed entirely yourself?
CG: That's correct. My favorite screenplay ultimately is the one I've co-written with the two fellows from Phoenix, Brian Page and Michael Pallaggi.
TW: So it's not a project that lends itself to simple plot summary?
CG: There is a plot summary, but actually that is the plot summary. Think about it...being the adventures of a young man (etc., etc)...Even though it sounds cryptic, it's really quite descriptive.
TW: In light of your appearance in movies like The Doors, Larry Flynt, and then the liner notes of your 1989 music and spoken-word disc, The Big Problem, our overwhelming impression is, "Wow, that guy must really miss the '70s." Is that true?
CG: The record came out in 1988. The look in that time period had a very different...it hadn't become as retro fashionable. It looked (then) like something was wrong with somebody...
TW: Since you mention it, not everyone is fortunate enough to make a successful career out of his neurotic idiosyncrasies. How did you pull it off?
CG: Well, I'm always trying to look for things that genuinely intrigue me. To a certain extent, a lot of those things are considered, perhaps, unusual. (We submit his film on masturbation, or his habit of hanging off the balcony of his high-rise apartment in Los Angeles for consideration.)
TW: Are you saying you're just a normal guy, then?
CG: Well, I wouldn't say that. The idea of normalcy is extremely (subjective).
TW: Nothing to fear from your Tucson show then, like that Letterman incident a few years back where you wigged out and tried to karate-kick the host?
CG: If I were to say yes or no to that, that would imply I was agreeing that's exactly what happened. That's a trick question.
TW: You've been banned from ever appearing on Late Night again.
CG: ...People always ask me about that (incident), and I like to leave it as an enigma because it's something I think is a lot more fun that way.
Catch the flick and Crispin Glover ranting and raving in person at 8 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 622-8848 for information.
Cast your fate with the experts as Dr. James Wanless signs and discusses Strategic Intuition for the 21st Century: Tarot for Business from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, February 20, at Borders Books and Music, 4235 N. Oracle Road. Call 292-1331 for information.
Authors Janice Steinberg and Abigail Padgett sign their latest works from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at Clues Unlimited, 123 S. Broadway Village. Steinberg's Death-Fires Dance is the third in the series featuring public television reporter Margo Simon, while Padgett's The Dollmaker's Daughter combines fiction writing with the author's advocacy for the mentally ill. Call 326-8533 for information.
And last but certainly not least, Virginia Beane Rutler discusses and signs Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 20, at The Book Mark, 5001 E. Speedway. For more information, call 881-6350.
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