Cecil B. Demented makes fun of the process that Hollywood uses to make films including focus groups. Have you ever had a problem with focus groups yourself? ^ Yes! The only test screening was Cannes. Think how scary: 1500 people with opinions and a place to publish them, in black ties. That was the first time it was shown with an audience.
In the film, Melanie Griffith points a gun at an executive and he blurts out, “I’m just a Vice President of Creative Affairs.” If there ever was a meaningless title. There were a lot of those kinds of executives there. What was the reaction? ^ Great. Still, it was scary. It was hard to test screen when I had a scene where he says to the people, “They want to detain some of you and use you in focus groups.” (Laughing) So, it sort of defeats the purpose of having one. I’m not against seeing a movie with audiences first. I hate those stupid cards. It seems they want it to do badly, so they can tell you what to do. With Pecker, we had one test in Manhattan, which you never test in Manhattan because everyone, they say, is too critical. They say, ‘Well, is it a good movie?’ Compared to what? Oscar Wilde?
You pioneered gross humor and I feel that gross jokes have been appropriated by the mainstream — guys like the Farrelly brothers in There’s Something About Mary or the Wayans brothers in Scary Movie. ^ So, American humor is gross and, I can’t complain. I mean it’s easier for me to get my movies made now. No one objected to the gerbil in Alicia Witt’s ass. Nobody said anything about that, and believe me, they would have.
Cecil B. Demented does feature one of the best gerbil scenes I have ever seen. ^ Well, that gerbil was a good actor.
Now, do you expect your film to create some copycat crimes? Other filmmakers going out and forcing people to act using stun guns like Cecil B. Demented? ^ I hope not. Legally, I certainly hope not.
Legally you hope not, but do you? Maybe you can’t say. ^ (Grumble, mmmmm, jokingly) ‘Evidence A. Please read this article… you said here!
Cecil B. Demented touches on a lot of the problems with films today. How do you think you would fix the movies? ^ I wouldn’t. There are no fun bad movies anymore.
But there are so many movies that hit the middle of the road. That, to me, is the biggest crime, not committing one way or the other. ^ Plus, there are too many writers. That’s not always true though. Generally, the more writers I see in the credits in the beginning, the less faith I have in the movie.
Do you think the word “family” is a word used to censor movies? ^ Family. We should get that word back. I like families. I like kids. I get along with kids great. Kids like me, they stare at me. They get nervous because I look like a child molester. But, family — they use that word now for “family values” which means anti-Gay, censorship, pro-life. When did that word start to mean that? I don’t get it, I mean they ruined a good word.
I happen to think that a lot of underground films have migrated to the internet. Do you watch films on the internet? ^ I don’t watch them on the net, I am mechanically-challenged. See, I have all the stuff, I don’t know how to work it. Even e-mail, I don’t know how to work.
One of the best Christmas cards I got from you was the one where Steve Buscemi posed as you. Might we see him play you in a John Waters bio pic? ^ Well, let’s hope he plays it. He’d be great. I mean, he’s ten years younger at least. I want him to just be me now.
THE TAB: During the interview, John consumed an herbal tea and I had a non-sparkling water in a glass with a lime. He paid the tab, which had to be almost twenty bucks with tip. Okay, John didn’t pay for it, Cecil B. Demented’s distributor Artisan picked up the bill. All I know is that I paid $11.50 for valet parking and I was only there for an hour.
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Posted on May 10, 2000 in Interviews by Chris Gore
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- “DEMENTED” WANTS YOU!
- JOHN WATERS: CINEMA TERRORIST
- A SALUTE TO JOHN WATERS
- JOHN WATERS CULT RADIO
- CECIL B. DEMENTED
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