“GHOST WORLD” APPEARS: A DAN CLOWES INTERVIEW

I see about 300 movies a year. Frankly, most of them are crap. But every once in a while a film comes along that renews my faith in movies. Something that reminds me that films can truly be amazing if filmmakers just avoid formulas and cliches. Director Terry Zwigoff along with co-writer Dan Clowes have created just that type of film. Ghost World is a godsend.
Based on the comic book of the same name, the film follows the lives of recent high school grads Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), but this is not an ordinary “teen” movie. The girl’s sarcastic sensibilities and bleak world view is the catalyst for many of the film’s unpredictable situations.
Clowes reveals the inspiration for Ghost World‘s original comic book story. “I was once walking around Chicago in a really bad neighborhood and in the midst of some really illegible gang graffiti, somebody had written ‘Ghost World’ very clearly on a garage. I thought at the time that there was really something sort of beautiful about that. I had no idea if it was taken from a song or if it was something that somebody just made up, but it struck me as having a really evocative, poetic quality. I had been thinking of this story at the time and it just stuck in my head. It had so many levels of meaning to me,” Clowes says. “The America we live in is disappearing, bulldozed under our feet and constantly rehabbed and remodeled. It also refers more personally to the characters and the friendships that they’ve lost.”
The comic book, or series of graphic novels, have earned a cult following for Clowes. This is his first film and he not only acted as co-screenwriter, but provided much of the artwork seen throughout the story. Clowes is also the creative force behind other comic books like “Dan Pussey,” “Lloyd Llewellyn” and “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron.”
I called Dan Clowes at some number in the 206 area code. This would lead me to believe that he was somewhere in Seattle at the time even though his official bio states that he “resides happily in Oakland, California with his wife Erika.” Happily? I can’t be sure since all bios I’ve ever read always seem to include that final line about “happily” living somewhere. One thing is for sure, Ghost World resides somewhere in the mind of Dan Clowes and I doubt it’s all happy.
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Posted on December 31, 2001 in Interviews by
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