Hollywood routinely cranks out mega-million dollar movies with gigantic promotional budgets and spoiled, over-paid stars. These bloated, pretentious productions have been blindsided in recent times by indie studios who lack big money, but deliver films with maximum entertainment value. Troma is one studio that has always delivered the goods at a budget price. Then again, their films are like nobody else’s. Titles like Tromeo and Juliet, The Toxic Avenger, and The Rowdy Girls are Troma’s bag. And their loopy company of actors are always sure to make an impression. The man behind the madness is Troma boss Lloyd Kaufman. Kaufman is an affable sort, with a twisted sense of humor and the promotional instincts of P.T. Barnum.
[ Tell me about the new Troma feature The Rowdy Girls. What's this film all about? ] ^ The Rowdy Girls is about…..well I don’t know what it is about; But I do know that it is a tale of the old Wild West days, and there are a lot of beautiful naked and scantily clad gyno-americans including the beautiful and talented Julie Strain and Shannon Tweed. The movie was produced by (1988) Playmate of the Year India Allen.
[ What will a young, aspiring indie filmmaker get out of reading your book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger: The Shocking True Story of Troma Studios (Penguin Putnam Publishing)? ] ^ The book documents all the trials and tribulations myself and Troma Co Founder and Vice President Michæl Herz went through in starting and running the oldest independent film studio in the world. It will give aspiring filmmakers an idea of what a cruel cold world the film business really is–and how to overcome the mega-conglomerates and make some art. It also includes some tasty recipes for headcrushings and other cheap SFX that Troma has used over the years.
[ Are you going to write any more books? ] ^ I have started writing a book, tentatively titled Make Your Own Damn Movie, but before I continue I must find a publisher for it.
[ What's the average budget for a Troma film? ] ^ That’s confidential information. But lets just say it is considerably less than any budget of a Hollywood production—about 1/50th of the budget of a Hollywood production.
[ What kind of a reaction do you get at Cannes when you bring your Troma stars over there and set them loose? ] ^ We get a really good response from the crowds. Everyone is really receptive, except for those damn French people.
[ Yes, they seem to congregate there...How has the contest for multiple screenwriters to write a Troma screenplay worked-out? ] ^ It has worked out really well, we get to see input from Troma fans all over the world, and what they think should be in a Troma movie. We always have listened to our fans anyway, let them influence the script, so naturally the next step is to have the fans actually write the script.
[ Who are the Tromettes? ] ^ Tromettes are the typical Gyno-American heroines of a Troma movie. A Tromette is smart, witty, and in most cases by some strange conicidence, very well-endowed.
[ How did you hook-up with Ron Jeremy? ] ^ First, I looked longingly into his eyes as I caressed his cheek. Then he tossed my salad, if you know what I mean.
[ Hmmm, I feel nauseous...So, what other films do you have coming out? ] ^ We are in the final stages of editing on Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger 4. Citizen Toxie is the return of The Toxic Avenger after 15 years, and it looks to be one of Troma’s best releases to date. In it, Toxie faces his greatest challange yet, himself. He has to defeat his evil counterpart, the Noxious Offender. Also, principal photography has just completed on a Belgian Co-Production called Parts of the Family, which is a zombie movie.
[ Do you foresee a day when Troma is one of the major studios? ] ^ God, I hope not. Troma is already one of the major independent studios around, but people don’t know it. That just goes to show just how truly independent we are.
[ What do you think of the recent commercial boom of independent/low-budget films? Do you think this is the wave of the future for the moviebiz? ] ^ I think for now, that is what Hollywood thinks is big, so they are all trying to start “independent” projects. But in the end, the money still comes from the mega conglomarates. But it will eventually pass, and it will be back to business as usual at Troma Studios. We don’t have to worry about everyone jumping on the bandwagon, because we were always on it first. We built the bandwagon.
Visit Lloyd Kaufman on the web at Troma Films.
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Posted on July 16, 2000 in Interviews by Chris Parcellin
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