You’ve had a lot of problems with non-union crews, haven’t you?
On “Freeway II” it was just horrible. It was a tough shoot anyway, because first of all, it wasn’t supposed to be called “Freeway II.” There’s no freeway in the film for one thing. Basically, I knew it was going straight to video; no chance for a theatrical so I was in a bad mood already. But anyway, we filmed in Vancouver, Canada and the crew there, they were the crew from hell. You know, everyone up there was desperate to work on the film but then when they found out what the film was about they were all mean to us because of the material. “Freeway II” was basically all about bulimia and pussy. Some of the people on the set would call up and say that we were abusing little children, so the whole set would get shut down for an inspection. Can you believe that? Then they’d call the union and tell more lies to try and get us shut down. I was stressed out for the whole shoot, really depressed and sad. Natasha(Lyonne)was not only the star but a producer on the film as well. They were abusive to her, they had her in tears. But the moral is that we got the film done, which is the ultimate victory, but it was hell. We had to do stuff like wardrobe all by ourselves, I didn’t have a monitor to look at, we had to do reshoots in the car, and there was always stuff that wouldn’t match up in shots like missing stuff inside a car, so we’d waste days and days.

It’s odd because one of the constants in your films is that you really seem to love women.
I love all the girls in my films. They’ve all been so classy and smart. I work with all of these teenage girls and what happens when you make a film is that they start dreaming about you, because making a film with someone is like going to see a psychiatrist in a way. Reese dreamed about me, Natasha dreamed about me, other actors too. I was a little disturbed about the idea of a sick old man like me entering their brains every night, and sometimes the girls would get very angry and combative, but I loved them.

You’re the voice of the modern female movie heroine?
No one’s creating roles for teenage girls, even though that’s Hollywood’s target audience. I think I’ve created two pretty good ones. As far as the girls, I mean, I get lots of letters from girls who’d been in trouble and stuff and they tell me how much they loved “Freeway” and that they love me. I love that, but many of them are really violent. They’re all in jail or in some psycho ward, so I can’t get to them.

How has modern technology like streaming video and DV affected you?
It hasn’t affected me at all. I’ve been living in Tijuana for the past little while, and there’s none of that stuff over there. I’m just not interested. However, with “Tiptoes,” which we shot in twenty four days in LA, we do use effects to change Gary Oldman into a midget. We used a combination of blue screen and forced perspective which you saw in The Lord of the Rings, as well as lots of makeup and costumes to make him look like a dwarf. But I’ll always be a bare bones type of director.

“Ted Bundy” and “Tiptoes” seem to be such opposites. One is a dark serial killer thriller and the other is a surprisingly touching love story. How do you explain the wildly different subject matter of your two new films?
I was hired for “Ted Bundy” first of all, and that’s a case where I took ninety nine percent of what had been said about Bundy and just threw it away. I took the police and the lawyers right out of the equation. “Ted Bundy” is going to be like the Boogie Nights of horror movies, because we kind of start in the ‘70’s and we do that whole scene and everything as Bundy becomes more evil. You know, people thought Bundy was good looking, but he wasn’t, his head was all misshapen. People thought he was a successful young lawyer, but he was a loser, he was raised to be a criminal. The only thing I kept in was the execution which was indeed horrific. So Bundy’s a freak, and with “Tiptoes,” what they have in common is that everyone thinks that midgets are freaks but I want to fight that and that’s what this movie does. It’s just a different facet of my personality. There’s no Jerry Springer stuff in “Tiptoes,” no violence; it’s really about understanding and loving people for all of their faults and imperfections.

Yeah, when I heard about it, I mean, I wasn’t aware that little people have it so tough?
Sure, you have midget actors who work, and you’ve got people like Danny DeVito who have strong personalities, but they’re like a fraction of one percent. Everyone else is treated like a freak whether it be just getting on the bus in the morning, or trying to be a normal person, or having to work in hardcore sex videos. I was interested in them when I learned about the LPA which stands for Little People of America. Here’s this group of people who are so different on the outside(Republicans, gays, porno stars)but they share such pain being little that they form a tight bond. Interesting though how many of the top stars in Hollywood are really short.

Get the rest of the interview in part four of MATTHEW BRIGHT: BIG BAD WOLF>>>

Posted on September 20, 2002 in Interviews by


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