How’d you come up with the initial idea for writing Down & Out With the Dolls?
The idea for Down and Out With The Dolls came from my friend and co-writer, Deedee Cheriel. Deedee played drums in a few all girl rock bands in the Pacific Northwest in the 90s, and over time, as she told me stories from the day, it gradually became obvious that there was more than enough funny and outrageous material here for a movie.
What made you choose Portland as a backdrop for the story?
I have spent a fair amount of time in Portland, so I was familiar with it. Better still, Deedee owned a house there, a sort of den of punk, which she lets out in her absence. This house became the set for “The Doll House.”
You really capture a lot of the cutthroat aspects of being in a band. Are you a musician as well, or was this based-on observation?
Rock music is my first and greatest love, and it’s also a subject I have dealt with in numerous projects, including the collaborations “Border Radio” and Sugar Town, both of which dealt with Los Angeles musicians. Even when I have done genre movies, I have opted to work with musicians (from pop figures like Ice T to more obscure jazz players like the late Teddy Wilson). Subsequently, I have gotten to know quite a few musicians in my day. And thus, I know what an utter bastard the record business is. Perhaps even dirtier than the film business!
Rockers like Lemmy Kilmister and Coyote Shivers appear in the film. How’d you get Lemmy to make an appearance?
I got Lemmy to appear in the film by bribing him with drugs. (Just kidding: why on earth would Lemmy need my inferior stash?).
What was he like to work with?
Lemmy is the original rock and roll animal. I read an interview with Dave Grohl recently in which he argued persuasively that Lemmy is an even greater and more authentic rock icon than Keith Richards. To quibble with that assertion would be to split hairs… That being said, it was quite an experience to work with Lemmy. As almost all his scenes took place in a closet in the “Doll House,” I spent my time with Lemmy locked in the cupboard (my cameraman Tony was there too). The experience was somewhat akin to being caged up with a bobcat. Luckily, someone had remembered to bring a big bottle of whisky (wonder who?). So that made the proceedings considerably more pleasant…
While on the subject of booze on the set — I must confess that as there was no insurance or bond company to object, I followed a strategy of adding verisimilitude to the party scenes by making sure that all on-camera performers for that sequence were shit-faced drunk. I think the result is quite effective, and in any case, it was a whole lot of fun!
Get the rest of the interview in part three of WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE>>>
Posted on February 12, 2003 in Interviews by Chris Parcellin
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