What can we expect from you next?
Well, I’ve been working on a script called “1995,” which is about two people struggling with their own senses of inadequacy, in the mid-nineties, at the beginning of the tech boom. That was a time in our history when I feel like everybody’s inadequacy issues were very blatantly on the table: mass consumption, materialism, etc. There was this sort of weird ethos at that time when the people who were making billions of dollars were finally getting their due in life, as if (making billions) has ever, ever been a standard for real happiness and success. It was like we all bought into that, and the people who were actually winning were the “nerds” and suddenly they were “winning” and the standard for that was that they were making (a lot) of money. And they were making it in a very bizarre way, which was by participating in a massive Ponzi scheme to defraud people’s retirement funds.

It was bizarre to me, even at the time, so I thought that would make a decent backdrop for the idea of two people who are dealing with their gross inadequacies.

When will “1995” be ready?
I’ve finished writing it, and now I have to go about the task of finding someone willing to pay for it.

Melvin has won many awards. Were you surprised?
Totally surprised. I’ve never really won awards or anything, or competed at anything, so it’s kind of bizarre—but it’s great to get a plaque that says you’re the best at something.

Melvin touches on some religious issues, as well as issues of gender. Not to say that Melvin was the proper place for this, but you do not tackle any issues of race. Is that not something that interests you?
It’s an issue for me, and it’s something that I’ve thought so much about tackling and have done a lot of writing in preparation for dealing with it, but I’m not quite sure what it is I’ve got to say about it, and what my point is.

It didn’t seem like there was a place for it in this movie, but it’s something I’m perplexed by, and when you get into it, you have to get into the bigger questions: What exactly are our prisons? Why do they exist? You know, they are just so full of people. Why are our teachers not being paid $70,000 a year? All these questions are inextricably tied to the race question, and it’s a big sociological problem.

I just haven’t quite figured out how to get there yet.

There’s something actually satisfying in thinking that you’ve gotten somewhere with an issue. If you’re going to put something out that tackles one of these issues, you have to feel like you have something new to say, that you are actually going to make progress, that you actually forward our evolution, and our thinking about that issue.

That’s when it’s satisfying, not just when the issue is just used.

Posted on February 17, 2004 in Interviews by


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