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Crispin Glover Is Right On

The one and only Crispin Glover shares talks Freaky Deaky, his favorite New York movies, and a high school production of a famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Tribeca: Could you tell us how you came to FREAKY DEAKY?

CRISPIN GLOVERI am very glad and grateful that I was able to be part of the production. I believe I was the last person cast in the film. I was in the midst of touring with my shows and films and had scheduled a break for most of the shooting schedule of FREAKY DEAKY. The offer came in just before I was to shoot.

TRIBECA: What attracted you to the project? Were you a fan of Elmore Leonard to begin with?

CRISPIN GLOVER: When I first looked at the screenplay, there were certain aspects to the character I was concerned about playing. One of the aspects was that the character was described physically very different from myself. I felt there were certain psychological elements that were caused by the physicality, both in the character and the way other characters reacted to the character. That made me concerned as to how it would make sense if I would play it with my own innate physicality.

When I really looked harder at the screenplay, I realized there were other physical elements that I could have that would work for the reactions and the psychology of the character.

I thought I had not known any of Elmore Leonard’s work before shooting the film, but I realized later that he had written Jackie Brown, whose film by Quentin Tarantino I had enjoyed. While working on the “Woody” material, it was apparent that the writing had depth and multiple thoughts that could be put in to the portrayal of the character. This is a good thing, and unfortunately, it is something that is rarer than I would like in screenplays I read.

TRIBECA: What did you do to prepare for your role as Woody Ricks, the alcoholic movie producer who inherited a fortune?

CRISPIN GLOVER: There was not a lot of time to prepare. The character was something I had in my mind's eye that seemed imperative for the psychology of both the character and the other characters to react in the way they do. Certain elements of both the look and psychology definitely came together after arriving in Detroit.

Freaky Deaky

TRIBECA: Woody’s wardrobe choices seem to embody the time period. Did you have some say in putting together Woody’s look?

CRISPIN GLOVER: Yes. I spoke with the hair department, makeup department property department and wardrobe department about specific things I wanted/needed for the character. I had special teeth made and a wig prepared before arriving in Detroit.

There was a “closet” of clothes that had been chosen from the discussions we had before shooting began, and we were able to put together a couple of outfits the night before shooting. It made sense for this character to have different specific outfits for particular scenes. There was one particular outfit that was literally a little too vibrant for the capture technology to shoot, as it was going to cause a moray pattern, so I believe we ended up having to repeat one outfit at the last minute.

TRIBECA: Though not completely innocent, Woody was one of the few sympathetic characters in FREAKY DEAKY. Everyone seemed to be using him for financial gain. Do you think he took advantage of Ginger? Why/why not?

CRISPIN GLOVER: I did not feel like my character was taking advantage of anyone. I noticed something when talking to the other cast members about their roles. It seemed all the character’s psychologies had justifications for anything someone else might see as being wrong. This, of course, is a sign of good writing. It seemed important that the character should have a sympathetic quality. It is one of the reasons I still need to see the film to see if that quality came through or not. I am glad to know you think it did. It was something I was concerned about when I first read the character.

TRIBECA: You always put such thought and energy into your roles. Were you able work with Charles Matthau to develop the role of Woody as the film progressed? Were you allowed to improv even though you were working with Matthau’s adapted script?

CRISPIN GLOVER: For the most part, the role is portrayed exactly as scripted. It was strong dialogue, and the scenes played well as written. I saw a little bit of minor improvising I did utilized in the film when doing the sound work in Chicago, but I have not seen the film in its entirety, so I am unsure if much improvising of words or actions is used in the film. But in general, there was little word improvisation because of well-structured scenes with well-written dialogue. Of course there should always be improvisation of thought, meaning that the character should have an organic thought process that can change from one take to the next, even if the words spoken are exactly the same.

Charlie was easy to work with. We had gone to the same school in Los Angeles, called the Mirman School for Gifted Children. Charlie was two grades above me, but I was aware of him partly because of his great late father Walter Matthau being at perhaps the height of his long career during that time. My mother choreographed some of the school plays and also directed some, I think after Charlie had graduated.

In any case, I assume Charlie was aware of me from her choreographing the school plays and there were not many other students at Mirman at the time whose parents were actors. Charlie humorously pointed out that working on Freaky Deaky was the second time we worked together, because we were in Oklahoma at Mirman School. Charlie had a large acting role in that, as the more senior students generally were cast in the leading roles. I was in the chorus for that production.

I ran in to Charlie here and there over the years and knew he had been directing. It was a pleasant surprise and experience to work with someone who had gone to this particularly small school in the same era I did, and who must have shared certain types of experiences that I had growing up at that school. It was an unusual school to go to, but a great one!

Crispin Glover

Tribeca: I’ve been fortunate to be able to see the first two films in your It trilogy at the IFC Center. Can you talk about the third film in that series? When do you expect to start touring the film in your signature Road Show format?

CRISPIN GLOVER: Thank you for coming to the shows! I am proud of both the live performances of my books before I present the films and of the films themselves. The IFC is a great venue in NYC and has been very kind in having me come back for multiple appearances over the years and has even built a stage for me to do the performances. I am sure we will book more shows there relatively soon.

I should not go into too much detail for part 3 of the It trilogy yet, as IT IS MINE will not be the next film I shoot. There are other projects outside of the trilogy that I will shoot next. The Czech Republic is where I own a chateau built in the 1600s. I have converted its former horse stables into film shooting stages. Czech is another culture and another language, and I need to build up to complex productions like What is it? and the existing sequel, It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. IT IS MINE is an even more complex project than the previous two films put together, so it will be a while yet for that production.

TRIBECA: If you could work with your “dream director” (alive or dead), who would it be?

CRISPIN GLOVER: There are many directors I would like to have worked with or would still like to work with or even work with again. Some of them are: Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Luis Buñuel, Stanley Kubrick, Tod Browning, FW Murnau, Fritz Lang, Akira Kurosawa, Frank Wisbar, Milos Foreman, Roman Polanski, Frederico Fellini, Abbas Kiarostami, Wong Kar Wei, Ken Russell, Gaspar Noe, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, Timothy Carey, and Woody Allen.

TRIBECA: Can you name some of your favorite New York movies?

CRISPIN GLOVER: Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss. I particularly like the shots of the taxi dancing establishment and how Kubrick had apparently aesthetically/artistically educated himself between this film and and his previous/first feature film Fear and Desire. Also the shots of the chase sequence in the shut-down business areas of New York are particularly beautiful.

I also like Andy Warhol’s Vinyl. The first and perhaps most visceral rendition of A Clockwork Orange shot at Andy Warhol’s Factory in NYC. I also really enjoy On The Waterfront, The Apartment, Midnight Cowboy, Rosemary's Baby, The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy.

Lastly, I think of John Cassavetes’ films in general as coming out of New York, even if most were shot in LA. I love his work and oeuvre.

TRIBECA: What would your biopic be called?

Crispin Glover: Dr. StrangeGlover Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Propaganda.

TRIBECA: What makes Freaky Deaky a Tribeca must-see?

CRISPIN GLOVER: The fact that I have not seen it yet and I must see it at Tribeca!


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