From Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter to the recent re-imaginings of Willard and the Wizard of Gore, actor Crispin Glover has always delivered with an intense unusualness. His celebrated gifts have, also, manifested in his own musical and directing projects, resulting in a career of deep questioning and true, total artistry. Glover, recently, took some time to talk with Big Gay Horror Fan about his own films (What is it? and It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE) and his work in projects such as Where the Heart is and The Doors, which each had roles for him that resounded with a quirkily queer edge.
BGHF: First of all, Crispin, can you talk about Steven C. Stewart, the amazing man with whom you worked on What is it? and It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE with?
Crispin: Steven C. Stewart wrote and is the main actor in part two of the trilogy titled It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. I put Steve in to the cast of What is it? because he had written this screenplay which I read in 1987. When I turned What is it? from a short film in to a feature I realized there were certain thematic elements in the film that related to what Steven C. Stewart’s screenplay dealt with. Steve had been locked in a nursing home for about ten years when his mother died. He had been born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and he was very difficult to understand. People that were caring for him in the nursing home would derisively call him an “M.R.” short for “Mental Retard”. This is not a nice thing to say to anyone, but Steve was of normal intelligence. When he did get out, he wrote his screenplay. Although it is written in the genre of a murder detective thriller, truths of his own existence come through much more clearly than if he had written it as a standard autobiography. Steven C. Stewart’s own true story was fascinating and then his beautiful story, including his fascination of women with long hair and the graphic violence and sexuality and the revealing truth of his psyche from the screenplay were all combined. A specific marriage proposal scene I remember reading, made me think “I will have to be the person to produce/finance this film.”
BGHF: And acting in such mainstream fare as Charlie’s Angels has allowed you to make these films, correct?
Crispin: After Charlie’s Angels came out, it did very well financially and was good for my acting career. I started getting better roles that, also, paid better and I could continue using that money to finance my films that I am so truly passionate about. I have been able to divorce myself from the content of the films that I act in. I look at acting as a craft that I use to help other filmmakers to accomplish what it is that they want to do. Usually filmmakers have hired me because there is something they have felt would be interesting to accomplish with using me in their film…and usually I can try to do something interesting as an actor. If, for some reason, the director is not truly interested in doing something that I, personally, find interesting with the character, I can console myself that with the money I am making to be in their production, I can help to fund my own films. Usually, though, I feel as though I am able to get something across as an actor that I feel good about. It has worked out well.
BGHF: Nice! As a gay man, I was a fan of your charming performance of the creative Lionel in 1990’s Where the Heart Is. At the time, though, there weren’t a large number of homosexual characters in mainstream entertainment. Therefore, it was a bit bittersweet when the (publicly gay) Lionel revealed his heterosexuality. What do you recall about your take on that role and/or that project, in general?
Crispin: In a certain way, when I took the role in John Boorman’s Where the Heart Is there was similar thought process as to Friday the 13th Part 4. At that point, it was simply to continue to work. John Boorman has, of course, made some genuinely great films. Probably the most intriguing part of the film are the trompe l’oeil paintings by Timna Woolard and how the characters are visually placed within those paintings. The film seemed to be written as a rather broad comedy. The concept of the character as posing as gay for success in the fashion industry probably could be interestingly explored if the character was given more psychological elements than were presented in that screenplay. As it was written, it could probably be taken as not an overly explored character. Being that the character was written in the way that it was, I tried to make it work and somehow come off as an organic individual. I am not sure how successful that performance is. Certainly with the continuing changes in law and social acceptance along with culture’s realization that sex shaming is a terrible thing, various movies will be looked at in context of the current time’s social mores.
Probably a better performance, for me, when playing an actual gay character would be when I played Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. There is a part of me that does not like to classify things so broadly in that way. It can, of course, be considered offensive by anyone to be grouped in to any kind of category. I personally do not always like being categorized, myself. It, of course, would be best in the future that people are not to be shamed for any kind of sexuality, as long as it is not hurting anyone. In any case, I do not look back at any films I have been in and think that it would be better not to have played the character. I think all experiences are part of life’s learning and I am grateful for them.
BGHF: You have tackled a lot of avenues in your career – music, acting, directing, writing – is there a particular project that you are proudest of that you believe hasn’t been given the recognition it deserves?
Crispin: When the IT trilogy is completed, the best film of the trilogy will be It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. I do not mean to demean What is it?, as I am very proud of that film in different ways. But there is something about the truths that come through from Steve’s screenplay that has a strong emotional catharsis. I put that element on a high level .I am not sure about the film deserving anything more, necessarily, as it was made in a climate of corporately controlled content that is not about truly questioning things. But I would like for many more people to see the film, as it has true value.
BGHF: Perfect. Lastly, are there any plans for your next feature and/or any upcoming projects that we should could keep an eye out for?
Crispin: (On the 7th in Chicago) I will be showing ten minutes of edited footage from my next feature film, which marks the first time I have acted with my father Bruce Glover, who has been seen in such films as Diamonds are Forever, Chinatown and Ghost World. I am excited about this project. This is my first film to have been shot with 35 mm negative. My first two features were shot with standard 16mm film then blown up for a 35 mm negative from a digital intermediate. There are great things about digital technology. I love the grain pattern of film and this is, also, why I enjoy 16mm as well as 35mm. So far my feature film projects have been shot on film. This is my third feature film production. This will not be IT IS MINE. Nor will it have anything to do with the IT trilogy.
I have owned a chateau in the Czech Republic for many years now and it has been in a state of work to get both the chateau ready for housing the crew members and cast when I am shooting my own productions and the 14,000 square feet of former horse stables that are now the areas for the shooting stages where the sets have been built.
There has been an enormous amount of work here. When people hear I am coming to my chateau they always say “Have a great time!” as though I am going on vacation. But I actually have way more difficult work here than at my house in LA. In the last two years I have been at my property in Czech more than LA, But, I have been on the road with my shows and films or acting in other people’s films, more than I have been at either of my homes!
Be sure to check Crispin Glover out at his other, other home, http://www.crispinglover.com and those who are Midwest bound should come see him Friday, February 7th, 2014 at the historic Patio Theatre in Chicago.
Details for that event are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/723187317706451/.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink