Interview Richard Stanley | BUTFF 2017

Interview Richard Stanley - BUTFF 2017

Van 30 augustus tot en met 3 september vond de 12de editie van de BUT Film Festival plaats. Net als vorig jaar was aanwezig bij dit festival waarin B-films, underground en trash centraal staan. Een ere-gast op het festival was de Zuid-Amerikaanse regisseur Richard Stanley. Hij maakte hij zijn (speelfilm) regiedebuut in 1990 met de low-budget sci-fi film Hardware samen met zijn tweede film Dust Devil (1992) zou dit door de jaren heen een cult-status opbouwen. In 1996 waagde hij een poging om het H.G. Wells boek The Island of Dr. Moreau te verfilmen. De productie verliep desastreus, en Stanley werd vroeg in de productie ontslagen. Het eindproduct zou weinig gemeen hebben met zijn originele visie. Sandro en Martijn spraken de filmmaker over zijn ervaringen, zijn kijk op de filmindustrie, maar ook zijn toekomstige projecten.

Sandro: The movie we’re showing at this festival is a documentary on The Island of Dr. Moreau right?
“Yes, Lost Soul [Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau] is the documentary about what happened on the island. I think it’s the funniest film I’ve ever been involved with. Of everything that I’ve worked on, it’s the closest to a comedy.”

Sandro: Even for people who haven’t seen the movie, pretty much everyone knows about that story.
“Yeah, I think it’s also one of the worst location shoots of all time. I would say The Island of Dr. Moreau is probably the worst movie making experience I’ve ever had. I would compare it to Fitzcarraldo, the Werner Herzog film. It’s in the combination of elements: the extreme location, the hurricane, Marlon Brando, the live animals… the many things that made it one of the biggest movie nightmares of all time.”

Sandro: Marlon Brando, I’ve heard a lot of stories about how he was a difficult person to work with in the later stages of his career.
“I didn’t mind him myself. Sure, he must’ve been very difficult for the producers to deal with. I appreciated his madness and creativity, whereas most of the other assholes were just monsters. They were simply doing what they were doing because they enjoyed their power when they were treating people badly. Val Kilmer was one of those guys. He would randomly fire people to show how strong he was. I would be talking to him and he would say: ‘Who’s that guy over there with that shirt? Get rid of him, I don’t want to see him again!’. This just drove me crazy, it was brutal.”

Martijn: So he was worse than Brando?
“Yeah, to work with definitely. Brando was just doing crazy shit, and it works on camera.”

Sandro: So how was Brando as a person?
“I liked him as a person. Obviously, he was old and had big problems with his family at the time. His family was like a big tragedy. His son went to jail for murder and his daughter committed suicide. When his daughter Cheyenne killed herself the press responded by taking a photo of Brando through the window, in his underwear, showing how fat he was. The next say there were all these headlines saying: ‘Fat Brando’ and ‘His daughter has committed suicide. So I felt sympathy for him because I knew he was living a nightmare, and it wasn’t really his fault. I’m sorry the movie was a big disaster too. I wish he’d had the chance to give a great performance. The circumstances of The Island of Dr. Moreau were such that no one could give a great performance. It was too much of a nightmare.”

Martijn: The same goes for the other actors?
“Yeah, it was such a difficult movie. We had a lot of people, including one of the shortest men on earth. Nelson de la Rosa was only two and a half feet tall. We also had Ron Perlman, Fairuza Balk, Temuera Morrison and David Thewlis. It should’ve been a good cast, but all of it was wasted.”

Sandro: Are you enjoying yourself at this festival?
“Yeah, it’s very quiet over here. I haven’t seen too many movies unfortunately. I’m gonna be watching more when I get home. It’s cause I do a lot of screenings. I’ve been collecting most films on screenings. I’m looking forward to getting home and see what I’ve missed. I have seen Phantasmagoria though.”

Martijn: In general, have you ever seen any Dutch movies?
“I’ve always been fond of Xangadix, or De Johnsons. I think it’s the best Dutch horror movie.”

Martijn: That’s a great one yeah. They are also busy with a documentary about it.
“I saw it. This movie is frightingly obscure. But it leaves a good impression from when I first saw it. I like Dick Maas OK, but I don’t think I love him as much as this crazy film. I admire that Dick always has a crazy idea. To me he’s the Larry Cohen of the Netherlands. Like Larry Cohen he has these crazy fucking ideas: a killer elevator, or a killer father Christmas… pretty wild ideas. But for me De Johnsons might be the craziest Dutch movie ever. I would like to see more movies like that.”

Martijn: Do you think fans would welcome a possible remake?
“I don’t know, that’s hard to do. I myself wanted to do a Dutch horror movie all my life. But so far I’ve not been able to finance it. Every fucking time the Americans, or the people involved, like the story. But they immediately suggest I move the production to another location. Last time they asked me to move to New Orleans; to get Hollywood or someone else to put money into a film, which is set exclusively in the Netherlands. So far it’s been impossible to me. I’ve not found any fucking company to put up all the money. It’s pretty annoying, cause there’s stuff which is unique about this part of the world. I cannot imagine that anywhere else.”

Martijn: In the Netherlands it’s pretty hard to get money for a movie
“It’s the same problem in France. I could never get the French to give me money to make an indigenous French horror movie. They all have very limited ideas about what sort of films they can make in France. When they make a horror movie it has to be very violent, very graphic and realistic. I’m more interested in the supernatural and science fiction. Crazy ideas like Xangadix… you know, that Siamese demon in the movie. The French don’t understand that at all. So I’ve not been able to make any movie in The Netherlands, Belgium or France. We sometimes get some money from Spain and Germany. Replace, which I wrote, was funded from Germany and shot in Munich.”

Martijn: What about crowdfunding?
“I don’t think we can get enough to make a feature. You can get maybe 40 grant, but I don’t think you can get 800 grant. Not enough to make a proper independent feature. I don’t want to go much below 800 grant, 1 million or 1,5. You need to have a standard of technical excellence if you’re going to compete in the international market. It’s difficult to get this amount of money from just crowdfunding. There usually has to be some money coming from somewhere else.”

Sandro: Often filmmakers start with crowdfunding, just to get a higher budget from a studio later on.
“I would do it as a last resort, but I haven’t done it yet. I don’t like to take money from fans, it feels bad. I prefer to take money from drug dealers. I could get money from Mexican narcos or arms dealers… money from the black market which I could later launder to put into the film. I’d be happier to do that than taking money from the fans, because the fans are usually broke. They must have better things to spend their money on. If it’s possible to get 1,5 million from Mexican tax breaks, I would go for that first each time.

I think my next movie will be made either in America or in Mexico. The Mexican project is something I want to make really badly. I have some friends in Mexico and I’m super angry about what’s happening with Trump. I want to make an anti-Trump movie. My desire is to go to Mexico to shoot a violent anti-American action film. (laughs)”

Martijn: Did you hear about Trump almost appearing in Sharknado 3? He was due to play himself in that film.
“That’s about the right level for him I think.”

Sandro: He wanted to be part of the project, but kept the production waiting. He got pretty angry when they went ahead without him.
“So he missed his chance huh? He got to be the president, but he didn’t get to be in Sharknado 3. (laughs)

What I would like to make is a near-future techno black comedy action movie set after the building of the Mexican wall. I figured that it might be appropriate after they build this fucking barrier.”

Sandro: Is it going to be like Escape from New York?
A little bit yeah. The plotline has a main character who’s an American. He’s making billions in bitcoin. But in order for this to work he has to keep his service at the south side of the wall so he can stay immune to the treaties. But because of a malware plague he has to personally go south of the wall to deal with his service. This is set during 24 hours. A Yankee travels south of the wall to fix his bitcoin machine. So it’s a bit like an economic Escape from New York.”


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In 2016 was Filmhoek ook al aanwezig bij BUTFF om filmmakers te interviewen. Bekijk hier ons verslag.