Interviews Archive for September, 2010

Digital Nation: Barry Munday

As red herrings go, it’s tough to beat castration. The title character of Chris D’Arienzo’s truly offbeat comedy, Barry Munday, undergoes just such an operation. It’s required after the father of a promiscuous teenager slams a trumpet into crotch of the two-bit, happy-hour lothario in a movie theater. Poor Barry didn’t even have time to…

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Catfish directors Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, star Nev Schulman

DP/30 – The dynamic trio of filmmaker/subjects from the Sundance sensation Catfish talk with David Poland about how and why they made the film.

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Interview: The Savory Sound of Fatih Akin’s Soul Kitchen

Music is both architecture and pulse in Fatih Akin’s tasty, generous farcical food-com, “Soul Kitchen.” Music’s there from the start of writing the script, he tells me, as well as confessing a nasty addiction to something called “vinyl.”

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Bright Star, director Jane Campion, actor Ben Whishaw (TIFF ’09)

The complete version of this interview got lost in the shuffle. Apologies. Never too late, I guess.

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The Gronvall Files:Going the Distance from Fact to Fiction with Director Nanette Burstein

Change is good, although it’s not always easy to reinvent oneself. But New York filmmaker Nanette Burstein, a Best Documentary Feature Oscar nominee for On the Ropes (which she co-directed with Brett Morgen), doesn’t miss a step in her transition from nonfiction film to narrative features.

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Interviews

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“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook

“Billy Wilder said to me, ‘Those of us who are hyphenates deserve a couple more beats,’ and I knew what he meant. As a director, you make sure a scene is not beat-heavy. You need just enough beats in the rhythm. Billy also used to say, ‘Whatever you do, is your mark. You don’t have to go out and impress someone. Let them look at your work.’”
~ Jerry Lewis