Crispin Glover Interview
Crispin Glover Interview
Crispin Glover is an American actor and star of the 1986 cult teenage film, River’s Edge, alongside the likes of Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper. The film follows the actions of a group of teenagers and a young man who kills his girlfriend. When he shows off the body to his friends, they show no signs of angst or outrage at his actions, and the film begins to show the real affects of alienation from their parents and society on these kids in a rural, working class town.

Showing in a 25th anniversary special at the Sundance London Film Festival, he took the time to speak to View’s Matthew Turner about keeping in touch with his fellow River’s Edge co-stars and how he likes to finance his own films.
You play Layne in River's Edge, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. What are your abiding memories of making the film?

Crispin Glover

Shooting River’s Edge was a relatively fast shoot but everyone got along and liked the screenplay and everyone seemed to enjoy making the film.
Are you still in touch with your co-stars and [director] Tim Hunter?

Crispin Glover

Yes! I think fondly of everyone involved in making River’s Edge and am always glad when there is a retrospective of the film and when I see people that were involved in the production.
River's Edge is often credited as Keanu Reeves' break-out role. Was there a sense then that he was a movie star-in-waiting?

Crispin Glover

It was absolutely apparent that Keanu was likeable and did an excellent job in the role and would continue to work.
Have you re-watched the film since it came out? If so, do you have a favourite scene?

Crispin Glover

I like the film as a whole. There is a good dynamic with the styles and variations of performances. I like the original screenplay and how Tim Hunter cast it, his direction, the edit, and how all the actors come off in the film. It was well scored by Jurgen Knieper. It is a well balanced film, a film I am proud of and am glad that people are still interested in it.
Are you comfortable watching your own films and performances?

Crispin Glover

Yes, although as time has gone on I usually only watch the films now if there is a premiere and a sort of business reason to see the films or seeing footage.
What do you mostly look for in a project? Does the part always come first or are you as likely to be attracted to working with the director or cast?

Crispin Glover

Since the mid nineties I have been making my own films. This has had a great impact on how I run my career as an actor in the corporately funded and distributed film industry. My first film is titled “What Is It?”. I am very careful to make it quite clear that What Is It? is not a film about Down’s Syndrome but my psychological reaction to the corporate restraints that have happened in the last 20 to 30 years in film making. Specifically, anything that can possibly make an audience uncomfortable is necessarily excised or the film will not be corporately funded or distributed. This is damaging to the culture because it is the very moment when an audience member sits back in their chair, looks up at the screen and thinks to themselves, “Is this right what I am watching? Is this wrong what I am watching? Should I be here? Should the film-maker have made this? WHAT IS IT?” - and that is the title of the film.

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 into 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 into a feature I realised there were certain thematic elements in the film that related to what 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 the beautiful story and the naïve, 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 was the scene I remember reading that made me think, 'I will have to be the person to produce/finance this film.'

I specifically started funding my own films with the money I make from the films I act in. In the year 2000, this was around the same time that the first Charlie’s Angels film was coming to me. I realised with the money I made from that film I could put straight in to the Steven C. Stewart film. Then Steve died within a month after we finished shooting. I am relieved to have gotten this film finally completed because ever since I read the screenplay in 1987, I knew I had to produce the film and also produce it correctly.

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Content updated: 21/11/2018 11:55

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