Crispin Glover: Everything is fine
Lauren German as "Ruth" questions things in It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. Photo: David Brothers.
It seems somewhat atypical in the film industry to see someone touring with their films as extensively as you've done with the first installments of the "It" trilogy. How did the decision ultimately come about; to do it this way?
The fact that I tour with the film helps the distribution element. I consider what I am doing to be following in the steps of vaudeville performers. Vaudeville was the main form of entertainment for most of the history of the US. It has only relatively recently stopped being the main source of entertainment, but that does not mean this live element mixed with other media is no longer viable. In fact it is apparent that it is sorely missed.
The way I distribute my films is certainly not traditional in the contemporary sense of film distribution, but perhaps is very traditional when looking further back at vaudeville era film distribution. If there are any filmmakers that are able to utilize aspects of what I am doing then that is good. It has taken many years to organically develop what I am doing now as far as my distribution goes.
How has the audience reception to your films been thus far? Has it varied from stop to stop?
There can be slight differences regionally. I have actually found that the areas traditionally thought of as being liberal can be more vocal about their upset specifically with What is it? than audiences in areas that are traditionally thought of as being conservative. There is actually a larger difference with people outside the borders of the US. People in the US tend towards getting more upset with What is it? than people living outside the US. It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE gets a more universally approved response worldwide. That has to do with an emotional catharsis that It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE operates in. That being said, sometimes people can get upset with It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE as well. All of these responses can vary from individual to individual regardless of the area of the world. Often people that come to my shows are looking to see something unusual.
I would not consider What is it? either a liberal or conservative film, but I do not think either film would be appropriate for anyone under the age of 18.
Despite being in a culture of sensationalistic media, there still seems to be a certain taboo surrounding disability, particularly concerning psychological and emotional autonomy. Although What Is It? is not a film about Down's Syndrome, it seems that a good deal of criticism arose out of the decision to cast actors with it. What do you think has been at the root of some of the more visceral reactions to the film?
The main intent of these films is not to make audiences uncomfortable, but to think for themselves. 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 filmmaking. 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 their self "Is this right what I am watching? Is this wrong what I am watching? Should I be here? Should the filmmaker have made this? What is it?" — and that is the title of the film. What is it that is taboo in the culture? What does it mean that taboo has been ubiquitously excised in this culture's media? What does it mean to the culture when it does not properly process taboo in its media? It is a bad thing when questions are not being asked, because these kinds of questions are when people are having a truly educational experience. For the culture to not be able to ask questions leads towards a non-educational experience and that is what is happening in this culture. This stupefies this culture and that is of course a bad thing. So What is it? is a direct reaction to this culture's media. I would like people to think for themselves. (continued on next page)