Mar 22, 2012 01:12 PM EST

God Bless America Interview, South by Southwest Film Festival 2012

God Bless America Interview, South by Southwest Film Festival 2012
From the mind of Bobcat Goldthwait comes God Bless America, which will be available on demand starting April 6 and in limited theaters on May 11.  God Bless America was screened at SXSW and was popular enough to earn an additional screening by becoming one of only a few SXSW Buzz films.  Recently had an opportunity to sit down with Bobcat Goldthwait along with the two stars of the film, Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr to discuss the film.  The basic premise of this film centers around Frank (Joel Murray) who has had enough of the downward course American culture seems to be taking.  So he buys a gun and decides to take out the stupidest, cruelest and most revile members of society.  He is joined along the way by 16 year old Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) on his mission.

We asked Bobcat what inspired him to make this movie.  "It's a statement on where we're going…how nasty and impolite {we've become}…I don't know what the tipping point was but when a commercial for a ringtone came on and it was an animated elephant that danced out and farted at me so I said to my wife, let's get some guns."  Now it should be noted that even he describes this movie as extremely violent.  Now while this may sound slightly like the general plot of Falling Down, Bobcat said he was inspired not by that film but by Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands, and Dog Day Afternoon.  "The difference between this movie and Falling Down is that {God Bless America} is a comedy, and Falling Down was trying to be serious."  Joel Murray added at this point "{What you see in Falling Down} is Michael Douglas in a bad haircut.  With {God Bless America} you can relate to me better because you're not familiar with me {as an actor}."

When questioned about the transition from being an actor to a director, Bobcat told us "I retired as an actor when they stopped hiring me….it took me this long to realize that I really like telling stories, that I really liked directing…this isn't a hobby or a way for me to reinvent myself.  Directing movies and writing them is really my favorite thing to do in the world."  

From that angle we asked both Joel and Tara what it was like to work for a director who used to be an actor.  Tara said "He put a lot of trust in us…it was a very laid back environment.  He sort of let us run with it."  Joel added "He wasn't demonstrative in any way.  Part of me was always thinking that this was a part he wrote for himself that I'm getting to play. "At this point Bob interjected "For the first couple of days {Joel played the part} in the {Bobcat} voice."   Joel replied to that "He said ‘No, that's wrong.'"  [See video excerpt from this part of the interview] "but he said ‘You've really got this guy.'"

Bob finished with "Yeah I'd gleefully be behind the lens, and [Joel] would be killing people or going on these rants that are kind of emotional for him to do and I'd be very happy.  I knew we had it.  If the movie worked for you it's because of Joel and Tara's role."  But on the subject of independent films in general, Bob mentioned "People are on board with small movies because they believe in it.  It's one of the great reasons why it's awesome to make small movies.  I also have almost complete freedom on the content so I hope I keep making movies this size…I've been involved in major studio pictures and most of them I didn't really enjoy.  I can't imagine myself ever making bigger movies because then I'd have to listen to other people's ideas."
Share this:

comments powered by Disqus