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Highlights from The Gospel According To John
by Jay Jiminez
October 9, 1998 Next Magazine, New York

Most guys have a personal relationship with their peckers, what's your like?

Well, certainly, everyone doesn't have much of a choice but to have a personal relationship with their peckers - it's a part of our body. So I think it's a part of my body I'm quite used to. It's not something that I do exhibit in magazines or film fests, lets put it that way. My pecker is very different than John Waters' Pecker, the movie. (Laughs) I don't think I've ever discussed my pecker like this. Who discusses their pecker in an interview? Porn stars certainly do. (Laughs) I think until I decide to star in a porn movie I will leave that question somewhat unanswered.

Christina Ricci appears to be a consummate professional in all of her films - even back in her Addams Family days. What do you find so appealing about this young actress?

She's not an ingenue; she doesn't make safe choices; she's not the standard Jon Benet at thirteen. Christina has an amazing look - she doesn't look like anybody else. She's not just plain standard cute. And she takes roles that necessarily aren't always just plain standard cute. So, I just like her choices and I think that she has a very, very good sense of humor and a sense of timeing. And you can see the anger on her face - like when she's looking at the woman in Pecker dying her clothes in the laundromat. I was afraid in the next shot Christina was going to slit the woman's throat rather than just throw her out. She can really play that anger well. Nobody could ever play a Manson girl better than Christina Ricci.

You gave Ricki Lake a tremendous break when you cast her in Hairspray. What were the working dynamics like between Ricki and Divine?

Divine taught Ricki how to walk in high heels - Ricki had never been in a pair before. (Laughs) Ricki kind of freaked out when we bleacher her hair. That bright orange stuff in Harispray wasn't a wig. It was her real hair. And Divine said, "Oh, please, Ricki, how can you be worried about that? I've eaten shit, I swam across a river in drag in Female Trouble, I ate a rotten cow's heart in Multiple Maniacs." So, what could Ricki really say with this kind of trooper giving her advice?

Pecker incorporate a lot of your unique touches... I must admit, teabagging was a new one to me, John.

Teabagging was a new one to most people. I like to learn new sexual acts in the autumn of my years. Everyday should surprise people about sex. I was surprised yesterday when I did one of the late night talk shows and they told me a detail of Ken Starr's Report that I didn't know. They shared a footnote with me - now this is alleged from what they told me because I haven't seen it - that Monica Lewinsky rimmed the President! Now that was allegedly in the Starr Report. If that's true, then I like her all of a sudden. And I was startled. While teabagging is kind of a ludicrous sex act, rimming in the White House must really be hard! (Laughs) Where can you do that? You have to take your pants off, bend over - and the President has a rather large rear! It must have really been awkward, I think. (Laughs) So, if she did in fact rim the President, I now salute her.

John, I know you're not terribly fond of Monica Lewinsky...

No, no. I have a new-found rim respect.

Okay. Well, I now know you're fond of Monica Lewinsky due to the rimming incident, but that wasn't always the case...

Alleged rimming incident. I don't want to be sued by Monica Lewinsky for rimming statments. Imagine that trial...

Some people have said Monica would be ideal to play a bag lady or toothless whore in one of your films.

Who said that? I didn't. No, Monica Lewinsky hasn't done anything witty or clever yet. If she ever does, maybe I'll change my opinion of her. So far she seems like a power hag. You know, a power groupie that went after the President like Gacy did after some of his young boys. She was hardly an innocent bystander. I mean, when you're rimming the President - and I especially hope this was done while he was making a presidential decision - I'm sure there was less aggression in his political act. So, maybe that's okay.

Is "teabagging" just a novelty or is it here to stay like fellatio?

It's safer than fellatio, lets put it that way... You can't get pregnant; you can't get any sexually transmitted disease - well, except for leprosy. If you have leprosy on your balls and you hit someone on the forehad with your balls, then you might be able to transmit something.

Patty Hearst was the icon of my pre-adolescence in the 1970's. I met her in 1988 and was amazed at how tiny she is in real life. I was shocked - she was all of 5 feet 2 inches tall...

She's a little taller than that. Goddesses always seem smaller in person. But Patty certainly looks great these days.

...and all along I had this image of "Tania" (Patty's gigantic Symbionese Liberation Army alter ego) running through my head. In reality Patty Hearst was not the urban guerilla I was brainwashed into believing she was.

That's right. She was only Tania a long time ago when she was forced to be Tania. If she opted not to be Tania, she would have died. So, I think it's kind of unfair for some people to see her today as Tania. She made the correct decision by taking the role of Tania so she was not killed - or burned up by the FBI or the terrorists that kidnapped her. The very fact that she's alive today says that she gave a great performance under duress.

John, what was your initial impression of this woman and how the hell did you get Patty Hearst to join your group?

Well, upon my initial impression with her, I was like you. She was my left wing idol. I went to her trial; I was obsessed by her case. But when I met her in Cannes - where I saw the Paul Schrader movie, Patty Hearst - which certainly tells the story from her viewpoint, it was quite convincing. It made me change my mind about a lot of my almost romantic ideas about Patty Hearst's celebrity. It wasn't like that. She was kidnapped, she was taken out of her apartment by terrorists while she was doing her homework. The fact that she went to jail is a travesty of justice because she's alive and they're all dead. It was a complete nightmare for her. And that nightmare's been over for a long time. She's made more movies than she's had trials.