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In Deep Waters
By Alexis Iacone

First things first: there's so much gross-out humor in mainstream cinema today. Where does John Waters fit in?

There's a battle of filth going on right now which I've long since retired from. but I never tired to just do that. I make elitist films. almost foreign movies in America, about America. I saw Scary Movie; like There's Something About Mary. And frankly, I'm just thrilled that you can show testicles and penises and get an R rating now. Who knows where it will go next. But I predict that in the next 10 years major Hollywood movie stars will be having real sex, with penetration on screen.

Cecil B. Demented is very political. Would you ever direct something serious? Or a romantic comedy perhaps?

I would certainly not do a romantic comedy! I can't think of a genre I more despise. All romantic comedies to me are vaguely deodorant commercials. If I did make one, it would star two ugly people and it wouldn't work. Or I could satirize one, but I already did that with Divine and Tab Hunter in Polyester. Name one serious film that you could suddenly see me making ... I can't!

There are some hysterical scenes in your movie which make fun of Patch Adams and Forrest Gump. Do these films represent the worst of Hollywood to you?

Patch Adams is the Pink Flamingos of the G-rated set, isn't it? It's that extreme; it would make my fans tremble in fear and cry if they had to watch it. So, I kinda like that film.

But did you see the film when it came out in theaters?

No! I viewed it while writing my movie, but would I go to a theater to see it? If it was playing at the dollar movies, I would. I would actually go dressed up as Patch Adams and start shouting out dialogue during the movie, talking to children as they ran out of the theater. Then the police would probably be called. That's my fantasy ... being the only Patch Adams cult member.

These days we seem to be obsessed with people's sexuality in general ... especially in Hollywood. What are your thoughts?

Well, it's a political question now. Before AIDS, it wasn't. Me, they never asked. I always said I was gay, so it was never a "stop the presses " issue. Personally, I'm not obsessed by what movie star is gay or straight. I've always said that gay is not enough. Now a twist on gay, that's fun!

Would you ever consider doing a film specifically on gay culture?

I don't know it well enough to make fun of it. I've never been to a circuit party! It's strange. They're taking drugs and don't buy anything except gallons of water ... like the Evian well is dry. I want to see all those empty Evian bottles. That would be a great movie: Thousands of circuit queens running to France in search of more Evian.

Would we ever find John Waters walking through Chelsea?

You're talking to a gay man who has never been to the baths or a gym in his whole life. Chelsea's fine. I'd like to go there shirtless and really have people running out of there. It would be like the time Divine and I went to the beach and were told to leave by the police because of the way we looked together in bathing suits! It was so insulting.

Cecil & Co. take vows of celibacy 'til their film is done. Has the line you've drawn in your work changed over time?

No. What certainly has changed are the times and the exhibition of films, and what I think is funny and haven't done before. But I don't censor myself. How could I? I just wrote something where a gerbil goes up Alicia Witt's ass!

From HX Magazine, August 2000.