dreamland news history filmography in print shop divine

Interview with John Waters

From SEX AND GUTS Magazine
April 8, 2002


John Waters: Hi Lydia.

Lydia Lunch: Hi John. Hey, both myself and Gene are going to do you together today.

JW: Oh, that's okay.

LL: So I'm going to start it off.

JW: And you're taping right?

LL: Aaaand we're taping. I wish we were videotaping. I'll talk to you about that later.

JW: Okay.

LL: One of the most charming aspects of your personality is that in spite of all the difficulties, and they've been numerous, that you've
encountered in getting your films made, you never seem to appear bitter. And you've always managed to maintain a very enthusiastic disposition. How do you do it?

JW: Well, what do I have to really be bitter about? Like right now, I don't even know who's making my next movie. So I'm pitchin' it, and it's the same thing. Never, when I finish a movie.after 35 years, you'd think, you might think. I don't have Woody Allen's career, let's put it that way. I can't just right the end of my treatment and that's the first day of pre-production. But why should I be bitter? I've never had to get a job I hated. I've always been able to make movies. You know, I have other careers too. I'm a photographer, I get to do college lectures. But I always have to get up in the morning, think of something fucked up, and figure out in the afternoon how to make money from that. And that's not a bad job!

LL: I understand completely.

JW: Because, you know, I can go to work in my underpants. I can.

LL: Are you in them now?

JW: Nooooo. But in the morning I only have to walk through two rooms, from my bedroom to where I write, so it's not like I even have to go out and go to a boss, I don't even have to walk to work!

LL: Exactly. You seem so easily amused and have an almost childlike awe, which is completely endearing. But what is exactly the best way to entertain you on a Sunday afternoon?

JW: Funny you would say that. That's the one day you would never find me. It's the one day I don't answer my phone, it's the one day I don't go out.

LL: You pull a Larry Hagman?

JW: I stay in bed and read all day. But the best way to entertain me? It depends on what city we're in! Because in Baltimore I like it low, and in New York I like it fancy sometimes. In LA, I like it. Everywhere's different. I have a different kind of circle of friends in each city. But most of them I have known for a long, long time, and one thing that I can say, with my friends in each city, we don't talk about my career. Or theirs! That is not the main subject of contention. Which is a relief to me. Because if people only talked about movies to me, what would I make movies about? I've gotta hear other people's stories. I've gotta hear their worst days. I've gotta hear about their lunatic struggles! It's just as interesting to me. I mean, that's entertainment. Mary Vivian Pierce once said to me, "just think about all the horror stories that go on in other people's lives!" I wanna hear 'em!

LL: Well, no wonder you're amused! Being a naughty Catholic, you must be very thrilled at-I know I am-at the recent controversy surrounding the Catholic chruch, which by now has implicated over a hundred priests.

JW: Well, by saying I'm a naughty Catholic... first of all, I'm an –ex-Catholic, and I was raised-oddly enough- I only went to Catholic high school, which was worse! I was in private grade school. My mother was Catholic and my father wasn't. They sent you to Sunday school, where they really were mean to you, because they thought that your parents didn't send you to Catholic school, so they would say "your parents are going to Hell" and other stuff the nuns would tell you. Am I thrilled about it? To me, more guilty than the pedophiles are the priests that knew about it and kept moving them around. And unless they are fellow pedophiles, there is no excuse. They should be in prison. Pedophiles, I feel bad for sometimes. Because they don't choose to be one. Thank god I'm not one. I taught them in prison. They are impossible to make better. And only learn to lie. And they basically think that the [kids] love them back. And now it's a different thing. A fifteen year old, fucking them? It's a different thing. It's stupid, reckless, and illegal. But it's not pedophilia. It's a chicken queen.

Gene Gregorits: (Laughs, loudly.)

JW: A pedophile... look, pubic hair is where I draw the line.

LL: (laughs)

JW: I'm not turned on by a lack of pubic hair and I'm not talking about shaving.

LL: (laughs)

JW: if you're attracted to sixteen year old boys, you're a chicken queen. There is a difference.

LL: I draw the line at pubic hair myself.

JW: Sixteen year olds are horny and there are 16 year olds who wanna fuck adults. I'm not sayin' you should fuck'em! But it's a big difference to me. And what's most depressing about it; there was this very liberal Catholic magazine in Boston where this whole beehive of pedophilia seems to be centered. It is the aorta of lack-of-pubic-hair cocksucking. Seems to me. They did this cover story about trying to be very liberal or something, and [saying that] maybe it is the time now, for priests to be able to get married. That isn't going to solve anything! They still don't get it. That isn't going to solve pedophilia! People don't become pedophiles because they can't get pussy! It's not because they're horny. See, if all priests were allowed to be married, there still would be pedophile priests! So, even the liberal Catholics and the clergy don't undertsand it. To me, the people that should be in prison are the non-pedophiles that knew about them, and hid them, and moved them around, because they were letting them continue. They were encouraging it.

GG: The enablers.

JW: Yes.

GG: I saw you on television not long ago voicing that argument.

JW: On Politically Incorrect.

GG: It was on P.I., yeah. Is there any other strong conviction or view you have that riles people up to quite the extent that one must?

JW: I don't know if that riles people. You know, Catholicism... they are the enemy to me. Although my mother is a Catholic, she doesn't push it on me. Yeah, it's a very important part of her life, but she's not a fanatic! She's not anti-gay, she doesn't march or picket abortion clinics. That's fine. If it makes her happy, fine. I'm not against that.

GG: I was meaning more in terms of your age-of-consent argument, drawing the line at pubic hair. It's not the most popular opinion.

JW: Oh I don't know. Certainly, I think that anyone else, if they are honest, will admit that there are horny sixteen year olds, who are looking to get laid. But it's reckless and stupid, and if you're forty years old, it's pretty dumb to chase sixteen year olds. But you might find one! And I don't think that you'd need to be in prison. You may need to be in a psychiatrist's office! And you certainly shouldn't be in a confessional.

GG: Chopper was one of your favorite films of 2001. It was my favorite, outright, of last year.

JW: Loved Chopper.

GG: Yeah, it was great! Did it make you think, or have you ever thought about doing a real life, true crime bio-pic yourself?

JW: Well, I think I already did it, twice in a way. Serial Mom was a parody of a true crime movie. It even started out with the time and the date, and at the end it said certain people "chose not to participate in the making of this film." And Female Trouble was, in a way, a true crime movie. But base it on a real case?

GG: Yeah.

JW: Yes, if I hadn't made Serial Mom, but since I did make Serial Mom, than no. I've done that genre.

GG: Right. Confederacy Of Dunces is the funniest book I've ever read. I heard that you had taken a meeting to discuss the possibility of directing a planned adaptation of that film, one of the many that never got off the ground in Hollywood over the years. But in that meeting something went terribly wrong, I was told. Who was the producer at that meeting?

JW: (irritated) No way. I'm not going to say his name. It's a very, very touchy situation. If we're gonna get into that subject, of the Manson Family, which I do believe you were leading to.

GG: No! I mean, I didn't know Manson was involved in that.

JW: Oh. Well, what happened in that meeting was this was before I knew how to pitch a movie in Hollywood. And I probably gave them a very bad pitch for one thing. Because I didn't know how to do it yet. I later found out, that the producer who I was picthing... I left him a copy of Shock Value. And in that book is a picture of me and Tex Watson. I later discovered that this producer was the one who discovered the bodies. Talk about awkward.

LL: (laughs)

JW: He didn't call me back.

GG: (laughs)

JW: But I felt bad about that now, and also, I feel very differently now, about the Manson Family.


JW: [Hollywood] believes that three stars will make every movie a hit. They never can, and that takes a long time, and luckily if they get the green light, and that's the hardest one to get, then you have pre-production, then you make the movie. You edit it. You score it, The music, and the press and the interviews and all the promotion in Europe. It's two and a half years if every single thing goes perfectly for me from the first day. And it never does. So it's a very, very long process if you're like me and want your nose in everything.

GG: I was wondering, out of the last, say, 4 films, has been the hardest to get off the ground and the hardest to release?

JW: Cecil B. Demented was the hardest to shoot, because I had thirty-one days. I had thirty-three days to make Pecker, which is basically a movie about the art world where people talk. And Cecil B. Demented has 12 major characters that were in every scene, and guns, and action. Car chases. They're all hard to get off the ground. I thought up Cecil B. Demented before Pecker and I couldn't get it made. So I made Pecker, then went back and made Cecil B. Demented. It just depends. Every year, the kinds of people who say "yes" change positions. They're never gone (laughs), they move to another place. Or they just had a hit, or they're making a movie, or they're not making movies now. So it's very political in a way, and I do read all the trade papers. I keep up on that. Because it's important, for when I'm going to make the next movie. I mean, CAA is my agent, which is kind of the ultimate irony. I have the most Hollywood kind of agents. But they're great. Now, the difference between independent films and Hollywood films is very, very little. Hollywood's looking for the next weirdo movie, and the art distributors are looking for next movie that can cross over. So they are both looking for impossible things! (laughs)

LL: Do you try to see every mainstream.

JW: Oh, GOD no.

LL: .movie that comes out? I mean, you just mentioned.

JW: I'm not a masochist anymore Lydia.

GG: (laughs)

JW: I certainly was. But I just never.there are certain ones that I just know I'm never going to see. And, no, I don't.

LL: You mentioned Y Tu Mama Tambien. Was that the last major release?

JW: That's an independent film. It's a Mexican film that, if it was rated, would be an NC-17.

LL: Yes, but it is a major release film.

JW: Yeah, I loved that.

LL: Well, what is the last mainstream film that you saw?

JW: Let me look. I write down every movie I see. I might not have seen one. Oh! Panic Room.

LL: How was it?

JW: Fine! I love Jodie! I like that genre of movie. I remember The Penthouse. I remember Lady In A Cage. (booming) Kitten With a Whip! Woman left alone in her apartment. So that was the last mainstream movie. I thought it was fine.

LL: What do you think of David Fincher in general?

JW: He made Seven, and Fight Club?

LL: Yes.

JW: I thought they were great. Really big budget, fairly radical movies.

LL: I love David Fincher. Loved Seven. Gene is obsessed with Fight Club.

JW: [Panic Room] is definitely less radical than Fight Club.

GG: What are your basic feelings on Fight Club?

JW: Well, I love violence in movies. I hate violence in real life. I've never been in a [serious] fight in my life, probably because I'd lose.

GG: (laughs)

JW: If I could beat people up, maybe I'd be the most violent person. But anyone could beat me up, basically. I haven't been in a lot of fights in my life. I'm not bad at a verbal fight. There, I win. But if it ever comes down to Friday night brawl, I hop in the car and peel out. There aren't too many people.(chuckles) trying to get into fights with me. And I'm not walking around with a chip on my shoulder after two drinks. (laughs)

LL: Any other directors out there who you feel are doing something really original?

JW: Yeah! You know, I really like Todd Solondz, I really liked his last movie. I know some people didn't, but I thought it was really good. I like Todd Haynes a lot. I like Hal Hartley. I like Bruce LaBruce very much. François Ozone, this French director. I liked The Piano Teacher and Y Tu Mama Tambien, the two movies I most liked that I've seen recently. So, I think it's better than ever, I really do. I don't think my generation was better. I think all the young kids today. I go to colleges and lecture all the time-still doin' that, Lydia-

LL: (exasperated, drawn out) I'm doing it too. I know!

JW: You know who opened for me in two places? Peaches.

LL: Oh good!

JW: Yeah, she was great. The Vaudeville Circuit! We're both still on it! I feel the kids now are great. You don't have to move to LA or New York anymore. There's cute, cool kids everywhere. Because of the internet, they don't have to leave. Because, New York is NOT so cutting edge these days!

LL: Haven't lived there in 12 years.

JW: I have an apartment there and I love it there, but believe me, there's no Avenue D. There's no bad neighborhoods anymore in New York. Which is sad for young people.

GG: It is really sad, and plus, the fact is, that in those neighborhoods you would find people today that measured up to the genuine freakishness and authenticity of people like your Dreamlanders, in the 70's. You've said that you see weird and cool kids all over the place, but how often does a weirdo really catch your eye, someone with the style of your original cast members?

JW: Oh I don't know.I see cool kids all the time. And I think the art world in New York has the cutest kids. I think all the most stylish kids are usually out at every art opening. But yeah, I still go to the underground clubs and yeah, the kids still look great today. I guess if I was 18, would I be pierced and tattooed? I would like the piercing I think, because you can take it out. But a tattoo is too butch for me, basically. And I never had a lot of muscle, so if I was going to get any tattoo, I would just get Popeye's anchor. You know, the most pitiful tattoo, you know, the anchor with the rope around it?

GG: (long, excruciating laughter)

LL: But today, everyone is pierced and tattooed for instant credibility.

JW: Yeah.

LL: As the mainstream and the media become more explicit - I call it the pornification of America, what with Gregory Dark directing Britney Spears, which is just amazing, insane.

JW: Are you against it?

LL: Well, let me finish. With MAD TV doing heroin spoofs and I think, is it causing... let me put it this way: is Neo-Conservatism next, as the backlash against this?

JW: Well, what it is, is it's just over. Who makes gross-out movies now? Hollywood. It's come full circle. The only thing left, is for a Hollywood star to show penetration. And I said that last year at the Independent Spirit Awards. It did happen this year with European stars, in that movie Intimacy. And in Fat Girl, which is a movie I like very much too. The next thing is that's the only thing left. Once that happens, the rating system will be over, because if it's in a serious film, that's going to win Oscars, believe me, they'll try to do that. Give the actor bravery for giving a blow job or something. Basically, then it'll be over, because that's the only taboo left. But the gross out stuff the gore? I mean, what was Saving Private Ryan? The first twenty minutes was a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie. And then you have Freddy Got Fingered and all those movies, this new National Lampoon movie [Van Wilder-ed.], they're all gross-out movies. I would never use [gross-out scenes] like that anymore. I'm not against it! I thought Scary Movie was funny. But it's over. As far as cutting edge or there being anything new. I don't think kids are even interested in that anymore. I think it's better, because they have to think of a new way. Because it's weird, and it's hard.

LL: To me, I think the new way is that we've been shown everything. But we're not being told anything. This is what is always missing so much, and I like good a good slasher, a horror, or piece of pornography probably more than the next woman, however.I want something that goes deeper than the gore. I want the psychological reasoning behind it.

JW: You don't think Cronenberg does that?

LL: Well, yeah and Dead Ringers is one of my favorite films. But what was the last good film he made?

JW: Ooooh, I think they're all good! I think Naked Lunch was good! I think M. Butterfly was good. I think Crash was great!

LL: Oh, Crash was great.

JW: Yeah. So like you said, there is one who does do that.

LL: Yeah and that's what we need more of. It's like the Madonna theory. They will show us everything, and we're left with this spiritual and psychological void.

JW: But don't you find the new ones funny? Don't you find Andrew W.K. great?

LL: No!

GG: I love him!

JW: I love him too.

GG: (laughs)

JW: I think he's hilarious. He might only be here for five minutes, but I play his record loudly in my car. People give me dirty looks at every red light. I really feel like Don Knotts playing his music. "Let's parrrrrty till we PUKE! Yeah!" He makes me laugh and puts me in a good mood.

GG: It's great. He's got that bloody nose on the album cover, the cocaine nose, which I think is pretty ballsy.

JW: It's FUNNY to me! It's a joke, and I don't think he's in on the joke. I'm all for it.

GG: Well, going back in Cronenberg, I think that is a very metaphysical kind of psychology, he's a very metaphysical thinker, and his psychology is very whacked out. Almost his own. Doesn't really apply to... well, it's not the same kind of criminal psychology as in Chopper or Henry.

JW: Yeah. [On the verge of asking me where the hell I'm going with this question.]

GG: So do you feel a need for films which look at a more everyday type of social pathology?

JW: Well, have you seen Bully?

GG: Yeah, loved it.

JW: That was my favorite movie of the year.

GG: Great.

JW: And I love that. And the crotch-cam shot, where for no apparent reason, all of a sudden the camera just RACES up a young girls skirt for no reason. That is a new style I very much approve of. And I'm hoping it is copied in Hollywood! For no reason the camera just runs up Julia Roberts skirt. In the middle of a dramatic scene. There's a movie that surprised me. I'm always waiting to be surprised. I'm looking for that every time I go to the movies. But I still think there are really good movies. Did you see Fat Girl?

GG: No.

JW: That is really one to watch. It's a French film made by a woman, and not only does it have underage sex in it, but it has incredible violence that is really surprising and well done. Did you see Funny Games?

GG: Heh heh. Yeah. Funny Games I absolutely despise.

JW: WHOAH! There's a tough one.

GG: I thought that movie was just a really rude, pretentious practical joke on the viewer.

JW: Oh I really liked it.

GG: You liked it.

JW: I thought it was torture. It was like "Andy Warhol's Torture". That one scene that went on [for fifteen minutes], showing her in the agony, of her child having just been murdered (chuckles). He made The Piano Teacher.

GG: He made The Piano Teacher?

JW: Yeah.

GG: Ooooh, I see.

JW: (laughs)

GG: Well, about psychological reasoning.in your films, there is usually a reason why someone goes apeshit. Dawn Davenport didn't get her cha-cha heels.

LL: Hahaha.

GG: But today, it's like the only real motivation is boredom. In Bully, it was mostly boredom. And boredom, that seems to be the only excuse. I don't buy that.

JW: Well, it's the excuse, and they were also very dumb. It is very appealing to sometimes see dumb people go crazy, in a movie. It's sexy.

GG: Right. Yet still, there's only that reasoning. Boredom. Nothing to do. Does that become boring in itself to you, after a while?

JW: That movie was anything but boring. In the middle, it did get boring, but in the right way. Just listening to their stupid conversations, saying "whatever" every five seconds. Being on acid and saying "whatever"...

GG: Hahhahaa! Right.

JW: ...is a concept that is frightening! And interesting to watch.

GG: Well, Cry Baby, as both tribute and parody of the fifties, has a real and authentic sense of rebellion, even though it was a comedy. I think that it articulates that sense of rebellion even better than Pink Flamingos did.

JW: You are one of few who feel that way. But thank you! (long laugh)

GG: Yeah. But my point is, okay.the good drugs are gone, a lot of them. AIDS has made promiscuous sex like whistling in a graveyard.

JW: But you know it's back in New York, it is back. There are back rooms. There's even back rooms in one lesbian bar now.

GG: I did not know that.

JW: It is back. In Baltimore - and I won't name it - there is one theatre that still has public sex. It even has nude people walking around the popcorn stand. It is coming back, and I'm not saying that that is good or bad. It's good if people are safe. But I don't know who knows, you know. But it is coming back at least in New York, and that is one thing that's quite good about this new mayor.

GG: In general though, do you feel that there is a new age of McCarthy-ism coming up here, and if you do, what kind of rebellion would you imagine for kids today, besides becoming schoolyard snipers and suicide bombers. (laughs)

JW: I think... well, fourteen year olds, first of all, gay is not enough. It means nothing anymore. No one cares, and they don't even know. That's important. I think you can get on your parent's nerves easy. You know, a black kid can listen to Marilyn Manson, If you're a white kid just speak in ebonics. Even that's old but it works, still. RACE is still the best way to scare people. And sex. And I think kids today really don't care about that anymore. It's not even an issue, which I find really heartening. I mean, eventually, there will be no black magazines and no gay magazines. Because it won't matter. And maybe that's the best progress. When it's all one thing. When it's not good or bad because it's black or gay; it's just good.

LL: Well, because everything is being homogenized and co-opted basically. And then fed back to us. It's gutting the underbelly of everything. That's why I fear this Neo-Conservatism coming back, as a rebellion. Even if it's only a rebellion against what came before. Because how much further is it going to go? We've had Columbine, and the twelve other schoolyard massacres.

JW: And people still haven't learned, in high schools. They're still mean to weird kids.

GG: They're still mean. However, the penalties for breaking any law or rule are so much stiffer now. Things you could get away with even ten years ago you might get thrown in jail for today. Spraypainting or harrassment or whatever. That, in many ways, makes good old fashioned hooliganism into something much scarier.

JW: Oh come on. When I was in high school, being bad was beating somebody up. (laughs) Back then, no one was coming in with a machine gun! Everybody has had that fantasy, at least anyone who is creative. But today.I don't feel neo-conservativism. I don't feel that, really. I don't feel all the young kids that I see... well, obviously, those kids who are into neo-conservatism are not going to come and see me.

LL: Well I think it's polictics, and as politics becomes more fascist.

JW: Who knows what's going to happen. Look, I can't stand Bush, but I think anyone who had been elected president would have handled the situation exactly the same, because they would have gotten the same advice from the same people. I don't think he did such a terrible job in this, I mean what would anybody have done then? At the same time.and here's a perfect example. I actually feel, that John Walker Lynd will end up being a model. Because, first of all, he was swooning on morphine. And everyone loves to hate him, because he's
the biggest traitor in the world: he brought back grunge to fashion. He weighed eight pounds, because he was swooning on morphine, with no lawyer, I mean what can you say? You want to talk about rebellion? There's a way to rebel! "I'M GOING TO AFGHANISTAN! And you can't stop me. I'm learning Arabic! I'm hanging out with Bin Laden!" He's the biggest juvenile delinquent we've had.

GG: (laughs)

JW: And he's done it with flair, you have to admit. And give him an expensive psychiatrist, a good lawyer, I'm tellin ya. He's gonna get off, and be a model.

LL: Did the destruction of the World Trade Center impact your day to day reality?

JW: Certainly.

LL: For how long?

JW: I stood at 12th street and 6th Avenue and watched it, in New York. Of course. It was in my life, probably, one of the most threatening things I'm ever going to remember. It made everybody stop and be thankful for what they have, made people realize that you don't have to be spinning your wheels as much. The thing I remember, is I was standing on the corner and a stranger next to me said, "I'm moving to Montana", and the guy on the other side of me said, "Welllll! They got it this time!" Which kind of shocked me, because remember, they bombed it before but only got the basement. I went to the movies that night and saw L.I.E., because the big cinema on 14th Street, the Union Square Cinema, they were all free. It was the big memorial thing there, so ALL the movies and all the popcorn, everything was free. Actually, no that was the second night. The first night was even weirder! I went to a dinner party at Bryson and Hellen Martins. You know, he's a great painter, celebrity art world thing. But it was her birthday and they had all the food there, and he just said, well I don't know what to do with it! Everybody just went, and watched the television. It was kind of nice, I mean it could be an off-Broadway play. Sitting there watching with Fran Leibovitz. It was good though. Nobody was really cracking jokes or anything. Everybody was STUNNED! And everybody got together and it was people who you would never expect to be together in a national act of war. It was frightening. That was twenty blocks from where the house was. I don't think I ever made jokes about it or anything! I think it was something that was terrifying, and it will be felt. People already have the Bin Laden look in their fashion shows. I think it will be the ultimate punk look in about four years. It will become like the swastika, a way to REALLY get on someone's nerves.

GG: (laughs)

LL: Do you feel safe in Baltimore, considering the crime rate? I don't know if it has escalated or improved.

JW: I know which blocks not to walk on. I feel safe everywhere, to be honest.

LL: So do I.

JW: I'm not scared in a ghetto, walking down the street. They start laughing sometimes when they see me.

LL: Hmmm. (laughs)

JW: But when they recognize me, that is a certain protection I have. And if you look like you don't fit in, in an outsider world, but you aren't uptight, you don't get hassled. It's really when you're there and fear the people.

LL: What are you reading now?

JW: I'm reading, at this minute, The Life Of Brenda Lee. It's called Little Miss Dynamite.

(all three laugh)

LL: Gene?

GG: Sorry. What are you working on these days? Besides the sex film?

JW: That and two other projects I really can't talk about because I feel like if you talk about them before they happen it just makes them evaporate before they happen. I'm having a lot of photo shows. There's one opening in Seatttle. One in New Orleans. Just had one in San Francisco.

GG: What kinds of photos are you taking now?

JW: Well, I've been taking these for a long time. I take pictures of other people's movies off the TV screen and re-arrange them in storyboards the way I think they should be. I make a new movie of other people's images.

GG: With the new onslaught of gross out films and South Park-culture films currently dumbing down this country without an ounce of the irony or intellect of your films, do you ever get even a little pissed off that your films don't play as many screens as American Pie 2? Or don't you care?

JW: Nooo! The kinds of movies I've always liked don't show in every theatre. My movies are foreign films, even in America.

LL: (laughs)

JW: That's okay. No, I want them to succeed but I am a realist. It isn't going to play in every single movie theatre. But you have to play in one movie theatre, in each city, in each country. And they can work, if they don't cost too much money. I'm realist. I know they can break even. No, they can't just break even, they HAVE TO. To make money. My films have what's called in publishing a good backlist. They stay in print a long time. Shelf life, in a way. They keep coming out again, on new DVDs and that kind of stuff. I don't know that I'm that mad about that. Because look, you never know what's going to happen. Who would have thought that Boys Don't Cry would win an Oscar? Who would have ever thought that American Beauty could win? Things are very, very different now.

LL: The most important thing is, you just keep doing it. I mean that's all we can do.

JW: Yeah!

LL: Just keep doing what we do.

JW: Exactly. And times change and you do have to change some. You do have to re-invent yourself-you know that Lydia. You can't be the punk that you first were when you - it just doesn't work that way. Everything changes. You can be a great new version of that, and you've gotta keep shading it and keep going with it. But you always have to be a realist about that time you live in. And what the market is. It would be really dumb for me to make midnight movies; we don't have 'em.

GG: One last question. I was wondering if you had any recent film discoveries you might want to plug, any new obsessions filmwise, old or obscure things Sex & Guts readers might want to check out.

JW: Let me think. I went to Sundance and I thought I saw every new movie that.an old vintage movie? Let me think, maybe some new kick that I was on. Filmwise, I can't think of one really. I go to Film Forum every once in a while, and the last one that I saw was the movie Eva by Joseph Losey, that I really, really love. I love failed art movies, the genre that I'm really big on, that we don't have that much of anymore.

GG: There was a great sort of failed Western art film that Dwight Yoakam made.

JW: (LOUD laughter)

GG: ...called South Of Heaven West Of Hell. It's a sort of existential Western splatter film that falls flat on it's ass, and it's a lot of fun to watch that happen.

JW: Have you seen Death To Smoochy?

GG: Not yet. Is it good?

JW: Well, it's... (laughs).

GG: (laughs)

JW: I have to respect it. I'm not so sure it worked, but it's the kind of movie that will.it's definitely worth seeing. I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but it's worth seeing. It took a lot of risks.

LL: And Gene has threatened to go see that every day for the last week anyway. (laughs)

JW: Yeah. I think he'd better go soon. (laughs)

LL: Okay. My final question is, John.what do I have to do to get on the casting couch?

JW: Oh you know, I've never used a casting couch, to be honest with you. I guess I have slept with people after the movie, but not during.

[Lydia and I are all but rolling on the floor and laughing like hyenas.]

JW: It's not a good idea. Because the other cast members immediately realize it and hate you. Hahahahahhaha!

LL: I'll stay off the couch. I haven't found one yet that quite fit me anyway.

Visit Lydia Lunch online

Visit Sex & Guts Magazine