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12 Things We Learned from Crispin Glover’s Reddit AMA

Professional weirdo Crispin Hellion Glover (his real name) made an appearance on Reddit this morning, ostensibly to promote his new movie The Bag Man. As with most things involving Glover, however, his AMA soon took a turn for the endearingly strange, touching on his 1989 album The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be as well as the first two movies in his yet-to-be-completed It Trilogy. Read his thoughts on making a living in Hollywood, financing his own movies, and why his Back to the Future experience was less than ideal, right this way.

1. It was his idea for the Thin Man in Charlie’s Angels to be mute: “After I read the screenplay and the producers wanted to know what my thoughts were I let them know I thought it should be a character played without dialogue. McG, the director was very enthusiastic immediately and that ended up happening. I had much more influence on that character than virtually any character I have played be it in a large or small film. Another thing that came from me was the hair fetishism.”

2. The writer and star of It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. has quite the backstory: “Steve [C. Stewart] had been locked in a nursing home for about ten years when his mother died. He had been born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and he was very difficult to understand. People that were caring for him in the nursing home would derisively call him an “M.R.” short for ‘Mental Retard’. This is not a nice thing to say to anyone, but Steve was of normal intelligence. When he did get out he wrote his screenplay… Steven C. Stewart died within a month after we finished shooting the film. Cerebral palsy is not generative but Steve was 62 when we shot the film. One of Steve’s lungs had collapsed because he had started choking on his own saliva and he got pneumonia.”

3. He uses his income from bigger-budget films to fund his passion projects:Charlie’s Angels came out it did very well financially and was good for my acting career. I started getting better roles that also paid better and I could continue using that money to finance my films that I am so truly passionate about. I have been able to divorce myself from the content of the films that I act in and look at acting as a craft that I am helping other filmmakers to accomplish what it is that they want to do. Usually filmmakers have hired me because there is something they have felt would be interesting to accomplish with using me in their film and usually I can try to do something interesting as an actor. If for some reason the director is not truly interested in doing something that I personally find interesting with the character then I can console myself that with the money I am making to be in their production I can help to fund my own films that I am so truly passionate about. Usually though I feel as though I am able to get something across as an actor that I feel good about. It has worked out well.”

4. The dirty details of his post-Back to the Future lawsuit, from his side: “The producers used the molds that were taken from my face from the original film and had prosthetics made to resemble my face to be placed on another actor to make them look like me and then inter-spliced a small amount of footage of me from the original film with the actor in prosthetics to resemble me in order to fool audiences in to believing I was in the film. There was an actress that was replaced with another actress in the film, but they simply cast another actor in that role with no prosthetics. Had they simply cast another actor to play the role of George McFly there would have been no criminal activity on the part of the producers and there would have been no lawsuit. Since they did not own my face nor make an financial agreement with me to use my facial features what they did was stealing something they did not own for personal again and therefore what they did was illegal and why there was a lawsuit and why there are rules in the Screen Actors Guild that make it so producers can never to this kind of thing again.”

5. But there’s no hard feelings against Robert Zemeckis: ” In 2005-2007 I had a very positive experience working with Robert Zemeckis again playing Grendel in his Beowulf. When working together the subject of the lawsuit was never brought up.”

6. He’s not quite as bad a dancer as he seems in Friday the 13th, Part IV: “The dance that is now seen a lot on the internet was more syncopated than it might seem. The original music was AC DC’s “Back in Black.” I asked them to play that for the actual filming of the scene which they did, but the music they used in the soundtrack was something that was less syncopated to the dance. It was always an an unusual way to dance, but probably made even more unusual by the non-fitting music put over it.”

7. Why his middle name is Hellion: “My father Bruce Glover is an actor… His middle name is Herbert. He never liked his middle name Herbert. So as a young struggling actor in New York he would say to himself “I am Bruce H. Glover, Bruce Hellion Glover. I am a hellion a troublemaker.” And that would make him feel good. He told my mother this was his real middle name. When they were married she saw him writing on the marriage certificate Bruce Herbert Glover and she thought ‘Who am I marrying?’ They gave Hellion to me as my real middle name.”

8. Glover’s surrealistic first film, What Is It?, was his way of commenting on the mainstream film industry’s self-censorship: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 film making. 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?…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 it’s media?’ It is a bad thing because 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 the contents this culture’s media. I would like people to think for themselves.”

9. Glover shoots his films at a 17th-century chateau in the Czech Republic: “I have converted its former horse stables in to film shooting stages. Czech is another culture and another language and I need to build up to complex productions…The sets for my next film productions were in construction for over two years now…These films will be relatively affordable by utilizing the basic set structures that can be slightly re-worked for variations and yet each film will feel separate from one another in look and style yet still cinematically pleasing.”

10. His next film will be a collaboration with his dad: “My father, Bruce Glover, is also an actor who has appeared in such films as Chinatown and Diamonds Are Forever and he and I have not yet acted together on film. The project with my father is the next film I am currently preparing to make as a director/producer. This will be the first role I have written for myself to act that will be written primarily as an acting role, as opposed to a role that was written for the character I play to merely serve the structure.”

11. His favorite novel is Crime and Punishment: “The descriptive ability by Dostoyevsky and his story structure and moral sense is unsurpassed by anything I have ever read.”

12. A lot of his answers were pre-written: “The way I normally answer questions is from a 1600 word document that I have saved from my written interviews over the last 9 years of touring with my live shows and feature films I have directed. This means I can use that resource to answer certain commonly asked questions and respond in more detail to less commonly asked questions.”

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