Dall’altra parte del cult – Interview with Jim Wynorski
This is the second international interview for our blog! After Bill Oberst Jr., we have as a guest Jim Wynorski, an institution in the world of the B-movies. Jim started with a master like Roger Corman, and has established a strong link with Italy (as well as being fond of spaghetti-western) living in Rome for some months. This is the interview, and this is the Italian version.
K: Hi Jim and thank you! From Wikipedia: “he has directed about 75 movies”. How your adventure in the world of cinema commence?
JW: Hi everyone, my career in movies began in 1979 when I worked for producer Herbert B. Leonard (Rin Tin Tin, Route 66) on a Tv pilot based on the film Breaking away. It starred teen heartthrob Shawn Cassidy and only lasted about 10 episodes. It was shot in Georgia, and on my flight back from Atlanta I ran into someone on the plane who knew Roger Corman. He introduced me about two weeks later and my career in exploitation movie making began. At first, it was limited to creating advertising posters and trailers, but I soon graduated to writing scripts as well (Forbidden world, Sorceress and Screwballs). After that I started writing and directiing with The lost empire and Chopping mall.
K: You’re considered one of the best director of B-movies all time. What do you think about this definition?
JW: I suppose if you consider my longevity in the motion picture business, you could say that three decades of work qualifies me for some sort of recognition. I’m not sure if ‘best’ is the right word, however; maybe ‘funniest.’
K: Sure! You collaborated with Roger Corman, who is considered “the father of the B-movies”. Can we say the pupil outdoes the master?
JW: Roger Corman will always be the one director everyone looks to as the “King of Exploitation.’ I’m just following in his footsteps and doing the best I can.
K: You’re famous for your monster-movies (like Curse of Komodo and Komodo VS Cobra; we’ll talk about those movies in the next questions), but you directed a lots of different kinds of movies; which genre do you prefer? Monster-movie?
JW: I was brought up watching science fiction and horror movies on television in New York, so it’s no wonder I gravitate toward the genre. But I also love westerns (especially Italian Westerns), action movies and all sorts of other types. Titles like Sergio Corbucci’s Il mercenario, Vamos a matar companeros and Django are some of my favorite western films of all time. I also love Bava’s Danger Diabolik and Sergio Sollima’s La resa dei conti.
K: I noticed that you worked with a lot of actors who were unfortunately destined to the oblivion; David Carradine, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Parč. You make them protagonists in your movies. What can you tell us about this?
JW: I’m not sure if I totally understand the question, but the actors you name are 1) good at what they do, 2) always come to set knowing their lines and most importantly 3) they are all in my price range. And I guess I should add that they all have/had nice personalities that make them easy to work with on location.
K: Let’s talk about two movies that are probably your greatest hits: Curse of Komodo and Komodo VS Cobra; what can you tell us about the processing of these movies?
JW: I would hesitate to say that these are my greatest hits, but they were both fun to make. Curse of Komodo got started when I was off in Hawaii shooting a comedy called Treasure hunt. I took three of the actors to a secluded waterfall location on their day off and shot what would become the first segment of Curse. Later, when I returned to Los Angeles, Steve Latshaw wrote the entire script based on segment I had already shot on location. It all turned out rather fun; so much so that they asked me to do a sequel. I said I would do it provided they sent myself and the entire cast to Hawaii to film it…which they did.
K: You tell me you are a fan of Italian cinema. As you know, Italy has a long tradition of low-budget horror and sci-fy movies. Is there some Italian director between your points of reference? Which directors you consider the best?
JW: I love Italian cinema, especially from the late 1950s through 1975, when I was watching everything from peplums to westerns, horror, sci fi, giallos, gothics, etc. etc. The Hercules/muscle man pictures were my first introduction, but then I found Bava, Argento, Leone, Corbucci, Solima, Caiano, and a host of others. It all culminated in 1969 when I sat on the beach for two months learning the Italian language, then writing to producer Alberto Grimaldi in Italian looking for a job. Surprisingly, he answered with a ‘yes’ and I went to Rome for half a year to work as a production assistant. I got to work on a few westerns, but by 1970 the ‘crime’ and ‘giallos’ were taking over. I didn’t care, because it was my first introduction to film making. Bravo to all the artisans from that time who helped out the ‘crazy kid from America.’ I can still read Italian, but I long ago lost the ability to speak it fluently. Maybe if I returned for a few months, who knows (Quien sabe?).
K: Nowadays, the B-movies are appropriately revalued. In our blog, we try to make famous this kind of entertaining movies. In your opinion, could it be the beginning of a new golden age for the B-movies?
JW: B-movies will never go away. The public wants them, needs them. Only the delivery system changes. Once it was the drive-ins, then VHS, then DVD, now Internet and Netflix.
K: What advice would you give to a young director? You realized more than 70 movies even without Steven Spielberg’s money. Do you think this could be an encouragemente for the aspirant directors?
JW: I hate competition, but if I had to give aspiring directors a piece of advice, I would say this: pick up a camera as soon as possible and start shooting. Use your wildest imagination and keep shooting. If you’ve got what it takes, success will find you.
K: Can you make a dedication to the readers of Cinewalkofshame? One of the first movies we reviewed was Komodo VS Cobra!
JW: I thank Cinewalkofshame for carrying the torch, keeping the spark of B-Movies alive and well. Bravo to you all!
What can we say again? Thank you Jim! Come and visit us in Italy!
Pubblicato il settembre 28, 2012, in Dall'altra parte del cult - Le interviste possibili con tag B-movies, chopping mall, cinema italiano, cinewalkofshame, curse of komodo, exploitation, forbidden world, interview jim wynorski, intervista a jim wynorski, intervista jim wynorski, italian cinema, jim wynorski, jim wynorski cinealkofshame, jim wynorski interview, jim wynorski review, komodo vs cobra, rin tin tin, roger corman, spaghetti western, treasure hunt. Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri. 1 Commento.