The time has come for OMFBC to take it up a notch, to turn its shit up to 11, and what better way than to give the world something truly excellent? An interview with one of cinema's finest new talents, ramshackle genius Evan Glodell would be the perfect choice, you say? You read my mind! Glodell, if you read OMFBC, was the subject of 2 consecutive film reviews for the most magnificent debut in years, the ruthlessly breathtaking Bellflower, a film that should be on every film lover's must see list. After consuming the trailer for months on end, then finally getting to see the film in theaters, I decided last month that I would reach out to Mr. Glodell and see if I could maybe, possibly, perhaps conduct a smallish interview with the man himself. Good fortune favors the bold, or just the effing lucky, but either way I hold in my hands the very interview for which I had hoped. Enjoy, and watch the hell out of this film!
Evan Glodell’s responses are in bold (obviously, BC. We get it).
1.Like another indie genius, Shane Carruth, you began a very logical, very mathematical endeavor (engineering) before moving to film. Was the desire to make films always there, or was this the result of wanting to simply do the exact opposite of something so concrete?
I never knew I wanted to make films. I always had intense images in my head and wanted to get them out, but I couldn’t draw or do any of the traditional arts so I just ignored it. I was good at building things and couldn’t seem to help always having a project going on (whether I wanted to or not), so I thought I should be an engineer. Upon arrival at engineering school I quickly realized it wasn’t the life I wanted. I left after a week, and with that life plan out of the way for the first time, I suddenly had a thought that I could build the images in my head with my hands in the real world and record them with a camera – an idea I had never had before, so I decided to move to LA and figure out how to become a filmmaker.
2.What inspired the Coatwolf Model II?
Tons of playing with cameras and the curiosity of what a moving large-format image would look like.
3.I read that you made your first flamethrower when you were 12. Have you made any other crazy contraptions?
I had a sort of a precursor to the Medusa car when I was in middle school. Someone gave me an old three wheel bike. I took the basket off and welded a second chair to the back so my friends could ride with me. Then I put a deep-cycle battery and an electric motor on it, headlights, a car stereo and a high voltage electrocution system in the chair on the back to eject unwanted passengers (older neighborhood kids would jump on and force me to give them rides places). It was awesome. We were so little that it would run all day and take us around. It was like we had a car all through middle school.
4.Aside from the obvious filmic references (Mad Max, The Road Warrior), what films did you think about as you were writing and filming Bellflower?
I know I was heavily influenced by tons of movies, but the way my mind works it was never conscious.
5.It’s interesting to think of an apocalypse as a positive thing, a cure for the maladies of the world. If there was an apocalypse, what would be the first order of business for Evan Glodell?
I think I would try and start my own society and run things a bit differently than we do now. I imagine it would be difficult, though.
6.Do you have a favorite film?
I really like films that are heavily writer/director driven. Seems like the closest you can get to being inside someone else’s head.
7.Were all you working as actors prior to this?
I was mostly making no-budget short films and doing whatever side projects I had to do to stay alive. I think each one of us has a slightly different version of that story.
8.What’s the craziest criticism of your film you have heard so far?
Haha. Everyone who worked on the film tells me to never tell anyone this because they think it’s insane, and that I am insane for thinking it. Right before we went to Sundance, I saw The Room for the first time. It messed with my head really bad. What many would consider to be the worst movie ever made, is very similar to Bellflower. I read up on it a bit, and he (Tommy Wiseau) says it was supposed to be a joke. But coming from a person who spent years making a movie about having his heart broken and being confused as hell about it – I can tell you that is exactly where The Room came from. So people think it’s funny, but when I watched it, it just made me depressed as hell and sad for the guy to made it. Finally, a couple people who didn’t like Bellflower started comparing it to The Room to bash on it. I am with them all the way on that (I proved my friends wrong!). If I had made the very first version of Bellflower when I was 23, it would have been a prettier version of The Room, but with kids instead of a creepy guy.
9.Do you have any tattoos?
Yes, two. I have a tattoo inside my mouth that I got when I was 18, a lot of my closest friends have the same one. And I have Coatwolf tattooed on my arm. A lot of us have one of those as well. I got it after years of struggling trying to make it as a filmmaker. It was one of those times when I was feeling like it wasn’t going to work out and I was a fool. Then I had this intense thought that as long as you are questioning yourself and your goals in life then you haven’t really tried. It was supposed to be a commitment to filmmaking at all costs. I would do anything I had to and really try instead of worrying whether I would succeed.
10.As you were writing the initial script for Bellflower, did you talk about it with other people, or keep it to yourself until you had finished it?
My friends are unbelievably supportive of me and let me rant to them for hours about ideas I am working on, even though some part of them probably wants to choke me out to get me to shut up. So all the people around me knew all about it and gave their input.
11.How did the creative process change your original story? In other words, is the Bellflower that I saw in the theatre the same Bellflower you always had in your head? If not, how did it change and why?
This is a tricky question. The movie that was playing in my head years ago when I first had the idea looks and feels exactly like the movie that now exists. There were a lot of changes every step of the way. The script was rewritten many times over the years. Changes happened during shooting and editing, but I think it was always this exact film that I was trying to make. The most significant change happened a year before we started shooting. I had an epiphany of sorts about life. A big part of what I learned was how to forgive people and I understood for the first time that my life was caused by me. I wasn’t a pawn, being victimized by acts sent from god or some magical place. I saw the part I played in the relationship that caused me to write Bellflower and I immediately called “her” and apologized and explained that I now understood it wasn’t her fault – the way things played out. That was the biggest change, I got the script out and had to show my character's contributions to the downfall of the relationship, but still keep the story of my character starting out confused and getting to that realization on his own. I haven’t told anyone this before, but at the end of the movie, my character’s last line is “I fucked up.” It was supposed to be “It’s not her fault. It’s not Milly’s fault.” I tried to deliver the line dozens of takes and it was too hard for me as an actor (I really suck at acting sometimes), so I went back and re-did the end of the scene with the line that’s there now.
12.What’s your favorite brand of whiskey?
I like all kinds of whiskey. It seems like the more expensive ones taste better, but certainly the whiskey I have consumed the most of is “75 South” because it’s about ten dollars for a giant bottle at the grocery store.
Bellflower is a film unlike any other, deeply personal, intensely visionary and viscerally poetic, a film that bottles lightning for all to experience in their own way. Watch it. Brace yourself, but watch it nonetheless. And thank you to Evan Glodell for finding the time in his (deservedly) busy schedule to respond to the likes of good old BC.
PS All I wanted for Christmas was a signed one sheet of the Medusa car with the explosion behind the mountains. Instead, I got something even better.