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filmmaker interview roundup

  • The NYT has a rare interview with Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Reubens which is well worth reading. Reubens is the kind of cult entertainer that really should have a better career. He’s not a cult figure because his appeal is selective (though it kind of is, but not so much that there’s not a bigger audience). He’s the kind that’s simply underexposed because, I think, he’s so original and unique — and his history so checkered — that the gatekeepers of entertainment haven’t given him a chance. So instead we see bursts of his phenomenal talent in his occasional supporting roles (though I have no intention of ever seeing Reno 911! Miami). It amazes me that a show like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse made it onto 1980s TV. Twenty years later it still seems like something ahead of its time. I really hope he’s able to make his “dark Pee-Wee” movie.
  • Meanwhile, the New York Sun has an interview with mad genius Werner Herzog, where he talks about his philosophy of documentaries and search for ecstatic truth. He also talks about watching Anna Nicole Smith’s reality TV show, saying that “the poet must not avert his eyes”. Herzog is probably the only human being who can say that and not make me want to smack him. Probably because I imagine him saying it with the same ubercool German-inflected deadpan that he uses to describe grizzly attacks, facing down threats of murder from actor Klaus Kinski, and being shot by a sniper in 2006 (“It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid.”).
  • And finally, The AV Club interviews another of my idols, prairie-boy-done-good Guy Maddin, who is presenting his new movie Brand Upon the Brain! in a series of live shows, with live foley and celebrity narrators, including Crispin Glover, Eli Wallach and Lou Reed. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.