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-Interview by Nic Brown-

 

It’s just after midnight on the first night of the 2008 B Movie Celebration in Franklin, Indiana and filmmaker Jim Wynorski is standing in front of a group of about thirty ‘B Movie’ fans. The man who is known for 80’s classics like CHOPPING MALL, THE LOST EMPIRE and THE RETURN OF THE SWAMP THING is here to introduce the midnight world premiere of his film CLEAVAGEFIELD.

 

“OK folks, this is CLEAVAGEFIELD. Not much more to say, I hope you enjoy it.” Then Wynorski looks over the assembled audience again and laughs a little nervously as he realizes that about half of them are women. “You ladies in the audience do realize what kind of film this is right?” He is referring to the ‘hard R’ rating that his erotic comedy/parodies are known for. There are a few chuckles from the crowd. “I’m serious, some of you may not like this, but OK. Here we go.”

With that the film begins and the audience is treated to seventy or so minutes of scantily clad women being chased through the outskirts of Los Angeles by a humorously lovable looking CGI monster. At every opportunity the women lose their clothes and show off the talents that earned them a place in one of Wynorski’s many films made for “Skinimax”.

 

Wynorski needn’t have worried about the audience reaction. Everyone who chose to be there knew the nature of the film and the crowd enjoyed the many humorous moments that the experienced filmmaker was able to shoehorn into the feature.

 

Of course if you just judged Jim Wynorski’s work by the film’s content you’d be missing the true skill underlying it. Wynorski has honed his filmmaking talents to a sharp edge and is known for being able to make commercially successful films. In fact, filmmaker Tom Holland (FRIGHT NIGHT) found his shooting schedule hard to believe when they talked shop over beers at a pub earlier in the day. Not surprising considering Wynorski prides himself on being able to make two films back to back in six days with a skeleton film crew and for less than the cost of catering on most Hollywood films.

 

This doesn’t mean that Wynorski limits himself to this kind of film, but it does give him the edge when working on bigger projects with larger budgets because he’s a man that knows how to get the job done fast and efficiently without sacrificing on the quality.

 

Before all the festivities of the 2008 B Movie Celebration got started, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jim Wynorski and learn more about his filmmaking, his thoughts on CGI special effects and why his next project is always his favorite one!

 

Nic - Jim, it’s great to see you back at the second annual B Movie Celebration here in Franklin, Indiana. You’re one of the guests of honor at this year’s event and I understand that a number of your films will be showing here.

 

Jim - Thanks, it’s good to be here. They are showing some of my movies, in fact I think they’re showing four of them: CHOPPING MALL, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, FORBIDDEN WORLD, which is also the first one I wrote for Roger Corman back in the early eighties, and finally one of my latest which is CLEAVAGEFIELD, kind of an erotic parody of CLOVERFIELD.

 

Nic - In addition to being a director, you are also a writer - is that correct?

 

Jim - Yeah I’ve written quite a few films. Some that I’ve done, some that other people have done.

 

Nic - So which do you find more challenging: writing or directing films?

 

Jim - Writing. Writing is a whole different ballgame from directing. When you’re writing you have the time to think about it. For me the most difficult part of writing is coming up with the outline. Once the outline is done and I’m happy with it, I can connect all the dots of the story. That makes it easier to create the dialogue because you’ve already created the characters and know where they are going in the story.

 

Nic - Talking about your directing, you mentioned working for Roger Corman earlier. You got your start directing from him, didn’t you?

 

Jim - That’s true. I started working with Roger back in the early eighties. He and his wife Julie, who’s also a producer in her own right, gave me a bunch of good breaks and I was able to create some good, fun films.

 

Nic - Is there one film in particular that you’ve made that is your favorite.

 

Jim - No. I get this question a lot and I’ll tell you that my favorite film is always the next one I’m about to do. I think, to me, that’s the way it should be. You can’t keep hanging on to old favorites. There are a bunch of films that I’ve made that I like and there are a few that I hate, but always my favorite film is the one I’m about to do because that is where I’m putting all of my energies and I try to make it the best I can no matter what the budget.

Jim Wynorski (left), Steve 'Papaw' Pyatte, and Kevin S.Tenney

talk filmmaking at the 2007 B Movie Celebration

Nic - You’ve done quite a few films for the Sci-Fi channel haven’t you?

 

Jim - YOU ARE CORRECT SIR! (Said in a good impersonation of Ed McMahon from the old Tonight Show). Yeah I’ve done about seven or eight feature movies for the Sci-Fi channel. I really haven’t done any for them lately though because they were getting to be redundant. I’ve done one last one for them and now I’m going in a different direction. Their rules are stringent about what they want every time and it’s tough to get out of that mold. So I’ve done seven or so good ones and that’s where I’ll let it rest.

 

Nic - You are a prolific director with a lot of projects going on. Let’s talk about your latest film CLEAVAGEFIELD. When did you finish up on that one?

Jim - Well I shot that one in May or June of this year, but it was actually only a three day shoot. Then we spent some time adding in a lot of special effects and it’s been getting a lot of publicity off of the internet so it’s doing very well for me.

 

Nic - Speaking of special effects, you’ve been in the industry long enough to really see the way special effects have changed over the years, from traditional effects like those created by Tom Savini and Rick Baker to the newest technologies available for CGI effects. What do you think about the way the industry is changing in that regard?

 

Jim - CGI has certainly come into its own. I mean everyone is using it. It’s great when it’s really good (chuckling to himself) but when it’s half-assed…. (He shakes his head sadly). I had a movie called THE THING BELOW. I made it up in Canada and when we were done shooting and I had left the project, then they did all the CGI. Well they did it so horribly that the film kind of stunk. They hired… (pausing to consider his next words) unknowledgeable people to handle the CGI effects. When they were done it looked more like a game show or something. That’s where I think you run into a lot of problems - when people don’t know what they’re doing with it, and people are getting tired of seeing that.

 

Nic - So how many films do you make, on average, every year?

B Movie Man Nic Brown (Left) and Jim Wynorski at the 2008 B Movie Celebration.

Jim - Oh I usually make about three to four films a year. Some of them with a bigger budget, some not so big. The bigger films will usually have a longer shooting schedule. Some of the smaller films, like CLEAVAGEFIELD, I can shoot in three days.

 

Nic - So what’s been your biggest challenge as a filmmaker?

 

Jim - Staying ahead of things and trying to make films that people are going to enjoy. I like to pick out projects that are worthwhile and will turn a good profit. It’s tough. The market is always changing. It’s like I was saying earlier, [before the interview] family movies are suddenly very in vogue. That’s why I just did another film called LOST IN THE WOODS; it’s a family movie with Michael Madsen.

 

Nic - What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a filmmaker?

 

Jim - Stay out of the business, I need the work! (Laughing)

Check out the new trailer for the documentary on Jim Wynorski: POPATOPOLIS!  

To learn more about Jim Wynorski visit some of these websites:

http://www.myspace.com/jimwynorski

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0691061/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Wynorski

A new documentary is being made about Jim Wynorski,

look for it here:

http://www.popatopolis.com



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