Tarsem's AVClub Interview

Following up on my earlier post about The Fall here's a lengthy interview with Tarsem in the Onion's AV Club where he reveals himself to be quite a character. Some excerpts follow.

On his love for his work:

All I can say—a lot of people do music videos so they can do commercials, they do commercials so they can do films. I happen to be like a prostitute in love with the profession. I keep saying, "I'd fuck 'em for free. But they pay me money, and I'm very grateful."

The film required the lead actor, Lee Pace, to play a paralyzed man. Apparently, Tarsem neglected to tell his crew and cast that Lee actually was fine in real life:

I thought, "How long can we carry this façade?" And funny enough—it was such a big lie, it was so audaciously big, and we isolated everybody from everything else, and after about a week and a half, it was absolute. Only one person on the set knew, and that was a nurse who would take him to the toilet. Lee would go to the gym, and once, he said, "Today, I almost got caught, because one of the actors walked right past me!" It was just like nobody could see him walking. They were all day working with him in a wheelchair, so they didn't see him when he was standing up. And a lot of times, with men in the gym, you don't want to look at a person. It's like a nightclub, you know? It might be seen as making a pass. So literally, people don't make much eye contact in a gym. So he'd go to the gym, and just he would see these people and say, "Oh my God, I'm caught!" And they'd walk right by him.

On he was drawn to filmmaking:

Basically, I told my dad that I wanted to study film when I saw a book in India. It said, Guide To Film Schools In America, and it changed my world. If you come from a culture like Japan's or India's, you think you just go to college to study something that you hate and your parents love. And for me to see a book called Guide To Film Schools, it was like a book called How To Sleep With Blondes 101. I said, "I'm fuckin' there!" They teach this in school?

On his journey through film school:

And then the first guy that tried to pick me up on Santa Monica Blvd. was going to City College. And I went out there and realized how great it was, and I got admission straight away. After one term, I realized didn't have any money, so I had a friend register whose name was Randy Marsh, and I got my education under his name. Just made a fake ID, and then I used that to basically make a film that got me a scholarship at the Art Center, changed my name back to the same, and said, "Here I is! Let me fuckin' shoot!"

On his relationship with his parents and reconciling with his estranged father who never forgave him for entering film school:

A little late, I think. He passed away three years ago. But with my mom, it never made a difference. I mean, first-born Indian son—as far as she's concerned, I've shat marbles since I was 2 years old. My dad, no.

On his sensibilities:

And as far as colors—Indians love colors. Especially the poorer you are, the more red and yellow you put in. And let's just say I come from a poor background, and leave it there.

I could go on and on. Do check out the interview - it has a lot more.


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- May 25, 2008 11:47 AM // Film