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Being Roger Avary: Lucky Day, Incarceration, and Rekindling His Friendship with Tarantino

Roger Avary’s story is forever intertwined with Quentin Tarantino’s, but Avary is his own man and an extraordinary talent to be sure. Avary made a splash in 1993 with his debut film Killing Zoe, which he wrote and directed. Then Avary and Killing Zoe executive producer Tarantino made an even bigger splash with Pulp Fiction, which they co-wrote. The two films proved to be tremendously popular at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, with Killing Zoe honored with the le Prix très spécial and Pulp Fiction receiving the Palme d’ Or. In early 1995, Avary and Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Shortly after, the two friends and collaborators had a falling out and went their separate ways. (There is an interesting and unexpected update regarding this at the end of the interview.)

While Tarantino continued to make violent pictures (in several different genres), Avary sought to make different kinds of films so he wouldn’t be pigeonholed. In 2002, Avary wrote and directed a masterful adapation of the Brett Easton Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction. Although the film under-performed at the box office and received mixed reviews, it would eventually develop a cult following. The A.V. Club has included the film in their “New Cult Canon” column, and Entertainment Weekly named it to their list of “The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen”.

Following The Rules of Attraction, Avary wrote the screenplays for a number of other films, including Silent Hill (2006) and Beowulf (2007). Then there was talk of Avary writing an adaptation of the video game Castle Wolfenstein. But that never happened…

Avary’s own life story took a sharp left turn (no pun intended) in 2008 when he was involved in a tragic automobile accident resulting in the death of a passenger. Avary was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. He was sentenced to one year in work furlough (which would allow him to work during the day and return to the furlough facility at night) and five years probation. However, Avary was reprimanded for reporting about the facility’s conditions on Twitter. As a result, he was forced to finish his sentence in Ventura County Jail.

In an era where cancel culture runs rampant, Roger Avary could have disappeared as a result of all this, never to be heard from again (at least in Hollywood). But thankfully, this is not the case. Against all odds, Avary has returned, bringing two new films with him. The first is the quirky neo-noir Lucky Day, featuring Crispin Glover as perhaps the strangest hitman in cinema history. The second film, La voix humane, is finished and awaiting release. (The latter, entirely in French, is an adaptation of a play written by Jean Cocteau.) With the recent release of Lucky Day, I sat down to catch up with Avary. Here we discuss his fascinatingly quirky new film, his incarceration and its impact on his life, and what his relationship with Quentin Tarantino looks like in 2019.

Photo by Vincent Calmel.

There was a period after your accident and ensuing incarceration where it was unclear if you’d ever work again. I’m glad to see you back and working.

When something like that happens and an atom bomb sort of goes off in your life, it either blows you into pieces—if you allow it to—or you use the force of the blast to propel you forward.

Are there any topics that are off limits? If I ask you about your relationship with Quentin Tarantino at the end of this interview, would that be okay?

I live my life with complete transparency, so I have no problem talking about anything.

We’ve always been on good terms and I’m here to promote your movie, so I just wanted to make sure.

That’s fine. If you’re doing it right as a filmmaker, your movies are your life. They reflect you and your inner psyche and what’s going on, and how you’re thinking, how you’re feeling… How you’re processing reality. When I look at all my favorite filmmakers, I feel that’s what they do within their work. The two become one in the same.

When I came out and met you in LA back in 1999, I got to meet one of those journeymen auteurs, Budd Boetticher, the very next day. I was working on my book… I don’t know if you remember that.

Of course I remember it. My name is in the title! [Laughs.]

That [Fifty Filmmakers: Conversations with Directors from Roger Avary to Steven Zaillian] wasn’t even my title. The publisher came up with that. But it worked out great. Here we are all these years later, and you’ve just released Lucky Day and Steve just wrote The Irishman. Both of you are relevant again.

But today I would be totally screwed because it would be Abrams at the beginning. [Laughs.] But I think Zaillian is pretty secure in that position as the end of the title.

I understand you wrote Lucky Day while you were locked up. What was the process for that like?

At that time I was at a place they call the Hole, which is twenty-three-hour lockdown. You’re in your cell for twenty-three hours. Then you’re allowed out in the day room for an hour. During that hour you can do things like shower or change the channel for other people or walk around. Making telephone calls was a big thing to do. But the rest of the time you were in your cell.

The lights were on twenty-four hours a day. If you’ve ever seen Oz, Tom Fontana kind of nailed it. He got it right, at least in terms of art direction. You’re on this deck and there are eight cells across on the top and the bottom. You’ve got various factions of the Mexican mafia down below. You’ve got a couple of cells of guys from the Aryan nation up above. There’s a couple of cells of Black Mafia Gang. Some various “lames,” non-gang related inmates… They’re clustering everyone together. So, it’s sort of a tense environment. It’s filled with colorful dialogues to be sure. Suffice it to say, every week or so, in the middle of the night, suddenly the lights go bright—they’re always on at night, but they’re suddenly brighter—and a whole bunch of guards coming rushing in through the door. They open up the doors to all the cells and take everybody out. They line you up against the wall and they strip everybody naked. So, you’re standing there naked with all these various characters. They take all of your clothes away and they’re handing out new clothes. We wore blue outfits with orange tee shirts, underwear, and socks.

While they’re doing that, the guards are ripping apart your cell. They’re going through just looking for everything. They’re looking for tar heroin. They’re looking for cell phones. They’re looking for shanks. They’re looking for pruno, which is jail wine. They’re looking for anything that’s contraband. And in my cell, they were looking for anything I was writing. I found out later that I was put in that unit because I was considered a security threat because I was writing about everything I’d seen. Because, you know, I’m a writer. [Laughs.] That’s what I do. So, I’m observing everything and writing about it. They would come in and basically go through your box, and they’d go through it and they’d dump it. They’d lift your mattress up and throw your sheets all over the place. They’re looking for anything… You know, sometimes a screw goes missing in this place. Or a pen of some kind. They discover that and they’re like, “Holy shit! Someone has a deadly weapon!” They then put the entire facility on lockdown and they begin looking through everybody’s everything. To find a screw.

These guards are under intense pressure themselves, so you’re kind of on the receiving end of that. So they’d go into the cell and they’d be ripping it apart. What they would take from me was any pages I was writing. If I was writing something, it was gone. If I went to the yard, they would take my pages. Anything that I was writing. So I learned after a while that the way around that was to seal an envelope to my attorney, which is against the law for them to open. So the minute the lights went bright and the guards came in, I would seal the envelope. Whatever pages I had written to that point would then get mailed out the next day and go to my daughter, who would then type them up into Final Draft. You’re incredibly productive when you’re on twenty-three-hour lockdown. It’s sort of like the producer or studio executive’s dream for a writer—to chain them to a table with just a golf pencil and paper. [Laughs.] You don’t even have a computer. There’s no distraction. So I was relatively productive. I wrote four scripts and a book.

And I’m hearing this colorful dialogue from all sorts of super colorful characters from a variety of curious backgrounds. [Laughs.] A lot of this was just sort of flowing through the air and became a part of the story. So I was in this environment, and when you’ve fucked up as badly as I had—when you drop an atom bomb on your life and the lives of others, and you’ve created complete and total disarray and irreversible damage—you become (at least I became) very existential about everything. Especially when you’re basically locked into a cube with a window into another cube and that’s it. You’re not looking at trees. You’re not looking at the outside world. Every now and then I had a glimpse of the sky, but you’re basically in a cage. A concrete cage. You get in this environment where, if you’re there long enough, you start to internalize a lot of thoughts. You go very, very deep. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-reflection. You start wondering what is real and what is not real about the universe. “If I don’t see it, is it even there?” “What is reality?”

The one thing I noticed about being incarcerated is that it’s not always an entirely bad experience. You see the worst of people, but you also see the best of people. You see extreme acts of human kindness. Don’t misunderstand me; I saw people getting their heads kicked in. I saw somebody Jeffrey Epstein their cellmate. I saw somebody go to the yard and not come back because he was “a little too gay” and got his head kicked in. You see all sorts of savage behavior and you see a lot of calculated awful, evil behavior, as well. But you also see people you would never expect to see weeping like a baby. You see people at their most vulnerable. You see people come in with nothing, at the bottom of their life, having destroyed everything, and everyone sort of starts gathering together a stamp, a piece of paper, some candy, whatever, so they have something. Even if it’s just a little something. People frequently come in with no money, no nothing, so you frequently see these acts of giving and kindness.

So I started thinking about the entire experience as a kind of wine reduction of reality—of what the real world is like, which it really is. It’s a very, very concentrated version of the world. And some things are just a little more obvious than others. One of the things I experienced and struggled with after release while transitioning back into the outside world. You start noticing that it’s kind of the same. [Laughs.] The world is just a prison with greater walls, which informed me that real freedom comes from one’s own consciousness.

I had written a screenplay once about Admiral James Stockdale, who was in the Hanoi Hilton. He was there for seven years eating pumpkin soup and being tortured. I am not comparing my experience to him at all. I want to be clear about that. That guy was a true American hero, may he rest in peace. I wrote a screenplay about his experience there, and I interviewed this great man over the course of weeks about what it was like not being able to talk to anyone for years, and to be able to finally connect with somebody by using a tap code. How did he get through that? And it turned out that while at Stanford he was a student of Stoic philosophy, which among other tenants is to accept that you have no control over anything external to your own consciousness. Once you kind of accept that desire is the cause of suffering, that’s when you truly find the answers as well as a certain kind of freedom.

So I guess what I’m getting at is, this was a very deep experience. I’m a person who cultivates from my life into my work, and whether you like my films or not, my life has been cultivated into my work. That’s what I’m doing.

Eric Stoltz and Julie Depy in Killing Zoe (1993).

All writing is a form of escapism, but Lucky Day is about a man who gets out of prison. Since you were locked up yourself when you wrote this, I wondered if this was your way of mentally escaping? Obviously his story goes a different way than yours, but was this something you were thinking about? Did that come from your own personal desire to be free?

I’m not sure his story goes a different way from mine, to be honest. [Laughs.] I’m not so sure. I think that’s still up in the air.

I don’t want to spoil this for anybody who hasn’t seen it, but the movie is now available to stream and by the time this story comes out it will be available to purchase on Blu-ray, so I’m just going to talk freely about the film as if the reader has seen it. I don’t even know if this needs a spoiler alert, but I don’t really censor what I say. I’m just going to talk, and I apologize if I give anything away. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it and then come back. [Laughs.]

There’s a moment where Leroy, at the safe, asks Red, “Have you thought about how you’re gonna spend the money?” And he says, “I thought about it every day.” And “every day was different, but every day I spent it with Chloe and Beatrice,” his wife and daughter. So building on that, the structure of the film has a sort of circular quality, I guess you could say. I feel like it’s just another dream of getting out and imagination of what he’s gonna go through. And that’s what I did every single day. You imagine getting out and you imagine what your plan is.

I’ve spoken frequently about screenwriting to schools, and the primary advice I always give people is the three P’s: Passion, Persistence, and Positive visualization. The foundation to that is really simple. You have to be passionate or no one will want to follow you. No one wants to give you money. Nobody wants to make your movie. If you don’t show it and make them feel it, even if you have to fake it to do it, you’re not gonna get it going. You have to show passion. Persistence: You’ve got to be persistent. You have to be willing to go further than other people go. Most people give up when it gets dim. You have to be willing to walk into the dark tunnel, believing there’s an exit on the other side. And the last one, which fits with the jail thing, is positive visualization. You have to constantly see where you see yourself in the future. It’s the same thing as in baseball, where pitchers visualize where the ball will be before they throw it. It’s the same thing. You have to see yourself there, and then materialize there. So when you’re inside, you have nothing but time. And let me tell you, the people there are immensely creative. You end up visualizing a lot, and every day was me looking into the future and thinking “What am I going to do?” Because I had just dropped a fucking atom bomb on my life and we lost everything I had built up to then. And I’m not complaining about it—it’s my own doing. But now it’s all about rebuilding. And when you rebuild, you have to have a plan. So yeah, I was planning.

I don’t know that I ever really expected to make this movie. I just wrote it. Greg Shapiro, who produced Rules of Attraction, asked me through the glass during a visit, after hearing me talk very existentially, “Is this gonna take away your edge?” And I went back to my cell and thought, “hmm, I wonder.” [Laughs.] But I thought, well, here I am, so I should write a sequel to Killing Zoe. Initially I was thinking about it as a sequel, and I had a different sequel planned originally. I wanted to do it with the original actors. I wanted it to take place the next day. We had such a good time making the movie that I wanted to, that next day, open with Zed taking a shower and the police, in the meantime, have found seven masks and realize there were only six criminals… “Somebody got away!” They’ve put two and two together and they’ve figured it out and they’re like, “You know what? We’ve got to go to that house!” So he’s taking a shower and, the next thing you know, the police arrive. They have to go upstairs and escape out the attic to the rooftop and then they have to run across the rooftops of Paris. They slip down to the street and get into her car and they race away. It was gonna be a road picture, traveling across France, on the run from the police. And eventually they find themselves in Monte Carlo, which, in the movie, Eric, the lead bad guy, tells Zed, “After this, we go to Monte Carlo!” And in the kind of unwritten storyline we’d all talked about while we were making it, Eric’s brother actually lived in Monte Carlo. They arrive at the casino where he works, and he’s a completely different kind of evil and there’s a big shootout. Then mayhem ensues. That was going to be the movie.

Here I am, it’s many years later, and everybody’s kind of moved on from that film, but I’ve got nothing but time on my hands and I want to kind of escape into a little universe, so I’ll fall into Lucky Day, which is actually a line in Killing Zoe. There is one point where Eric says, “Lucky day.” So it was always kind of the planned title for the movie. So I thought, “Okay, I’ll write that, but obviously it’s gonna be a different movie than the first one.” My thought was gonna be, I’ve moved on in my life, so they’ve moved on in their lives. So I thought, where am I now? Obviously I knew where I was, so that’s where it began when I started writing. I kind of knew I was heading towards this gallery scene—this statement on critics… [Laughs.] Not really critics, but a statement on criticism and the arts. And that just sort of led me into this direction. I didn’t know what was going to happen and where it was gonna go. I just sat down and watched the movie play out.

And I suppose, for background, I should mention some things on Killing Zoe. It is kind of ancient history, but nobody really knows anymore. But when I wrote that, I wrote it really fast. [Producer] Lawrence Bender had a bank he could use to shoot in, and he called up the writers he knew and said, “Do you have a script that takes place in a bank? If you do, I can get a movie going.” So I said, “Yeah, I do! I have a script!” So I went and wrote it really fast. I had just been traveling through Europe, and I had just hung out in Paris. I was a guy who was traveling around Europe, backpacking, and he had left behind all of the things that kind of define who you are. Where you put all that stuff behind you and you’re traveling alone like I did—like Victor does in Rules of Attraction… He even has this line like, “You come to the point where you feel like the ghost of a total stranger.” You no longer know who you are. This was a genuine feeling I felt when I was traveling. I had been in Paris and had seen all the things you’re supposed to see, and then I was like, “I’m out. It’s too expensive here.” So I decide to go to Spain. I was on the train and I hear, “Roger, how’s it going?” I look over and it’s a guy named Eric I had known at UCLA. He had been the French guy in our friends group. I had never really spoken too him too much, but he was this little guy who always wore fur coats and vests and cravats. He was really French. Baguette/beret time. And he said, “Let me show you the real Paris.” So he took me to his flat and introduced me to his friends. And suddenly, he was doing heroin and asking me to hold his arm. I was seeing someone who kind of connected me to my world and what I thought I knew, but I didn’t know this about him. So everything I thought Paris was going to be was flipped. Then we went out on this crazy night, driving around and then we went to this jazz club called Le Cave. Today it’s probably a safe place, but in those days it was just a seedy, seedy dive. They all did drugs all night and it was this crazy, wild night. So when Lawrence says, “I have a bank and I need a story that takes place in a bank, I said, “Okay, I’ve gotta write this fast. I need a script this weekend so I can give him a script on Monday.” So I was like, okay, what am I gonna do? It’s a bank, so I know it’s gonna be a bank robbery. They’re making Reservoir Dogs right now, so I want to get a little further away from that. “I’ll make a French film! That’s what I’ll do. I’ll make a French film in LA—as a stunt!” [Laughs.] I grew up loving Melville’s movies like Le Samourai, and this seems kind of like a ’90s thing to do. So I just started writing, and what poured out was my life.

But it’s not me. I’ve never done heroin; I’ve never robbed a bank. I am not Zed, and yet at the same time, in some way, the character becomes you, if you’re doing it right. It becomes a projection of you. I guess it’s also a projection of Eric Stoltz in some ways because Eric makes some choices there. I would never tell an actor no, to be honest, and I give a lot of freedom to the choices made. We had many discussions and Eric made many choices I would not personally have made. Like shooting the guard in the bank vault. That was never in the script and he was never supposed to kill him. In fact, he was never supposed to even hold a gun. And he was never supposed to smoke a cigarette. Those were several things that weren’t like me. Somewhere along the way, a character becomes a child of many parents. So Zed sort of evolved into this hybrid person, but still it all springs from my style of writing, which is automatic writing. I try to use the style of automatic writing, which comes from the French surrealists. That’s how I approach my screenwriting. At least when I’m writing something like Lucky Day, but not always. Right now my daughter and I are adapting an historical war epic for Antoine Fuqua, The Devil Soldier, and I guarantee you I am not writing it with that technique. [Laughs again.]

Tarantino and Avary giving their Academy Award speech in 1995.

You’re talking so much I’m not going to get many questions in here, Roger. [Laughs.]

No. This is usually my interview strategy! I totally just start talking and you don’t really have a chance. I’ll let you ask one more question. [Laughs.] Last question! Last question! Last question!

Okay, so you’re returning to the crime genre. As you know, Lucky Day has been unfairly compared to Pulp Fiction, which it was never intended to be. It’s clearly it’s own thing. It’s a more over-the-top, comedic, zany thing. This remind me of that saying, “Judge my art for what it is rather than what you think it should be.” So my question is, do you think you set yourself up for these criticisms by returning to this genre, and secondly, do you give a shit?

Do I give a shit? Yes and no. I don’t really give a shit, but I do since this is a business and I have a fiduciary responsibility to my partners. And I don’t enter into the making of a movie without knowing there would be a profit before shooting begins, which gives me the latitude to kind of do what I want and experiment a bit. I always knew I was gonna make a movie that wasn’t what people expected. Listen, coming out of jail… One of the things that happens when you’ve done something like what I’ve done is, everyone falls away. All of Hollywood falls away. Except for those who don’t. So, you immediately know the people who stand with you and those who don’t. But in the meantime, most everybody falls away. And during my incarceration the business changed a little bit. Actually, quite significantly. So that had an effect on my ability to get things going.

I tried in earnest to make what one might call a “normal” movie. Like a programmer. I went down the road on several. I was just trying to survive because I have a family. And it turned out, that wasn’t really what people wanted from me. I had also tried to stay away from guns and the neo-noir thing. I had actually tried to stay away from it for a really long time, even predating everything that happened. Mostly because I didn’t want to invite anymore comparison because there had been so damned much. But here’s the thing: the movie is kind of an internal response film. [Laughs.] I am responding to my life. Pulp Fiction is part of my life. If anyone is allowed to do that, it’s me and Quentin. If anybody’s allowed to play around and have fun in any aspect of that universe, it’s us. I have a right to do that and I don’t think anybody involved with Pulp Fiction would complain about that, least of all Quentin. So what’s everybody so uptight about?!

However, it is the easier criticism to go with, if I’m being honest with myself. Because what I did was sort of wrap the film, and therefore myself, in a kind of burlesque wrapping that the French have called “Burlesque Noir.” It’s really like a candy-coated shell that hides what’s on the inside. So that criticism is probably fair. I actually don’t believe it’s unfair for critics to criticize it for that, but I also think people are under a tremendous amount of pressure to get reviews out. They probably watch like five movies and then have to get five coherent reviews out. God knows what it’s like. So you watch this film and the first thing you’re gonna see is a kind of colorful, neo-noir, pop culture, Pulp Fiction-like experience. Even though it’s not Pulp Fiction, at all. You’re right that it’s not at all Pulp Fiction. This is me. What I’d be curious to know is, would those same people think that Kill Bill is in a Pulp Fiction universe? I know you know the answer to that, but I wonder if most other people would.

So what I’m saying is, I kind of always knew the movie would take a number of years for people to “get.” When Rules of Attraction came out, it was no different. The movie was not well-received critically in the U.S., at all. And since then, that seems to have changed. For instance, James Van Der Beek was recently on Dancing with the Stars, and they mentioned “the lead character from Dawson’s Creek, from the hit film Varsity Blues, and the cult classic The Rules of Attraction.” Holy shit! Did NBC just call it a cult classic? I know they’re just propping up James and trying to make him sound good, but, as the years go by, the movie gets evaluated a little more deeply. No movie is meant to be evaluated immediately. I’m gonna tell you something, the first time I saw Blade Runner, I hated it. I did not like the end of it. I thought, what the fuck was that? Him leaning on a piano…plunking keys. And the way Daryl Hannah dies was disturbing to me. I didn’t like that. I just didn’t like anything about it. It felt vacuous to me. But, how fucking wrong I was! I was too ignorant and immature and just not ready for it. And you know, you go through life and sometimes a movie is right and sometimes a movie is wrong for you at that time. But it took people a long time to come around to Rules of Attraction to appreciate it even a little bit. And I don’t even wanna talk about it like I think it’s a cult classic. Those weren’t my words. I’m flattered by them, but I just mentioned that to show the way perceptions change. Even in popular press. I think it was Entertainment Weekly who, upon release, gave it a super-negative review. And then years later, same magazine, there was a super-positive review of it.

You know what was hilarious about Lucky Day? I was having a conversation with your old friend and collaborator Craig Hamann about this recently, and we both laughed our asses off about this. There was a review—I don’t remember what publication it was—that said you were playing it too safe with Lucky Day. There is nothing safe about this film. It’s got over-the-top violence, over-the-top Evil Dead 2-like zaniness sometimes, half of the movie is in French with subtitles…

[Laughs.] It is kind of curious, but I’m guessing what they’re looking at is the very, very surface of things. If you judge something just based on the surface, you’re very frequently surprised when you look a little bit closer and learn a little bit more. When you give a little bit more time to something and look a little deeper.

I remember when we started making the movie, I was walking with the Canadian service producer. We had just been shooting for a couple of days. He turned to me and said, “I didn’t think this was gonna be such a funny movie.” I said, “Well, I wanted to make a movie that people wanted to see. I actually think the movie has a lot of darkness to it, but… I don’t mean to compare myself at all — but this was something I was thinking about — when Kubrick made Dr. Strangelove, he was making it about something that was not very funny to him. Nuclear war. And he realized at a certain point that the only way for him to process this was to make it funny. As a comedy. Because it is so fucking insane. And I guess me, looking at myself, and especially when I started really looking at Red and who he was… When you look at him, he’s really sort of this likable guy who’s fucking around all the time. And that’s me. It was self-analysis. I’m making fun of myself. Analyzing myself in my world and what I supposedly care about and what really matters in the end, which, in the end, I discovered was my family. They’re the only thing that really matter.

So the things in this movie didn’t happen to me literally, but it’s me. Nina Dobrev is sort of playing my wife. Many of her lines are things my wife said to me. These are things that I take very seriously. It was really difficult in the moment when I’m sitting in jail, and I kind of put myself there. At first I was in a low-security facility. I was a first-time offender, and then I fucked up. And it was because of stupid pride. That was what got me sent away. They were like, “Oh, you think you’re funny. You think you’re in Hogan’s Heroes, do you? Well, let’s put you someplace else.” There was a point when my wife was looking at me with tears in her eyes like, “You abandoned us. You did this on purpose. This is all your fault.” And she was right. So, a lot of this is just me trying to process myself. And at a certain point I looked at it and I was like, “This is ludicrous. I am ludicrous. The situation is ludicrous.” The gallery owner in the movie? That is Samuel Hadida, who had just fucked me over horribly. There was a weird kind of poetic beauty that I actually got him to produce the movie. He never really realized he was the gallery owner! [Laughs.]

You wanted to ask me one final question about Quentin?

When I interviewed you both for my book My Best Friend’s Birthday: The Making of a Quentin Tarantino Film last year, you both seemed cordial regarding one another. Where does that relationship stand now?

Quentin and I are having dinner soon. We’re gonna have it at this Thai restaurant we love where we wrote parts of Pulp Fiction at. We’ve been talking. Not everyday, but we talk frequently. He’s in France doing press right now. Believe it or not, he figured out how to call me using an iPad. [Laughs.] Understand, we hadn’t really talked in ten years. And we’ve been somewhat estranged for about twenty-five years. But I’ve always loved Quentin. He’s one of my very best friends. Always has been.

I’m sure I’ve said this to you before, but it’s not what everybody thinks it is, and it never has been. Show me two brothers who don’t fight. Quentin and I would fight like brothers fight. Then we’d make up and go to a movie. That’s normal. It’s just that when you add all the trappings of this business, like money, agents, attorneys, publicists, it gets in the way of two buddies having a disagreement. All that just changes the dynamic of the relationship.

I just did this podcast with Bret Easton Ellis. Quentin listens to the podcast, and after the podcast he spontaneously picked up the phone and called me. We’re talking constantly. It’s like not a moment has passed between us.

Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years

About Andrew J. Rausch

Andrew J. Rausch is a a freelance film journalist, author, and celebrity interviewer. He has published more than thirty books including The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Making Movies with Orson Welles (with Gary Graver), and The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (with Charles E. Pratt, Jr.). He is a web editor at Diabolique and writes a regular column in Screem magazine. His work has also appeared in Shock Cinema, Scream, Senses of Cinema, Cemetery Dance, Cinema Retro, Creative Screenwriting, Film Threat, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture. He has written several works of fiction including Layla's Score, Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties, and Bloody Sheets. He has also worked as a screenwriter, producer, and actor on numerous straight-to-video horror films. His newest book, My Best Friend's Birthday: The Making of a Quentin Tarantino Film, is out now.

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