The Sum Of Five: ADAM RIFKIN Interview

Here on Wicked Theory we are expanding our efforts to bring to you exposure to the entertainment that matters, to fight to keep it alive, and to enlighten you on the cutting edge you may be missing out on. In this segment, we will sit down with real industry originals for five questions summing up the voyage they are on.

For our first run out of the gate, we are talking with Adam Rifkin, a great director who has paid his dues and continues to give us thought provoking entertainment tainted with his uniquely dark humor. So Adam, let’s sum it up in five...

Can you recollect, what was the defining moment when you decided you wanted to be involved in the film industry?
I grew up loving movies from as early an age as I can remember.  My first love was monster movies. The classics; Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.  I figured out pretty early on that someone had to behind making them.  I didn't understand at that age what a director was, I just knew that someday I wanted to make movies too.  There really wasn't a "defining moment", just a love and a passion for the magic of the movies and an early need to be a part of it.

If you had one mulligan for all of the projects you have done, what would be the one you would take back to do all over again or even completely snuff out?

No regrets!  Every decision, every experience, every up and every down is part of the whole.  If it wasn't for the downs of yesterday I wouldn't know how to effectively navigate the ups of today.

Chillerama was recently released to DVD which had your mini-movie “Wadzilla”, which I greatly enjoyed. How did it come about from an idea perspective because there was a lot of what I will call enjoyable campiness crammed in such a short offering?

CHILLERAMA was always meant to be a love letter to the B-movie.  All the best B-movies are deliciously campy and we wanted CHILLERAMA to embody that spirit.  WADZILLA was definitely intended to be outrageous. I wanted to come up with something that would make people laugh and gross people out simultaneously. A giant killer sperm just seemed like the logical place to go.

A lot of what is coming out of Hollywood today for the most part is rehashes of not so distant story lines and very much overdone concepts, how does an artist like you keep the motivation and create when the big studios are flooding the public with shallow thought entertainment?

Hollywood has always remade and rehashed previously successful fare.  It's nothing new.  Every silent film hit was remade once sound came along.  Movies of successful books and plays have always been part of the Hollywood M.O.  Sequels are as old as 1916's Fall Of A Nation, sequel to Birth Of A Nation.  A Star Is Born is about to be remade a fourth time.  Some sequels and remakes are great, like the 1978 version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, and some suck, like the 2007 version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.  Cronenberg's The Fly was great, as was Carpenter's The Thing.  Both remakes.  My general feeling is this, I root for all movies to be good.  Good movies are good for everybody and good for the business as a whole.  All I want to do is focus on making movies that I wanna make and try and make them as well as I can.

On the originality note, we have to talk about your Showtime series LOOK and movie of the same name. Shooting the whole thing with surveillance cameras really for me came together much better than I expected and pushed the dramatic elements to another level. From that POV as a viewer, it evokes so much inner darkness from an emotional standpoint that I find myself feeling helpless, guilt-ridden, and foreboding all at the same time. How did the idea for LOOK come about and develop for you and what are the things you did different to maintain its grim wholesomeness?

The idea for LOOK originally came about as a result of getting a traffic ticket from a red light cam.  When I received the ticket in the mail and saw the photo of me running the light it creeped me out.  I started wondering how many other times a day I was being photographed without my knowledge.  Turns out, hundreds.  That's when the idea hit me to do an entire film from the vantage point of surveillance footage.  The movie turned out well and was a big indie success so when the idea came about to continue to explore the LOOK world for TV I jumped at it.  I definitely wanted the viewer to feel unnerved.  Like a voyeur, complicit in observing something they shouldn't be watching.  As far as maintaining grim wholesomeness is concerned, I can't say I'd ever thought about it quite like that, but what I did want to do it show that everybody has two sides, a public side, and a private side.  Everybody acts differently to some degree when they think that nobody is watching them.  I definitely wanted to explore people's most private moments, in all their grim and wholesome glory.

There you have it people, five burning questions with director, writer, and producer Adam Rifkin. Be sure to check out Chillerama on DVD and make time to experience the sensation that is LOOK on Showtime. Season One of LOOK is also now available Hulu.com for you to catch up if you haven’t started or to get your friends hooked as well; it doesn’t disappoint!
By W.C Sowder

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