Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bad Lieutenant

Bad Lieutenant is a 1992 crime drama starring Harvey Keitel and directed by Abel Ferrara. It's the story of a New York City detective addicted to drugs, gambling, alcohol, violence and weird sex. His descent into hell is through the investigation of a particularly sick crime, an imaginary National League baseball playoff series between the Mets and Dodgers and a drug-addled Catholic vision experience.

While the movie might not be just the thing for everyone, The Onion AV Club interview with director Ferrara paints a great picture of the movie-making process that any cinema buff will find interesting. For instance:

"O: On the commentary track, you look at the credit "A Pierre Kalfon Production" and ask, "What's a Pierre Kalfon production?" So... what is it?
AF: Yeah, it's a joke. This is some robber baron. He's the guy who was the in-between guy between Canal+ [the largest French financing company] and us. In France, if you rob a quarter-million dollars from the budget, that's business as usual. I'm not kidding. I'm very angry about what happened. They're using our names to raise money. In their mind, if it wasn't for them, there would be no financing, so they see it as their money, you dig what I mean? When you deal with the French... The French, they stick together. So between Pierre and these guys, it got to a point... Canal had put up X amount of money to preproduce the film, and we never saw a penny of it. We were preproducing it for nothing, and all along, Pierre had this money in his pocket. I initially said, "Forget it, I'm not going to do this." But then, who would believe that there was $200,000 appropriated for preproduction, and I didn't know about it? So we were forced to make the film. I wasn't going to have anything to do with this film, but I made it with Canal under the express consent that Pierre have nothing to do with it, and I have final cut anyway. Everything went along well until we finished the movie and they just stole the fucking print and put on all these producers that I never even heard of. And now, with the poster, Barry Amato—the guy who produced the film, who actually made it happen—his name isn't even on it. It's a nightmare. We own 25 percent of this movie, but when they sold it in the States, they made a deal with a company that doesn't even have distribution set up. I mean, who is Barry Barnholtz? Who are these people? We own that film. We slaved on it for two years. In the film business, it's basically honor among thieves. I see the biggest rip-offs in the world, and they're all sitting next to each other at Morton's or Spago. With this film, we're seriously thinking about filing a class-action lawsuit. They promised me theatrical distribution, and they opened it in L.A., but they have one print. They booked three cities, and they only have one fucking print. No ads. Who the fuck do these people think they are? They put it out, we get very good reviews in the L.A. papers... In the rest of the world, we don't have these distribution problems, though we still have never gotten proper accounting. I don't want to sound like some whiner, but there's a place where you've got to draw the line, and this is the film. This is one of the reasons why we haven't done another film since then."

Read the whole interview here.

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