Crispin Glover Reflects On Acting Path And ‘Lucky Day’ Collaboration With Roger Avary

Crispin Glover’s diverse acting career includes films that have reached iconic status (Back to the Future), critical acclaim (River’s Edge), and box office success (Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle). He reunites with Beowulf scribe Roger Avary in the stylized crime thriller Lucky Day, and during our conversation he talked about his acting career, reuniting with the Oscar winning Avary (Pulp Fiction), and the secret to coexisting with peacocks!

 

Crispin Glover in “Lucky Day” (Credit: Lionsgate)

In Lucky Day, Crispin Glover is Luc, a contract killer with an exacting and focused mission on seeking revenge for his brother’s death. The intended victim is the just released from prison Red (Luke Bracey), a guy who simply wants to resume family life with his loving wife (Nina Dobrev) and precocious daughter (Ella Ryan Quinn). Glover, as usual, delivers a scene stealing performance as the seemingly indestructible annihilator, and coupled with balls to the proverbial wall storytelling from Avary, Lucky Day succeeds as a piece of engaging and unapologetic cinema (Dobrev, best known for The Vampire Diaries, also delivers inspired work as the French speaking and strong willed Chloe).

Glover has been seen as an eccentric actor over the years, but truly that’s just barely getting into the whole story. An artist, author, and filmmaker who tours the world with his respective works, Glover has carved out a successful acting career to fund his artistic endeavors. Recently, he’s been seen in the acclaimed series American Gods and Lucky Day hits theaters and On Demand October 11.

How does one coexist with peacocks and how has Glover’s motivations as an actor changed over the years? A few answers to those questions are featured in our chat.

You described Roger Avary as an auteur. What makes him a special filmmaker?

When I use the word auteur, I just very specifically am using that from the concept of a writer/director of film. But I do mean it as a compliment with Roger as well. He definitely does have a specific perspective in his filmmaking and writing. And I like it.

It has depth to it. That was definitely what I was immediately attracted to when I read the script. I had worked with Roger previously on Beowulf which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman who I’m also working with Neil right now of course on the American Gods show based on his beautiful book of the same title.

Neil is the executive producer of (American Gods). He and Roger co-wrote Beowulf which I ended up playing Grendel in. It was written for Roger to direct and then (Robert) Zemeckis got hold of the screenplay and then wanted to direct so Roger was paid for that screenplay. But Zemeckis had said to them that he would hire the actors that they wanted to cast. I was on that list to play Grendel.

There had been a lawsuit to Back to the Future where the producers used prosthetics that were made from the mold taken from my face from the original Back to the Future film. He put the prosthetics on another actor in order to make them up to look like me so they could fool audiences to believe that I was in the film which, of course, is illegal. There had been a lawsuit about it. I had figured I would never worked with Robert Zemeckis again so I have Roger and Neil to thank for this because that was a very good role. I enjoyed playing Grendel. I thought it was very well written. And then it was helpful to have a reparative, positive collaboration with Zemeckis again. So I am grateful to Roger for that and Neil Gaiman.

I was touring with my own shows and films – I have two different live shows and two different films – I think I had just come in from the Czech Republic traveling overseas and I got an email from Roger that I was right in the midst of international travel and stuff and touring with my shows. I ended up talking to him shortly thereafter but I think Roger was getting very close to shooting and he didn’t have the actor and he didn’t have my number. My father (Bruce Glover) teaches acting – my father’s in a new movie that I also directed which I will have ready next year – but he called my father and told my father about it and he said ‘Well if Crispin doesn’t do it, I’ll play the part.’

I was just out to dinner last night with Roger and the cast, we had a nice dinner, and Roger told me that which is pretty funny actually. As soon as I read the character, it was obvious this was a great character and I think I had seven days, it might have even been six, I had seven days before from reading the script to being in front of the camera shooting.

Luke Bracey, Nina Dobrev and Ella Ryan Quinn in “Lucky Day.” (Lionsgate)

My gosh…

(laughs) So not a lot of prep time but luckily it was a good character and it all worked out well.



With all of the action sequences in the film, was this a physically taxing role for you?

In terms of physical, I was in front of the camera a lot and I think once I started shooting I had little time off. Most of my stuff was done many days in a row and I had a fair amount of dialogue to memorize. Some of it was large amounts of dialogue next to another day of large amounts of dialogue. That aspect was something to have to contend with. But in terms of physical movement, that wasn’t really demanding.

Has your motivations as an actor changed once you became an author and a director as well?

Acting definitely changes. I started acting professionally at age 13. When I initially thought about it which was originally before age 13, it was a fairly – I had grown up seeing how the industry work to a certain extent because my father made his living as an actor. So I had somewhat of an insight.

My father wasn’t like super famous or super wealthy or anything. I saw struggles. So I didn’t have a kind of glorified viewpoint of the film industry. But I did see it was a viable industry to step into. I basically understood how it worked. So it was something that I saw that I could do. It seemed like a good choice of profession. 

I actually made a pretty calculated business decision at a relatively young age and luckily that has worked. At that point when I was that age, I thought well maybe I would be in commercials or maybe a television show or maybe a movie. I wasn’t really pre-determined as to what would exactly happen. It was more around the age of 16 – I started taking professional acting classes.

LIke I said my father teaches acting but I didn’t formally didn’t study with my father. I’m sure I picked up things from him anyhow. I started formally studying in the professional acting school at 15 and then I learned how to drive at 16. I was going to see a lot of the revival house movies that were popular in Los Angeles in the very early 80s. I would say that’s when I started getting really excited by art and film. 

I had always been interested in art even at a younger age than 13. But it was around 16 when I started equating art and film at the same time. That was very exciting to me and still that is the most exciting element. Acting, I understood, could be a part of that art but that’s probably why I have a lot of drive as a filmmaker. I love the actual editing process best out of any part of the filmmaking experience, because that is when everything is coming together as the final art. 

But all aspects of it are important including of course the performance. I have, by far, made most of my living as an actor. But I would say in the year 2000, I had already been acting a fairly long amount of time – I did switch my thought process as to what I was acting for. I needed to complete my first film and I needed to fund the production for my second film. I needed to make acting a craft so that I could fund my art in filmmaking for. I had to disassociate myself as my main art element as being an actor.

It doesn’t mean there isn’t art within it. But I have to think of it as a craft in order to be able to know that I need to make money from that to fund my filmmaking. But sometimes good things around. I haven’t seen Lucky Day yet – I will see it on Friday at the (Laemmle Music Hall) and I feel good about it already.

The reason I haven’t seen it is I had the opportunity to watch it on my computer or even come here to Lionsgate and see it on a big screen. I wanted to see it with an audience. It seems like an audience kind of movie where people are going to get excited and laugh and this kind of thing. I will see it on Friday on opening night at the Laemmle Music Hall with a paying audience. That will be a fun way to see it.

One last question – how does touring, raising peacocks and living in the Czech Republic fuel your own creative passions?

Well I like touring. There’s a live component to the show which is an hour long and I’ve been performing that even since I started touring with the films. I first performed that show in 1993 – how long is that now?

Twenty six years.

Yeah. There was a long time when I didn’t tour with it because I realized it would be a good way to self distribute my films. Since 2005, I’ve toured every year and so next year that will be 15 years of touring of What Is It. I enjoy the show – it is a dramatic  narration of my books. There is a theatrical aspect to it. So there is an acting element that is going on while presenting the books. 

Then of course I’m very glad to be showing the films that I’ve worked on. The first film What Is It? started shooting in 1996. It premiered in Sundance in 2005 so it was 9 ½ years from the first day of shooting to premiering the film. Everything Is Fine, the sequel, was shot in 2000 and 2001 and premiered in Sundance in 2007.

My new film, one that I’ve done with my father and we acted together for the first time, I started developing that in 2007 after premiering the last film in Sundance and we started shooting it in 2013. Every year from 2013 to last year 2018 we shot at least one production segment on the film on 35mm. The first two films were 16mm film which I then blew up through a digital intermediate to 35mm prints.

A lot of work has gone into these films and I’m very glad to present the films an audience in the proper cinema format. And then I have the interactive question and answer with the audience then I have book signing after that. It is artistically satisfying. I make far more money when I’m acting in corporate films but it’s very satisfying to be bringing money in on these projects that I put so much into.

The property in Czech, like you said I do have peacocks there. They really do bring life to the property. It’s a large property. It’s like 20 acres. I bought the property in 2003 before I had the peacocks there. It’s surprising. You kind of thing – well like peacocks, what kind of pet are they Are they like a cat or a dog? Of course they’re not but there is one of them who will actually feed from my hand – they’re really interesting.

It’s great to walk out into the garden and there are these beautiful birds and they have a very interesting patterns of socializing. They’re great. There’s actually two swans as well but there’s far more peacocks. There are actually over 30. It’s actually getting to be a little bit much – they just naturally procreate so we probably have to figure out a way to either sell or give it to people that want them. It’s a hard to catch them. They are essentially wild animals even if you feed them. 

They’re very aware – it almost feels like if you think about catching they read your thoughts and they know to run away. Whereas if you don’t think about them and you’re walking and doing something you can walk right next to a peacock and they won’t do anything. As soon as you start thinking ‘Oh we got to catch them and do something’ you won’t get nowhere near them. They’re interesting animals.

Thank you for your time and looking forward to interviewing you for the next one!

Yeah. Well thank you. I had a great time on Lucky Day and I’m looking forward to having people see it.”

 

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Feeding my peacock friend more raw cashews in the parterre at Zamek Konarovice Czech Republic

A post shared by Crispin Hellion Glover (@crispinhellionglover) on

Thank you for your time and looking forward to interviewing you for the next one!

Yeah. Well thank you. I had a great time on Lucky Day and I’m looking forward to having people see it.”

Lucky Day hits theaters and On Demand on Friday, October 11.

To gain listen to the complete audio recording of my interview with Crispin Glover, support our CinemAddicts podcast by becoming part of our Patreon community (members get exclusive audio access to all of my 1:1 interviews).

 

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