Crispin Glover
Crispin Hellion Glover, the actor, filmmaker, musician and artist is currently touring around the country with It Is Fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE, the second film in his tour de force It trilogy. Recently, Crispin talked with omniphiliac to explain his current trilogy, corporate studio entities, exploring the taboo and his future plans.
Writer:  omniphiliac Nov 27 07

While he is best known for his work as George McFly in Back to the Future, or as the Thin Man in Charlie’s Angels, Crispin Glover has been quite the busy man in the last 20 years creating his own works of art independent from large studios. In a review of his first film of the trilogy, What Is It?, the New York Times referred to Crispin Hellion Glover as an Auteur that is a force to be reckoned with. In his current tour, Crispin invites the audience to listen in on his reading of his eight books during the “Big Slide Show” where images from his books are projected behind him. It is Fine is a surreal exploration of a man with Cerebral Palsy who lives out his sexual and emotional fantasies, however his relations start to take a turn for the worse. During his tour, after the screening of It is Fine, Crispin comes back to stage for an open and intriguing Q&A. 

What was the motivation behind starting your
It trilogy?
In 1996, two writers from Arizona approached me with a screenplay they had written, they had wanted to direct me. I told them I’d be interested in acting in the screenplay if I could rework some concepts and direct it. They came out with their own ideas and there were a lot of different elements where I said most of the characters should be played by actors with Downs Syndrome. They were fine with that concept and I set about to rewriting the screenplay and David Lynch agreed to executive produce. I went to one

It is at that moment when the audience member sits back in their chair and thinks to themselves, “Is this right what I’m thinking? Is this wrong what I’m seeing? Is it right what the filmmaker has done? Should I be here? What is it?”
of the larger corporate entities in Los Angeles for funding and they were interested. After a number of meetings and conversations they said they were concerned about funding a film wherein most of the characters were going to be played by actors with Downs Syndrome, so it was decided that I should write a screenplay for a short film that would be used to promote this concept for getting corporate funding. There was something I started to realize though as I was conceptualizing about the screenplay, what corporate entities were reacting to was not that they were concerned about the viability of the film where most of the characters are played by actors with Downs Syndrome wherein those characters did not necessarily have Downs Syndrome, but they were really concerned about was that concept itself was a taboo subject. I came to the realization that all films that are corporately funded and distributed at least for the last 30 years have ubiquitously had anything that could possibly make an audience member uncomfortable in any way whatsoever, that element must necessarily be excised or the film will not be corporately funded or distributed. And I think that is a very damaging thing, because it is at that moment when the audience member sits back in their chair and thinks to themselves, “is this right what I’m thinking? Is this wrong what I’m seeing? Is it right what the filmmaker has done? Should I be here? What is it?” and that’s the name of the first film. What is it that is taboo in the culture? What does it mean that the taboo is ubiquitously excised? I think it’s a very damaging thing. It’s that moment when these questions are asked that a genuine element of education is happening precisely because questions are being asked. That stigmatizes the culture to have the most important form of communication, the true forms of education be ubiquitously excised. So I felt that it was important to really explore that in What Is It? since that element was already there.

It is Fine. Everything is Fine! is the second film in your trilogy and is what you are currently touring with, how did you come across the screenplay for this film?
I started to reflect on a screenplay in 1986 by Steven C. Stewart who had a severe case of Cerebral Palsy, Cerebral Palsy is something you are born with and then stay that way your entire live. He had been locked in a nursing home for approximately 10 years when his mother died. He is very difficult to understand, and people that were working there derisively would call him an M.R., a mental retard, which isn’t a nice thing to say to anybody but he was of normal intelligence and he was virtually imprisoned. He did get out after about 10 years and then he wrote this screenplay which is a reaction to that situation on some level and his entire life. It’s a fantastical telling of kind of a murder mystery, detective style television movie and it’s written with that feel, but there’s very detailed graphic sexuality which sets it apart from a television movie. He had a lot of interest in women with long hair, and all these attractive women fall in love with him quite readily. So it’s quite fantastical and the fascinating part about the outcome of the film is that it’s a documentation of him living this fantasy.

How was
It is Fine received at the Sundance Festival?
It was well received. I also went to the Stiges festival in Spain and it won the Special Jury award for the New Visions section of the festival. My personal experience is that people are getting a lot out of it. I’m very proud of What Is It? and I don’t mean to dismiss the film at all when I say this, but when the whole trilogy is done, It is Fine will be the best of the trilogy. Not only that, it will probably be the best film I’ll have anything to do with in my whole career. I really feel strongly about the film. But I feel strongly about the whole trilogy as well and so I am very excited about bringing it and showing it to people.

I know that Steven unfortunately passed away shortly after the completion of the film and this may be an unfair question to ask, but how do you think Steven would have enjoyed watching the final cut?

No matter what, even if he wasn’t in the first film, I felt it was extremely important to get his film made. I actually felt that if it hadn’t been made then I would have done something wrong, like I had done a bad thing.
That is something I’m sad about. When I was filming Charlie’s Angels in the year 2000, which I did to use the money to make It Is Fine, one of Steven’s lungs collapsed. I had already put him into part one of the trilogy in order to make his screenplay that he had written a part of the trilogy. No matter what, even if he wasn’t in the first film, I felt it was extremely important to get his film made. I actually felt that if it hadn’t been made then I would have done something wrong, like I had done a bad thing. After I filmed Charlie’s Angels I went to Salt Lake to meet Steve and David Brothers (co-director of It is Fine) started building the sets and we shot the film over a six month time period in very separate smaller productions and then within a month after Steve shooting, he had died. I had got a call and he was in the hospital, his lung had collapsed again, and he was basically asking us permission, he wanted to know if we had enough footage to complete the film and if he could take himself off life support. And it was of course a sad day and a heavy responsibility to tell him that we did indeed have enough footage to finish the film. And yet I know that if I said, “Steven we need you there to film more scenes” he would have done anything to do it.

I had got a call and he was in the hospital, his lung had collapsed again, and he was basically asking us permission, he wanted to know if we had enough footage to complete the film and if he could take himself off life support.
But I think that the fact that he knew that the film was done and was able to be completed he had gotten accomplished what he needed to be done. I of course would have loved for him to have seen the final movie. It’s a funny thing, David, my co-director, and I have talked about it a lot in terms of what it was that Steve was getting out of the film. He and I have slightly different thoughts about it but David tends towards thinking maybe that it was the experience itself. Maybe the experience was a great thing and maybe there were things that weren’t what he wanted but I also know that he had said to David that this was the best time of his life. But I think beyond that, for me, I don’t think it was just about that, I do think that he had something in him that needed to be expressed. He wouldn’t have put it that way, the screenplay was written in a naïve fashion. Steve wasn’t dumb in any way he was an intelligent man but there were certain naïve elements that were a part of what was really beautiful about the screenplay that was written and what David and I wanted to keep as the integrity of the movie is what he had put forth. So I feel that maybe in a certain way that the film maybe would have surprised Steve.

The film What Is It?, if it was to have anything to any degree uncomfortable be excised, the film would just basically not exist.
Can you talk a bit about why you choose to tour with your movies rather than distribute it through studios?
Well for one thing, as I said, anything that’s corporately funded or distributed anything considered that can make an audience member uncomfortable without a doubt will be excised. There would be no point. The film What Is It?, if it was to have anything to any degree uncomfortable be excised the film would just basically not exist. So there’s no point in that.

You’ve stated before that Werner Herzog is an influence of yours, I was wondering how he has influenced you and which particular films have influenced you the most.
When I first started writing What Is It? as a short film I thought because I wanted corporate funding, “well it really should be all of the actors that have Downs Syndrome.” So I reflected on what movies were there that somehow had this quality. The first film I thought of in that way was Werner Herzog’s Even Dwarves Started Small and the reason is because there’s a feeling of somehow, this is a tricky way of putting it because “culture” is a tricky word, but I think people understand what I mean when I say that in that film it feels like an entire universe of people that exist outside of the culture in Even Dwarves Started Small. I thought that worked very well in that film. So that additional element I thought would happen with What Is It? as the characters were not particularly nice to each other. That was the main thing it shared in common with Even Dwarves Started Small.  But actually another film that I had thought a lot about and reflected on while working on What Is It? also by Werner Herzog was Fata Morgana which there’s a certain structure that starts to unfold that feels like the audience member becomes an active participant in the construction of certain elements in the involving of story structure in what’s happening in the interpretation. There were more directors specifically that I was thinking about as I was editing and working on What Is It? such as, Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Luis Bunuel. All of them for different reasons.

I know you’re a collector of eccentric items, just out of curiosity…
People think that and it’s actually not true. It’s been written erroneously for years and I mean I really am not the collector of anything eccentric. There was one thing that I’ve had for years that I bought when I was 20 and people kind of talk about that over and over again. On one hand it’s good that there’s this kind of persona that is talked about, but I also almost feel that it can get in the way of other things that are genuinely important. These films that I am making have been a lot of work, and then there’ll end up being more space written that I have this one piece of medical ophthalmologist piece. Then it really gets blown out of proportion to the point where I wonder if I should stop talking about it. I’ve only recently started thinking about it, I don’t mind bits of eccentricity because I genuinely have an interest in unusual art. It’s a double-edged sword. But the fact of it is I do not own a large collection of eccentric items. Most of my life is about getting the films made, I also own property in Los Angeles and Czech Republic and I have cars and some antique furniture. Other than that all of my money, time and effort goes into making films.

Is it true that you have recorded a second album, when are you planning on releasing it?
Yeah, it is true. There’s a little bit more work that needs to be done. It’s something that I wanted to complete, but my films have taken precedent. Actually isn’t that much more work, it’s just my co-producer and I need to sit at a certain point and agree to do it and work on it. He and I have to figure out what’s going to be the best business model. Even when we made that first record, I was kind of the idea of self releasing and thinking that would be better. The corporation didn’t really do that much for the first record and they made far more money on the record than I did. A lot of things change continuously what with the technology of music and everything. It’s hard to know what will make more sense. It’ll be a good album, it’s different from the first album in a lot of ways. I like it, it’s just my mind has been elsewhere. I do have to release it at some point, there’s worthwhile stuff in there.

You had a run in with corporate studios earlier on in your career with the sequel to
Back to the Future, can you explain what happened?
There was a lawsuit, they hired another actor and put on him false nose, chin and cheek bones in order to make him look like me and inter-spliced a very small amount of footage of me from the original film in order to fool all the audiences to believe it was me. And because of my lawsuit there are laws now in the screen actors guild to make it so that no actors, directors or producers can ever do something like this again.

Is it true you came home one day and you found two girls who had broken into your house and you invited to sit down and have tea with them?
It’s a part of a story that has some accuracy. It wasn’t at my house, it was probably about twenty years ago when I lived in an apartment building. I didn’t sit and have tea. I lived on the top of a fourteen story building and I had gotten home from New York and one girl had said she had broken into my apartment and that she had stolen a leather jacket, a Xeroxed page of my book Rat Catching, a Polaroid picture of myself and a pair of underwear. I thought it was kind of funny, but a little bit strange because she had crawled across the ledge, I’m not afraid of heights, but it genuinely was death defying, it was 14 stories high and it was a ledge that was maybe 5 inches wide. It was not a safe thing to do. I thought it was kind of funny, I didn’t really think about how strange it was that she had done it and I just invited them into to chat for a minute. I kind of talked to them in the entry hall. As I was talking to her and her friend I was friendly, it suddenly became apparent that no matter what I said that she was getting very angry. First I said to her, I would like to get the leather jacket back and the Polaroid picture but you can keep the Xeroxed page and my underwear. She did eventually return those things. I was being nice but not matter what I was saying she was getting angry. I’m not afraid of stalkers or people that know me from things, but she really did have something a bit wrong with her. It became apparent, especially when I realized she had done this truly death defying act for not really a lot of gain, it was kind of strange.

What are your current plans for the final part of the trilogy, It Is Mine?
I will not shoot that film for a long, long time. Right now I would like to step away from the themes that are involved in the trilogy and explore some other things. On top of which, I own property in the Czech Republic and I plan to shoot whatever films I make next over there, the third part filmed out there as well. I set out to make simple films when I started to make What Is It? and neither of these films were simple, they’re very complex movies and complicated to shoot. I plan on making different films in a different culture with a different language and I own this Chateau that was built in the 1600’s in Prague. There’s a horse stable next to it that I’m turning into a small sound stage. I need to kind of get familiar with how it’s going to work in that culture and I need to make some simpler films. Then I need to build myself back up because It Is Mine really is a complex project and more complex than the either two. I just need to have my infrastructure in the Czech Republic all worked out before that.

For more information on Crispin and his tour, please visit his website at

Head shots of Mr. Glover
courtesy of Marcos of Marcos Rivera Photography.

 Page: 1 2 
Sinclair  -  Model
Indianapolis, IN
F - Attached
Posted: 11/27/07 at 05:20 PM 
Nessie  -  Model
Biddeford, ME
36 / F - Attached
Posted: 11/27/07 at 08:46 PM 
Great job with this, omni darling. And Marcos rocked the camera.
Puck  -  Fine Artist
Valdosta, GA
37 / M - Attached
Posted: 11/27/07 at 09:57 PM 
This is awesome. Im jealous.
Alyak  -  Moderator
Thief River Falls, MN
35 / F - Attached
Posted: 11/27/07 at 11:34 PM 
Amazing job to both Omni and Marcos.
San Francisco, CA
40 / M - Attached
Posted: 11/28/07 at 12:38 AM 
man i loved Back to the Future and just didnt know anything about Mr Glover.  i am really interested to see his films now!  thanks Omni! ;-D
CookieDough  -  Staff Photographer
Henderson, NV
M - Single
Posted: 11/28/07 at 05:59 AM 
What a fun time... I am hearing his delivery as I read it. Awesome.
Laputa  -  Photographer
Atlanta, GA
41 / F - Single
Posted: 11/28/07 at 08:04 AM 
I definently have to check out his films now!
Harlowe  -  Writer
Los Angeles, CA
F - Single
Posted: 11/28/07 at 03:43 PM 
Of COURSE he owns a chateau  built in Prague in 1600.  I would expect no less from Crispin!

I adore this man - have ever since "River's Edge."   Thanks for this interview and for the great photograph     Excellent work!!

Edited By: Harlowe - 11/28/07 at 04:46 PM
omniphiliac  -  Writer
San Francisco, CA
41 / M - Attached
Posted: 11/28/07 at 06:21 PM 
He stated time and time again that "Rivers Edge" is one film he is most proud about acting in.
Harlowe  -  Writer
Los Angeles, CA
F - Single
Posted: 11/29/07 at 12:59 AM 
For some reason, that doesn't surprise me        
Sinclair  -  Model
Indianapolis, IN
F - Attached
Posted: 11/28/07 at 10:11 PM 
yay! the trailer:

Long Beach, CA
40 / F - Married
Posted: 12/22/08 at 07:00 PM 
wow. i must see it. crispin glover is a genius, and so stylishly appealing
Patton  -  Writer
Albuquerque, NM
F - Attached
Posted: 11/28/07 at 10:35 PM 
love it! crispin is amazing... he is seriously the only cult leader I would ever follow... mmm the cult of crispin glover! has a good ring to it I think!

Edited By: Patton (I wanted to preach about my Crispin cult!) - 08/27/08 at 10:25 AM
 Page: 1 2 

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