The Land of Fruits and Nuts

February 16, 2008

I am not home.

I am in Loss Angeleze for at least 2 months, directing a feature documentary about The Doors. I got here last Sunday. I started work on Monday. I think today is Friday. The work has been so instant and intense I have no idea where I am. Two days ago I found myself inside a refrigerated vault in the depths of Hollywood, wearing a provided parka to help ward off the chill, looking through all the archival material someone has saved of The Doors. At one point I held in my hands the only existing master tape of Light My Fire.

I'm very excited about putting this film together. My task is to look through every inch of material ever shot or recorded of The Doors. At night, I get out of the editing room, stagger past a life-sized painted statue of Woody Woodpecker, get into my rented car and remember to take a right off the lot at Universal Studios. I drive for about 10 minutes. I take another right. I park the car. I go up into the apartment provided to me and I crash with millions of frames of Jim Morrison flashing behind my eyelids.

In the interim some developments on the Delirious front. The first DVD release is coming up in March. This will be primarily for Blockbuster rentals. Then, in May there will be a second non-Blockbuster release with extras which will include my commentary, a very cool Behind the Scenes featurette with me and Buscemi, the full music video of the song Alison Lohman performs in the film and three of the video podcasts we did to promote the film.

And now, it really is time for me to crash.

More to come.

Hello Eric,
Thanks very much for writing–and for watching my films. I too prefer Living In Oblivion to Double Whammy but I do like some things in Whammy very much.
I don’t know if Delirious will come to Mexico. I will try to find out for you. If you read some of the earlier blogs you will see some of my difficulty with dealing with the distributor. I don’t know if they even tried to make a sale to Mexico. I think they should but I doubt there will be a theatrical release. The best we can hope for at this point is a DVD release.
My best to you.
hasta luego.
Hey Damien,
Well, let’s clarify a little bit. I don’t quite agree with you that all my movies have stars or well-known actors. In the case of Johnny Suede even Brad Pitt was a nobody when I cast him. I repeat, no one knew who he was. In fact my original producers refused to let me cast him.
Yes, Nick Cave was in the film–he is probably the most well-known but he had called me and asked if he could play Freak Storm. I could not refuse. Even Catherine Keener was unknown.
One thing that you need to know though is that any movie being made for over $75.00 is going to be hit up by the producers to put “stars” in it. It always happens. This is their attempt to guarantee their investment. It is a stupid formula but to most of the filmmaking world it is Law.
I’ve been able to tapdance around this resident evil in every film; sometimes more skillfully than others. Living In Oblivion had no stars in it. Even Steve Buscemi was not a star–he most certainly did not bring in financing. The same was true when casting Delirious; I could not raise any money on my preferred cast of Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Alison Lohman.
But to answer you question; I do agree that casting a real solidified (petrified) star does limit somewhat what the audience brings to the film in terms of expectation. Only the really great actors were (and are) able to continually surprise us with new performances. Most stars get set into a certain “type” and never move from it.
Even when I cast sort of stars I always made sure to cast them against “type”. This is why I think Turturro is so wonderful in Box of Moonlight. But don’t underestimate how long it took me to get him to say yes.
I think Daniel Day Lewis is a great example of a star who still brings amazing new things to his work.
Hello Tom, it’s amazing that you’re working in something about my my favourite band ever, The Doors.
I just watch Double Wammy last week and i like it but my favourtie is Living in Oblivion.
Does Delirious will be released someday in Mexico?
Good news about Delirious, specifically about the commentary.
Tom, I was thinking about a question for you:
Why do all your movies have stars or actors usually well known to known enough? Is this a deliberate, conscious choice on your part? I know you’ve also brought some actors to light, but celebrity or respectful recognition, at least to me, reoccurs in your casting.
I just wonder sometimes, when I’m watching a film, if having good, but less known actors, saves a movie from dissociation (being warped into known actors previous roles).
If you get a chance, let me know what you think, whether you agree or believe I’m delirious.
Thanks for the well wishes Tom. I’ve recently been laid off from my day job (which I hated), so I have more time to write and make shorts. Of course, that also means I don’t have an income at the moment, so I’m really hoping my new project opens some doors for me because nothing crushes creativity more than working a corporate 9 to 5.
I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I agree with Ebert that there’s a book in there if you want to publish it. I was already familiar with your work (like many writers/filmmakers struggling to break in, I’m a huge fan of Living in Oblivion), but didn’t know about the blog until more recently. It’s an enlightening read, to say the least. I’d heard good things about Delirious, but never got the chance to see it here in the Detroit area. I’ll definitely check out the DVD at some place other than Blockbuster though.
Hey Josh,
Check out Jessica’s comment above: she too seems to be wanted by the Blockbuster police.
Yeah, the documentary head is quite different. I’ve worked on a few documentaries, much smaller in scale though. This one is massive just simply trying to assimilate all the info as you observed.
Then, of course comes the whole wrangle of putting it together.
I’ve got a concept I’m pretty excited about but I’m sure it is all going to keep morphing as the weeks go by.
Certainly much different than writing your own script. But that is what I’m attempting to do though, always making sure that I’m not misrepresenting and misinterpreting the material.
Thanks for writing in and good luck with your screenplays.
Hey Sam,
I’ll try to find out that info. It’s pretty odd the way they’re doing it but I’ve been told once again that “the top men are on it.”
Sounds like you and quite a few others have had some fonky experiences with Blockbuster.
My main complaint is what appears to be a requirement for all their employees to undergo frontal lobotomies.
Thanks for writing.
Sam, that’s funny. I’ve made the same vow never to set foot inside another Blockbuster. So I guess I’ll wait for the second Delirious release since theatrical distribution never made it to my area.
Tom, is this your first documentary? I admire documentary filmmakers for the sheer amount of material they have to go through. Granted, I write well over 200 pages to get to a 120 page final screenplay draft, but at least it’s a story I’ve had in my head for months or years. Putting together a documentary seems like it would be even more daunting.
Hey Tom,
I’m thrilled that Delirious is finally coming to DVD, unfortunately due to a misunderstanding between Blockbuster and myself, I have made a vow to never step foot inside their store again. Is the second release that will include the bonus features going to be a Blockbuster release aswell?
Hey Jessica,
Thanks for your note. Forgive me for not checking myspace and adding you. I will do it soon. I’m just a bit overwhelmed at the moment.
Yes, it is a great job. The more I find out about the Doors the more I find out about the Doors. It just keeps going. Challenging to say the least.
I’m glad you like the songs. Will and I are putting a lot of work into them.
The first DVD of Delirious will be through the video chain Blockbuster I believe. It is solely geared toward rental. The following release will have all the extras and will be geared toward those who wish to own the film.
I’ll try to get some more specific info.
“My task is to look through every inch of material ever shot or recorded of The Doors.” That’s my idea of a great job, where do I sign up for something like that?! Seriously, that’s awesome and you’ll have to keep everyone updated on that, too. Or at least me, because I’d love to know more about it!
I’m loving these songs and I sent you a friend request on Myspace. I think most of my “friends” there are people’s music pages, but then again, I tend to like music more than I do people, so.
By Blockbuster, do you mean the video store, Blockbuster, or something else? If the first DVD release is going to Blockbuster alone, I’m going to have to wait for the second release, because I owe Blockbuster money and…I don’t feel like paying them back just yet. Plus, I’d rather just get the one with all the special features.

Leave a replyReply to


Independent Filmmaker & Musician