Delirious: the first blog

July 18, 2007

And so, the first sentence; probably typed by 100 million people by now: “This is the first blog I’ve ever written.” The concept is still a little strange to me. I mean, what is a blog? Take away the g and all you’ve got is blah, blah, blah.

But hey--here goes. I’m Tom DiCillo, the writer and director of Delirious. I’ve written and directed 6 films. The first was Johnny Suede, starring Brad Pitt. The second was Living In Oblivion which some people say put me on the map which some people say I almost instantly lost. Then I made Box of Moonlight, The Real Blonde and Double Whammy--which was never released theatrically in the US despite a signed contract committing to exactly that.

Sudden thought
: why is it no one ever “goes postal” in the entertainment business? A mail clerk in Cincinnati will wreak havoc with an AK-47 because someone used his coffee cup. But some studio exec steals your script, cuts your favorite scene or dumps your movie and you just walk off with a stupid smile saying, “Yup, that’s the business."


Because it is the business. No one ever has, and ever will, do anything to jeopardize their status in it. The stakes are too high. You never know when you’ll be down on your knees begging that same scumbag to read your next script.

By the way, I’m not suggesting anyone take an AK-47 and wreak havoc on some studio exec. Anyone thinking I’m suggesting that should have their nose ground off with a belt sander.

Delirious  took me 6 years, 2 producers and 3 lawsuits to make. I wrote it for Steve Buscemi, not because he’s one of the most brilliant actors I’ve ever worked with but because I wanted someone on the set I couldn’t wait to see every day. I'd first worked with Steve on Living In Oblivion. Although I'd known him for many years, it was Dermot Mulroney's suggestion I call Steve to play the director Nick Reve (after I'd told Dermot I thought he'd be better as Wolf, the Cameraman). Steve said yes without even reading the script.

With Delirious, I created the part of Les Galantine specifically for him. Les is a NYC paparazzo, a loony loner with no friends and no respect, especially for himself. I wanted to make him as realistic as possible; let’s face it—most paparazzi occupy the lowest rung of the entertainment ladder. For that reason I knew I needed an actor that could always make the character sympathetic and understandable.

That’s why I knew Steve was the only guy for the part. And why I was so excited to have him read the first draft. And why I was so depressed when he said, “No.” He was concerned that the character was too intense. I made some adjustments to the script allowing Les’ humanity to develop more. A year and half later, at a staged reading I set up, Steve finally said yes.

And the rest is hysteria.

There; my first blog. Not too painful. Oh, and I’m not suggesting anyone should grind someone’s nose off with a belt sander either.

Hey Chris. Thanks for the note. I should have had a contest with a prize for The First Commenter. For now, let’s just say it goes to you. Congratulations.
Buscemi is astonishing in Delirious. I hope to hell it comes to Ann Arbor too so you can experience it on the big screen. Man, getting a film distributed these days is worse than trying to buy drugs online.
The Real Blonde is a comedic masterpiece and the best cast film in history. Unbelievable cast. It’s a travesty this isn’t on CRITERION! Most of your titles should be including the DOORS documentary.
Hey James, thanks for these kind words. I agree, I am in awe of all the actors in The Real Blonde. I got to work with some new ones that were a joy; Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd and Dave Chappelle.
As for how and why films get included or excluded anywhere I remain completely in the dark.
My best to you.
Chris W
Wow, a Tom DiCillo blog and I’m the first commenter? Too cool!
I’ve seen and really enjoyed all of your previous films, particularly Living In Oblivion–the perfect comedy for when you’re having “one of those days” and it sends me into giggles no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I’m really looking forward to Delirious–the online trailers look great and Steve Buscemi is delightful to watch in anything he does. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it makes it to my town (Ann Arbor, Michigan).
Incidentally, this is the first actual fan letter I’ve ever written, and it wasn’t too painful either–only took a couple of hours to work up the nerve;). BTW, you do the most entertaining DVD commentary!

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Independent Filmmaker & Musician