Bobcat Goldthwait is known best for his role of Zed in the “Police Academy” franchise and for work as a stand-up comedian. “Share The Warmth” still holds up and is an incredibly funny stand-up show. Bobcat has been spending his time doing what he loves most – writing and directing movies, like “World’s Greatest Dad” and “God Bless America”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bobcat about “God Bless America” and also his new Bigfoot movie “Willow Creek”.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the origins of “God Bless America”?
Bobcat Goldthwait: There are a couple things leading to its genesis. First, I was in London and there was a “My Super Sweet 16” marathon on – going back about two years now. It really bothered me that is the way that we are represented. I wrote the script initially as a Christmas present for my wife, I guess that came from me being cheap [laughs]. I think this is a really screwed up time and I wanted to write a movie that is, as I say, a violent movie about kindness. I think if I made a documentary on how we are becoming attached from each other, it would be preaching to the converted. So being a fan of films like “Bonnie and Clyde”, that and also TV networks were the big inspiration here.
MG: What inspires you most about directing?
BG: I just write a lot of screenplays all the time. When I can get a budget to make them I go out and do it. Some of them are much smaller budgeted and some are bigger. What inspires me to keep directing is that it has almost taken be 30+ years in show business to finally find something that I really love doing. I really love writing and directing movies. It is the job that I have found most rewarding that I have done in my career.
MG: How do you feel you have matured as a director since 1991 with “Shakes the Clown”?
BG: Hopefully I am getting better in what I am doing [laughs]. If I were to make “Shakes” now, I do not think that anything positive would happen to him. It probably would have ended with him jumping off a bridge or something [laughs]. I am hoping that I just keep evolving. People that I admire are directors like Steven Soderbergh, who just keeps making movies and don’t seem to be too concerned about how he is conceived – in a good way.
MG: Joel Murray was amazing in the film, tell us about casting him?
BG: Joel is an old friend of mine. I had back surgery and my wife and I watched a whole set of “Mad Men” that he had dropped off. He thought it would be good for me to occupy my time with [laughs]. With him in mind, my wife suggested that we cast Joel as Frank. When I sent him the script, he thought I wanted him to play a small part…not the main guy! That is what was one of the best parts of making the movie was to get to work with an old friend. Him and I then got to travel all over the world going to film festivals and hanging out. It was great.
MG: What was your biggest challenge with “God Bless America”?
BG: I think you are always faced with the major issues of budget, even for directors like Christopher Nolan. How can you make an action film for well under a million dollars? It is still a lot of money but when you compare it to other action films, it is nothing really. So that is definitely the biggest challenge.
MG: Do you see yourself ever returning to acting?
BG: I think for me to actually be in a movie, it would have to be something that would be a lot of fun or something I couldn’t say no to. I always joke I retired from acting the same time people stopped hiring me [laughs]. I do small cameos in my movies but that is usually brought upon my necessity like someone is out that day or something. In “World’s Greatest Dad”, the guy slated to play the limo driver didn’t show up, so it ended up being me. In “God Bless America”, I quickly jumped in when we were stealing a shot at a festival with the balloon game. There was an empty seat where you keep getting wet, so I jumped it and got water shot at me.
MG: You’ve recently came out of retirement to do some stand-up; how has being on stage changed for you?
BG: Stand-up is different. Some nights I really like it. But then sometimes people come with expectations for me to be a character from 30 years ago. Having that aspect becomes boring after a while. But when people are there solely due to films I did in the 80’s -or I don’t mind if they come due to that – but it is a drag when they have come with only those expectations. Sometimes it is hard to combat that.
MG: What next for you? Is “Schoolboys in Disgrace” in the cards?
BG: “Schoolboys in Disgrace” is a film that is something that I am always working on and meeting about. That is a bigger movie with a bigger budget, so it is taking a little longer for me than usual. I am just wrapping up the final touches on a Bigfoot movie that I shot called “Willow Creek”. I actually went up to where the Patterson-Gimlin footage was shot 45 years ago and that is where we shot the movie there on location. So that was very excited.