YER DIRTY LITTLE MOUTH is a film by Robert Taicher starring Glenn
Shadix and Gill Gayle as Pete and Ray, two alcoholic roommates living
in San Francisco in the mid 1980's. Their drunken, screaming fights
and constant bickering were recorded by their neighbors, first as
evidence for an eviction proceeding and eventually as a compulsive
hobby. The tapes were passed around the artist community in San
Francisco and playwright Gregg Gibbs wrote the play "SHUT UP
LITTLE MAN" based on these recordings.
SF: You recently
attended the New York Film and Video Festival screening of SHUT
YER DIRTY LITTLE MOUTH, a film in which you star with Gill Gayle.
How did you come to do this film?
GS: I met the director
Bob Taicher at Michelle Phillip's "Last Full Moon of The
Millennium" party back in the fall of 1999. We were talking
about film and Bob ask me to read a script he was preparing to
shoot. I took the script and read it that night after the party.
We spoke the next day and I told him I wanted to do the film.
SF: This is a true
GS: Very much so. All
of the dialogue in the film is taken directly from the tapes made
of Pete and Ray's escapades that their neighbors secretly recorded
over a two year period. Including repetitive, drunken verbal sparring
that was constant in the "Pepto Bismol Palace" the name
given to their apartment complex.
SF: What was it
that drew you to this offbeat production?
GS: In a way it was
because it was so impenetrable as a script. Since it is all real
dialogue and not a screenplay per say, it had a strange intense
reality. It left room for the actors to do a lot of interpretation
and create an inner life for these admittedly pathetic characters.
There were the wonderful non sequiturs and off the wall comments
and the endless repetition that smacked of reality and not screenplay.
SF: What sort of
budget did you have for the film?
GS: Small. The entire
movie was shot on a small soundstage in Los Angeles in 14 days.
14 LONG days. The post production has been a real odyssey. Robert
Taicher is a very dedicated and dogged director. He worked with
a number of editors, added a few scenes where we see the neighbors,
and finally had the movie (which had been shot on digital video)
transferred to film and color adjusted. The color adjustment came
after a screening for The San Francisco Independent Film Festival
(for which it won BEST PICTURE). There was a mistake in the projection
booth and the color went way too intense and everyone, including
the cast and director, absolutely loved it! The transfer to film
and intensification of the color made a tremendous difference.
SF: What was is
like working with Gill Gayle?
GS: It was an incredibly
wonderful experience. Gill and I grew up just miles apart in Alabama
but did not meet until we were cast in this film. Gill played
the role of Ray on stage both in Los Angeles and in New York and
was much more familiar with the background and history of the
piece. In our rehearsals before shooting started we would learn
some of the scenes (especially where repetition and variation
made memorization difficult) like songs. Literally sing the roles
in rhythm to sink the words into our brains. The performances
in this film are inextricably tied to one another. Gill is brilliant
and, by the way, not yet forty years old. He endured long hours
of make-up every morning to become the sick and elderly Ray.
Gayle, Michelle Phillips, Glenn Shadix, Robert Taicher.
SF: What sort of
future do you see for this production?
GS: I hope it finds
an audience through a good art house distribution. This is quite
obviously, not a mainstream commercial film. I am hopeful it will
make it to theaters in the bigger cities here and with a little
luck, others around the world.
SF: What was your
experience in New York like?
GS: Michelle Phillips
made my trip to New York! Michelle has been a huge supporter of
this film from the very beginning when she introduced me to it's
director Robert Taicher. Ask me about Bob in a minute. Anyway,
Michelle used her connections to garner some publicity in The
Daily News and she helped pack the theater the night of the screening.
I produced (with Bob Taicher's backing) the party after the screening
at CLAY in the Nolita (north of Little Italy) district. I burned
5 CD's for the music and my cousin Chef Kyle Shadix catered the
affair. Michelle and I left the party at 4am and it was still
hopping! I had great fun in New York. Michelle and I saw HAIRSPRAY
the following night and spent our last evening with friends at
Elaine's. New York was a completely delicious experience.
SF: Okay, tell me
about Robert Taicher.
GS: Bob Taicher is
an incredible character and a true artist. We fought and laughed
and raged (I did most of the fighting and raging). Bob eats his
health food and tells just awful jokes. He stands fast for what
he wants and he has a real vision. His determination is responsible
for SHUT YER DIRTY LITTLE MOUTH. He also produced Alejandro Jodorowsky's
HOLY MOUNTAIN and he directed Elliot Gould and Jennifer Tilly
in INSIDE OUT.
SF: You've lost
a lot of weight since you made the film. What's it like to see
yourself at your top weight?
GS: It's like a gigantic"before"
picture. I think it was this film that was the catalyst for my
getting serious about weight loss. I am glad I was able to bring
Pete alive while I was at that weight, however. It really worked
for the character.
SF: So, what's next?
just did a guest cameo on Providence which will air Friday October
25th on NBC. And there is another project brewing but I must shut
my dirty little mouth about that for now.