News from the Locarno Festival

Roger Avary

Roger Avary



The beginning of your career looks like the plot of a Hollywoodian movie: two young filmmakers who work in a video store and suddenly become the youngmen who will change the way to understand cinema in the new millennium. It was you and Quentin Tarantino.
Actually it was me who engaged Quentin. I was working in a very cinephile video store (which today does not exist anymore) and one day a shabby-looking boy enters the shop and begins to talk about cinema. He was a living encyclopedia. I believed to be an expert, but he knew much more than me. We became friends and we learned a lot from each other.

You shot together a film which nobody has ever seen, My Best Friend’s Birthday. What was it about?
It was a sort of young comedy. We produced it together with some other friends, I was the director of photography and Quentin was the director. We never completed the movie also because one of our friends died, and only a few fragments survived; Quentin jealously preserves them. Everything started in that moment.

During the conversation we had at the Forum you said that – according to your first idea – you had to become a producer and Quentin a director. How did you decide to direct Killing Zoe?
While I was making some on-the-spot surveys for Reservoir Dogs a producer I knew phoned me saying: “Do you perhaps know somebody with a not too expensive script on a bank robbery? Because I would be ready to finance it right now!”. And I said: “Today is your lucky day because some months ago I wrote a script for a movie completely set in a bank, I’ll bring it to you next week!”. It was not true: I hung up the phone and I immediately started to write it.

The Rules of Attraction is a generational movie which reinvents the cinematographic language mixing genres and thecniques. What pushed you to adapt Bret Easton Ellis’ novel?
When I read The Rules of Attraction I understood that Ellis had written a book which talked about me and made me remember situations I lived in college. I wrote the script changing several elements according to my personal experiences. I think it is my most intimate movie, but it was not understood when it was released. People thought they were going to watch light American Pie-style stuff and were shocked...

In which stage of life is Roger Avary now?
My professional experiences gave me and took away from me a lot, but above all they allowed me to know myself. I love my job and I love writing scripts also for other directors because to me the most important thing is doing, and not waiting for the movie of my life. I have many ongoing projects and one of them is the adaptation of another Ellis’ novel, Lunar Park. And you know what? Once again it seems written about me!

Manlio Gomarasca

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