Letters From Hollywood: Eli Roth Interview

THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER ELI ROTH. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS INTERVIEW ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF THOSE AT CBP…BUT EVEN IF THEY ARE, IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER, DOES IT? I MEAN, WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS, RIGHT?]

EDITOR'S NOTE: [THIS INTERVIEW WAS GIVEN ON JUNE 6TH A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE ROTH'S FILM HOSTEL II OPENED IN THEATERS. ]

Roth: Thanks for having me, I'm a big fan of the up and coming filmmaker.

[Pause]

Monty: I'll bet you are.

Roth: (Laughs nervously) Uhh, okay.

[Pause]

Roth: Did you have any questions for me or…

Monty: Fair enough. Let's start at the beginning.

Roth: Okay.

Monty: What was the career move that got you to this point?

Roth: You mean where I am right now with my career?

Monty: (Sighs) C'mon, Roth.

Roth: Uh, well, I would say that "Cabin Fever" opened a lot of doors that were closed to me, and guys like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were so supportive and kept urging me on to make another movie.

Monty: So we have Tarantino and Rodriguez to thank for "Hostel" then, Hmm?

Roth: In a round about way…I'm sorry, did you not like the movie?

Monty: I'll ask the questions here Roth. God, I don't know what Tarantino sees in you.

Roth: What?

Monty: Forget it. Moving on. What inspired you to do "Hostel"?

Roth: Well, after "Cabin Fever", I had a lot of offers from big budget studios interested in me and-

Monty: [Laughing Loudly]

Roth: Are you okay? What did I say?

Monty: [Wiping tears away from his eyes] No, no go ahead. [giggles] Studios were interested in you.

Roth: …And they… wanted me to look at projects they were developing. And I just got tired of playing the waiting game. So I started writing "Hostel".

Monty: That's been a pretty big lift for your career, huh?

Roth: Yeah, it's led to a lot of new avenues.

Monty: And you're working on "Hostel 4" now?

Roth: Actually it's "Hostel 2" and it's already finished.

Monty: So that should be out by the time "Saw 9" hits theaters then, right?

Roth: (Laughs) Well, it's funny that you should bring the "Saw" guys up, because we have kind of a friendly competition.

[Pause]

Monty: With what?

[Pause]

Roth: With who can make the goriest, most shocking film.

Monty: Gotcha. I'm sorry. I just... I thought you were coming on to me there for a minute…and I was really uncomfortable. …staring at me weird…just…never mind.

Roth: I'm sorry?

Monty: So... any difficulties while shooting?

Roth: Not really. However, after shooting, a cut of the film was leaked to the internet.

Monty: Thats cool.

Roth: No, thats not cool...

Monty: Releasing an advanced copy of the film is an excellent idea; that way gore-hounds can just fast forward through all of the talking and get directly to the torture and sex.

Roth: If that is the case, there are key plot points the audience will miss let alone the fact that it's taking money out of my pocket.

Monty: So you didn't do it on purpose then?

Roth: No, why would I?

Monty: That sucks.

Roth: Yeah, it's an unfortunate situation.

Monty: So you're worried that the film might be hurt by this advanced copy?

Roth: I'm very worried. Our people have done all they can as far as tracking down the responsible parties but if things like this continue to happen it could bring on the downfall of the film industry entirely. I mean, look at Napster.

Monty: It is troubling. Lord knows Vanilla Ice must be feeling it, he hasn't had a successful album in years.

Roth: So... we'll see how bad it gets. This leak could ruin the opening numbers for "Hostel 2" substantially.

Monty: So you're saying…let me get this right…that if "Hostel 2" does poorly at the box office, then it's because of piracy on the internet?

Roth: Well I-

Monty: I'm just spit balling here. Let's, for arguments sake, say that it's not piracy that's going to hurt this film.

Roth: I'm with you…

Monty: Let's say that people are tired of seeing this type of thing.

Roth: You mean, people may not want to watch my movie because they're not interested?

Monty: Something like that.. So... concerning this new resurgence in "gore cinema", what new things do you try to bring to the table to what is essentially a dead genre?

Roth: Well, the genre of exploitation horror isn't dead, it's just been forgotten. With this new rise, which began with "Cabin Fever" and the "Saw" movies, I try to bring a level of art.

Monty: Sorry, while you were talking there I was thinking about Rosario Dawson riding a panther to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Back my Bullets"…it sounded like you said you bring a level of "art" to this genre?

Roth: That's what I said.

Monty: Could you please explain?

Roth: Gladly. A filmmaker could show a killer putting a gun to a baby's head, that's definitely shocking, but there's no art in that.

Monty: Riiight... You are the "artist". [MONTY INDICATES THE QUOTATION SIGNS ON THE WORD ARTIST BEFORE CHECKING HIS WATCH] You also filmed a segment for the Tarantino/Rodriguez film "Grindhouse".

Roth: That's right, I shot the "Thanksgiving" segment of the trailers. It was sort of an 80's holiday slasher Film.

Monty: Well I really enjoyed "Grindhouse". You shouldn't blame yourself, okay?

Roth: What?

Monty: Just don't blame yourself for the poor reception of "Grindhouse".

Roth: I don't.

Monty: I mean I really liked it, I saw it twice. "Planet Terror" was awesome, "Death Proof" was my favorite, MOST of the trailers were good, so even though it did poorly you shouldn't blame yourself for it's poor stay in theaters.

Roth: Thanks.

(Pause)

Monty: …You know because it probably wasn't your fault…Most likely…

Roth: Look, if you have a problem with me, just say it, quit-

[IT IS AT THIS POINT IN THE RECORDING THAT MONTY SEEMS TO BE MAKING LOUD RASPBERRY/FARTING NOISES OVER MR. ROTH'S PROTESTS]

Roth: Fuck it, I'm out of here [Exits]

Monty: [Shouting] FINE! MAYBE WE'LL HIRE YOU AS A COFFEE BOY WHEN "CABIN FEVER: THE NEXT GENERATION" DOESN'T WORK OUT!

[Pause]

Monty: Shit.

[END RECORDING]