Here’s the end of it all, and I’ll tell you why: because there will never be a movie or a character that is more important for this age than Spring Breakers and its protagonist Alien. As Harmony Korine’s friend Werner Herzog said to me on the phone call of all phone calls—I was out in North Carolina, sitting in a little Mexican restaurant called Cocula that I frequent on my lunch breaks from the low-residency writing MFA program at Warren Wilson College, just staring out the window that’s frosted over with a map of Mexico, at the dirty field across the roadway—when he told me that my performance in the film made De Niro in Taxi Driver look like a kindergartener, and that the film was the most important film of the decade. Imagine in a distinct German accent: “Three hundred years from now, when people want to look back at dis time, dey won’t go to the Obama inauguration speech, dey will go to Spring Breakers.”
I can’t even take credit for Alien. He is Harmony’s. As he says, Alien is a gangster mystic. A clown, a killer, a lover: the spirit of the age. Riff Raff wants to take credit for this creation, but that simplifies it. It is like Neal Cassady laying claim to Jack Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty, which isn’t a great comparison because Kerouac was transparently and literally writing about Neal. Alien undermines all. He’s a gangster who deep-throats automatic weapons as well as Linda Lovelace would. He’s the guru of the age. He’s what you would get if you got every damn material thing you ever wanted and then relished in the realization that you don’t have a use for any of it. So you make one up. “Bring it on, little bitches, come to me, little bitches… We didn’t create this sensitive monster, y’all did. Look at his shit, that’s what y’all are working fo yo’selves.”
The Lone Survivor Be, by Alien, James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers
What’s wit dem moovies that be wit them one person survivin’ in isolation? There be a slew of dem now, the one—at least dem contemporary one that stands out—be Tommy Hanks’sCastaway. It be about him on dem island wit Wilson, his ball, that take on dem personalities of a human, and we actually take Wilson to be a character, to the point we be actually sad when Wilson die—even tho muthafucka don’t even die, because he a fuckin’ volleyball!
It be like what dat dude, Scott McCloud say in How Comics Work, that we as humans put our likeness on any ol’ thing: clouds, flowers, animals, rocks, stick figures… volleyballs! Just find some eyes or a mouf and that shit has a human personality. But in that film Hanks had a whole island, that be the infinite space of Hamlet’s walnut shell compared to what the later muthafucks be puttin’ up wit: 127 Hours (muthafuck be stuck in a canyon,hand stuck in a rock! Makes Hanks’s island start lookin’ huuuge); some film with Ryan Reynolds in a trunk or sumptin, talkin’ on a cell phone (didn’t see it); Life of Pi (stuck in a raft, yeah dey waz a tiga, but he was probably imaginary—we gonna talk ’bout dat one later); Gravity(bitch be alone, big spectac backdrop—fuckin’ spaaaaace—but still alone as a ghos’); an’ now that Redford piece, All Is Lost (back in dat boat, wit no backstory! Mo’ bout dat later, too).
Don’t Escape from Chris Burden and Mike Kelley, by Alien from Spring Breakers
I Am Not from This Planet is a column where we give James Franco’s Florida-bred, gun-toting, big-bootie-loving pal Alien the floor to sound off on whatever he likes. For this edition, Alien breaks us off some knowledge with a review of Escape from Tomorrow and the NYC retrospectives of artists Chris Burden and Mike Kelley.
This Alien, ya’ll. You know how I do. I be out and about in New York, seeing things, doing things, and getting cultural. Know what I’m saying? Them things that interest me is pure art and pure cinema. So I’m gone talk about them things, if that be alright with ya’ll.
First off, let me tell you about Escape from Tomorrow. It is out in theaters and On Demand, but I bought the shit when I was getting my hair braided at the bootysalon on a bootleg DVD along with a pair of mismatched socks, a handful of Raisinets, and two sticks of incense. The movie’s all about Disneyland. It was shot there without the Mouse’s permission. But for some reason, Disney has NOT shut the movie down. It features a mean old daddy who is having one of them “emotional breakdowns.”
I knew the shit was gone be tight when I seen the trailer. It was in black and white and had these crazy effects with fairies, possessed eyeballs, and some dude’s head turning into the Epcot Center golf ball. Then I seen Mickey in the park speaking in that squeaky, spooky voice, all like “People come here because they want to feel safe!” The shit gave me goose bumps. When I first heard about this thing, I guessed that it would be a rough-looking mumblecore film, but that trailer looked arty than a motherfucker. I had nightmares after that trailer. I’m a gangster, y’all, and I was sleeping with the lights on and shit. It got so bad, I was worried that it would ruin Disneyland for me forever, and you know I love me so Minnie Mouse.
I Am Not from This Planet is a column where we give James Franco’s Florida-bred, gun-toting, big-bootie-loving pal Alien the floor to sound off on whatever he likes. For this inaugural edition, Alien breaks us off some knowledge with a review of William Faulkner’s literary classic, The Sound and the Fury.
William Faulkner one bad motherfucker when it come to putting them words on paper. Of all them books that boy put out, Sound and the Fury holds a special spot in my heart—kinda like my first piece of ass. I was just a little boy, like 16 or something when I first read it and it stuck with me to this day.
The Sound and the Fury was William’s fourth book, and it has a stream of consciousness flow that be like one of my fly-ass freestyles. It reads like the boy just wrote that shit straight off the top of the head. The vibe has a lot to do with the South, which I can relate to since I come straight outta country-ass motherfucking St. Petersburg, Florida. This book airs out the dirty drawers of the South by following the breakdown of the Compsons, a family of rich-ass crackers, after the Civil War. The Compsons do all types of shady shit and end up losing all their power and their paper.
In the third and final part of our interview with the ATL Twins, we learn about their daytime alter egos as legal assistants and what happened behind the scenes on the set of Spring Breakers. Turns out, hanging with Selena Gomez resulted in their Instagram profile getting banned when her vigilant army of fans launched a moral cyberattack.
Here we are on the red carpet with our fine-ass fucking French bombshell and our new weirdo homie Marilyn Manson! We scared all the Selena Gomez fans! We heard them say, “Manson’s so gross and creepy! Also, ewww who are those twins?” It was amazing!
When we shot this, I could not believe what was happening. This was probably the most mind-blowing moment for me. I mean, it’s Vanessa Hudgens, the girl from High School Musical! Of course, the ATL Twins were very helpful in demonstrating the proper way to snort drugs off of naked women. The girl with the “drugs” on her (crushed B12, in case you’re wondering) was an extra who was stiff as a board and blushing from ear to ear the entire time.
I’ve known Harmony Korine for many years; we’ve been friends through thick and thin, good times and bad. I feel like every element of Spring Breakers was him creating an environment where people felt really open and safe—perhaps so they were comfortable going crazy (in a fun way). The fact that he brought this cast together—James Franco, Gucci Mane, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and his wife, Rachel—was a sign that this movie was going to be very special. And I think casting the ATL Twins was him recognizing that they were a physical manifestation of what the film is about. They were so clear about their desires: drinking, double-penetrating women, and doing drugs. It was all out in the open with them, just like the movie. I’m happy to share with the world some of my favorite behind-the-scenes photos, along with a few captions that will provide some context for what the hell was happening on this crazy set.