The challenge Baz Luhrmann had in adapting The Great Gatsby to film was similar to what Walter Salles faced with On the Road: how to stay loyal to the era depicted, while still retaining the rawness of the original text. Salles did a great job of capturing the ambiance of 1950s America, but it could be argued that his Dean and Sal didn’t have enough zeal—enough of that desire to live, live, live.
The old saying is that a good book makes a bad film, while a paperback potboiler like The Godfather makes a great film. But this wisdom is derived from the idea that a good book is made by the writing, and if it’s adapted into whatever, its magic is lost. As just about every (film) critique has already noted—and they’re right, if repetitive—most of what makes The GreatGatsby great is Fitzgerald’s prose. We allow the classics to get away with so much because we love the characters. But when older stories are revived for film, the issue of the past and present must be rectified. But that lack was not a function of anything missing in the actors or the general direction as much as it is a result of the passage of time, the encasing of a book in the precious container of “classic” status.
There is SO MUCH going on that’s wrong or doesn’t make any sense. And I don’t just mean the billions of small continuity errors (Laura Dern’s invisible ice cream, the shaving foam, Timmy’s terraforming post-electrocution hair), but like, major, major things that should’ve stopped it getting to the big-screen the first time around, let alone again 20 years later.
Oh shiiiiit! The T. Rex is coming through the fence! And the kids’ car door is open!
Oh wait. No it’s not. False alarm!
Look out Alan! That T. Rex that, two minutes previously, had been heavy enough to literally make the ground shake, just managed to sneak up on you!
Wuh oh! The T. Rex is pushing the car towards Lex and Alan, they’d better jump through that gap in the fence the T. Rex just made if they don’t wanna get crushed to death.
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.
Until fairly recently, 19-year-old Inocente Izucar had pretty much the shittiest childhood imaginable. An illegal immigrant, Inocente ended up homeless at a young age after her father was deported back to Mexico. She spent the majority of her childhood living on the streets and in shelters with her mother and three younger brothers. At one point, things got so bad that Inocente’s mother led her by the hand to a bridge where she planned to have them both jump off together, before being talked out of it by her daughter.
Her luck changed a few years ago when Academy Award-nominated producing couple Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine decided to make a documentary about her and her art (which you can watch the trailer for above). On Sunday, the film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, and Inocente was there to collect the award. Her appearance was a refreshing change from the parade of the rich and famous men who make up the majority of the ceremony, so I got in touch with Inocente, Sean, and Andrea to talk with them about the experience.
VICE: First I just wanna say congrats on the Oscar win. Inocente Izucar: Thank you.
How did you guys meet Inocente? Andrea Nix Fine: We looked for her for months and months. She was our needle in a haystack. Basically, we really wanted to make a film about a homeless kid, because we came across the statistic that one in 45 kids in the US experiences homelessness. It’s something we felt nobody really knew about and nobody was paying attention to, so we were very interested in doing a film where we found somebody going through that experience, and we were particularly interested in finding an artist because I felt that would be a wonderful way to meet somebody and experience her dreams. So we just started calling all over the country and eventually we ended up talking to a San Diego-based group called A Reason to Survive that helps kids who face adversity get into art, and they introduced us to Inocente.
And, Inocente, what was your situation like when you met the Fines, for people who haven’t seen the film? Inocente: I was 15, and I’d been homeless for like, nine years.
Would you mind describing the events that led up to your becoming homeless? Inocente: Well, my dad basically kidnapped me and my three brothers and brought us up to the US from Mexico. He told my mom he would come get her later, but he never did, so my mom crossed the border by herself to come find us. When she got here, he was really abusive. And one day it was really bad, so we called the cops. Here in the US domestic violence isn’t tolerated, so when the cops came, he was deported. The place we were living was his sister’s house, and because it was his side of the family, we ended up in the shelter.