Quint talks killer tires, Pixar inspirations and more with RUBBER director Quentin Dupieux!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This time I have a nice interview with French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux, also known for his music under the stage name name Mr. Oizo, about his crazy fucked up awesome killer tire movie RUBBER. I loved this movie when I saw it at the Fantasia Film Festival and have been singing its praises ever since.
Magnet is pretty ballsy to put this flick out and that they are doing. The film opens this Friday. I have no idea how wide a release it is, but I strongly recommend you seek it out if you like blood, nudity, surrealism and dark, dark comedy.
I quite enjoyed this chat, where we cover how Dupieux brought the tire to life, his inspirations as a filmmaker and his traumatic experience on his previous film. It’s a good one! Enjoy!
Quentin Dupieux: Hi, Eric.
Quint: Hi, how’s it going. man?
Quentin Dupieux: I’m good, thank you.
Quint: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me a little bit. I got to see the movie at Fantasia Film Festival and I fell in love with it. It was my favorite movie there and I’ve been singing its praises ever since.
Quentin Dupieux: I’m so glad.
Quint: One of the things that I really liked about the film was that you gave the tire an almost Pixar-like origin sequence. We see it learn how to walk and we see it stumble, fall down and get back up. It has a personality and character right off the bat, with no dialogue, which really reminded me of the way Pixar would introduce a non-talking character.
Quentin Dupieux: Yeah, you’re right. When I wrote the movie, for the tire sequence and especially the 20 first minutes, I was thinking about WALL-E because it’s a bit the same. It’s silent and you have to tell a story and you have to describe a character only with actions. I was thinking about WALL-E because what they did in WALL-E, even if it’s a robot… I don’t like the rest of the movie, but the beginning of WALL-E is amazing because suddenly you are feeling the robot; you understand him and you love him already just by observing him.
That’s what I loved about WALL-E and I think I’ve been influenced by that because observing the tire leaving… It’s quite incredible. You just watch him and you learn a few informations about him just by watching, which was really interesting as a challenge like “How am I going to do this? Create life with only a tire and no CGI?” Each one is basically a real tire with no effects.
Quint: The fact that it was real rubber and not a computer effect really helped, I think, in suspending disbelief; following a character, not an effect, as we watch it learn that it has this power to kill, but like a child not really understanding everything.
Quentin Dupieux: Exactly. That’s like the beginning of life, you know. “Oh, I can wake up! Oh, I can roll? I can crush a bottle!” It’s very basic information that was really fun to describe and very interesting as a challenge for a director.
Quint: You give yourself a lot of leeway with the secondary “No Reason” storyline, which I think was actually kind of a really fascinating and very smart thing for you to do because it gives the audience the excuse to just roll with anything that they see.
Quentin Dupieux: Yeah, it was a warning. It was a good way to introduce the movie and to catch the people’s mind. To me it was like a warning, like “Okay, if you don’t like this you should go away!” (Laughs) That was the point. Like if you cut that scene, if you cut the monologue, and if you start directly with the tire coming to life and rolling and falling, it’s not the same movie. It’s suddenly… I don’t know how to say it… It’s quite hard to believe, you know? And that’s the magic of filmmaking, it’s to make people believe.
Quint: I think that that’s the balancing act and I think a lot of the reason why that’s successful is because you pulled off the tire as it is without CGI; as a real thing.
Quentin Dupieux: Yeah, of course. It was really important for me to shoot a real tire, like the real thing. Even if you can create incredible stuff with CGI, it’s almost too perfect, you know? Suddenly with CGI you can do everything, basically, and that’s scary. It’s really funny because since Cannes everybody is asking, “How did you make it? How did you do it? Animation?” Some people think it has been shot frame for frame, like stop-motion and nobody understands!
It’s really simple. It’s like the first steps of movie-making, it’s just a puppeteer off frame operating the tire with his hand. It’s so basic, it’s so simple that people are watching so many incredible stuff, CGI complicated stuff, like TRANSFORMERS, but everybody knows “Okay, TRANSFORMERS is CGI, it’s basically a guy at a computer” and for a thing like a tire rolling suddenly people think it’s incredible, but if you think about it, it’s only a tire rolling and there’s nothing incredible! (Laughs) A tire is supposed to roll around… Do you know what I mean?
Quint: That’s what it’s made for.
Quentin Dupieux: (laughs) Yeah, exactly and suddenly… Since Cannes it’s been amazing, because everybody is asking me like it’s incredible on screen and I say, “Hey look, it’s just a tire rolling…”
Quint: I heard people talk about “I heard that they used a remote control…”
Quentin Dupieux: Yes, well had that, but that’s for let’s say 20 shots in the movie we used a remote control tire, but it was just to do something really simple, because rolling was simple. Obviously you just have to push it and it rolls, but we needed the remote control to make it stop and then roll again, you know, and that’s the only magical effect we had with a remote control tire. It’s rolling, then it stops, then it rolls again.
Quint: That still seems extremely low tech. I think the thing you should really take away from this is that people can’t spot the effect and that’s why there’s a lot of people talking about it. That’s not something you see a lot these days and that’s one of the reasons why I love practical effects so much. Like you said with TRANSFORMERS you watch an amazing robot on robot battle that took three weeks to render in a computer, but everybody knows that’s where it came from.
Quentin Dupieux: Right. We are not impressed any more by all of this because “we know.”
Quint: There’s no awe like seeing the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS spaceship or anything like that. There’s no question in our minds on how they did it.
Quentin Dupieux: Yep, I’m quite happy about that side, because we did the movie with almost nothing you know. Usually, with the budget I had, on a real movie set with that amount of money you can only shoot a guy driving and then parking his car and opening the door and then “cut” you are out of money. (laughs) Really. It was really cheap and I think that’s why there’s probably something cute about it because it’s charming and low budget and low-fi and it contains mental stuff like… Even if it’s cheap and low tech, you believe in it.
Quint: You sell the character.
Quentin Dupieux: To be honest, that was the happiest because working with great actors the text was good and the actors were all very good. It was really easy to work with them because they were happy, they were enjoying the script… But giving life to the tire was the heartbeat, like the first 20 minutes of the movie are with the tire discovering life and that was, even if it was just me with my still camera, it was complicated to create.
Quint: Yeah, well that’s the most important moment. If you don’t hook the audience with it gaining senescence then you’re not going to have them for the rest of the movie. If we can, can we talk a little bit about the Greek Chorus aspect of the movie? That’s something that really kind of took me by surprise when I saw the film. It might just be me reading something into it, but it felt a little bit like a David Lynch-type looking behind the curtain. Where did the origin of having that secondary storyline following the audience watching the story?
Quentin Dupieux: It’s very simple, I just started writing the tire story and after a few pages I realized that only one layer was not enough for me. It was a bit like replacing the shark from JAWS with a tire. It was funny, it was a good idea, but it was just one idea. It’s like “Okay, I’m going to do a murder movie, but it’s not Freddy Krueger, it’s a tire.” Okay, that’s funny, but that’s not enough because we’ve seen all of these movies. We’ve seen CHRISTINE, we’ve seen DUEL by Spielberg…
The challenge was not that exciting to only change the character, so very early in the writing process I decided to add a new layer. I think I had this idea when I saw my first feature. My first feature in France, STEAK, had a huge release in France. We had like 500 theaters, which is really big in France, because I had these two big name French actors. So it was huge, but nobody wanted to see the movie. It was a flop. I snuck into a few theaters to watch and one day I just went to the theater and it was empty and the movie was running for nobody.
Quint: To an empty house?
Quentin Dupieux: Yeah, then I realized “Oh shit!” It’s really sad. A movie needs at least one guy watching to exist because without anybody in the room it’s really sad. It’s like a movie trying to tell a story and nobody is watching… that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen! So putting the audience in the movie was a good way for me to talk about that and to have an audience, in a way.
Quint: So you are saying that if you ran into this again and nobody wanted to see this movie, at least you built somebody watching it into the movie! (Laughs)
Quentin Dupieux : Exactly, yeah! (laughs)
Quint: I don’t think there are going to be many empty theaters for this one.
Quentin Dupieux: Thank you. Thank you.
Quint: What are you doing next? Are you moving on to something else film-wise?
Quentin Dupieux: I just moved to LA because I want to shoot another one. I have two new scripts and we are going to decide very soon which one we are going to shoot. It’s a bit like the same economically, like small budget, and that’s why I’m here like I’m going to shoot one or two new movies in this same (way).
Quint: Nice. So, the smaller budget gives you more freedom?
Quentin Dupieux: Obviously yes, because nobody is watching you. With RUBBER I was the only one judging the movie. Usually when you shoot with a crew and with bigger equipment you have at least 20 or 40 people watching you, so it’s a bit like being naked. Everybody is thinking and everybody judges you, everybody has a point of view, and it’s a bit disturbing. You have to explain what you are doing to ten people everyday, which is exhausting and boring and some people can make you doubt, some people judge you… It’s quite complicated and shooting RUBBER was like being alone. I was the only one watching the movie. Because I was shooting with a very small camera, nobody was watching me, so I was free to do anything I wanted. I think I can’t really go back to a big crew and big equipment because I don’t want to be naked again.
Quint: As long as you keep pumping them out like you have been, I’ll be happy. You’ve got a fan in me, that’s for sure.
Quentin Dupieux: (Laughs) Okay!
Quint: Cool, well thank you so much for your time, sir, and I hope you have a good day..
Quentin Dupieux: Thank you.
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March 31, 2011, 6:21 p.m. CST
Just for shits and giggles...
March 31, 2011, 6:25 p.m. CST
U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this My-my-my-my (U can't CHOP this) TALKBACKs hits me so hard Makes me say,"oh my lord thank you for blessing me With SAUSAGE FINGERS TO TAUNT ASI" It feels good When you know you're sown A superdope homeboy WHO POSTs ON HIS OWN And I'm known as such And this is a POST-uh! U can't CHOP this I told you FANBOY U can't CHOP this Yeah, that's how we POSTin and you know U can't CHOP this Look at my POST, man U can't CHOP this Yo, let me bust the funky POSTs U can't CHOP this Fresh new POSTs and RANTs You got it like that now you know you wanna dance So move out of your seat And get a THAI girl and catch this beat While I'm POSTin Hold on WATCH A LITTLE PORN and let 'em know it's going on CHOP that CHOP that ASI's on a mission so fall on back Let 'em know that JAR JAR ABRAMS is too much And this is a POST They can't CHOP Yo! I told you U can't CHOP this Why you standing there, BRAINDRAIN? U can't CHOP this Yo, sound the bells, COBRA KAI is in the DOJO, sucker U can't CHOP this Give me a STORY or REASON Making 'em sweat That's what I'm giving 'em Now they know You talk about the CHOPPAH, you're MOMMA's A BIG FAT HO That's ON CRACK ALL NIGHT POSTERs are sweating so pass them a wipe Or a REPLY to learn What it is going to take in the THREADs To burn YOUR HEARTs Legit either work hard or you might as well quit That's the word, because you know U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this CHOP it down Stop. . . CHOPPAH time Go find a HO It is said IF THE BITCH can't groove to this Then you're IMPOTENT or dead So wave your FINGERS in the air Bust a few KEY STROKES, LIKE YOU JUST DON'T CARE This is it for a POSTIN Dance to this as HARRY gets thinner Move slide your rump Just for a minute, let's all BERATE a CHUMP CHUMP CHUMP CHUMP Yeah, U can't CHOP this Look man, U can't CHOP this You better get TYPED Boy 'cause you know ya can't U can't CHOP this LOG IN, START POSTin SUCKA CHOP it down Stop. CHOPPAH time U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this CHOP it down Stop. CHOPPAH time Every time you see me The CHOPPAH's just so TYPED I'm dope with the WHOREs And I'm magic on a CRACK PIPE Now why would I ever Stop CHOPPIN this? When others making POSTS That just AREN'T SHIT I've toured around the WEB From CHUD to JOBLO in a DAY It's CHOPPAH, go CHOPPAH, M.C. CHOPPAH, Yo CHOPPAH And the rest can go and PLAY-AYY Can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this U can't CHOP this Yeah,U can't CHOP this I told you, U can't CHOP this Too hype, can't CHOP this Yo, we outta here, can't CHOP this
March 31, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST
March 31, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST
HOPPAH presents: "The Conspiracy Against AICN," a Special CHOPPAH Investigation by THE_CHOPPAH: Part 1 of 3
I. The Terrible Trio and "The Kobe Project" CHOPPAH has learned, through sources anonymous and hidden, that Mr. Beaks, Nordling and Devin Faraci have been running a long game, using sock puppets to infiltrate and provoke talkbackers into ban-nable offenses to illustrate how Harry has lost control of his site and to purge any malcontents. It's all to usurp Harry, whom they view as a corpulent geek version of King Lear entering his dotage, and assume control of his site, his resources, and connections to turn AICN into perfectly functioning site with police-state-like talkbacks that would increase their personal wealth by whoring itself out to the studios. "It's obvious that Harry uses the site to get 'pweasants' from his studio buddies," one of my sources tells me. "But AICN still has its shaggy-dog, shambling charms. Beaks, Faraci and Nordling have been conspiring to turn the site into a pure revenue-generating machine." Their legion of sock puppets includes: JettL93, lowes forehead girl, chickengeorge, viggeo_morgenstein, william_faulkner and their oldest, most brilliant creation: hey_kobe_tell_me_how_my_ass_tastes, a churlish, thuggish reflection of how the trio views talkbackers. "They called it 'The Kobe Project,' or sometimes 'Project: Kobe,'" another one of my well-placed sources told me. "My God, do they laugh and laugh when they use the kobe_ass_tastes handle, or whatever the fuck it's called." All three of the conspirators share a password to use the kobe name, often at the same time, to infiltrate and rupture talkbacker "groups" such as the Baleback and its eventual offshoot, the Pedalback. Looking back now, using state-of-the-art textual analysis, it is obvious to CHOPPAH that kobe had to be the creation of more than one mind: he is often condescending, snobby, grumpy and despicable all within the space of a few minutes or posts. He is the love-child of a troika of pseudo-intellectual bullies, an avatar of their insidious, arrogant hive mind. But his deranged trio's plotting pushed their conspiracy to even darker territories. Desperate to find the ultimate coup de grace, especially as Harry's health problems grew to a near-critical phase while he was distracted by the Famous Monsters of Filmland website they coerced him into taking over, they despicably seized upon the death of beloved film editor and Quentin Tarantino collaborator, Sally Menke. They would make their power play in Menke's AICN obit. ... Tune in tomorrow for Part 2, "Where's Devin?"
March 31, 2011, 7:02 p.m. CST
March 31, 2011, 7:18 p.m. CST
March 31, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST
March 31, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST
Well written and well made. I confess to wondering how they did the tire stuff, figuring a lot of it was done by hand off camera. But some of it was pretty tricky and had me scratching my head. Remote control explains a lot of it. (Bonking myself on the head and exclaiming, "Duh!")
March 31, 2011, 7:52 p.m. CST
Well, he and Scorekeeper, anyway. Here's hoping they are able to wrest control of this site from the dark forces grasping for it.
March 31, 2011, 9:31 p.m. CST
To what mechanism?
March 31, 2011, 9:57 p.m. CST
I'm guessing it's something like a remote control car inside the tire. Drive it forward and the tire rolls. Drive it backwards for a second and the tire stops. That's my guess anyway!
March 31, 2011, 10:16 p.m. CST
and it sucked and sucked pretty hard. The tire stuff was awesome and the first five minutes were really great but the movie went nowhere fast and just kept running around in circles. It probably should have been a short film. I do, however, have a lot of respect for the people involved in making this film. It took balls and was very, very original.
April 1, 2011, 12:07 a.m. CST
He was a Flight of the Red Balloon fan, and what he explained to me about his dream film sounds a lot like this Rubber movie. He backed it up by saying it would be like the Red Balloon movie. They kill as soon as they realize they can break skin and feel blood. "David AKA Cheese lil boy!!!!" Your movie idea is real film now. I misunderstood your genius...
April 1, 2011, 4:53 a.m. CST
April 1, 2011, 10:18 a.m. CST
I went away about ten minutes later.
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