Monday, April 03, 2006


(Caouette with husband David Sanin at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival)


an associate recently conversed with Tarnation director Jonathan Caouette about JT Leroy, Asia Argento and other lovely lost creatures-

the telephone is ringing - ring ring ringing?
(a man's voice) Hello, hello!

PL: Hi, Jonathan?

JC: Yes, Oh hey! Is this PL?

PL: Hi, Jonathan how's it goin'?

JC: Pretty well

PL: Great, you ready to get started!

JC: Yes! Please! (takes a sip of coffee)

PL: Alright, (taking a sip of coffee as well) ok now, um...What do you think of the recent Asia Argento directed "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things" (based on JT Leroy's critically acclaimed novel of the same name.) Have you seen it, I guess should be my first question?

JC: "I would have given you a different answer before the outing of JT Leroy, but now I can easily say that everything about it is an unprecedented historical piece of work. I like the film simply because it explores a subject matter that no one ever really talks about, and I could personalize with a lot of it on different levels."

PL: Do you think there has been any sort of 'Global Karma' generated I mean, because of this minor art world fakery that has been committed?

JC: "I hate to say this, but if it moves you, touches you, evokes something in you, then I guess it doesn't matter if it's true or not. I mean really think about...(a 4 second pause) what the hell is real 'truth' anyway? My film was certainly true for me, but there were reenactments that some say "violated truth". The point-of-view of my foster parents had one truth, my mother has one truth and truths can only be attained within someone, an individual point of view. I think what JT was is great performance art."

(Leroy and Asia Argento (in black) at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival)

PL: I know you and JT did some commentary together (via telephone conferencing system) with Gus Van Sant on the Criterion DVD of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO. Does it bother you now to know that you were really speaking with some 'phantom' while lovingly commenting about Mr. Van Sant's film? I mean to know that it may have been this girl Samantha Knoop, who may have not even been a Gus Van Sant fan, let alone been able to name any of his films? I don't know, I have an hilarious vision of 'JT' being on the telephone while this other woman is showing him Flash Cards of how to answer and what to say and go on about. Well, perhaps a bit more preparation was done to avoid the Flash Cards.

JC: "Well, that's funny that you mentioned Flash Cards. I use them all the time, I'm using flash cards right now as we speak. (kidding) A lot of people have asked me whether or not I have felt stumped with all of this. Someone asked me how it felt now in retrospect (about JT and myself's interview in Blackbook) "Jonathan Caouette VS JT Leroy". People ask me if I myself felt betrayed because here I was revealing things to JT over the phone via interview, he and I having had similar past(s). JT was, well not real! But, It doesn't really matter at all because I revealed myself to the world in my film Tarnation long before I encountered that art-world 'phantom'."

PL: Had you considered possibly casting JT in your next film?

JC: I would love to cast all three of them ('JT', Laura Albert and Samantha Knoop) in my upcoming film "Everything...Somewhere Else"

PL: In today's world what do you think happens to a JT Leroy when they are 'found out'? Is her career diminished in any way or perhaps just pushed under the waves for awhile?

JC: "I don't know what really happens, because I have never seen anything so big and public quite like this before, but I mean shit, Laura has talent for god's sakes! I mean I would hire her to write something for me."

PL: There's another question I have to ask and that is about your great love of horror. Horror Director Dante Tomaselli (The Ocean) said recently in an interview with that The Amityville Horror remake along with most of today's horror resembled a television commercial. (Tomaselli's answer was in direct response to the rumour that he is directing Halloween 9, a film he would like to see made old-school horror style.) What do you think of today's 'particle board' horror seen and produced seemingly every five minutes? I mean, do you think Hollywood has made horror into a glossy glam filled advertisement for expensive designer jeans?

JC: "Oh wow, that's the best analogy I have ever heard for it! Yes, 'particle board' horror is getting worse and worse. Everyone in all of these films are so pretty and model like, that the fact that you're looking at such pretty people in any movie all of the time, pulls you out of the movie immediately. I love pretty and beautiful people, but in reality all people are not pretty and beautiful. Yes all movies, in particular horror films look like cookie cutting stories of models in trouble. We need, desperately need more real looking people in films!"

PL: Since we are on the subject of glamour I have one last quick question for ya'. We have the fantastically ultra-glam Sharon Stone in the just released BASIC INSTINCT 2: Risk Addiction. Do you predict it will be the next Showgirls? Is it destined for cult film status?

(Stone, pictured here with Charlotte Rampling)

JC: "It will be the next Showgirls!"

PL: (laughing) OK, one more please, please!

JC: "Oh sure! But seriously fast, I have a manicurist waiting on me!"

PL: Fabulous. If you could pick one film in which you could live for a day, what film would that be?

JC: "Let's Scare Jessica to Death." "Which by the way is in dire need of a royal DVD treatment!"

MANY THANKS, bye-bye.
copyright (2006)
The multi-featured DVD of TARNATION is now available


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