Anybody who tells you breaking up with a girl isn’t the end of the world presumably hasn’t seen Bellfower, writer-director Evan Glodell’s hand-made, apocalyptic indie about love gone sour.
Glodell spoke to PW about camera-jacking and the girl that got away. He’s also got a surprising take on Tommy Wiseau’s legendarily awful midnight movie sensation, The Room.
PW: So the first thought I had after the movie: Who was the girl and what terrible things did she do to you? Are you OK?
EG: (Laughing.) Oh yes, I think a good number of people have that thought right away. I think we were just … what do they call it? A toxic relationship. She and I just drove each other insane.
I know a thing or two about those, which is probably why the movie got under my skin. It’s obviously coming from someplace so personal, did making the movie feel like an exorcism? From the time that the relationship ended until we started shooting was six years. When I first started writing the script I may have been trying to figure some things out, but I remember I had an epiphany a few years later. All of the sudden, I understood what had happened. Holy crap, this wasn’t this girl’s fault! And it wasn’t my fault. It was just something that happened. And that’s when I did like the final rewrite. But certainly, immersing myself in this kind of subject matter for so many years had to have some kind of effect. Hopefully a growth.
I don’t want to compare Bellflower to one of the worst movies ever made, but have you seen The Room? I found it interesting because you guys seem to be coming from the same heartbroken place … with obviously different results.
It was really funny, I didn’t see The Room until fairly recently, when I was in the final phases of trying to lock all the sequences together. I was getting crazy, locked in an editing room for awhile. And then I watched The Room, and for real it almost caused me to have a mental collapse. If I had made Bellfower when I was 16 years old and had no idea what was going on, that is the movie I would have made! It messed with my head a little bit. Everybody thinks this is funny? I was so upset. There’s this man who seems to be disturbed out there and he made this crazy movie … it’s pretty intense. It made me sad.
I’ve never seen a picture that looks like this before. The grimy, pulsating cinematography is so unique, and you got that by building the cameras yourself?
They’re handmade cameras and they’re mostly built on my bedroom floor, or some equivalent, with crude tools. So part of what they are is that they’re heavily flawed. Camera-hacking is a hobby I got into a long time ago. I started trying to make a depth of field adapter all of 10 years ago for a really crappy camcorder that I was making short films on, trying to make it look better. By the time I’d gotten that one working to where I was happy with it, I had learned so much. There’s so much cool stuff you can do with accessorizing optics and mechanisms. I just kept doing it, and building different variations and more elaborate ones. Each one of them has their own look. And since I was working on the script for so long, I kept thinking about how it would apply to Bellfower. So I got the idea to start building different cameras for different parts of the movie.
So has the girl seen the movie yet?
Yes. She’s actually one of my closest friends now. She’s been super supportive. Whenever I say that, people laugh. But the way both me and her feel, that time kinda triggered this intense thing, I feel like both of us just played our parts in it. Neither of us have any ill feelings toward each other. It’s just kinda like: “Holy shit, we triggered some crazy stuff in each other.”
Read our Bellflower review here.