James Merendino [Interview]
August 19, 2013 Leave a comment
I’ve never truly understood Punk Rock. I’m also certain I never truly will, and I am okay with that. I have enjoyed several different artists who have been tagged as being “punk”, but I never really put so much thought in to whether they are “truly punk” and what not. Of course, this whole bloody debate is as old and tired as who came first, the chicken or the egg, the man or the god, and so on and so on.
But one thing is for absolute certain, using Punk Rock as a theme in the world of cinema is definitely a go to strategy. And some times it falls flat on its face, most likely due to the internal conflicts of the world of Punk Rock. But, sometimes the entire demeanor of the lifestyle is captured so damn perfectly behind the lens that even the most pretentious of “true Punks” have to give props. And in the late 90’s, we saw a shining example of such a film in the critically acclaimed film SLC Punk, a film that has continued to be a mesmerizing tale that has inspired so many people be it punk rockers or not. And this was all in thanks to the mastermind known to the world as James Merendino. His semi-autobiographical masterpiece has continued to intrigue audiences with each passing year, and has even developed a whole shit ton of buzz around the idea that Merendino is currently working on a “sequel” of sorts to the legendary film. James is also the genius behind films like The Invisible Life of Thomas Lynch and El Club de la muerte. And he was kind enough to take some time out of his busy ass schedule to give us a bit of insight on the background of the legend he has created for himself, about his upcoming film, and basically just shooting the shit in general. So here you have it folks, the great James Merendino!
I understand you worked under the wing of the legendary late Daniel Melnick. What was your involvement with Mr. Melnick, and how did said tenure affect and influence your career?
The answer to that question could fill three books. Short answer. Working with Dan Melnick was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. In the end, it had no physical effect on my career. But he definitely taught me how to play.
It is widely known that SLC Punk is semi-autobiographical to yourself, and many of the characters are based on real people. Tell us, do you still hang out with some of those characters?
Actually just one, and I talk to a few on FB.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement as a filmmaker on a personal level?
The ability to even make a movie is such a herculanian and ill advised endeavor I would say that being able to say I am a filmmaker is the achievement.
In your professional opinion, what do you believe the greatest difference between the American and European film industries and what do you believe to be there perks and common traits with one another?
I am not sure. I guess I find European Cinema to be more friendly to Independent movies and the US is friendlier to Huge ideas.
I have no opinion about Punk rock. Other than I like it and I am sure it will stick around.
If you could create the biopic for any punk group from the late 70’s or early 80’s, who would it be?
Minor Threat. Simply because I really respect Ian.
What made you decide to revisit the world of SLC Punk with the forthcoming sequel due out next year?
I just feel and felt that there is more to say about ones own life. It’s not so much a sequel as much as it is the way I feel comfortable talking about things that concern me.
What else does the future hold of James Merendino? What have you been working on lately?
I will keep making movies and eventual die. Lately I’ve been working on a sequel/spinoff to a movie I made called SLC Punk. Before that I made a few small movies. And I’ve been a hired hand on several screenplays.
What was the last thing that made you smile?