How many films does it take to become an auteur filmmaker?
It seems like everyone in Hollywood was talking about Harmony Korine after the release of Spring Breakers. Which is sort of a shame, because Korine has been consistently making genre-bending films since 1995. He wrote Kids for Larry Clark, and wrote and directed Gummo in 1997. Gummo is a nihilist coming of age film. I want to say I highly recommend it, but it's super weird. So enter at your own risk.
I was a massive fan of Spring Breakers. Seeing it in the Dome at The Arclight Hollywood is one of my favorite movie-going memories. That movie controlled the audience in ways I had never seen before. Everyone was locked into what was happening on screen. Unless they were walking out...
That's what makes me so excited to see that such a singular voice has a new trailer debuting.
The Beach Bum stars Matthew McConaughey as stoner poet named Moondog. It feels like in an alternate reality, this might be who McConaughey would have become outside of show business. The rest of the cast includes Martin Lawrence, Snoop Dogg, Zac Efron, Jimmy Buffett, and Isla Fisher.
While some of Korine's other work, like Trash Humpers, is not as polished, this looks much more like a direct successor to the neon lights and weapons of Spring Breakers. It's a world where insane characters can thrive, drugs are free and easy, and consequences are thrown by the wayside.
Korine is collaborating with cinematographer Benoît Debie to create some eclectic shots and raucous camera movements to imbue the world with his specific vision.
Korine recently talked about using famous actors, particularly McConaughey, and how their fame can add to the character on screen.
“I always like playing with the real actor persona, the pop persona, what’s authentic to the person, and then push it out to the stratosphere...He plays with the idea of what people imagine him to be, and kind of takes it into another radical direction.”
This is an interesting thought for filmmakers working today. We are so inundated with PR for certain actors. How can we embrace the persona we are sold when we're casting?
Korine also talked about the rest of the diverse cast, especially working with Martin Lawrence.
“Martin is one of my favorite comedic actors ever and I knew he hadn’t done much in a while...So when I wrote the character of Captain Wack, I was so thrilled to have him. He’s a comic genius.” Korine mentions that he wanted Lawrence to drive a neon jeep covered in coconuts that Key West locals see all the time; its owner sells coconut water around the island. This blend of real-life and fantasy world wasn't able to hit the screen though. Korine said, “I was going to use the coconut car, but it could only drive a quarter mile...We had to replicate it. We turned it into something else, but the coconut guy was pissed.”
All of these insane quotes and the trailer make me incredibly excited to see what Korine brings to the screen.
When you're making a film you need to embrace your vision and your voice. If there's one giant lesson to take away from this, it's that Korine is not afraid to be himself.
Korine explained that he likes working in Hollywood, but he does advertising jobs to make sure he can work on his own stuff. He knows that having a day job, like many of our readers, allows him to focus on his art and to keep from compromising.
“If I shoot ads, I do like one a year...Look, it’s different if you’re doing a douche commercial than if you’re doing your own thing. For the douche commercial, you can just be detached. You do not have to give your soul to the douche.”
So if you take one thing away from this article...keep your soul sacred. Douches beware.
The Beach Bum will premiere at SXSW before opening March 22, 2019.