Phase9 Entertainment


Movie Interview by Henri Roe

At the London press conference with director Jonas Äkerlund, and actors Mickey Rourke and Mena Suvari.

Jonas, what was the origin of the film? Was it based on real life or fiction?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: As it says at the beginning of the film it is based on truth and lies. Junkies like to lie and twist their lives. Will De Los Santos [co-writer] based the characters on people he knew but the story has to be more interesting for a movie.

Mena, was there any risk for you to do this film?

MENA SUVARI: No, it's very different to what I've done before. It's the right time of life to do this and work with Jonas. It wasn't a conscious [decision] to shock people with AMERICAN BEAUTY.

Mickey, was it the script that interested you?

MICKEY ROURKE: Nothing to do with the script, just working with Jonas. I was attracted to his enthusiasm. I didn't like the script, but liked Jonas, what he does on the floor. It was fun.

Do you have an antidote about the project? What sold you onto the project? And for the actors, after the post production was there anything that surprised you? Mickey, the porn shop speech, quite different?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: A few years of different scripts. I'm not into the actual story, but intrigued by the characters. The story wasn't the strong part. Meeting the writers and developing the script. Meeting producers who were open minded. SPUN was a side project but it kept growing and growing. I move very fast. I do 25 projects a year and this is one of them. I didn't know any better. I just picked my favourite people and thought this is how it works.

MENA SUVARI: I had my own idea on the story from reading the script but it was very different to the final project. I found myself laughing in a sick way. There was a green screen, when we moved our eyes. The final project with animation and effects is better.

MICKEY ROUKE: I haven't seen the final version. But there were huge cue cards. I've heard a lot about what it looks like.

Jonas, how hard/easy was it to get funding and is it an anti-drug campaign? Do you think they will show it at schools?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: I do. It does have an underlying tone. I've shown it to you and now it's your choice. The first part of the question - I have no idea. A low budget film equals low risk film.

And how does that compare to music videos?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: Two and half music videos.

Mickey, how was it working with Eric [Roberts] again?

MICKEY ROUKE: Eric is one of my favourite actors. Jonas came up to me during filming and said, "I'm glad I've only got him a day or two.

Are you going for the more high profile or edgier stuff?

MICKEY ROUKE: Edgier stuff, but not particularly.

How is your approach and managing of life different now?

MICKEY ROUKE: I'm not managing, someone else is. Lots of regrets in life.

Mickey, last question, how do you get into a role?

MICKEY ROUKE: You meet a lot of people, bikers, girls who have to dance in front of hairy men. You can't trust anyone who does any of these, bunch of trash. That's what I thought when I first read the script - I hate these guys. Before it was certain types of people now it's all around.

Mena, how did you psych yourself out?

MENA SUVARI: Really exciting for me. Normally I'm put into makeup to look better and this was the opposite. I don't know where the clothes came from, even if they were washed. No one touched up my makeup after lunch. Everyone had an input into what they were wearing. B, the costume designer, came up with the sleep mask for me to wear throughout. The house had a pizza box with maggots in it. I had resin on my teeth that I tried to scrap off every night. At the end of the shoot I had to get my teeth professionally cleaned to get all the resin off. I forgot to take off the face lines and kept going out with them on. My hair had all these products in it and I didn't want them out.

Mickey, looks like you got off lightly?

MICKEY ROUKE: Yeah. When I first met Mena, I thought pretty girl with ugly teeth.

Jonas, the logo's for the characters was an interesting idea.


Was there any rehearsals?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: No none. We talked about the characters to have everyone in character and know their characters. We then rehearsed on the day.

What was the length of the shoot?


Did you have more than one unit to film the different sets?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: Yes we had two units but the second were shooting mainly doors and traffic signs.

The DVD in America, was there any controversy when it was released?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: No not really.

And the sensory option on the DVD?

MENA SUVARI: I had this tape to show my friend. It was all blurred. I was so mad that she wasn't getting the real effect. It's real so why does it get blurred.

Mena and Mickey, did you ever really think this would be uncomfortable to do?

MENA SUVARI: No I had a lot of fun. Working with Jonas was the best. John's [Leguizamo] a genius. To see him around with so much energy and not really thinking because it was so fun.

MICKEY ROUKE: No not really.

Last question. Jonas was your vision realised?

JONAS ÄKERLUND: Yes all the storyboard was there.