Exclusive Cannes Interview: Lloyd Kaufman on Nuke ‘Em High

 Return to Nuke Em High Lloyd Kaufman

I met Lloyd Kaufman at the Troma booth in the Marche de Film, the Cannes Film Market in the basement of the Palais. The market closes at six. We started our interview at six and stayed until seven. Talk about independence, Troma doesn’t even follow the posted hours of operation! Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 screened outside of the Cannes Film Festival and Troma has been marching the street of La Croisette for their Occupy Cannes movement promoting independence. I was going to ask a bunch of funny questions but Kaufman brought up some serious points that warranted deeper tangents. This epic interview covered all of Kaufman’s thoughts on how Cannes got corrupted by Hollywood, the Toxic Avenger Hollywood remake and why piracy is good.

CraveOnline: Why was it time for a Return to Nuke ‘Em High rather than another Toxic Avenger or Kabukiman?

Lloyd Kaufman: I’ve been trying to organize Toxic Avenger Part V: The Toxic Twins. We’ve been writing. We’ve written about eight drafts but I haven’t liked them. Since we don’t make any money, there’s no purpose in making a movie unless I am confident that I love it and that Troma’s fans will like it. Return to Nuke ‘Em High, it wrote itself. It only took us about a year and Starz Media wanted to do something with us. They gave me total freedom and they also, in principal, once we hand it into them they will give us some money that will help us get back, not most of it, but about half the budget, maybe more than half the budget.

Can Toxic Avenger V still happen with the remake/reboot?

Yes, our contract with the remake or reboot or whatever it is allows us to make our own Toxic Avenger and I have total freedom.

You’ve been burned trying to go mainstream with The Toxic Avenger before, with the Toxic Crusaders movie.

I’ve never had a good experience with the mainstream. The Final Countdown we produced with Kirk Douglas’s company. We were associate producers so we had a couple points, never saw a dime, never got a report, never got nothing. That’s United Artists, Kirk Douglas’s company. Kirk is great. I love him and I learned a lot from him, but it was a waste of time, other than getting a lot of knowledge from Kirk Douglas and a lot of good, strong confidence from him. The [previous] Toxic Avenger remake, we had to sue Warners and New Line and that was a mess. Then we had another mainstream thing, nothing’s turned out. Hopefully this will turn out.

So what makes this different?

Well, we got a big check and hopefully we’ll get another big check. I mean, Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Starz Media is a big company. Hopefully they’ll pay us. That’s also a mainstream company but they gave me total freedom. So at least the movie’s finished, we’re showing it here at Cannes.

But what makes a big studio Toxic Avenger a different prospect after all the bad experiences?

Well, 20 years from now, somebody will remake Class of Nuke ‘Em High for $150 million and the equivalent of CraveOnline will be interested.

I’d be covering this anyway.

Well, you’re a good guy.

But I’m wondering why a Steve Pink big studio version now is a better idea than your past experiences.

A million dollars might help. Maybe a little more. Maybe a lot more. They’re going to make a budget of over $100 million, according to what they tell us and they gave us one big check, and they’re supposed to give us another big check and they’re good guys. Steven Pink is a good director. I would say that Steven Pink is a better director than me. He’s certainly a better writer.

Is there any chance he can get John Cusack to appear in it?

I have nothing to do with the movie other than they’re nice guys and they love Troma. Steven Pink is a big fan. Akiva Goldsman’s a big fan and Richard Saperstein. Akiva Goldsman’s an Oscar-winning writer who wrote A Beautiful Mind and a lot of other good movies. Richard Saperstein did some big, big, big movies and they are legitimate Troma fans. Steven Pink I’ve met many times. He loves Troma so I think they’ll do a good job. I’m pretty confident that they will do a very good job and the fact that they have Arnold Schwarzenegger…

Is the character he’s playing a new one they created?

Apparently the guy’s name is Floyd Kaufman. Again, I have not read the script but Steven told me, or Richard Saperstein, one of them told me Floyd Kaufman is some kind of retired Blackwater agent.

But he’s going to train the Toxic Avenger which was not in your movie.

No, no, no. In the original, Toxie had to figure out how to deal with the Tromatons. But you know, there’s a musical comedy of The Toxic Avenger which won best off Broadway musical and also won best Off Broadway Show by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan. Joe is a Tony winner from Memphis. David Bryan is the Bon Jovi keyboard guy and a Tony winner and they did a great show. I had nothing to do with it. They didn’t want me involved at all and they did a wonderful job and they love Troma. So it’s okay if I step back. I’m all right with that.

There’s obviously an environmental message in Return to Nuke ‘Em High. Would An Inconvenient Truth have been better with more breasts?

Well, Al Gore invented the internet and he won a Nobel Peace Prize. He didn’t have any help with his science, right? In other words, he had two other scientists with him. He took the Nobel Peace Prize. He didn’t share it with the guys who probably were the brains. He’s a big fat elitist pig. He’s a limousine liberal. In fact, An Inconvenient Truth is garbage. It’s bullsh*t. No kid, nobody who’s going to change the world is going to look at that thing, yet he got a Nobel Peace Prize because he’s on the inside. He’s part of the elite. He’s part of the conspiracy of the corporate, the bureaucratic and the labor elite. And look at him. He looks like a big puffed out piece of pompous shit.

He and his wife were trying to censor music. They wanted to censor American music. They were going to make their bones on censoring music and you should thank John Denver, Dee Snider and Frank Zappa. They were the only ones courageous enough who were in the mainstream, they went down to Washington, they said, “You’re full of sh*t, Mr. and Mrs. Gore. America has a right, no adult should be told what kind of music to listen to, and fuck you.” They said it and they could have been blacklisted and I’m sure that if Mrs. Gore and Mr. Gore could have done it, they would have. Then of course when the wind blew the other way… he’s a tobacco guy. His family made money in tobacco. Tobacco! And he couldn’t even win his home state. He’s a phone limousine limo.

Ralph Nader’s the guy. Ralph Nader’s the guy. If Ralph Nader had become president, we would not have had the problems. Everything he says is correct. He said, “Don’t tax food. Tax the stock market. Every time somebody trades stock, put another tax on it. Put a tax for the people, not a bullshit charge the brokerage houses charge.” Every time you trade, they take a service fee, five bucks or something. That’s bullshit. The government should get it and give it to me while I live in my refrigerator box. I don’t mean me, I mean us undergrounds. Nader was right on. Everything he said was right on and the media treated him like a clown. The media treated him worse than they treat Troma.

We are the Ralph Naders of the movie industry. Troma is the Ralph Nader of the art world, quite honestly. This Occupy Cannes movement, we’ve got people from all over the world. Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Greece. They’re living in our apartment. They paid their own way here, most of them. The Occupy Cannes thing was crowd sourced, was paid for by our fans. We only had about $50,000. The fans paid the rest. The volunteers paid their way here. They’re cooking for us. There’s about 30 full time volunteers here who are really fighting to try to raise the level of true independent art and make a point that this festival has become dominated by real elitist force because they have a top-heavy bureaucrat, just like the American government, just like the major media conglomerates. The guys at the top who are all making a shit load of money and they’re driving the people below them into oblivion, into poverty.

Was Cannes ever an independent festival?


Isn’t that more Sundance’s thing?

No, Sundance was bullshit. Originally Sundance, Sundance maybe in its first few years, I wasn’t there but I went to Sundance for 10 years and it was a vassal of the majors. It was a vassal. Sundance was there to help Miramax and Fox Searchlight. That’s what was independent at Sundance.

Cannes, I slept on the beach in 1971. I had Sugar Cookies here, one 35mm film. I had the two cans, I rented theaters but I didn’t have money for a hotel. Slept on the beach, the Palais loved it, the people of Cannes loved it, it was a festival. They were discovering people. An independent company could put leaflets, we could walk into the hotels, put leaflets under all the doors. We could put leaflets on all the cars that were parked. They were interested, they encouraged someone who was unknown. Nobody knew who Troma or I was. It was before Troma. I was a nobody and I still am pretty much, but they encouraged it.

Now they don’t want you to do this. You can’t even walk into a hotel without some $600 pass. If you pay, you can put your leaflets on a table maybe. It’s become an elitist festival.

See, I didn’t even know there was an independent Cannes back then.

Yes, Cannes’s spirit was much more independent. They were kind of shit disturbers in 1971. They had some big films but you could see films that [weren’t well known]. This is still a wonderful soup. The market has some great movies and some of the sidebar movies are great. I think most of the festival movies have deteriorated into the product, and I use that the same way I use fruit and vegetable, of either the big government funded movies around the world, or the big corporate funded movies around the world, or the big labor funded movies around the world.

The three elites. The leaders of labor are getting millions of dollars while their rank and file are eating dog food. The bureaucratic elite like the senate and the congress of the United States who are mostly millionaires who are feeding at the public trough and then go into corporate, that revolving door from being head of the telephone and internet association to being head of the Federal Communications Commission. That’s Obama’s new appointee, a billionaire who raised a sh*t load of money for this guy is now head of the FCC? He’s going to protect our first amendment rights? I don’t think so. I don’t think Tom Wheeler is going to protect anybody’s rights. He may protect the rights of Comcast, your wonderful cable provider who owns 20% of the market maybe.

So that’s what’s controlling the movies that you see here. It’s the three elites and the marketplace is the last refuge for the real crown jewels, the movies that 20 years from now Akiva Goldsman will remake. 25 years ago The Toxic Avenger was shown here in the market and Akiva Goldsman is going to spend a shit load of money on it. 20 years from now, Return to Nuke ‘Em High will be remade by the Akiva Goldsman of that day, and maybe when it’s remade, then maybe Cannes will put it in Un Certain Regard.

I don’t know whether you noticed, did you see the front page of Variety? Variety, which is of course the house organ for the main media conglomerates. Did you read the article about the Toxic Avenger remake? They mentioned about 20 people. Who didn’t they mention. I’ll give you one guess.

I got a press release that I’m pretty sure mentioned Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’s original Toxic Avenger.

The producers might’ve mentioned us but do you think Variety mentioned [us]? They had 20 names in there, lawyers and heavily paid people, bureaucrats. No mention of Troma. Nothing. Front page of Variety. That sums it all up.

Now that there are so many different avenues for filmmakers to exhibit their movies – downloads, streaming, VOD – is that going to help independence or is there a danger the studios will just control that too?

A very good question, Fred. The internet is the last democratic medium. The internet, Crave, Troma, Disney, Sony, we are all equal. If we have something good, people will come there and watch or listen or whatever, pay attention, you’ll get eyeballs. It’s fair. It’s a level playing field. The big film companies and the big media companies don’t like that. They don’t want to have to compete. They don’t like the fact that Troma’s website gets over half a million people every month. They don’t like the fact that our movies may be getting a million people on the internet. They would like to make the internet a superhighway for themselves, the exclusive domain of the rich and powerful. They would like the internet to be like ABC, CBS and NBC.

And we in the underground and we of the independent minded people, we have to fight and make sure that the lobbying, $100s of millions by the MPAA, Motion Picture Association of America, by Comcast, by the phone companies, they’re in Washington 24/7, millions and millions of dollars to stop net neutrality or the open internet. They want to close it down because that’s how you guys got started. That’s how Troma, we have a fan base for 40 years. That’s the way we can talk to our fan base and inform them and listen to what they want and listen to them and get ideas from them. That’s what’s called The First Amendment. The elites want to close it down.

The internet is not necessarily a golden goose yet, but we must fight to keep it safe, keep it level, keep it democratic, keep it open, keep it diverse so that when it becomes the golden goose, we independent artists can share and maybe at least get a wing or a thigh, even if we don’t get the breast meat.

Is even getting a movie on Netflix, Amazon or Vudu going to be independent anymore?

Netflix has already gone mainstream. Not mainstream but they’ve gone snob. They have an angry housewife who’s making all the selections. She hates Troma and fine, well and good. I mean, we’re in with all these guys [Vudu and Amazon] but it’s not like there’s a lot of money. What’s great is we’ve got 250 movies that are on YouTube for free. They’re free. 250 movies including Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, the film I directed before Return to Nuke ‘Em High, including All the Love You Cannes, the documentary we made 10 years ago and now we’re doing Occupy Cannes.

So we’re giving our movies away. We’d rather our fans have them for free because our fans respect them. We’d rather that. We’d rather have pirates than give it to some schlocko French distributor or Japanese distributor who’s going to just dump it, pay a few thousand bucks, or someone in Mexico for $2000 to take a movie I spend five years [making]. Give it away. Let the pirates have it. They respect it. The fans who pirate it respect the movie. I’d rather that.

This is not the fault of the fans. This is the fault of Sony, Rupert Murdoch and the governments and corporations that control the entertainment industry around the world. China is the biggest culprit because they only allow 34 American movies into their country on a revenue sharing basis. They allow only 34 movies to share revenue with them and about 10 of them have to be 3D or Imax. Africa of course is very much controlled by various governments and giant corporations so we’re fucked. So I’d rather give our movies away and we do. Go to YouTube/TromaMovie channel. You’ll see at least 250 of our movies. We put new ones up every week.

On piracy, I have a theory and some filmmakers have told me I’m wrong. I think the solution to piracy is if you make something good people won’t want to pirate it. They’ll just buy it. What do you think?

You are right. You are correct. The United States copyright laws are totally dishonest. They are corrupted. I’ve written a book called Sell Your Own Damn Movie. I go through a lot of history of copyright. Never was copyright intended to put intellectual property into the hands of a small number of very rich suits forever. Mickey Mouse should be in the public domain. It is an obscenity that it’s not in the public domain. 14 years is enough. Jefferson didn’t even want to put music into the copyright.

The copyright is there to reward the artist for the work and risk that they took to create something. 14 years is damn enough to get your money back so what’s going on now is a rebellion. The public does not want to pay $25 for some crappy Time Warner DVD so they’re going to take it away. They’re going to steal it. The price should be much lower. The public is rebelling and by the way, piracy is not such a bad thing. Maybe piracy is the reason that Lloyd Kaufman is still [here]. From beginning to end here, I’ve got journalists from BBC to Tokyo, they all want to interview me. Why? Because people pirate my movies. How did we get here? How did Occupy Cannes get here? People gave us money getting nothing in return. 400 Troma fans, young and poor people donated enough money so that we could bring about a dozen people here and make Occupy Cannes. It’s about $50,000 and they get nothing in return, nothing.

So I agree with you. If the artists treat their fans fair, if they respect their fans, if they don’t sue their fans like Time Warner and Metallica and these other wrong people, the fans will take care of them.

There are some movies I love quite a bit that get pirated though, so that may not be a flawless theory.

So what? It’s good for the filmmakers, right? Most of the big corporations are fucking the artists, aren’t they? We’ve never gotten any overage from these big companies. In fact, every time we have a distribution deal, the only money we get is what’s up front and the creative accounting, you know that.

Amanda Palmer is a perfect example. The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer is very articulate on this. She had an album with a big company, 25,000 copies. 25,000 copies, if Troma’s The Taint sold 25,000 copies we’d be breaking out the champagne. But if Sony only has 25,000 copies, they throw it down the toilet.

So Amanda Palmer went on Kickstarter and she raised a million dollars to make her next album, totally free. She doesn’t have to listen to anybody. And it’s enough money to put it out, to market it and to pay for her tour and she’s wonderful. She speaks on the internet about it. Neil Gaiman, he gave a speech that was terrific all about the same subject. Even Soderbergh, who is a major artist and is embraced by the mainstream and is one of the very few serious artists who’s in the mainstream, he gave a speech recently at the San Francisco Film Festival. He said exactly what I’m saying, except I said this four years ago in my book Sell Your Own Damn Movie. You should be friends with your fans, share your art and they will take care of you. They’ve taken care of me and I don’t even know that I’m a major artist.

Speaking of people giving you credit, did Trey Parker and Matt Stone thank you in their Tony Award speech?

I didn’t help them make that play.

But you distributed their first movie.

Yeah, but they thanked me in other ways. They acted in Terror Firmer for free and played a hermaphrodite couple. They said, “You’re the director. We’ll do whatever you want.” They’re in Tales from the Crapper which was a troubled movie that we had to fire everybody and take over. We needed to save the film and Trey came to the rescue and got his head squashed. In fact, in Tales from the Crapper, Trey did his Aristocrats routine before. In other words, he tried it out in our movie before the other one. No, they’re good guys. They’ve been very loyal and I don’t think they should have to thank us for anything.

Wait a minute, Trey wrote the introduction to my second book. They’re good guys and if the chips are really down, every day somebody wants me to do something with Trey and Matt for them. “Put me in touch with Trey and Matt.” They’re too busy. They’ve got bigger fish to fry but I think if I really needed them for something, they would help Troma.

I haven’t asked a lot about Return to Nuke ‘Em High because we got off on all these interesting tangents.

Yeah, I’m sorry, you’re a nice guy.

No, this is gold, but will there be a soundtrack? Because I want to have the song “Vagina in the Sky” on my iPod.

Well, “Vagina in the Sky” is from the Tiger Lillies and they have a website and you can get it from the Tiger Lillies. By the way, guess where we bought the songs? Twitter. A fan who was on Twitter said I should listen to the Tiger Lillies. I did and I fell in love immediately. Their songs are great. They’re Troma all the way. It’s perfect. It was a fan on Twitter. Also there’s a cover of the Nuke ‘Em High theme song by Nuke ‘Em Puke ‘Em from Australia, which also came in through my fan base on my Twitter. She’s on Australia and it’s wonderful. It’s the fans who have a lot to do with it. I’m sure there’s so much of Return to Nuke ‘Em High that is fan generated, the fans from Argentina, Portugal, Japan, France, Germany, they all came to Niagara Falls, NY and slept on the floor and learned how to defecate in a paper bag to make the movie. And most of them were unpaid.

You’ve always talked about hot button issues, going back to AIDS in Troma’s War. How does saying “Let’s go shoot up a movie theater” and mentioning school shootings help the issues that are plaguing us?

I think you have to keep it in front of the public and if you’re boring and preachy they’re not going to remember and it goes away. It’s easy for people to forget those things, especially if they’re boring. Fast Food Nation, that’s a very important movie but nobody went to see it because it was aimed at people who already agree and already read the book. Young people don’t read books necessarily and if they do, it ain’t Fast Food Nation. So we made Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. We sold I think 50,000 DVDs. In China, you can’t go anywhere in China without finding the Poultrygeist DVD. It was bootlegged of course but they may have sold a million in China. All over the world, people have seen Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. I think it’s made a big impact. You have to present these issues in an entertaining way that will influence people who are going to make a difference. 30-50-year-old yuppies are not going to make any difference.

Where does Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 2 pick up?

It picks up right after Volume 1.

Right in the shower?

Yeah, it picks up right in that shower. It backs up a little bit so anyone who has not seen Volume 1 will understand what’s going on. Then we have a major fromage to Carrie in that shower scene.

It already was an homage to Carrie! There’s more?

It becomes much more of one in the opening of Volume 2, and Carrie is a big, big influence on the original Toxic Avenger. The prank. But unlike Carrie, Toxie’s a good guy. He can’t help it. He’s got Tromatons that force him to kill evil people. Carrie just became this force that killed everybody.

Would you ever release the original cut of Toxic Avenger II before it was split into two movies?

I think Michael Herz has jettisoned all the outtakes. Michael Herz is very efficient. I think he threw it all out. It was shot on 35mm so it’s gone. I don’t think we could. There’d be no way. I’m afraid it’s like Samuel Fuller’s Shark. We bought Samuel Fuller’s Shark in a collection of movies and it’s a movie that was taken away from Samuel Fuller who’s a big influence on me and he was a buddy. He loved Troma’s War. He got ratfucked on Shark. They took it away from him, they re-edited it. Burt Reynolds was starring in it and it could’ve been a really good Samuel Fuller movie. You can still see some great Samuel Fuller stylistic things in it, shooting through [window shades] and through latticework, but I asked Sam, “Is there any way we could reconstruct Shark?” and he said, “Impossible. It’s gone.” I tried to find [the footage] and he said maybe in Mexico so I think it’s hopeless.

Why have there never been more Kabukimans?

For one, we are partners with Namco, a big Japanese company, and it’s too much effort to try to get them to agree. They’re good guys but it’s too hard. I’d rather just do everything myself. Also Sgt. Kabukiman, it’s a great movie and a lot of people love it and I love it, but it’s not really Troma and it’s not really what Namco wanted and it’s kind of in the middle of the road. I think it’s better if Kabukiman plays a role in Toxie’s movies.  He’s going to have a pretty big part in Toxic Twins.

What Kabukiman taught me really as an artist, and I knew it, but there’s no middle ground. You either have total control and you do totally what you want to do as an artist, or you’re a hired gun. I think Soderbergh does this. I think John Sayles does this, but I didn’t get it with Kabukiman. I should have done what Namco wanted because they wanted to use Sgt. Kabukiman in their theme parks and their games. They wanted a mainstream character and they trusted me to deliver it, but I wanted him to eat worms and they were nice. We compromised but it didn’t give them what they wanted, and maybe if I had given them what they wanted… They couldn’t use it.

The point is, they certainly couldn’t use Kabukiman for their theme parks aimed at families and we didn’t really have the pearl of a Troma movie, although it’s a great film. I think Kabukiman is great and they like it. Mr. Nakamura and I are still buddies. He’s the boss of Namco. He’s the top guy at Namco and he’s still a fan of Troma. I think you can only be totally free or you’re a hired hand. Anything in between is not really satisfying.

And there’s nothing wrong with being an artisan who can deliver the goods when you’re a hired hand.

No. Again, Soderbergh’s Oceans, those are very entertaining. I think they’re great. He’s got Liberace out now. Look at his other movies. They’re terrific. They’re so interesting, the ones where he’s got total control. John Sayles the same. Every movie John Sayles makes on his own are wonderful and every movie he directs for the mainstream are also entertaining and wonderful in a mainstream way. Nothing wrong with that. Boy, God bless ‘em.

When you did the Angry Video Game Nerd, was the whole segment improv?

Yes. Totally improv. I just showed up. I had seen him. I had watched his show, his episodes, but he didn’t tell me anything about what he was going to do or what he wanted. It was all spontaneous. He’s a good guy. See, that’s a perfect example of why we have to protect net neutrality and open internet. He gets a million people watching a Troma episode. I don’t know what it is now, in the first day he had 300-400,000 people watching a Troma episode. The public loves him. If it weren’t for a free, open and democratic internet, you’d never know about him. The future James Rolfes won’t have any access to the public if Rupert Murdoch gets his way or Comcast gets its way. It’s very important, not necessarily for Troma, we’re a tiny little cult.

Everyone knows Troma. I can mention Troma and everybody knows what I’m talking about. Is it still a fight to get funding?

First of all, we are economically blacklisted everywhere. Cannibal: The Musical, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, has never been on any form of American TV. Not even shitty Skinemax.

I saw it once on Pay-per-view when I was in college. That’s how I first saw it.

Well, maybe pay-per-view which is nothing. It’s piss money.

In Ithaca New York, Time Warner Cable.

It may have been that one place. It may have been an experiment, I don’t know, whatever. It has never had a TV deal.

Not even on Comedy Central?

No, definitely not Comedy Central. In fact I’ve been rejected twice. Once in writing, I got a really snotty letter saying, “Dear Mr. Kaufman, thanks for re-submitting” and they emphasized re-submitting “but it’s not up to our standards at Comedy Central.” I sent it to Trey and he said he was going to frame it and put it in his office at Comedy Central. I don’t know whether he ever did it.

It’s economic blacklisting. The industry has become more consolidated since the ‘80s and we’re totally blacklisted. In these other countries, the same thing occurs between the elitist government subsidy organizations that give out the scraps to the little beggy doggies for the most part. Occasionally you get a very talented young director. France is a good example. You’ve got UVC, Gaumont and that’s about it in France for distribution and they have nothing to do with us. It’s impossible for us to get into the French market. We used to get in all the time. There used to be lots of little distributors. They’re all dead. There are some tiny, tiny little fan companies. They’re basically fanboys who distribute and basically we give it to them for free. Again, we have 250 of our best movies, anyone anywhere in the world can have them for free.

I have a perfect example. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, number one grossing screen in the country in New York City, one lousy screen and they kicked us out for Raiders of the Lost Ark Skullfucker had to have every single screen. They couldn’t give us one lousy screen? And f***in’ Tribeca festival wouldn’t let our poster up. We followed Tribeca into that theater in New York City downtown, Clearview. Those fuckers wouldn’t let us put up the poster a week ahead of time like a normal movie.”

I remember for Citizen Toxie they didn’t even put you on the marquee.

With Poultrygeist they did and they let us run for two or three weeks. In California they gave us a shot but in New York we spent $60-75,000 on advertising, we got a good review in the New York Times, we had the highest grossing screen in the country, we beat Speed Racer and they still kicked us out after two weeks. So $75,000 down the drain and would it have been too much to give us, a tiny little company, one?

You must be proud of James Gunn doing Guardians of the Galaxy now.

Yeah, he’s giving me a part. I’m going to be in his movie. I’m going to London at the end of June to play a small part.

Will we recognize you?

Well, did you see Super?

Yeah, I noticed you in that.

You never know. He cut me out of Slither. You have to look real [hard]. He cut my improvised line. But I did a whole behind the scenes thing there for him and they put it on the DVD.

But Guardians of the Galaxy is huge effects and CGI so you could be unrecognizable.

We’ll see what happens. James is a good guy. I think it’ll be interesting just to see what it’s like and I’ll shoot some behind the scenes. I did it for Slither, I did it for Super. I did two pieces for Super. We have a channel called Your Own Damn Channel and every week we put up a free lesson, how Troma does it. One of them is in fact James’ opening of Slither


Cannes 2013 Coverage


Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Shelf Space Weekly. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.