Theyre missing what children miss when theyre in a car traveling to a place they want to go. Theyre missing the experience of getting there. Theyre missing all the beautiful things that are happening on their way there, and theyre missing the continuity of what the entire trip as a whole means to them. So theyre missing things the way adolescents miss things. If you look at that film without prejudice or hearsay or, even worse, suspicion about why it was made and what my intentions were to make it, then you become unaware of the multi-complex innuendos, narrations, aesthetics, and sensibilities, and concepts, and nuances, and melodramas that happen along the way.
Im more attracted to the first part of the film than I am the last part of the film. The last part of the film works juxtaposed against the first part of the film, but its a more conventional It becomes slightly more conventional. The part of the film that really engages me, the most beautiful scene in the movie to me is the scene between Cheryl Tiegs and I. I think what people miss if they put focus on the part of the film that they deem exploitive or titillating, they miss the film as a whole. And they certainly misinterpret the scene that encompasses them.
You had that scene blown up on a billboard on Sunset Blvd. Thats a conscious choice in marketing the film and the marketing campaign of the most controversial American film ever made, its going to define the movie. People cant help but go into the movie thinking about that.
Well, Ill respond to that simply by saying Ive made six posters for the movie. Ive done all the synopsis, all the trailers, everything. And the line controversy had nothing to do with the sex, it had to do with Lisa Schwarzbaum and people saying it was the worst movie ever made. It wasnt an address to sexuality.
All the other pamphlets and formatting and imagery and text that I presented about the movie is highly intellectualized, highly conceptual, extremely discreet, and extremely conceptual in its aesthetics - in direct relationship to the film itself. The billboard on Sunset Blvd. was a much more broad concept for me. I designed it, I choose it, I paid for it. Okay. It happens in these ways: First of all, its the dream of my life since Im a teenager to have a billboard on Sunset Blvd. because when Im in LA I dont watch TV, I dont read the newspaper, I dont listen to the radio. I only know about contemporary culture by broad advertisements. But I felt, first of all just as a person, it was a dream sort of to be able to have a billboard and to be able to pick what it was. That said, the billboard itself whatever boldness it has, whatever appeal it had, the intentions were that the appeal would be aesthetic and intellectual. I mean, the only people who would respond to that billboard in a way where they really understood the sensibility of that billboard would be people who were evolved on some level. That was not a mainstream provocateur. I mean, across the street youd have a Calvin Klein ad where the girl is fisting the boy and her boob is out, and shes dripping. Mine is in black and white you cant really see anything. Theres no boobs, theres no nipples, theres nothing. Its done in a blown out half-tone. The whole billboard has no corporate names, it has no quotes from festivals. It has nothing. Its done in a style or a tradition of classic adult cinema and the reference is that this film is A) an event that those actors are substantial. And the purpose was to take away the marginal perception of the film. If people think that this is an art film, its offensive to me. They think its a self-indulgent, narcissistic film with a sex act. Its offensive to me.
I was trying to give imagery that would relate to the other corporate advertisements to suggest that the film had a corporate element, or that it was Certainly that it was not marginal and it was not artistic in the classic sense. It was bigger than that. It transcended the Sundance Film Festival, or just the American film with the European ending or something like that. I didnt want anything like that and I didnt want the hearsay to continue without addressing it. I wanted to show that the film was provocative, that it was in this tradition of adult cinema Last Tango, Midnight Cowboy, whatever. But I wanted to do it on my own terms. I wanted to use provocative images that were beautiful, dramatic, aesthetic, clearly outside of mainstream eroticism.