Saturday, 11 January 2014

Interview with Bruce LaBruce

Bruce LaBruce Interview with Portis Wasp

Hello Bruce! Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers? 
How do you do? My name is Bruce LaBruce. I make art movies that some people think are porn. And porn movies that some people think are art. I am also a photographer, a writer, and an artist.

Talk me through an average day in the life of you? 
Oh goddess. Do you want to bore your readers to death? When I'm at home in Toronto, I usually just work during the day on my computer, go to yoga class, have dinner at home with my husband, and occasionally go out for drinks with friends. I usually watch at least one movie a day. If I'm traveling, I'm usually showing my movies, going to dinners, parties, and other social engagements, or occasionally Djing. If I am working on a movie, I work all day and then sleep.

I've never thought of myself as a goddess before? *Twirls*

Describe yourself as a child? 
An adorable, red-headed, freckle-faced sickly child, overly sensitive and prone to bullying. I was raised in a harsh rural environment, so I had to survive by my wits.

Has much changed now that you are fully grown? 
I'm not so sickly and I live in the city.

When you fill out a form what do you list as your profession when only given space enough for one word?

But that's not all you do!  As a director, writer, photographer, and artist, you have already told so many great stories through so many different mediums. What strong themes would you say carry through your work regardless of how it is presented? 
The value of being different over being conformist; the phenomenon of the oppressed becoming the oppressor; advocating for the misfit, the sissy, or the outcast.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to transport us back to the 90’s and onto the set of ‘Hustler White’ which you directed and starred in alongside one of my favourite model crushes, Tony Ward. What was Tony like to work with and how do you view the film now nearly 20 years later? 
It's only 18 years later.

Which is 'nearly' 20 years later...

Tony was a dream to work with. He was extremely bright and committed to the role. He understood the character completely, and made it his own. He was always upbeat and convivial on set. He improvised lines and was extremely engaged in the whole process. I think Hustler White stands the test of time. It was shot on 16mm film for a budget at the time of 50 thousand dollars, including post and everything, so it was a huge challenge and not easy to complete. But it serves as a great document of the last gasp of the male street prostitution scene on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Flash forward to 2010 and you cast Tony Ward again in LA Zombie, only this time he played a homeless person. He must have done something to really piss you off in the years between Hustler White and LA Zombie?! Right? 
How so? No, I would have gladly worked with Tony in between but we were both off doing our own things. Sometimes your career trajectory takes you in unexpected directions, and for me it's not always predictable what project ends up getting made or where you find yourself in the world. I happened to end up back in Los Angeles in 2010 making the low-budget L.A. Zombie, a crazy alien zombie porn movie, with the French porn star Francois Sagat. Tony happened to be in town, and I asked him to do a cameo, which he gladly did, with his friend Santino Rice. They even made their own costumes! Although I will say Tony always jokes that I ruined his movie career with Hustler White. But it certainly didn't effect his modeling career! He's still one of the world's top male supermodels.

Of course, I could only worry about Tony living on the streets for so long when Francois Sagat is the star of your zany zombie skin-flick! What made you want to work with the French God (as if I need to ask...) and what do you feel he brought to the role that someone else might not have? 
I met Francois at porn legend Chi Chi LaRue's birthday party in Paris in 2009, and we knew each other by reputation. I wanted to work with him, so I really wrote L.A. Zombie with him in mind. I'd seen some of his YouTube videos in which he dressed up and did crazy things, so I knew he'd be game. Like Tony, Francois was very professional and committed to the project, even though it was a tough, no-budget shoot and we put him in a lot of difficult and challenging situations. But again he understood completely that the film is (probably) about a homeless schizophrenic who thinks he is an alien zombie who can fuck the dead back to life, so he brought, in a silent role, a lot of pathos and credibility to a kind of arguably ridiculous premise.

As you know Bruce, great things come in three’s! So after working with Tony Ward and Francois Sagat, which hottie do you have in mind to round out your titillating triple? Could he be Scottish? Might his surname end in Wasp? Do you like beards? 
I am always open to suggestion, or hypnosis. I do like beards. Actually, you seem to have a lot of hotties on your website. Who would be crazy enough to work with me? Ryan Barrett? Chris Fawcett? Stuart Reardon? You tell me!! Actually, my new movie, Gerontophilia, stars a very cute young Quebecois actor named Pier-gabriel Lajoie. I hooked him up for a fashion shoot with Gus Van Sant for GQ Style, and now he's doing the next runway show for Calvin Klein in Milano. Very sweet boy.

Sorry Bruce but all those boys are super busy!  Pick me! I'm free!

What can you tell me about your next project, ‘Ulrike’s Brain’? I can’t recall starring in that one, so I must be in the next one I guess… 
Ulrike's Brain is an art film project I have coming up. It's a sequel of sorts to my movie The Raspberry Reich, but it's more about new feminist revolutionaries. It will have an all-star female and M-F transexual cast. It will star my luminous muse, Susanne Sachsse, who is also the star of a new movie I have completed and coming out next, called Pierrot Lunaire. It's an experimental film based on the staging of Arnold Schoenberg's avant-garde opera of the same name that I mounted several years ago at the Hau Theater in Berlin.

When you were growing up which artists inspired you? 
I grew up on an isolated farm, pre-internet, so I didn't know too much about artists. I was inspired by filmmakers whose movies I could see on one of the two TV channels we got. From a young age I saw U.S. movies by Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, Sidney Pollack, Robert Mulligan and Alan J. Pakula, etc., and by British directors like Bryan Forbes, Jack Clayton, John Schlesinger, Tony Richardson, Karel, Reisz, etc. To this day, some of my favourite films are from the late sixties and early seventies by these directors. When I saw Robert Altman's film That Cold Day in the Park on TV as a kid, I thought that was what pornography must be like? I ended up remaking it as my first feature length film, No Skin Off My Ass.

And what inspires your work now? It’s not real life events, is it?! 
Of course it is!


My films are often grounded in social and political reality. (I received a B.A. In Fine Arts in Film and Social and Political Thought.) My work is often about the intersection of class, race and gender in the context of radical politics.

Oh okay, phew.  For a second there I thought you were trying to tell me that sex crazed zombies are a real thing!  What’s your favourite scary movie? 
I would have to say either Jack Clayton's The Innocents or Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.

Nice choices.  A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit? 

How do you like your eggs in the morning? 
Scrambled, with a variety of ingredients.

If I was to lock you up in a room with one person for 24 hours, only you got to choose the person, who would you pick, and why? 
Girth Brooks, for obvious reasons.

I'm not familiar with his music.  What instrument does he play?  A song that makes your heart skip a beat? 
'Heart' by the Pet Shop Boys.

Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question? 
As so many people have asked me over the years, it would be nice to ask someone else for a change: is that your real name?

Portis Wasp is not my real name I'm afraid.  For legal reasons I can't reveal my real identity.  I was a bit of a bad boy when I was younger and I think I've already said too much.

What happens next?
I'm spending New Year's Eve with friends in L.A., then driving to the desert for the U.S. Premier of my movie Gerontophilia at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, then to NYC for my birthday bash, and then to the world premier of my movie Pierrot Lunaire at a as-yet unannounced European A-list film festival!

Thanks Bruce!

For more information on Bruce's numerous creative projects click here.


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