Interview: Filmmaker Quentin Dupieux On 'Wrong Cops,' Music As A Character And The Fichtner
Releasing one film a year that is five-star memorable is a feat for sure, but having two masterworks within a twelve month period that both sport high marks is insanity. But that’s the whole vibe of indie filmmaker Quentin Dupieux, an auteur who prides himself on creating original work that boggles the mind at a record pace. Whether it be the trippy tire from hell flick "Rubber" or the mesmerizing cult fav "Wrong" (also released this year!), Dupieux is a talented filmmaker not to be ignored. His latest five-star opus titled "Wrong Cops," takes its roots from "Wrong" and then goes the comedic route showing some salty police doing some very naughty things – so wrong it’s right. We had to get more info on the world of Dupieux and his films so we sat down and chatted one-on-one with the illusive filmmaker. Music, performances and Grace Zabriskie – welcome filmmaker...
You’re quite a mysterious figure when it comes to your film work and inspirations – even the press notes have little to no info. Since you come from a heavy musical background where did the passion and drive for making films come from?
Quentin Dupieux: Nobody knows it, but I started by making short films. I was doing stupid short films when I was fifteen and I started music much later. So my passion for movies comes from my childhood and I always wanted to do movies. So I started the training very young – I was doing films in the backyard with friends. It was not good at all, but I tried really hard.
"Wrong Cops" is right on the tail of your last flick "Wrong." Even though the theme of things askew runs rampant through all your films, are the name and themes truly just a coincidence?
QD: Well, the idea from "Wrong Cops" came to me when I was shooting "Wrong" and the idea came from the character of the cop played by Mark Burnham. I just loved this guy and the character he was playing. He was this terrible cop; mean, stupid and I loved it so much I thought we should do a film just with him. Then we did it because the idea was interesting – to make a movie that was a small dot of the world of the other movie. Both movies are connected and almost the same world, but different and the reverse.
Your eclectic cast in "Wrong Cops" is amazing, but my favorite is Duke’s mom Donna played by the underrated Grace Zabriskie. Can you talk about casting her, working with her and are there going to be any outtakes or extra footage with her on the home release?
QD: Yeah, because before shooting the movie we shot what we call Chapter 1 and I think it’s still online somewhere. We just shot this fifteen minute short film with Manson, Burnham and Grace - and Grace used to have a bigger part. She was amazing and it was really incredible to work with her, but when the project because a movie and I had to edit it I had to for pace cut the scenes we did with Grace.
Music has always played an integral part in all your films, but now with "Wrong Cops" it permeates the actual story. What message does Rough and his song nobody seems to like ultimately say?
QD: There’s no message, but let’s say the music I do for my movie is more like a score - music that gives you some type of emotion. This time I wanted the music to be a character. The music I do, what we call electronic music, my personal music I think is really dumb and cool at the same time. It’s a very basic, stupid music, but I love it. So I wanted the music to be part of the story and its stupid world.
I’d be remiss not to talk about the five-star Oscar worthy turn by William Fichtner as Master Chang in "Wrong." How did you ultimately decide to cast him and how much of Master Chang did he bring versus what was on the page?
QD: That’s a great thing – I love this story. Basically we were trying to find someone strong for that character and we needed someone who was strong on-screen. He was one of the first we tried and for William he loved the script. Even if we were poor and we had no real money to offer, he said, ‘Yes – I want to do it.’ And I met William and he told me, ‘Look, I have something in mind and it’s the only thing I see for this character. If you like it I’m doing it and if you don’t like it I have nothing else.’ And he read a page of this book in this weird Indian, Chinese, German accent and it was so strong and amazing that I was like okay. We mixed every accent and he came up with this very precise tone and he came on the set and it was exactly the same thing. He had a specific idea and I did nothing – the only thing I said to him was, ‘Bill, it’s maybe too German.’ That’s the only thing I said to him because he was perfect. The other funny thing about this story is that from the very beginning when we met he was obsessed with that ponytail. He told me, ‘I want a ponytail. I want the best ponytail ever!’ (Laughs)
What’s next for you?
QD: I already shot my next movie and I’m finishing editing – it’s called Réalité. It’s half in French and half in English and the casting is amazing, you have no idea!
"WRONG COPS" OPENS IN NY AND VOD DEC. 20 AND IN LA DEC. 27 FROM IFC MIDNIGHT.