SXSW '05 Interview: 'Derailroaded' Filmmakers Josh Rubin & Jeremy Lubin
By Scott Weinberg
Posted 02/22/05 17:15:00
The 'Derailroaded' Pitch: "Derailroaded" is a journey into daily life and chaotic history of an unlikely rock 'n' roll icon, Larry "Wild Man" Fischer. Institutionalized at 16, Fischer wandered the streets of L.A. singing his totally unique brand of songs for 10¢ to passersby. Discovered by Frank Zappa, with whom he cut his first record album, Fischer became an underground club and concert favorite, earning him the title of "godfather of outsider music."
"Manic depressive paranoid schizophrenic Wild Man Fischer."
Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
Josh Rubin: Yes, this will be our first time at SXSW, and at any film festival for that matter. We always had SXSW in mind for a premiere and knew that because of the huge music tie-in that it would be the perfect audience to showcase it front of.
When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
JR: A Game Show Host or a Rapper. I’ve changed since then.
Jeremy Lubin: A broke independent documentary producer, driving a 96’ Hyundai Accent.
How did you get started in filmmaking?
JR: I saw the movie Scarface when I was thirteen and thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I then went to NYU film school and studied filmmaking.
JL: Josh pointed a gun at my head, and told me that if I valued my life, I should make a film with him. I was scared.
How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
JR: Two attempts on my life have been taken.
JL. Two attempts on my life have been taken (by Josh)
When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or film festivals in general) in mind?
JR: Absolutely. I’ve never been to SXSW, but I’ve only heard amazing things about it.
JL: I’ve always visualized screening Derailroaded at SXSW. I believe SXSW is by far the best festival to screen any music-themed documentary.
How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
JL: I was eating dinner at the California Chicken Café on Melrose when a strange man approached my table. He was wearing tattered clothes and skin was dirty. He was right off the street. He got right in front of my face and screamed, “D O YOU KNOW WHO I AM?? I’M WILD MAN FISCHER!! FRANK ZAPPA DISCOVERED ME AND PRODUCED MY FIRST ALBUM!! AND AFTER THAT I DID 3 ALBUMS FOR RHINO RECORDS!!” He continued to name-drop and ramble about the music business, and I was just staring at him in disbelief. I thought to myself that if he was telling the truth, Josh and I would have already known about him. When I came home that night, I decided to do a Google search on Wild Man Fischer, and realized that everything the man was telling me was true! Josh and I were roommates at the time, and we decided to try to locate an LP copy of An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, the record that Zappa produced. We found a copy for 30 bucks, and when we placed
it on the turntable, we were absolutely blown away!! After listening to his autobiographical masterpiece, “The Wild Man Fischer Story,” we knew that a documentary HAD to be made. And the rest is history.
JR: It took us 3 & 1/2 years to make the film. It was both the most trying and most fulfilling times of our lives. Dealing with a manic- depressive paranoid schizophrenic either in person or in the editing room is an emotionally and physically draining experience. But one that was worth it and one that we’d do over again in a heartbeat if we could.
What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
JR: “Don’t ever get mad at me, don’t ever get mad at me because we’re friends! We’ll always be friends!” – Larry “Wild Man” Fischer from the song ‘Don’t Ever Get Mad At Me’
JL: Make sure that before you spend an exorbitant amount of time and money on a project that you know exactly what you want out of it, and make sure you get exactly what you want out of it. But at the same time, never lose sight of the things that really matter in life: family, friends, health and happiness.
When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
JR: Yes. We watched the G.G. Allin Documentary Hated, which was a huge inspiration on both of us. Other than that we watched the little insane movies that were happening in our minds which were our biggest influence.
JL: Hated is the best rock documentary ever made.
If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
JR: Uli Lummel’s 1979 movie Cocaine Cowboys. It’s brilliant and could be even better now.
JL: Teen Wolf!!
Two parter – name an actor you'd KILL to work with, and then name an actor in your own film that you really think is destined for great things.
JR: Pacino, I’d kill to work with. Being that the film is a documentary and everyone is being themselves… I think that Bill Mumy is destined for greatness.
JL: I would love to work with Weird Al again. His movie UHF was so awesome, I hope that one day, he decides to make another comedy, and I would kill to be a part of it. As for the second part of the question, Richard Foos has recently started a new record and DVD label called Shout Factory, which could be his next Rhino.
The festival circuit: what could be improved? What's been your favorite part of the ride?
JR: Haven’t gone to a festival yet so wouldn’t know.
Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
JR: I think we’ve both made it, in terms of making it out alive and making what we think is an awesome film – a film we would both go see and love as one of our favorite movies. In terms of making it as in cashing in or getting rich, no… but I think the first is most important to us as filmmakers.
A film is made by many people, including the director (of course), but you'll often see movies that open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
JR: Yes, we used that credit in our film. As for the people who use the credit a film by.. they are great and we love them.
JL: We sure did. We spent 3 & 1/2 years making the film and funded it ourselves. We deserve it.
Derailroaded, starring Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information.