Is It Weird?
Or, Actualising Disallowed Cinema
published in Lola No.3,
(Excerpt only currently online)
When actors appear in the real, they really are fleshy. Crispin Glover took to the stage like an arc of electricity. He opened his mouth and everything was turned on. A radio mic picked up his breath, his spittle, his wheeze. He read selected pieces from his books at break-neck pace; the power point presentation tried to keep up with him. At times he spoke ahead of the images, like he was prophesising what was happening in the strange fictional worlds he described. He gulped. Coughed. Sweated.
But all the time, he was undeniably physically present. I studied his face and wondered: is this really Crispin Glover? He played Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991) with aplomb (better than Bowie in Mary Harron’s I Killed Andy Warhol, 1996). And Warhol used Superstar Allen Midgette to impersonate him on a US college lecture tour in 1967. Looking at Crispin live on stage was like seeing a wax dummy come to life. His distinctive features were rendered in live motion. The sensation was compounded by two notable occurrences. The first is the infamous law suit Crispin bought against Universal Pictures and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Crispin successfully argued that producers must secure permission to use a likeness of an actor even if that actor himself is not in a film’s sequel. That’s what producers attempted in Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future II (1989). The second is Crispin’s appearance as a mo-cap avatar in Zemeckis’ Beowulf (2007). The horrible child-like monster of Grendel is clearly modelled on Crispin’s angular face and contorted posture. Those two markers frame Crispin’s life within the Hollywood dream machine. He has consistently been a fleshy corruption of visual perfection and bodily form, which in turn has allowed him to thrive as a grotesque figure determined to declare his status on his own terms.