On the phone, Crispin Glover seems like an awfully normal guy for someone who has been described as a “professional weirdo” in the media.
The eclectic actor-director-musician-writer, whose career encompasses everything from “Back to the Future” to his work directing and touring with a series of surreal, experimental black comedy films (the “It” trilogy), plays a sleazy motel operator in “The Bag Man,” a noir thriller opening Friday that also stars John Cusack and Robert De Niro. He spoke with amNewYork.
You’ve got quite the eclectic résumé. How do you choose your projects?
There’s a complexity for how choices for films come about and things change over the years. I fund my own films with money that I make from acting, basically, so there are a lot of different reasons for how something should come along. This, in particular, I very much liked the dialogue and how the dialogue was specifically written.
Is a movie’s dialogue often its top draw?
A lot of times it’s just about the concept. And sometimes, I just have to work. Like I said, sometimes, particularly from the year 2000 to 2010, I was very much concentrating on getting money for funding either the shooting [of] one of the films, or finishing, completing and then being able to tour with the films. I did most of the films that I was offered. Not every single film. But since 2010, there was something that happened where I turned down actually quite a lot of work in the year 2010. Not even because I wanted to; there was something going on [with] the kind of roles I was being offered. Something I didn’t like. And I didn’t work for over a year.
This is your second movie with John Cusack.
I’d worked with John Cusack before on “Hot Tub Time Machine,” which actually was only, I think, one film between I did those two. What’s funny is even though the tone of the films are very different and the characters are quite different I’m on some level playing a similar kind of [guy]. I’m playing a bellman that works at a hotel his character checks into in “Hot Tub Time Machine” and the guy that is employed by the motel that checks him in [here]. … It’s kind of funny. They’re very different contexts, very different characters and psychologies
What’s going on with the “It” trilogy?
I’ve shot part one and part two. Those are completed. I tour with those. And I have two different live shows that I perform before those two different films. I’m currently shooting a third feature, which is not part three of the trilogy. My father’s an actor and he and I have never acted before until now. My father is named Bruce Glover; he was in films like “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Chinatown,” “Ghost World.” ? Just shot that in October. We haven’t shot the whole thing yet but I do have ten minute of contiguous footage that I’m showing now at the shows.
When can New York audiences see you live?
I’ve been in New York many times. I usually play at the IFC in New York. I was here last year. I probably should come back sometime this year. ? People can find out where I’m touring with my shows and films on CrispinGlover.com. There’s a newsletter they can sign up for.
Are there any projects you’ve taken solely to fund your movies?
I’ve gotta be careful about that. Because I see people write that I’m just acting in films to make money for my own features. And that really isn’t accurate. ? I should be careful about it because I’ve said that I’ve opened up screenplays knowing that this would be an assignment and that I would act in it no matter what because I needed to. And it just so happened the ones that I’m thinking of that I did that, there was something I figured out that I felt like, “Ok, I can make this work somehow on some level.” But, if it really came to it and I didn’t feel like I could make it work on any level then there would be no way I could do it.
You’re one of the few actors who could do an adaptation of “Crime and Punishment” and the kids movie “Like Mike” starring Bow Wow in the same year.
The funny thing about “Crime and Punishment” is I shot that in 1992 or ’93 and they released it in 2002, so I shot that a long time before “Like Mike.” But nonetheless, I am definitely comfortable in going between genres and styles. That’s something I’ve never had a concern about.