Inside the odd man out On screen, Crispin Glover has earned no­to­ri­ety and ac­claim for play­ing geeks, ec­centrics and out­siders. Off screen, things aren’t re­ally that dif­fer­ent, writes

Don­ald Clarke

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

RISPIN Glover hud­dles over his lap­top like a gifted teenager en­gaged in some baf­flingly cere­bral hobby. “I’ll come down to tea in a minute, Mom!” he doesn’t quite say. “I’ve just got to fin­ish this last cir­cuit di­a­gram.” Glover, a freshly var­nished stick in­sect, is putting the fin­ish­ing touches to the Dadaist slide show that pro­ceeded a screen­ing of What is It?, his dizzy­ingly weird first fea­ture, at the re­cent Dark­light Fes­ti­val in Dublin.

When word oozed out that Glover, still best known as a char­ac­ter ac­tor, was mov­ing into film di­rec­tion, few of his fans ex­pected him to fo­cus on Jane Austen adap­ta­tions or Fluffy Bunny an­i­ma­tions. Sure enough, What is it? turned out to be an in­de­scrib­ably sur­real night­mare fea­tur­ing a cast largely com­posed of young peo­ple with Down syn­drome. The pseudo-se­quel, It is Fine! EV­ERY­THING IS FINE, is marginally less dis­turb­ing, but ev­ery bit as un­hinged. Would you ex­pect any­thing else from Crispin Glover?

Well, you might. Yes, Glover made some­thing un­set­tling out of Ge­orge McFly, Michael J Fox’s ha­rassed dad, in the first Back to the Fu­ture film. He cer­tainly de­liv­ered fur­ther vari­a­tions on the de­ranged nerd in River’s Edge, Wild at Heart and Char­lie’s An­gels. But that was just act­ing, wasn’t it? We don’t imag­ine that Robert Downey Jr keeps a su­per-charged metal suit in his base­ment. Bela Lu­gosi wasn’t re­ally a mem­ber of the un­dead.

Yet some of Crispin Glover’s on­screen per­sona does seems to have seeped into his pub­lic life. Ec­cen­tric in in­ter­views, swiveleyed when pre­sent­ing his slide show, Glover never seems able to fully shake off his Glover­ish­ness.

“Well, well, well,” he ma­chine-guns. “Yeah, that’s right. I am ex­tremely aware of run­ning the per­sona as a busi­ness. I don’t mean to say per­sona as, er . . . um . . . I mean I am aware of my­self. There is some­body called Crispin Glover. That’s me!” Well I’m in the right room then. “Then I am aware of ‘Crispin Glover’ – the name I used for my act­ing ca­reer that I chose at 13. I use my full name, Crispin Hel­lion Glover, as a writer. Now, I am aware of the name and the images that ‘Crispin Glover’ puts forth in TV and film in­ter­views. As a per­son – Crispin Glover – I can have in­flu­ence on that, but I am also heav­ily aware that there is a dis­crep­ancy be­tween that per­son and the private me. Now, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any­thing about the pub­lic per­sona that re­flects me.”

So, who am I talk­ing to now? Is he cur­rently wear­ing in­verted com­mas?

“I talk about things in a dif­fer­ent way in in­ter­views. Look, I am aware of the prod­uct – ‘Crispin Glover’ – I am sell­ing. You talk dif­fer­ently when you are sell­ing a prod­uct.”

The raw ma­te­ri­als for this prod­uct were born 44 years ago in New York City. Crispin Glover, named for the St Crispin’s Day speech from Shake­speare’s Henry V, is the son of Bruce Glover, a vet­eran char­ac­ter ac­tor, and Marie, a for­mer dancer. Af­ter the fam­ily moved to Los An­ge­les, Crispin spent time in a school for the gifted and be­gan con­tem­plat­ing a life in the arts. Sur­pris­ingly for some­body so as­so­ci­ated with the avant garde, he, once again, talks in coolly com­mer­cial terms about his early am­bi­tions.

“I started re­al­is­ing that this would be a good busi­ness to be in,” he says, flap­ping a hand at the in­te­rior of the Ir­ish Film In­sti­tute. “This felt like some­thing I could do. Ini­tially, I just thought it might be neat if I could be in a TV show or some­thing. But I think, from when I was 16 or so, I had a so­phis­ti­cated taste in art. At that time, there were still se­ri­ous, in­ter­est­ing films be­ing made in Hol­ly­wood. Some­where round about that point, that changed.” There is, surely, some­thing of an irony here. Fairly or un­fairly, cin­ema an­a­lysts of­ten

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.