WORTH REPEATING: The Original Occupier


[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

THE FINANCIAL TIMES: “I have a lot of plan B, C, D, E, and F in effect,” he adds. What’s plan A, I ask? “Plan A is to make movies. The one thing I can’t do right now.” He finds himself in a cinematic no-man’s land. Hollywood studios look only for blockbusters, while the demise of art-house cinemas makes investors reluctant to finance independent films. The last half-dozen films he made cost between $4m and $8m, he says. “Nowadays, [backers] want it to cost $500,000 to $1m. I can’t do that because I have four employees. I can’t work for nothing for two years. I’ve done that. I can’t be faux underground.”A planned Christmas film, Fruitcake, was shelved in 2009 when the production company folded. Waters still hopes to make the film. The plot – boy runs away when he’s caught shoplifting, meets runaway girl raised by gay men who’s searching for her birth mother – “would be incredibly commercial”, he says, straight-faced. US censors gave A Dirty Shame, Waters’ last film, an NC-17 rating in 2004, classing it with adult films and severely limiting its commercial prospects. Waters is still fuming: “Dumbbell censors are easy. You use their quotes in the ad. Liberal censors are much harder to fight,” he says. Television now offers more creative freedom than film, Waters argues. “There’s certainly worse taste on television than I ever did. People have seen everything today … At the same time, I think young people are still having fun. I never think my time was better. I think they’re having the same amount of fun because it’s something new to them. They’re down at the Stop the Wall Street thing, which is, to me, hilarious.” Long before Occupy Wall Street, Waters was fond of protesting. “Riots are fun. I hate to say that, but in the Sixties I went to all of them. I was a Yippie. I was a Weathermen hag.” One of his youthful protests was a “Burn the Bank of America” rally, but now he banks with his former target. “I recognise the irony of it,” he admits. MORE

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