FOR V77 THE AMERICANA ISSUE, LARRY CLARK SHOOTS THE STARS OF HIS UPCOMING FILM MARFA GIRL, COMING SOON TO LARRYCLARK.COM.
The photos are amazing, thanks so much Larry! Where are you calling from?
LARRY CLARK I’m calling from the set of my new film called Marfa Girl. It’s starring the local people that I photographed for you for the magazine. Their names are Kaylan, Adam Mediano, Mercedes, Angel, and Richard. They also call him Chachi.
How did it come about?
LC They started a little film festival here last year and my friend Christopher Wool, the painter, has a place here. He lives in New York but he comes down here and got a place here, he fell in love with it. And the Chinati, which is Donald Judd’s place that he started a long time ago…Anyway so the last night I was here I fell asleep and had some inspiration to make a film. I was actually showing my last film, Wassup Rockers, at the festival, and I was getting ready to introduce the film and I looked at the audience it was an older crowd. Wassup Rockers is about kids, and there were no kids there. And I hadn’t seen any skaters in town. So I walk outside to prepare myself to introduce the film and these two kids skate by, these two like 14-year-olds, and one of them was Adam. I said, “Hey kids you got to see this film, it’s about you…” So they came in.
How did you get to know them?
LC I asked them about their stories. I was told that Adam had a girlfriend who was 27-years-old and pregnant and they were going to have the baby. And I said, “What? What do the parents say?” They replied, “oh everybody’s fine with it, you know everybody’s cool and they’re gonna have the kid.” I had this thought what if Adam was going to junior high school and had a girlfriend, age appropriate, and she got pregnant at the same time. And all of a sudden this kid’s like 15, 16 years old going to school and he has two babies. I said, “Gee, there’s the start of a film.”
LC Well, it turned out that the story wasn’t true at all, but it gave me the spark. I started thinking about Marfa, and Chinati, and the art crowd. Marfa is a small Texas town in the middle of nowhere; it’s about 68 miles from the Mexican border and has a population of 2,000. This is where they filmed Giant, the George Stevens’ movie from the ‘50s with James Dean, Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor, and Dennis Hopper. The Paisano Hotel in town is where the cast stayed. So it’s kind of a historic place. There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men were also filmed out here. Somehow, this small Texas town in the high desert is kind of a romantic place.
Plus Donald Judd is doing all these big sculptures and has a foundation here. Christopher Wool has a place with his wife Charlene Van Hyle who is a fine painter. So now there’s an art community that’s moved in from New York. Then there are the ranchers and the Mexican-Americans and a big main border patrol headquarters, which is next to the Chinati Foundation. It’s all fenced off with razor wire. There’s border patrol all over town but we’re 70 miles from the border so what are they all doing here? There’s a sheriff department but all these border patrol, and the border patrol can’t really arrest the illegals for coming in. So consequently they’re sitting around all night in their cars with nothing to do so they fuck with the locals, they fuck with the kids. There is a curfew here during the week for kids. I think it’s 10:30 PM.
How does that go down?
LC All of these kids are born and raised here and the border patrols stops the locals! And they might stop 50, 60 people and ask them for their papers and the people say look I was born here! So there’s a tension between them and there’s a racism factor. It’s very racist the way the border patrol questions Mexican-Americans just because they’re brown.
How does that play out in your film?
LC I made Adam the main character who sees all of these different things happening. He’s kind of the ingénue of the piece. There’s a border patrol guy who plays the bad guy and then there’s the Marfa girl. So it’s quite great and I’ve cast some really good actors out of Austin and then I cast a lot of locals like Adam and Mercedes and Angel and Kaylan. I have a really great cast and it’s really going to be a good film and I’ve never had as much fun making a film before. And writing as I’m going along. I mean I’m really in the zone I mean everything else so far has worked perfectly and it’s just, it’s going to be an amazing film and the cast is beautiful as you can see by the photographs.
It sounds really interesting!
LC I seriously think this could be my best film, it’s certainly interesting and I’ve developed so many different plot lines with so many great characters. People are going to be stunned. I’m 69 years old and I’ve finally grown up and I’m very comfortable with myself. I was never so comfortable in my own skin and now I’m totally comfortable. Yeah it’s just like flowing out of me like Mozart.
Where can people see it?
LC I had this idea to make a film and cut out all of the middlemen, cut out all of Hollywood, I cut everybody and then I’ll do what the kids do and I’ll post it on the Internet. So I’m going to launch it Larryclark.com this fall. It’ll be the only place you can get it; I’m not going to distribute it. Anybody can go on my website and see it because I just want to get the work out there. I’ve been making work for 50 years and it seems to get harder and harder to get a film made and you can just do it yourself!
LC I’m going to Paris to make a film written by a young French poet that I met when I had a retrospective there. So, I’m on fire. It’s good to be [in the zone] absolutely and I’m very happy. It’s funny; I’m probably the happiest person in the world now. I’m just happy all the time.
Posted 2 years ago
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