Q: Prince of Swine was a play before it was a movie?
MT: Yes, Off Broadway, almost off off Broadway at the Hamlet on Bank Street in the West Village.
Q: How was the play Prince of Swine different than the movie?
MT: Well, it sucked for one thing! Not a word from the play survived to make the screenplay. I guess it was a fun play, it was well reviewed, people liked it, my cast was very talented (hey Hyleri! Rafael!), but I hadn’t really hit the highest or deepest level and broken through yet as a writer. It was set against New York finance instead of Los Angeles movie biz, still a harassment suit, but the plaintiff had New York smarts and bitchiness, she was a lawyer. When we moved it to LA and made her an actress - I don’t want to say Kelly is stupid - she’s dumb like a fox. She appears to be an idiot, but if you’ll notice she always gets what she wants in the end. Amber, the actress who plays her, is extremely intelligent, and you have to be to understand what Kelly’s doing, even if the character is only doing it intuitively.
Q: Now you mentioned in an earlier blog that Prince of Swine prefigures the banking collapse?
MT: I was shocked going back and reading the play Prince of Swine how perfectly it captured the psychology that led to the banking collapse – money at any cost, this attitude of being above the law, money as an abstraction or object of worship, like the golden calf, divorced from any connection to making anything useful for people, that’s what led to the mortgage collapse, they’d created forms of securities so abstracted from any underlying value not even the experts could tell what they were worth. The con artists or monkeys who actually believed their own "greed is good" BS pitched this shit night and day, they conned even the biggest banks into bribing Congress into relaxing Glass Steagall, so they could end run the FDIC, being privately insured with AIG instead, thought they could build a glass pyramid to the sky -
Q: So the root cause of this –
MT: Well you know the answer to that –
Q: Oh fuck you, I mean really, fuck off, you cannot be serious –
MT: Hey, if the feminists don’t want to take responsibility for women's power, that’s on the feminists, if you got a bunch of women acting like prostitutes, which I’m sorry, that was New York in the eighties and nineties, basically, “If you’ve got the money, I’ll fuck you” – and this goddamn Candace Bushnell of Sex and the City fame is a perfect example of that, she seems to have changed now that she’s older, but the monster that is her art, that whole Sex and the City franchise, Sex and the City, Sex and the City 2, all things Sex and the City, God help us, we'll have Sex and the City 22 before they're done, just like Madonna, the art lives on, torturing us all, even if the artist has moved on –
Q: You’ve really lost your mind.
MT: The truth hurts baby, don’t think I don’t know it. Men will always be what women want. And don't underestimate the power of art, for good or evil, even if you can't reduce it to a formula and measure it -
Q: Women caused the banking collapse, that’s your theory?
MT: Women cause everything, women are the root of all good and evil, women are the source of everything, women are the center of the human universe, and all human doings whether you realize it or not, we're just the messengers, women are both the source and destination. Feminism collapses with the coming of Madonna, and the banks soon follow, that’s a coincidence? If the women act like that, the men will too -
Q: Honestly, I don’t see how Prince of Swine is a metaphor for the banking collapse –
MT: Admittedly, it’s not as clear as when Prince of Swine was a play in New York, but Don Simpson, one of the influences for the Jerry Farber character, he’s a perfect metaphor for the banking collapse, he destroyed himself on hookers and drugs just like the bankers, Hollywood buys and sells fame, just like Wall Street buys and sells greed, at least when they go bad this is what they do –
Q: The bankers were on drugs, that’s your theory?
MT: Gambling is a drug, money is a drug, sex is a drug, and just like Simpson, they were secretly very afraid and insecure and complete frauds inside, just like Wall Street, Simpson was on over 50 anti-anxiety medications when he died, he’s the one responsible for whoring Hollywood too, as if such a thing were possible, how big a pimp do you have to be to whore the biggest whorehouse on the planet?
Q: Don Simpson whored Hollywood? I thought Hollywood whored Don Simpson, he was a preacher’s kid -
MT: Absolutely! He’s responsible for this whole cult of High Concept, that’s just made every movie in Hollywood complete shit, even the people making it are like, “I can’t believe people are going to buy this shit! It’s just insipid drivel!”, they’re just like the bankers with the mortgage securities, selling complete crap. Simpson was so shallow he actually believed he was making good movies, but some of his directors, like Adrian Lyne, were deep enough to know Simpson's movies were crap. There’s a really good book on that by Charles Fleming, called High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess (http://www.charlesfleming.com), Simpson got up and he said, essentially, I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but something like, “We’re not responsible for making art, we make money, fuck you if you don’t like it! How much money do you have, bitch? So bend over and smile.” He treated Hollywood and the public just like one of his hookers, and you don’t even want to know what he did to them. I mean, he said some of that stuff to the hookers and some to the studio and public, but you get the point - what's the difference between Simpson, the studios, or the pimps and hookers by that point? And really, this sort of awful high concept drivel he made so popular, lowers the standards of society, lowers our standards, and makes pimps and whores of us all on some level.
Q: On that note –
MT: Oh, I had one more thing: in a case of life imitating art, and this would seem to disprove my theory, but even though I was a pennyless, starving artist in New York at the time, my lead actress for the play did sleep with me, and this was a chick dating millionaires in her early twenties, even as a teenager, before she met me. She didn’t sleep with me for the part, it was after she was cast, I totally couldn’t have canned her even if I wanted to, the closer we got to opening night, the actress has the producer over the barrel by then, she has all the power –
Q: A heartwarming tale –
MT: Well, she did drop my pennyless ass when the play closed and went and dated a gazillionaire or something. Ya’ know what that stupid bitch said to me when we were breaking up? The whole time she’s playing this idealistic feminist who utterly can’t be bought, she’s like, “Oh, this is so exactly like me, this is just exactly what it means to be a feminist, and you’re a creative genius for bringing her to life, let's make love like crazed bunnies in heat!”. Then, as soon as the play closes, she turns to me and says, “Ya’ know, I need someone who can afford to take me to the opera.” Welcome to the whacky world of actresses. And women wonder why we take feminism with a grain of salt these days.
Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.
Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).
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Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com