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Sam Rockwell

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Remembering That Time in the 90s When Disney Hired a Pedophile To Direct a Movie

 When people think of a pederast or sexually deviant film director, they are likely to imagine Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old or Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter. But those stories are a bit tired and cliched now, so, for those with a thirst for horrible stories about film men abusing their power, we present mid-budget journeyman director Victor Salva. In 1989, Salva was jailed after molesting the 12-year-old star of his first feature film, the low-budget horror thriller Clownhouse.

Salva has said that the idea of making a horror movie like Clownhouse had been on his mind for some time, and when you watch it, you can see why. The plot’s victims are three pre-pubescent brothers, led by debutant Sam Rockwell, who spend their time running hysterically around their enormous suburban house getting terrorised by sadistic escaped lunatics dressed as circus clowns (the leader is called “Cheezo”).

As a concept, it’s pretty basic, though the nightmare’s enlivened by a constant, thrumming undercurrent of high school homoeroticism, which manifests itself in lingering crotch-shots and constant close-ups of half-naked teens. It’s basically as terrifying as you’d expect a film about murderous, child-killing clowns directed by a pedophile to be.


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Let’s get into character here: this fucking news is better than spending a night with a manky Dutch whore and a shitload of horse tranquilizer. In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh has written and will direct a film called Seven Psychopaths, and Colin Farrell is starring. Your indie heroine Megan Ellison is financing, and today at Cannes the project added Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken. Those last two sentences are my favorite things I’ve written in days. If you feel about In Bruges the way some do, with Martin McDonagh writing and directing little questions like the plot of the film probably don’t even matter. But if your curiosity gets the better of you, that info is after the break.

Variety announces that the film is about “a screenwriter (Farrell) struggling for inspiration for his script, “Seven Psychopaths,” who gets drawn into the dog kidnapping schemes of his oddball friends (Rockwell and Walken). Things take a turn for the worse when a gangster’s (Rourke) mutt goes missing.”

Frankly with Martin McDonagh again directing Colin Farrell, I don’t care what the movie is about. I don’t care that Mickey Rourke appears to have sent his career right back into a tailspin. I have faith that, even if Rourke wants to take a dump on the set, McDonagh will be able to spin some gold out of it. And I know that he’ll get good work out of Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken. (A Behanding in Spokane, Martin McDonagh’s most recent play, ran on Broadway with Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in the cast. McDonagh didn’t direct that, however.)

And as much as I appreciate the vulgar humor of his last film — In Bruges has some of the most absolutely quotable dirty dialogue in the last five years — it is the fact that the film was quite sad and even soulful in addition to being crazy and funny. There is a sheen of comedy and gangster violence, but it’s the stuff underneath that gives the movie life. Another director wouldn’t be able to break you with the scene between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the park in Bruges, but Martin McDonagh nailed it. I don’t know if that blend of tone and depth is what he’s aiming for with this second film, but my hopes are up.

This isn’t even a new project. If you read interviews around the time of In Bruges, you might remember that Martin McDonagh said things like this:

I’ve got a couple of film scripts that are ready to go. I’m not going to do anything with them for a couple of years, until I’ve traveled and had some fun. But there’s one called Seven Psychopaths; if I do another film, that’ll be it.

Here we are, three years later, and it is happening. A man of his word. I like that. And, obviously, I love this news.

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