He’s a geek who collects old 78 records and dresses like he shops at those vintage stores in the bad part of town. I’m not talking about Seymour played by Steve Buscemi in Ghost World, I’m talking about the director of the film, Terry Zwigoff. He is best known for his second movie “Crumb,” about the bizarre life of cartoonist Robert Crumb. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the third highest-grossing documentary ever. But his love affair with movies really began in 1978 when he found a rare 1934 recording by a Chicago blues musician. Zwigoff, a musician himself, spent two years relentlessly trying to track down the artist to find out about his life. The journey resulted in a 60-minute documentary called “Louie Bluie” which received critical acclaim and a limited theatrical release.
His third film, Ghost World, is Zwigoff’s first traditional narrative feature and the first time he’s actually had to direct actors. Based on the kick-a*s series of graphic novels (I hate to call them comics) by Daniel Clowes, who co-wrote the script with Zwigoff, Ghost World combines his love of music, comics and misfits. It’s a personal film that presents a way of looking at life not often seen in movies. The central character Enid (Thora Birch) is simply not satisfied to live in a gentrified, McDonald-fied and Blockbuster Video-fied world. Her worldview is precisely the way I look at things myself. It is truly comforting to see a movie like Ghost World and know that there are other misfits out there who suffer through the insanity that is everyday life as well. And to top it off, the movie is damn funny!
I spoke to the writer/director while he relaxed at his home in San Francisco. The interview was constantly interrupted by several call-waiting beeps but the conversation never stopped. Terry is a no-bullshit original and this reflects in his films. His low tolerance for B.S., made our chat as enjoyable as visiting with an old friend. Ghost World may be a narrative feature with scripted dialog, but just like a great documentary, there are no false moments. The same goes for Terry…
Get into Gore’s conversation with the filmmaker behind Ghost World in CRUMBY DIRECTOR: A TERRY ZWIGOFF INTERVIEW>>>