Having seen the original cut of “Edgeplay” with the Runaways music included–I think it’s very powerful, and has some extremely moving moments–particularly involving some of the things that happened to yourself, Jackie Fox and Sandy West. How did it feel to revisit this stuff?
I think the fact that it took me 4 years to complete it says it all.
First, I want to say that “Edgeplay” is a collaboration of ALL involved. The story is every band members’ story, the end on-screen result is every crew members’ talent, loyalty and dedication, the fact that this film was even completed is due to the constant hand-holding and deal-making expertise of my co-producer and very dear friend, Jackie Fuchs, and of course, we can’t forget the past 2 months of daily emails and phone calls from Suzi Quatro, who threatened to kick my ass if I walked away from this project.
When I started this project, I had a phone conversation with Thom Mount (Producer: Natural Born Killers, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Bull Durham, “Death and the Maiden,” etc.) and was telling him about my plans for the film. Towards the end of the conversation he asked me a question, that at the time I found really strange. He asked me if I was emotionally prepared to produce a story like this. And I remember hanging up and thinking that that was such an odd thing to say. It haunted me for months.
A year into production on “Edgeplay,” I had to walk away from the project because the story was way too emotionally draining and it was at that point I completely understood the impact of what Thom was trying to convey and prepare me for.
That said, producing “Edgeplay” was an extremely cathartic project. We were all incredibly affected by our tenure in the band. And while so many great things happened because of the band, so many really rank things happened too – experiences from which some band members are still reeling from.
Sandy West, in particular, seems to still be feeling the repercussions of her time in the band. The footage of her and her mother is really sad. What was it like shooting that scene?
The day we shot Sandy’s mom, Jeri, and all of the communication with her leading up to that day, ripped my heart out. Jeri did not want to be interviewed for this film – she didn’t even want me to come over and talk to her about it.
The subject of The Runaways, for most of our parents, is a tough one, because just on a very base level, it required our parents to trust blindly people they didn’t know and, in all honesty, didn’t really want to know. It required our parents to let go of their teenaged girls and allow them to travel around the world, virtually unchaperoned, with a bunch of strangers. It required our parents to block out what their minds were screaming and listen only to their hearts – and that was to let us all go and realize our ambitions.
Sandy’s mom, Jeri is one of the most courageous people I have ever met in my life and one who loves her daughter unconditionally. I have the utmost respect for her and am so incredibly grateful that she consented to let me shoot her.
Her thought was that if by appearing in this film and sharing her experience she could help one person fully understand the reality of what happened to us and perhaps help someone avoid the pitfalls that we encountered, it would be worth it to her to open up and tell of her heartache. Without a doubt, I believe that her appearance in this film gave the project the credibility it needed to go the distance it did.
Originally, the movie had quite a bit of Runaways music–and Lita Ford also redid some Runaways songs for the soundtrack?
Originally we had something like 17 Runaway music cues in the film. I tried to use the songs that I knew everyone would want to hear, and also included the songs that were composed by the certain band members who could really benefit from the royalties that this film would bring. That was my way of giving back.
Additionally, Lita and her husband, Jim Gillette sent me a CD of unreleased Lita music for the film that also included a completely re-worked version of “Waitin’ for the Night” that is hauntingly awesome. If that version of the song was released today, I feel it would be a major hit.
Why didn’t Joan participate in “Edgeplay?”
I have no idea what went on over at Blackheart regarding “Edgeplay,” but this is what happened on our end:
For the first three years of production, we repeatedly emailed, telephoned, faxed and Fed Ex’d interview requests and never had any response whatsoever from them. Finally, towards the end of production, Joan’s manager suddenly began calling and emailing about the project, wanting to know all of the details.
During this time we told them everything they wanted to know and we continued to ask if Joan would be interested in participating in “Edgeplay.” We told him we would be more than happy to accommodate her in a variety of ways: from sending her a list of questions for her pre-approval, to giving her final right of approval for her filmed/taped segments and exactly how those segments would be edited into the film. And while he would never directly answer any of these requests, he did manage to convey that he and Joan wanted to fly immediately to California and view all 48 hours of raw, unedited interview and performance footage.
I don’t know any producer who would allow that type of exposure on a project, the reason being that things are always said out of context, which could be misconstrued later by others not present at the time of taping. So, I made the decision not to screen the raw footage, and instead offered to show them a rough cut of the film. We never heard back from them until almost 2 years later – the week we were delivering the film to the distributors.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of GIRLS INTERRUPTED: THE CONTROVERSIAL NEW RUNAWAYS DOCUMENTARY>>>