The Bag Man is a taut crime thriller that follows the story of Jack (John Cusack), a tough guy with chronic bad luck. Hired by legendary crime boss Dragna (Robert De Niro) to complete a simple but unusual task, the plot centers on Jack and a host of shady characters that have been summoned to a remote location for unknown reasons. Over the course of a long and violently eventful night awaiting this crime boss's arrival, Jack crosses paths with Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a stunningly beautiful woman whose life becomes physically and emotionally entangled with his own. When Dragna finally arrives on the scene there are sudden and extreme consequences for all.
Appearing in the film is one of our personal favorite actors, Crispin Glover. He plays the innkeeper at this mysterious location where a number of unsavory characters have gathered. The actor has been suspiciously absent from the big screen since 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine, and we guessed it might have something to do with his current project, an untitled movie he is directing, and starring in for the first time alongside his father Bruce Glover. It's been reported in the past that Crispin takes certain acting jobs to fund his directorial endeavors. We recently met up with him to chat about The Bag Man, and started by suggesting that this may be another 'for hire' movie that allows him to make his more personal projects.
Glover doesn't discredit that notion, but he wants to make it clear that he loves acting, and is serious about it. He takes every job to heart. That acting helps him pursue other interests comes as an added bonus. While he talked in length about this, he also revealed why he doesn't think he'll be asked to star as the title character in Doctor Strange, and explains why he will not be seen in Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
Here is our conversation.
Last time we spoke was way back in 2007 for BeoWolf. At the time, you explained to me that you had taken on a couple of your more recent roles to help fund your own directorial endevors. I know you are in the midst of shooting your third film as a director now. Is that still the case, that you take on some of these acting jobs just to help support your other more personal projects?
Crispin Glover: The key word that you used, which is not what it is, is the word 'just'. I don't 'just' ever act in a film, meaning the only reason is to fund my own films. Its something I see written a lot. It's not right. It's not accurate. 'Just' indicates that I am only thinking about my films as a filmmaker. And then I'll show up, say my lines, and leave. That's just not how it is. What it is, I want to do a good job. I want to be in something that is good. I want to make sure the character is compelling and interesting for the audience. I take it very seriously, when I'm in a movie. I've seen it written a lot, where people write, "Crispin just does this to fund his own films." That is not accurate. I am grateful that I am able to work in the film industry, which has been enabling me to help fund my films. But I started acting at a young age. I started at 13. I trained from ages 13 to 20. I take the craft of it very seriously. My father is an actor. I just began shooting my third feature film, and this is not part of the 'It' trilogy, but it is the first film that my father and I, Bruce Glover...He has been in films such as Diamonds Are Forever and Chinatown, Ghost World...This is the first time that he and I have ever acted together before. And I have ten consecutive minutes of edited material that I'm showing right now. In fact, this weekend, I will be in Ottawa, Canada for two shows at the Mayfair Theater. Next weekend I will be in the Los Palmas Theater, which is close to San Diego. I will be doing two different live performances and showing two different feature films on two subsequent nights. Everyone can find out where I will be continuing to tour on CrispinGlover.com. There is a newsletter that they can sign up for as well. But I take the roles seriously. Like, I funded It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine!, my second feature film, with the money I earned from Charlie's Angels. And that's where I started to see it written over and over again, that Crispin Glover just acted in that movie to fund It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine!. It is not true. There was an impetus for me to do it. Because Steven C. Stewart, who stars in the movie, and helped write it, had a health issue. Somewhat related to the fact that he had cerebral palsy. One of his lungs had collapsed, and if we were going to shoot something soon, or shoot anything at all, it would have to be right then. And it happened around the same time that the first Charlie's Angels was coming to me. But even with that knowledge, I read the screenplay, and I wasn't necessarily going to go in for it. There was originally dialogue for the part that I ended up playing. Which was not the character. This was a silent character. And the dialogue was very expositional. So I wasn't necessarily going to go in and meet on the movie. I was actually planning not too. But they were contacting my agency, and they really wanted to meet me. They wanted to know what my ideas about the part were. They wanted to know my thoughts about it. I went in and met with them, and I said, whether I play it or not, the character should be a silent fighting antagonist character, that only fought...Well, not only fought, but he didn't need to say any lines. The key is, they very enthusiastically stood up and said, "This is exactly what we're going to do. This is great." Then they showed me the footage of the Chinese choreography team that was going to be essentially directing my character. And I knew their work. They understood the psychology of character through movement. And they realized with them choreographing this character, and him being silent, that it could be a very interesting thing. So, it was. I was very happy with how that character came out. It changed the way that I selected to do films. Prior to that, when Back to The Future came out in 1985...And I had questions about a moral element in the film, which I have talked a bit about in the press...And this led to me not being in the sequels...After that film came out, I felt it was important to select movies that somehow more psychologically reflected what my interests were. The first film I acted in after Back to The Future came out was River's Edge. Which is a film I am very proud of...Subsequent to that, most of the films I appeared in throughout the 80s and early 90s didn't necessarily reflect what I thought my psychological interests were. They didn't necessarily make that much money. And that was not necessarily good for my acting career. But, I don't regret that time period, because that's the time when this persona, so to speak, that is essentially with me now...I am basically comfortable with it...That was etched out at that time. I was looking to find interesting directors, or what have you. But it wasn't until I had to fund Steve's film, that's when Charlie's Angels came along. And that movie made a lot of money. That was good for my acting career. I realized it was good for me to make as much money as I can as an actor, in order to fund my own filmmaking. That part is true. Especially between 2000 and 2010. That's very much how I was conducting my career. I was deciding to act in almost every film I was offered. Not every single one. But most of them. Something kind of changed in 2010, when Hot Tub Time Machine and Alice in Wonderland came out. I did expect to get a fair amount of offers. Because Alice in Wonderland is the highest grossing film I have ever been in. I knew that would lead to offers. But the types of roles I was getting? I didn't work for about a year after I was in Hot Tub Time Machine. It was a strange thing that happened. I didn't want to turn work down. Because, as you are mentioning, I am funding my own films. I am not independently wealthy. I need to work. To both support myself and maintain the film's being made. I had to turn things down. But it's okay. Interesting things have come along. Like The Bag Man. It's a very interesting part to play. And I'm glad I am in the film.
You bring up Alice in Wonderland. That is a Disney movie. I have to wonder, because you seem almost too perfect for the role, if they've approached you for Doctor Strange?
Crispin Glover: (Laughs) I have heard of that character. But I don't know it. I am all for it, if they want to come to me. The thing about the way those big movies work...If you're going to be playing a title role, or even a key lead role in a superhero movie, which, for the most part, are the highest budgeted films these days, you have to have been in a film that is a pretty high grossing film in the last year or two. You have to have played a significant role in it. So, if The Bag Man made $300 million or $100 billion worldwide, maybe I would have a shot at being Doctor Strange. (Laughs) I mean, I like The Bag Man very much, but you know, it's a specialized niche market, and I doubt very seriously that it will make $1 million or even close to that. That's okay, I'm still very excited to be in the film. Actually, I do have a good feeling about this movie. That it will lead to some good acting offers for me. I feel good about how I come off in the film. And of course, having Robert De Niro in the film...I think he is giving a very interesting performance in it. He comes off well in the film. And John Cusack is always a solid performer. And the actress in it is excellent. So it is a good film. It will get positive attention, and that will bring some positive attention for me. So even though this film will not be a gigantic grossing film at the box office, I'm sure it will make its money back. And I'm sure it will bring me some attention. I'm not usually this overly optimistic about things. But I do feel that. A lot of it having to do with Robert De Niro, arguably...You could say many things about Robert De Niro, but there is no question, he is one of the all time film actor greats. The fact that I come off at all well in the film, and he's in the film, and he is of course interesting, that is always good for me. So, I am excited about it.
Now, I have to disagree with what you said, though. It seems like Marvel has always gone in a different direction with the casting on their films. They aren't looking for the last guy to bring in $300 million at the box office. And yesterday, Kevin Feige, who is producing the movie, came out and said exactly that. They aren't looking for some humongous star to be in the movie. They want someone who is perfect for the role, whether he is an unknown, or a veteran actor.
Crispin Glover: Tell them to hire me! I don't need to know what the character does. I'll play it! If they want me, I will do it!
Your maturity, and your presence, and especially watching you here in The Bag Man, where you are convincingly playing a character we haven't ever seen before, he has a voice intonation we haven't heard from you...You are more than capable of being the perfect Doctor Strange.
Crispin Glover: Tell them. I would love it. I'll do it if they want to hire me.
I ask about Doctor Strange, because its been in the news a lot lately. And I see these people putting together their list of perfect people to play the part. You're there, at the top of that list.
Crispin Glover: I don't really know anything about that character.
Do you watch any of these Marvel movies?
Crispin Glover: I haven't seen the most recent ones. Like Marvel's The Avengers. Its not that I don't want too. Its because I have been touring with my films. And the last two years, I have been overseeing the sets being built for this film I am shooting in the Czech Republic, where I now own property. So I have not been in the country that much. And when I am in the country, I am barely in my house that I have in Los Angeles. I am kind of out of it in terms of what is going on. I am in the Academy, and I get all these screeners. But my mind is elsewhere. I haven't watched all of the movies nominated for the Academy Awards. I'm in the Academy, but I didn't vote. Because it wouldn't be right when I haven't watched the movies. I'm a little bit out of it. But I'd be happy to be into it. I am an actor for hire. I am very willing, and I have the best intentions to do good work when I am hired. Let Marvel know. I will be there.
The 30th Anniversary of Friday the 13th Part VI is coming up. It's remembered as one of the best movies in that franchise. I've never really heard you talk too much about it.
Crispin Glover: I started acting when I was 13, and this came at least five years into my professional acting career. It wasn't the first, or second...I think it was the fourth movie I had done. And I did audition for it. I did a lot of auditions between the ages of 18 and 20, which I miss in some ways, because I was a good auditioner. I actually like reading for parts. I auditioned for it, and I got the part. Its funny, because it is part of this franchise, so it gets a fair amount of attention. Because of that. Of course, I am glad for it. Anything that people like, and people come to my shows...Just to be clear, people can find out where my shows and films are by going on CrispinGlover.com...These are valuable things. It's a big part of how I tour, and why I tour with my films, because I have been acting in corporately distributed films for over thirty years.
Before you go, real quick, we all want to know if you are coming back for Hot Tub Time Machine 2?
Crispin Glover: I wanted to. They shot the film, and it didn't happen. They wanted me too, I just never got the offer. It was kind of complicated. It had to do with John Cusack, who of course is in The Bag Man...He didn't return. And I think the budget had been cut...I don't know, I never talked to John Cusack about this. I don't know all of the details. They had written my character in, and it was tied to his character. But then they had to shoot, and they had to rewrite the script, I think my character ended up getting cut. They were talking to me, up through the last week of shooting, through my agents, and its just...They ran out of time essentially. So it didn't happen. Which is too bad. I quite enjoyed making the first one. And I would very much like to be in the second film. I know they wanted me to be in it. It wasn't that anything strange happened. Sometimes those things just happen. Maybe I'll be in Part 3. You never know.
John Cusack claims they never asked him to be in the movie. That's what he said to us when we talked to him about it.
Crispin Glover: I don't know. I like John Cusack, so I don't want to say anything that isn't true. I heard that there was a script written. I never saw it. But it did have both of us in it. And he came up to me on the set of The Bag Man, when we were working on the movie, and he asked me if it was something I'd be interested in being involved with. I said, "Definitely." So, I never saw the script. I never got the offer. I definitely never got the offer. I don't want to...The difficultly is that I've had it happen to me, where people say things that aren't true. So I don't want to be saying anything about anyone. I genuinely don't know. I just never saw that screenplay. I liked all the people. Steve Pink was a great director to work with. Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry...Everybody! I had a really good time on that film. But it sounds like what happened with him is similar, if that's the case with John Cusack. Whether that's the case or not, I never got an offer either, but there were conversations. They wanted to know if I wanted to be in it. Which I did. It just never materialized.
Crispin Glover is currently on tour. To find out where you can see him in person, and learn more about his directorial feature films: CLICK HERE