Bobcat Goldthwait is a comedian, actor, producer, writer, director; pretty much a one man film industry. Never afraid to tackle prejudice and preconceptions his latest film Willow Creek is a suspenseful found footage tale based around the legend of Bigfoot. 'Willow Creek' is available to buy right now here in the UK and is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray across the US from 9 September courtesy of Dark Sky Films and Mpi Media Group.
Firstly, congratulations on Willow Creek. It really is a suspenseful watch.
Thank you. That was the challenge and what really interested me in making this movie, to see if I could make scenes really suspenseful. Iíve always been jealous of people who could do that so my real goal was to see if I could pull that off.
Was that what inspired you to make a horror film then more than anything else?
Yeah. It is the dreaded found footage genre though but I just like to make stuff so not making it due to other peoples prejudices would be silly. Iíd written an out and out gory movie which I still hope to make one day but right now it was easier to make Willow Creek financially.
You financed it yourself. Was that always the plan?
Initially I was going to write a completely different movie set in the Bigfoot community. But yes, I mean that is even my truck they drive in the movie. It was great though to be out in the woods among the mountain lions and so on with friends just having fun.
I presume because of this you had to be very hands on?
Much of what you see was filmed in camera. Itís one thing making a movie and just hiring people but itís different when youíre having to sleep together in tents.
Bobcat: "They were definitely on a need to know basis".
How much were your leads Alexie and Bryce aware of what was going to happen in the woods?
Some things they didnít know at all because I didnít know. There were times when we were in the middle of a take and Iíd just pick up a boulder and roll it down the hill at them. They were definitely on a need to know basis.
There arenít many edits in the film and there is one particularly long unbroken shot when the tone of the film really shifts. Was it difficult to plan that as it seemed to be a very brave move?
I didnít really necessarily think about how long it was going to be but I donít like it when a found footage movie has lots of edits. I thought why not just let it all play out, the tension and the crying and then the characters calming down. The main thing though was to see what felt the most natural. We did three takes of the long scene but in the first one Bryce really broke down and started crying but he said it was about being in the middle of the woods at 3am when we could have just shot in a hotel parking lot! We ended up using the middle take as in the third everyone was so tired they were like ďOh just kill me Bigfoot!Ē
Without giving anything away did you agonise over how to end the film at all?
Not really. In most of the movies I make the end is really what I have in mind first and then I know where weíre going. With Willow Creek there were some things that changed a little while we were filming but overall I had a pretty good idea.
Bobcat: "Often people make fun of my films for not making money but that was never the goal".
I am very much a found footage apologist but there is definitely a general negative feeling towards them. Were you wary of entering the genre and did you watch a few to pick up some doís and doníts?
You know I avoided them; I havenít seen Blair Witch for years. You set parameters about filming in the woods and then occasionally you realise you just shot a scene that was in that movie though!. I would like to stress though that the original Patterson Ė Gimlin film is the original shaky cam found footage movie!
Did you ever consider making a witty observational take on the Bigfoot community as you have with subjects in some of your previous films?
No because I consider myself an outcast and a weirdo but I did want to make a film about a Bigfoot convention. Perhaps a parody of organised religion where everyone there thinks they have the real, definitive footage of the creature. I might do that.
With many of your films, both directed and that youíve acted in, youíve dealt with characters who are outsiders and certainly thatís the case here with the Bigfoot community.
Is that something youíre drawn to would you say?
Iím drawn to it and I think thatís just how I feel. I think we all feel a bit of an outsider though. I read a quote from Johnny Depp and how he though weíre all damaged in some way and I was like ďYouíre Johnny fucking Depp!Ē Thereís no hope for any of us!
Youíve received a lot of critical acclaim but perhaps not commercial success. Are you ever tempted by more mainstream projects?
Not really. When I was younger I sold out a lot and perhaps had the career at the beginning that many people have at the end. The idea of making a movie with the only goal being making money just seems like a colossal waste of time to me. Often people make fun of my films for not making money but that was never the goal.
Whatís next for you?
Iím currently shooting a documentary on a comedian and this also follows the theme of an outsider which might be a tough watch but very human.
'Willow Creek' is available to buy right now here in the UK and is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray across the US from 9 September courtesy of Dark Sky Films and Mpi Media Group.