Exclusive Interview With Joel Potrykus And Joshua Burge On Buzzard

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WGTC: Josh, what was it about the character that appealed to you?

Burge: Well, working with Joel obviously appealed the most to me, but this character is fascinating. Actually, there wasn’t too much in the character himself that appealed to me as a person. I thought he was kind of a jerk.

Potrykus: He’s kind of a dick.

Burge: Yeah, but there’s still obviously an overlap between any human beings. Feeling ripped off or kicked around or whatever. Having this chip on your shoulder. Those are attractive qualities to try to portray.

WGTC: And I’m guessing it’s not every role where you get to wear claw gloves.

Burge: No that was a first and it was a beautiful moment.

WGTC: I imagine. I was very jealous.

Potrykus: We have that here somewhere. We brought it down.

Burge: Yeah it’s in the hotel room I think.

WGTC: Were there any specific films or filmmakers that inspired you for this?

Potrykus: Well everything I do I think is kind of a rip-off of Taxi Driver, or influenced by Taxi Driver. Some of the things people compare it to are not influences at all. There’s always Slacker references, and I like Slacker, but I wouldn’t say that’s a direct influence.

I’d say if anything, it’s the film O Lucky Man! by Lindsay Anderson. It’s a British film from the ’70s. He kind of just doesn’t follow any rules as far as story. He kind of does what he wants. It can shift from a totally wacky, surreal comedy one minute to a very dark story about British politics the next five minutes. That kind of freedom in story telling is my favorite. He doesn’t follow any conventions.

We mix tone here a lot. It’s the darkest thing we’ve ever done, but it’s also the absolute goofiest, funniest thing we’ve ever done. It’s just not having to go by anybody else’s rules. We can just do what we want. So, we are our biggest inspirations.

WGTC: Now obviously the character is very far from a hero, but there’s so many movies with that kind of character, and people love him. What is it that you think has such an appeal?

Burge: You mean anti-heroes, why they’ve become so popular?

WGTC: Well, specifically the slacker character.

Josh: Well it’s fantasy right? That’s what’s appealing to anybody with any film. The idea that you can go down this journey, this story with them where you wouldn’t in real life. It’s those perversions or whatever that everybody might have somewhere in their brain. What they’d like to actualize on some level. Where when you watch it, it fulfills a little bit of that.

Potrykus: For me, I don’t know Will Smith in Independence Day. I don’t know that guy. I’ve never met that guy. But I’ve met a lot of Martys. I know those people. I think it’s much more interesting to watch somebody make mistakes than to watch somebody succeed. That’s what I’m all about.

Burge: It’s just always been appealing to sort of stick it to the man, even if it’s on a minute level. There’s something about that. Since Robin Hood, it’s always been appealing.

Potrykus: The first tagline for the movie was, “He steals from the rich and keeps for himself.” He’s not a hero, he’s out for himself. Like most people are. That’s the reality of it, as sad and desperate as that may sound.

WGTC: I really liked the production design, especially in Marty’s house. How much of that was just your stuff?

Potrykus: It’s mostly my stuff. We brought in some extra things, some subtle references to other filmmakers that we know, some we don’t know. One of my friends came over to the set and was like, “Oh. You just moved your bedroom over to somebody else’s house.”

I don’t want to make a movie about somebody I can’t relate to. I just made a movie about a dude that I’d probably want to hang out with on a weekend.

Burge: Yeah, I mean I don’t think Marty’s interests were that far away from any of our friends’ and ours. Comic books and video games.

Potrykus: Where he’ll never grow up. A constant state of adolescence. A man who does not know how to be a man.

WGTC: I’m guessing you have a party zone in your basement?

Potrykus: I wish! I wish I had a basement. Well, we have a basement, but it’s definitely not a party zone. I think the character of Derrick is the antithesis of Marty. The opposite. But, they are almost the same. Marty just doesn’t want to realize that and accept that. But yeah, every dude wants a party zone. Video games, pizza and Mountain Dew all the time. That’s living the dream right there.

We still have a disco ball, it’s just in a closet so it doesn’t count.

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