Caligula chats with director Barry Gale about THE OTHER ME!!!
Published on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 – 11:07 AM. (www.coolfilmnews.com)
Hey folks. Caligula in Chicago here (finally!) after a long week at E3.
You know, I love Jesse Ventura. His wrestling career ended just shy of the golden age of WWF back in the 1980’s, but he was THE VOICE of professional wrestling for me as a kid. He made you believe it. Just try to imagine Wrestlemania I-VI without his gravelly, tough-guy commentary – it just wouldn’t be Wrestlemania. When he ran for Governor of Minnesota more than a decade ago, I knew he had the charisma to pull it off. And he did. I believed in Jesse Ventura. That is, until he made headlines bringing producers out to Minnesota to convince them it could be the Hollywood of the North. Don’t get me wrong, I love Minneapolis, but Hollywood it is not.
Well, soon time may prove Jesse Ventura right after all. Sort of. And the thanks would have to go to a little start-up organization called the Minnesota Independent Film Council. These guys have been operating in stealth mode since about 1996, but perhaps you’ve heard of some of their films: GAIL GETS A JOB… BUDBURGER’S… MURDER U: LATE REGISTRATION… 300 ROSES. These films all have one thing in common: they premiered at a MIFC event, either their summer Renegade Film Expo, or its little sister the Twin Cities Documentary Film Festival. And then of course, there’s THE OTHER ME. If you haven’t been following the buzz about this film, it took first place at MIFC’s documentary festival this April, and got picked up by Fox for domestic release later this year… quite a feat for the film’s first-time feature director, Barry Gale, and a big feather in the cap of MIFC.
I had a chance to sit down with Barry at E3 a couple weeks ago and ask him a few questions about the Minnesota film scene, hot gamer girls, ass-waxing and, of course, Jesse Ventura and THE OTHER ME. Here’s the interview…
CALIGULA: Hey man, it’s great to be able to talk to you today.
BARRY GALE: I’m a huge fan of your site. Seriously, this is like talking to Michael Jordan or something for me.
CALIGULA: (laughs) Hey, the pleasure’s all mine.
BG: Cool. Thanks, I guess!
CALIGULA: I think this may be the first documentary film to ever get its own booth at E3. How’d that end up happening?
BG: Yeah, it’s crazy. It was absolutely a last minute thing. I mean, it’s been like what, three weeks since Fox picked up the film? I think they must have cut the trailer overnight.
CALIGULA: I hear people are really excited about it.
BG: Totally. It’s been nuts. If you had told me three months ago that I’d be here today I would have said bullshit.
CALIGULA: For our readers who haven’t heard about THE OTHER ME, can you give us an introduction?
BG: Absolutely. It’s a documentary about Pete12’s Paladins, which is a kind of notorious team of players on Lands of the Lance (LOTL). We connected with the guys in real life and got a chance to talk to them about what they’re up to both online and offline and that eventually turned into THE OTHER ME.
CALIGULA: So it’s about MMORPG players.
CALIGULA: I’ve heard some people compare it to KING OF KONG, but I read your interview with C.H.U.B.B.Y. and you seem to have a different take on it.
BG: Yeah, my guys are a lot less socially functional than the KING OF KONG guys.
CALIGULA: (laughs) That’s hard to believe!
BG: You’ll believe it when you see it.
CALIGULA: Ian Dunlevy at C.H.U.B.B.Y. actually went so far as to call it the RESERVOIR DOGS of documentaries.
BG: (laughs) Except the only people who kill each other at the end are rendered in 3D.
CALIGULA: Well, word on the street is that it’s gloriously fucked up in ways that are hard to imagine.
BG: Believe it or not, there’s more to the movie than just the ass-waxing scene.
CALIGULA: (laughs) Ian still rants about it in some of his other columns. I’m kind of terrified of seeing it, honestly.
BG: It was terrifying to film it.
CALIGULA: Correct me if I’m wrong… it involves one of Pete12’s Paladins going to a salon to get waxed because he sat in his computer chair for too long and his hairs started to get ingrown and he developed a rash.
CALIGULA: And what they find is not pretty.
BG: No. It is not.
CALIGULA: And the guy does not respond well to being told to go to the hospital.
BG: Yeah, Daren sort of freaked out on some of the beauticians. We actually had to turn over a copy of the scene to the mall’s insurance company for legal reasons.
CALIGULA: That’s crazy.
BG: We actually pixelated the most graphic parts of that scene because they made Chuck’s girlfriend physically ill.
CALIGULA: Chuck is your editor, right?
BG: Yeah, Chuck Lawley. He’s an amazing guy. Seriously, I can’t give Chuck enough credit. He’s the reason this film is what it is today. He just understood the puzzle. He single-handedly went into something like 30+ hours of film and another 50+ hours of recorded online gameplay and found the story. I was sitting at home actively giving up on the whole thing last December when Chuck calls me up and says, “We need to see Pete12’s Paladins crash and burn.” And bam, that was it. That was the story.
CALIGULA: Three weeks ago you were working part time as a meat salesman.
BG: I still am, for now. I just got the week off!
CALIGULA: So how has this movie changed things for you, personally?
BG: I’ve already gotten five offers from gamer girls to alternately marry me or have passionate, meaningless sex with me.
CALIGULA: Real or virtual?
BG: Oh, all of the offers are virtual so far. That means that at least a three of them are probably actually dudes.
CALIGULA: We’ve been hearing a lot about the Minneapolis Independent Film Council lately. Before you got involved with these folks did you have any idea that your film could reach a wider audience?
BG: No, I had no idea. MIFC is this amazingly well-kept secret. I mean, there are like two or three huge indie movies that made their debut at Renegade, and still MIFC is lucky if anybody but the filmmakers and their friends show up. BUDBURGER’S…
CALIGULA: MURDER U…
BG: Yeah, nobody’s like, “Hey, that debuted at Renegade!” or, “I saw that at Twin Cities Doc Fest!” And I mean, a lot of times, I think it’s because these films go on to play at Toronto or other places, and those festivals are more established and they’re very good at hyping these movies that came up through the MIFC, and then they kind of take ownership of them in the public eye. It’s tough for MIFC, I think.
CALIGULA: Well, this film could change that.
BG: I don’t know, it’s still kind of hard to think about it like that. I’m still in shock about how fast this all happened.
CALIGULA: From what I hear, the publicity is all very well-deserved.
BG: Yeah, I’m still waiting for my thank you letter from Jesse Ventura!
CALIGULA: (laughs) I gotta run over to the Sega booth now. It’s been great talking to you, Barry.
Well, there you have it folks. THE OTHER ME hits theaters in November courtesy of Fox Searchlight. We should have a trailer up in a few days, so stay tuned. For those interested in the rest of my E3 coverage from last week, you can find it by clicking here.