by Joel Cunningham
Pauly Shore is Dead! No wait, he isn't, he just wrote and directed a movie imagining how a phony suicide might benefit his flagging career. Did he make the right move, or commit cinematic hari-kari? You decide, as dOc chats with the Weasel himself.
dOc: How did you come to the decision to make this movie? At what point in your career do you think, hey, I should make a movie about killing myself?
Pauly: Basically, in this business it's like people immediately have a perception of you, good or bad, doing well or not doing well. You look at Sean Penn, you're like, wow. You look at Gary Coleman, you're like, he's f***ed. You look at me, you're like, what happened to his career? He was doing great. So I wanted to admit all that and be honest with it. Instead of me waiting for Quentin Tarantino to say, "Hey, I want to put Pauly Shore in a really dark role" and, you know... [Shore seems to be referring to the John Travolta comeback via Pulp Fiction] And I'm not saying this is the movie that's going to do that, but I wanted to make something that would appeal to fans of my old stuff and attract people who maybe never liked me in the past. I was very focused on trying to get both markets.
dOc: The extras explain the picture was in the works for about four years; how much did it change in that time?
Pauly: It changed a lot. The first cut wasn't as funny, it was more personal and dark. Then it got a little wacky, then I just kept testing it and massaging it, so it turned into a movie instead of like a personal story.
dOc: Were you always going to direct it?
Pauly: There was a point when I wasn't going to direct it.
dOc: How was that experience for you, taking on a challenge spread over so many years?
Pauly: It was definitely testing my ability as a person, my stamina, how far I can go. Plus every day, when you make an indie movie, every day something bad's gonna happen. Someone's not going to show up...
dOc: The prostitutes in Vegas won't provide financing...
Pauly: Oh you saw that in the bonus material? But you know what I'm saying. I was learning that as I went along.
dOc: Are you happy with the way it turned out?
Pauly: Yeah, I'm proud of it.
dOc: How much of the character is actually you?
Pauly: I was acting. Carrot Top didn't move into my house, I'm not parking cars. I was acting.
dOc: Is it more a parody, or an exaggeration, or...?
Pauly: It's a make-believe story of what happened to me.
dOc: You seem to be able to take a lot of crap from people fairly good-naturedly. Was that something you learned over time, or have you always been that way? Or is it a defense mechanism?
Pauly: I don't know, a combination of everything, maybe. When you're in this business, you're basically an open wound for people to talk sh** about. There's 50 things that are good and some things that are bad. Sticks and stones. Like when you're in school, you either accept what people say or you say, "That's not who I am." People don't know me, they don't know you.
dOc: There's a fairly random assortment of celebrities cameos. How did you decide who to seek out for a role?
Pauly: I basically got whoever I could. I wrote the parts for certain people, others I didn't write parts for.
dOc: Is there anybody you were surprised agreed to do it?
Pauly: Yeah, pretty much all the A-list people. But the bottom line is, they all like me, they all think I'm funny, and they like the fact I grew up around comedians my whole life, they get me. And that's why they did it. They didn't do it because they felt sorry for me. They did it because they got the joke. It's a joke! The fact that I got Tommy Lee to mock himself, Rico Suave selling oranges by the freeway...
dOc: Do you have a favorite cameo?
Pauly: I like the Sean Penn one because...
dOc: It's Sean Penn.
Pauly: Exactly. The fact that he's wanting to get me to be in one of his movies I think is hysterical.
dOc: Any chance of that happening in real life?
Pauly: You never know. He has my phone number.
dOc: The one person you have as your real big fan is literally portrayed as an inbred hick. Is that any kind of commentary on your fans, or just a joke?
Pauly: Are those my fans? Yeah, of course, come see me in Omaha. I love the middle of the country, the people who don't care about the critics. They just know I make them laugh. Those are my fans. And I love them. And I'm going to cry right now.
dOc: That's very sweet. I noticed Jury Duty takes a lot of hits in this film. Are there any of your movies you think turned out pretty well?
Pauly: I love all my movies, it's a joke, it's a movie. Stanley Tucci was in Jury Duty. It obviously isn't great as a whole, but at the end of the day there's a couple funny parts in it. I had fun doing Jury Duty. And sometimes while I was doing Jury Duty I got called to jury duty, and I was like, "I can't do jury duty, I'm already doing Jury Duty."
dOc: How close did the final product come to what you wanted to make?
Pauly: It's good, I'm pleased with it, I'm very proud of myself. I hope it gets out there, I hope it takes off and becomes a cult classic in the DVD world.
dOc: Once you made the movie, you took it to a lot of festivals. How did you get your deal with Fox?
Pauly: Honestly, I sent my assistant to the video store and I told her to write down names of distribution companies and I called them myself. It was always straight to DVD, but I did open in some theaters myself. It plays really well in front of an audience.
dOc: How involved were you in the DVD part of it?
Pauly: I was in total control. I love DVDs, I don't really go to movies anymore. I love watching DVDs. Don't you love it better than going to movies?
dOc: Yeah, I'm not a big fan of cell phones ringing. And I like to go pee whenever I want.
Pauly: Exactly. And plus you're in bed, you're chilling, everyone's got their home theaters now.
dOc: You seem more than willing to quote from your movies when fans ask. Does that bother you?
Pauly: Never bite the hand that feeds you. It's not that big of a deal for me to do it. If it makes them happy if I say [something in Pauly speak], good for them. My dog makes me do it all the time.
dOc: What do you think the best approach is for getting more attention for your career, actually killing yourself, faking your death, or making a movie about faking your death?
Pauly: Uh, actually killing myself. But then again, I wouldn't be able to work. So probably making the movie.
dOc: Hopefully that was the right option.
Pauly: Yeah, I hope. We'll see.