5 Cool Moments From The It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. Q&A w/Crispin Hellion Glover
We were able to catch Crispin Hellion Glover, who many know as George McFly in Back to the Future, for both nights while he was in town with his Big Slide Show tour, showing his films What Is It? and It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. The show includes a dramatic reading from Glover’s avant-garde books, a screening of the film, a lengthy Q&A session, and a meet and greet. During the Q&A (which lasted over an hour), the affably odd Glover verbosely responded to audience questions in a loosely focused manner, tossing out an abundance of information with an anti-corporation twist while somewhat addressing the proposed questions. The evening-long event can only truly be experienced via Glover’s touring show, but in case you’ve missed it, we’ve plucked the best bits to share with you for your reading pleasure.
NOTE: No recording devices of any kind were permitted during the evening’s performance. The information listed below is a summary of Glover’s responses accompanied by loose quotations and notes, which were made during the hour-long session.
Steven C. Stewart’s screenplay influenced Glover’s whole trilogy.
Glover initially read Steven C. Stewart’s screenplay in 1986, ten years before he began filming What Is It?. “I knew as soon as I read the screenplay, I would have to be the person to fund it in order to get it made.” Glover cited the marriage proposal scene, which he considered to be the emotional fulcrum of the story, as the moment that he knew he had to do the film.
After having written What Is It? and It Is Mine, what is to be the third installment of the trilogy, Glover recognized that there were certain things that he’d written into each screenplay that were influenced by knowing Steve and reading his script. “I recognized that there was a thematic through-line, even though it wasn’t intended that way.” This realization lead him to cast Stewart in What Is It? and incorporate It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. as its sequel.
Even though It Is Fine! was completed after What Is It?, Glover plays it on the first night of every stop of the tour to tip his hat to Steve’s influence.
Glover took the role in Charlie’s Angels to help get the film financed.
In 1999, after the filming of What Is It? concluded, Steve’s condition began to worsen. “It became apparent that if we didn’t shoot something with Steve soon, we might not get to shoot anything at all,” Glover said. “And it was right around that time that the first Charlie’s Angels film was coming to me.”
Glover, who claimed he was stricter in the 80s and 90s about the kinds of roles he chose, said that he didn’t really care for either the character or the screenplay. He said he prepared to pass on the offer, but went in to meet with the studio anyway because they really wanted to hear his thoughts. “They asked me what I thought, and I told them that the character — whether I played it or not — should be a silent fighting antagonistic character.” The film’s director, McG, who Glover referred to as “very enthusiastic,” jumped up and exclaimed that was exactly what they’d do.
After being shown video of the Yuen family, who did all the fight choreography, Glover recognized that he could do some interesting work and he could fund the production for Steve’s film. He would have to earn more money for the post-production costs.
The sets were destroyed the day after shooting ended.
Glover indicated that he enjoyed shooting on sets and working on sound stages, and he discussed working with David Brothers, who created the magnificent sets seen in the film. He even mentioned that a majority of the Charlie’s Angels money went into paying for the sets, which David constructed while Crispin went off for a month to work on another production.
Even though they may appear inexpensive, sets are not cheap, and Glover planned on recycling the It Is Fine! sets for other projects; however, life intervened.
“We shot in a warehouse that David had rented, and he lost the lease. Immediately, the day after we finished shooting, all the sets had to be destroyed…”
Glover owns a studio property in the Czech Republic.
After the sets created for It Is Fine! were destroyed, Glover knew that he needed a permanent location that he owned to build and store the sets created for his films. “I ended up buying a piece of property in Czech Republic, an old chateau built in the 1600s with nearby stables that can have sets built in them.”
Glover, who also likes to shoot in film stock, started a non-profit (along with a few Czech gentlemen) that purchased a film laboratory from Prague, which also resides on the property, which Glover explained would be able to do full 35mm production all the way through a print.
Glover still hasn’t broken even on his filmmaking endeavors.
Out of fear of piracy and internet sharing, Glover has never released What Is It? or It Is Fine! in any format that is easily available to the public. To protect his interests, Glover only screens the film via 35mm print on tour in select independent theaters.
“On the internet, people get angry when someone stands up for their copyright. It’s almost like people feel they have the right to whatever you’ve spent years of your time and money on, as though it’s theirs to digitally share.” Glover also indicated that he doesn’t want his films shared out of context due to its sensitive material and that keeping the films as a print better protects his investment, as it’s more legally prosecutable.
“Releasing them would be a way to lose a lot of money and time quickly, and to not be able to recoup ever. That’s why I’ve never released them digitally,” Glover explained. “It’s the only way I’m able to recoup.”
The financial aspect plays a big part. In fact, technically, Glover hasn’t recouped on the films yet. By touring the film around, Glover is able to slowly build revenue, and based off his math, it would take him 24 years of touring before he finally breaks even, with 2019 marking his 14th year.
Glover feels that if the films were released through a distribution company that he wouldn’t see any form of return, and he prefers taking them on tour so that the films are shown in the way he intended. However, there may be a caveat to that.
“At some point, if I’m no longer able to tour with the films, then perhaps it would make sense to put them out at that point — or when the trilogy is all done. Who knows what will happen in the future.”
That’s all we got! Did you you learn anything cool? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!