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ANOTHER WAY TO DEAL WITH SADNESS IS TO TURN IT INTO ART. Yeah. Even in writing the script it took on its own life. By the time you distill something down to a scene and make it work in a script, it's a fiction. It's not a documentary. It's got documentary objects in it, but it's a collage, it's my version. First thing I said to the actors, "This is yours now. Do not feel precious or bound to any concept of me or my dad. The worst thing this could be is narcissistic, navel-gazing, self-pitying memoir. The more you can invest in it, the more you can internalize it the better." When Christopher [Plummer] said I should do this, I would do this. I'm like, "Great, that's not what my dad would do, but all the better — this is a story now."

I READ THAT THIS ALL STARTED WITH SKATEBOARDING? Yes. When I was 13, I started competing in skateboard contests, so that took me out of Santa Barbara and into LA, and LA was much more intense with diverse kinds of people. And punk was happening; this was like '79. That is really where my creative life began and the sort of freedom and the breaking out of conformity; and all those kids were just so much more stylish and interesting and charismatic — the LA punk kids that I met.

In an interview I described Christopher as a punk. It sounded like an insult. But what that means to me is someone who's trying to break out of the rut, trying to get free. Thoreau's a punk, Emerson's a punk. And Jesus is a big punk. I'm still chasing the carrot that the punk scene gave me.

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