John Waters on Multiple Maniacs, Transgender Bathroom Laws, and the Potential End of His Film Career

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 12:25PM

Yesterday, the Gawker office was graced with the presence of legendary director John Waters, who’s promoting the rerelease of his 1970 movie Multiple Maniacs. The delirious movie, which features Divine being raped by a giant lobster as its centerpiece, has been restored by the Criterion Collection and is being distributed by the illustrious Janus Films. Thus, the king of bad taste meets the epitome of cinematic refinement. Waters told me the seemingly unholy union made sense.

Rich Juzwiak · 06/05/14 11:58AM

After trying for years to get his children's movie Fruitcake off the ground, John Waters says, "Maybe I've made my last movie. That's okay." He refuses to use Kickstarter because, "I'm not public begging." This seems wise.

Documentary I Am Divine Is Just That

Rich Juzwiak · 04/09/14 02:20PM

I can't think of a better way to recommend Jeffrey Schwarz's 2013 documentary I Am Divine, out on DVD this week, than by sharing the clip above. It draws a picture of what it was like for Harris Glenn Milstead, who'd go on to become the John Waters muse and drag icon known as Divine, to be gay in the '60s. It's affectionate, it's snappily paced, it's brimming with Baltimore-bred weirdos (including Diana Evans, whom Divine dated for about six years starting in high school, and seems like the least weird out of all the talking heads). All it's missing is commentary from Divine himself, which is something the movie has no shortage of, given the big archive of press appearances Divine left behind when he died in 1988.

Will John Waters and 'Hairspray 2' Break Musicals' Sequel Curse?

STV · 07/24/08 04:00PM

In the tradition of classic musical sequels like Goodbye, Dolly and Seven Divorces for Seven Brothers, the creative team behind Hairspray is set to return for a follow-up slated for 2010. New Line has reportedly brought aboard John Waters — whose original 1988 hit was adapted to a Broadway tuner that grossed $200 million when re-adapted for the screen last year — to scribble a new treatment "[picking] up the Baltimore saga of the Turnblad family after the resolution of the first film, which was set in 1962." Director-choreographer Adam Shankman and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are slated to return. The original cast is a question mark, however, as Nikki Blonsky, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer and a frocked, fat-suited John Travolta (among others) didn't have sequel options. But while hardly incidental, such details seem secondary to a far more important question: When has a film musical's sequel ever been a hit?Shankman alludes to as much in an interview today with Variety, citing only the success of High School Musical as a musical franchise that worked. Of course it's a nonsensical analogy; despite the films' common Zac Efron denominator, tweens aren't going to break the sound barrier racing off to Hairspray 2. Pfeiffer has history here, too, as the female lead in another sequel that famously fizzled, Grease 2. Moreover, what would Hairspray 2 even be about? Velma Von Tussle's Aryan revenge? Tracy Turnblad goes off to Johns Hopkins, discovers acid and founds Beehives Against the Vietnam War? Or, better yet, drops out of school and stars in early John Waters films? No, really. We're asking. The possibilities are endless, yet we know there's only one right idea — and with history as our guide, it might be to skip the idea altogether.

Choire · 07/27/07 02:02PM

FSG just bought a memoir—actually, a "self-portrait"!—by John Waters. That is great, we cannot wait to read it. The purchasing editor was Jonathan Galassi. The selling agent was Bill Clegg from William Morris Agency. You know what else is funny? A while back, we floated this crazy rumor that Clegg and Galassi had become lovers, after Clegg returned from falling off the face of the earth, and after Jonathan had, we presume, done something with his wife! After we ran that item, we had a couple reactions. One: an email saying we were "ruining people's lives"! Aren't we. And then we ran into a literary pal, who told us that, uh, that was no rumor, it was totally true. And that we should have seen the FSG offices after that item went up, you could have heard a pin drop. Mmm, awkward office moments! But what do we know? At the very least, their business relationship is working out nicely. [PW]

Waters' 'Hairspray' Premiere Outfit Far More Terrifying Than Anything Seen At Privilege Last Night

mark · 07/11/07 05:34PM

And with nothing more complicated than a casual choice of wardrobe, John Waters produced a level of outrageousness at his premiere party for Hairspray that Captivity couldn't generate with a club jam-packed with half-naked SuicideGirls being tortured by guys in butcher smocks. To be fair, Waters did ask John Travolta to strip down to his underwear and submit to a public paddling by Mink Stole, but realized such a stunt might seem a little desperate even before a surprisingly game, yet distressingly sweat-slicked, Travolta was able to completely wriggle out of his shirt.

The National Magazine Awards

Doree · 05/02/07 11:41AM

Doree and Nikola put on their fancy clothes last evening for the National Magazine Awards, where editors and publishers swill champagne and pat each other on the back for several hours.

The Wooster Group Benefit: Art By Terrorists

Josh · 05/01/07 02:50PM

The Wooster Group has always been described as avant garde. This means that either the theatrical garde hasn't changed in 30 years, or the Wooster Group has. Last night at The Box for their annual benefit, Michael Stipe sat on a low sofa and watched Moby, a smaller, uglier him, massacre the 12-bar blues. Mikhail Baryshnikov turned out even cooler in person than we thought, and, as always, John Waters provided some of the only words of wisdom: "Avant garde is a dirty dirty word. I'd never call anything I liked avant garde." Nikola Tamindzic (his own gallery is here) and our own Joshua David Stein got all avant on the rest of them.

Gossip roundup

Gawker · 03/24/03 11:38AM

· A few celebrities walked out when the band played "God Bless America" at Miramax's Oscar pre-party. [Page Six]
· Page Six on being disinvited to the Oscar parties: "It started to dawn on us reporters that we were like U.N. weapons inspectors. We knew the celebs were out there, but they were being moved around, out of sight." [Page Six]
· Salma Hayek on eating: "Listen, don't think I don't eat. I always eat. If I'm happy, I eat; unhappy, I eat. If I'm nervous, I eat. Not nervous, I eat. I eat alot." [Cindy Adams]
· Director John Waters thinks President Bush needs new writers: "I mean 'shock and awe?'...It sounds like one of my movies.'" [NY Daily News]
· Tom Wolfe's next novel "about college life" will be published next year. Tina Brown had her booker call around town, looking for "hot war photographers" for her talk show after the war in Iraq began. [The Word]

Who would you curse?

Gawker · 03/11/03 08:57AM

Director John Waters when asked whom he'd hex (Michael Jackson-style): "I'd never give my enemies the satisfaction of acknowledging them in print. But I'll tell you a hex that works: When the person you loathe leaves the room, lick their chair. Something awful will happen." Thanks, John. Now if you'll excuse me, Britney Spears just left the room, and I have to go pull the splinters out of my tongue.
Curses! [NY Mag]