The bee came later I wrote the script initially thinking that I would use a voice over, but rejected that not long after when I realised that it was superfluous. Casting didn't take long - I'd wanted to work with Alex for a while, and being the shameless hussy that he is, he was all too willing to take his clothes off.
Naked Lunch (1991) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD]
I'd met Alexia when she was doing an acting for the screen course that I was filming, and when I asked her if she minded being naked, she said no. I put an open call out on Shooting People asking for actors who didn't mind being naked, and Amanda and Gil were both a real find, and a joy to work with. This being a Straight 8 film it was important to find actors who could nail it in one take, as there would be no opportunity for re-shoots.
Everyone nailed it on the day. We went up to shoot at my parent's house in Aylesbury thankfully they went away for the weeken and spent the entire Saturday shooting the film in sequence. Trying to get the sound to sync to the action is always a challenge with Straight 8 films, and we tried to match it by filming on mini DV besides the super 8 camera, so the DV would pick up the sound of the shutter, and we'd be able to work out timings later.
It kind of worked. I'd prepared the shoot by storyboarding all the shots, and then cutting them together in Final Cut Pro to give us a guide for the timings, although we squeezed in the extended ending on the day. I was gutted that we ran out of film just before we got a shot of Alex driving away revealing a numberplate with 'THE END' written on it.
God knows what the postman must have thought, who arrived just as we were shooting the scene where Amanda opens the door to Alex and Alexia. He didn't say anything - just handed over the letters in a fairly stunned silence, and went on his way. We'd kept the bee in the fridge until it was ready for it's close up, although I still think I may have shot him a little early.
He still looks pretty lethargic. My long term collaborator Sid Merrett put together the excellent soundtrack to the film. It premiered at the Rushes Film Festival in Why Vimeo? By this point, Bill is fully embroiled in the conspiracy and has backslid into addiction.
In so doing, it captures the way that drug addiction and writing were intimately joined in Burroughs life. This method also allows Naked Lunch to externalize and create conflict out of one of the most uncinematic subjects: the writing process. The act of writing is not very interesting cinematically.
But basically he sits and types. You have to turn it inside out and make it physical and exterior. This is even further reinforced by the nature of the bug-typewriter, which talks out of its anus-like hole on the back, projecting an image of homosexual sensuality.
As Bill and Joan ravish each, the Mujahideen climbs on top of them and writhes in violent ecstasy. This preoccupation plays into the ultimate focus of Naked Lunchwhich is the life and psychology of Burroughs himself. But Cronenberg is not restricted by subjectivity the way Burroughs is.
Cronenberg inserts cts of Burroughs own life into the film to help reveal the truth of his character. For example, not only did Burroughs briefly work as an exterminator in New York City, but he did also kill his wife during a William Tell Routine, presumably by accident.
By dispatching Joan, he makes room for himself to pursue other men. However, in Naked LunchBill is not overzealously homosexual.
Perhaps internalizing the homophobia of the culture around him, Bill displays self-hating tendencies and has to create the fantasy of the conspiracy in order to justify his own homosexual actions. During his early writing career, Burroughs was sickened by his own sexuality, blaming his addictions and neuroses for his homosexual impulses.
It was only later in life that he embraced his homosexuality.
Naked Lunch is a fascinating novel, but not one I'm at all eager to revisit. Furthermore, I find the film of Naked Lunch to be the sort of dispassionate, alienating narrative that many others accuse all Cronenberg's films of being; it's one of the few films where I feel his detractors are onto something David Cronenberg, Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian HolmAuthor: videobiker The Naked Lunch. from Coolbox Films Plus. 10 years ago. The Naked Lunch was one of those ideas that just hit me, and I started laughing. I had the image of this guy confronted with unexpected nudity, and his girlfriend being a bit buckysboneyard.com: Coolbox Films
However, along with his openness about his gay identity came a lingering misogyny. Cronenberg explores this misogyny throughout the film. As the conspiracy progresses and Bill finds out more information about the Black Meat, he learns that a lesbian cabal is responsible for the production of the substance.
This allows him to blame women for his addiction, thus making femaleness and the actions of women the source of his own homosexuality and substance abuse. It was an accident. Perhaps most fascinatingly, Cronenberg explores the personal pain and cost that comes with the act of writing.
He does so by repeating the William Tell Routine with Joan Frost, killing her in the same way he did his wife.