Joe Bob Briggs
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Joe Bob Briggs: I’m the world’s greatest drive-in movie critic. That’s because I’m the world’s ONLY drive-in movie critic. I’ve been reviewing movies at drive-ins for more than 20 years, and I’ve also hosted late night movie shows on two American networks–The Movie Channel and TNT. I’ve written several books about film. The latest two are “Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History” and “Profoundly Erotic: Sexy Movies That Changed History.” I’ve done quite a bit of acting as well, in both big-budget and micro-budget projects.
SKSM: How did you become involved in All That You Love Will Be Carried Away?
Joe Bob Briggs: I got a request from James Renner to do it. He had been talking to the director Mick Garris about his project, and Mick recommended me. Mick has done several Stephen King movies and I had worked for him on “The Stand.” I played a Texas highway patrolman in that Stephen King mini-series. Mick has been a friend for years and he told James that he could probably afford me!
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Joe Bob Briggs: No, there was no audition. James just said he could easily visualize me in the part and he wanted me to do it. It was not really written for me. James had read the short story when it originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine, and he thought “I was born to direct this story.” He just loved the story, and he had worked out a script based on it.
SKSM: You worked with James Renner on this film, how was that?
Joe Bob Briggs: James was great to work with. I thought the film relied too heavily on the voiceover narration, so I suggested some dialogue scenes, and we incorporated most of them into the film. He ran a smooth and efficient set.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Joe Bob Briggs: I was terrified of Harvey Pekar. He made me nervous. (He played the motel clerk.) The very first time we did the scene, he was perfect, he was himself, he was very natural. When we finished the rehearsal, he was already bored with it, though, and kept wondering why we had to do it more than once. The reason we had to do it more than once is that we were rehearsing. This was explained. Of course there was more than one camera angle and a travelling shot, and so we had to do it several more times, and each time he became more resentful and bored. I don’t know which take was used, but I would assume a very very early one. By the end he seemed to be in full revolt against the process.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Joe Bob Briggs: Well, James Renner lets me know whenever the film is shown at a festival. And I’m in touch with Charles Moore, who was the assistant director and also played the character of the other travelling salesman.
SKSM: What did you do after All That You Love Will Be Carried Away?
Joe Bob Briggs: I’ve acted in three horror films as well as done a lot of magazine writing.
SKSM: There are four different adaptations of this story. What do you think it is in the story that attracts people so much?
Joe Bob Briggs: Well, I think it’s very poignant, about the way people slowly drive themselves crazy, through social isolation and the pursuit of profit. It’s uncharacteristic for Stephen King. It’s a powerful commentary on the modern world.
SKSM: Are you (or were you) a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Joe Bob Briggs: Yes, I’ve been a fan for years. He was the guest of honor at a film festival I sponsored in Dallas in the early eighties. The World Drive-In Movie Festival and Custom Car Rally–Big Steve stood up on top of the concession stand and accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Joe Bob Briggs: The drive-in will never die! (www.joebobbriggs.com)