Roger Corman definitely proves true the old phrase, "Don’t judge a book by its cover." When I first met Roger, I was expecting to meet a cigar-smoking, gold medallion-wearing, very hairy, overweight loudmouth producer. You know, the cliche of what a master of low-budget, genre pics would be like. What I got was the complete opposite. He was refined, well-mannered and stately in his appearance and his speech.
I met Roger for the first time in 2006 while interviewing him for a pop culture/arts magazine called Tokion. I had this plan that immediately after our interview I would pitch him my idea to make a documentary about his life and career. Before I met Roger, I envisioned him to be a larger- than-life character, so over the top and obnoxious that a doc on him would be riveting. But now I was face to face with him and I just kept seeing Fred Rogers from the children’s show "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood."
I kept thinking to myself that this would never be a good documentary because Roger was just too… well… normal. He was so kind and talked about his movies in such a matter-of-fact way that you almost felt guilty for associating him with anything having to do with exploitation.
Toward the end of the interview, I brought up his conservative appearance. I told him that I had to admit he was not at all what I expected. He laughed and said, "Well, wait a minute, you never know what’s going on inside someone’s head. My mind is like a boiling inferno!"
Then it hit me. This man is incredible! It was like okay, NOW I believe you are The Roger Corman!
So this scene is a personal favorite because after interviewing dozens of other people who had worked for Roger, I realized they too had the same feeling after their first encounter with Roger. It was validating to hear Scorsese say that he was just as perplexed by Roger’s image as I was. And it’s great that you see Roger in his pastel-colored living room wearing his oxford button-down shirt telling you what he told me a few years before when we first met.
We decided to put this scene in immediately after we spend time with Roger on the film set of a movie called "Dinoshark." He is observing the position of a girl who has just been devoured by the dinoshark and her guts and torso have been washed up on shore.
We thought maybe that would serve as a glimpse into Roger’s boiling inferno.