Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

P.J. Castellaneta Says, "Relax. . . It's Just Sex"

By Indiewire | Indiewire March 8, 1999 at 2:00AM

P.J. Castellaneta Says, "Relax. . . It's Just Sex"
0

P.J. Castellaneta Says, "Relax. . . It's Just Sex"

By Aaron Krach




With the release of his second feature, "Relax. . . It's Just Sex,"
writer/director P.J. Castellaneta is a long way from his first film,
"Together Alone," which was shot in black and white during evenings and
weekends in his own apartment. While "Relax" is a romantic comedy,
"Together" was a tightly written, character drama about two lives
crossing in Los Angeles. "Relax" extends Castellaneta's focus on
20-something, Los Angelenos, but broadens the spectrum to include a
divorcing lesbian couple, an unhappy heterosexual pair and several
single gay men. And while he prefers to use unknown actors, the film is
a relatively star-studded affair with Jennifer Tilly, Mitchell Anderson
and Lori Petty. During 1998, "Relax" played at numerous festivals,
including Sundance, Berlin and L.A.'s Outfest. While Castellaneta may
now call Los Angeles home, indieWIRE caught up with the director while
he was visiting family in New York. "Relax. . . It's Just Sex" is being
released by Jour De Fete Films on March 5, in New York, Los Angeles and
San Francisco.


indieWIRE: You spent several years working on "Together Alone," while
holding down another job. When did you start working on "Relax"?


P.J. Castellaneta: I was working as a librarian at Warner Brothers, in
the script department. I started in 1992, when I was on my way home from
the Turin Gay and Lesbian fest where "Together Alone" was playing. I
finished the first draft in '94. We shot in August, '97.


iW: In addition to a larger cast, "Relax" is a relatively bigger budget
than your first film.


Castellaneta: It's is a no-budget movie. I was holding the boom!


iW: But you had some pretty big stars like Jennifer Tilly and Mitchell Anderson?


Castellaneta: I'm actually worried about having stars. I think that when
people see the subject matter with these people, they don't know what to
do with it in their brain. They'll think, 'What are they doing in this
film? There's butt-fucking.' It's so different from anything they've
seen them do.


iW: What tricks did you use to keep the budget so low?


Castellaneta: We shot in three weeks. I begged for four, but it was only
19 days. Those extra days would have been amazing, but we just didn't
have the money. For example the scene where Jennifer says, 'I'm fertile
now!' That's one take. But originally it was to be eight shots. That's a
case where I'm happy, but there are others where I could have used
another take. Basically, I had to know what I wanted.


iW: Viewers expecting a light, romantic, sex-comedy may be surprised by how integral HIV is to the story.


Castellaneta: I think AIDS is a huge subtext. AIDS is a big wall that
went up between people. It's totally shaped who we are. I had some
pre-AIDS experiences and it was just different, because we are not talking
about it. I think any problem that is so overwhelming, like nuclear war,
you don't know how to talk about it, because you're so powerless.


iW: The character Buzz, (an African-American, gay man who believes that AIDS is a conspiracy) is a truly unique character to see on screen.


Castellaneta: I think we need more discussion, not less. If the ideas
are so ridiculous bring it to the light and it will die in the light.
The medical community was definitely wrong with AZT. They freely admit
that now. But what about the thousands of people who died? It's sort of
like Vietnam. We say, 'Oops.'


iW: Did the subject matter hinder you during development or casting?


Castellaneta: Yes. Everyone was 'love it, love it, love it... but.'
Everybody loved the script, but the homosexuals aren't clowns or
stalkers. The one person who does something bad, doesn't really pay for
it in any sort of justice way. No one is a drug addict. There is no
heterosexual plot to attach to. And yes, the sex is very graphic.


Even Jennifer Tilly got a little nervous. I convinced her by sending her
this fax saying everybody says they love the movie, but were afraid. And
if you do it, it would be like the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy throws the
water on the bad witch and she thinks it's a bad thing. Then one guard
says, 'Hail Dorothy,' and so everybody starts saying, 'Hail Dorothy,'
cause they are really happy. I told her she could be like that guard who
says 'Hail Dorothy' first.


iW: What's next for you?


Castellaneta: This past year I've been rewriting something for Warner
Brothers, to direct. It's something of theirs and I opened my big fat
mouth saying, 'Oh, I'll do the rewrite.' But I don't think it's going to
get made, so I've continued on something of my own. And again, I've been
working on it for years.


I'm also writing a musical with a friend of mine. I have a very funny
friend, and another friend who can write music. We'll probably put it on
in L.A. All we have to do is get a theater, so it's more do-able. It's
a feeling of power, cause it's something we can do, because it's
possible.

This article is related to: Interviews






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More