After upwards of thirty years in film and television, Crispin Hellion Glover remains one of Hollywood’s most enduringly eccentric characters. The erstwhile star of “Back to the Future” has since carved out an admirable and unique niche for himself as the director of boundary-pushing arthouse flicks like “What is it?” where many of the actors were non-professionals afflicted with Down’s Syndrome.
What many may not know is that Glover grew up in the heart of Los Angeles, the son of actor Bruce Glover, and that he at one point harbored the same big-screen dreams as so many other Hollywood hopefuls before and after him. Granted, you wouldn’t necessarily get that impression from the bold and provocative public persona Glover has cultivated over the years, but that’s just one of the man’s many fascinating contradictions.
Before getting into his talk with Glover, “WTF” host Marc Maron takes time out of his pre-interview segment to warn listeners about Glover’s perceived intensity. And Glover is certainly intense over the course of this 97-minute talk, but also candid, self-deprecating, and enormously entertaining. He talks about the lawsuit that resulted from “Back to the Future,” as well as working with onetime Marty McFly Eric Stoltz (who was fired by director Robert Zemeckis after just a few weeks of shooting), and then goes on to throw a ton of shade at the corporate film media who he believes nullify the work of real artists: “If corporate interests were not having influence on the content… it makes it so that if you’re questioning that, then that’s a problem. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Glover’s anti-authoritarian stance will come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed his career for the last ten to twenty years. What’s a bit surprising about his talk with Maron is how charmingly self-aware he appears to be. He’s well aware that many folks consider him a strange fellow, and he still nobly believes in the notion of socially conscious art having its place in among an increasingly homogenous and watered-down mainstream movie climate (although he does reserve some unusually kind words for McG, who directed him in “Charlie’s Angels”). Glover also professes love for a number of cinematic influences both classic and modern, including his admiration of early Stanley Kubrick player Timothy Carey (“The Killing,” “Paths of Glory”) and, somewhat surprisingly, Louis C.K. Granted, Glover’s cultural output bears the same kind of bugged-out avant garde weirdness that has no doubt informed C.K.’s own show on FX, but his admiration for the comic/auteur is nonetheless genuine: “I admire what he’s doing with his show… I can tell that he’s a genuine cinephile and that he’s using comedy with the bittersweet quality,” he elaborates. “And the dark quality as well, which goes into real, true art.”
Even if you’re not necessarily hip to Crispin Glover, give this one a listen — he’s a compelling (and yes, intense) speaker with many a memorable story to tell. Listen to Maron’s entire “WTF” talk with him below.