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John Waters Says Young Filmmakers Aren’t ‘Interested in Art Movies’: ‘They Want to Go to a Mall’

Waters also weighed in on the cancel culture surrounding J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp.

John Waters attends the red carpet of the movie "Soul" during the 15th Rome Film Festival on October 15, 2020 in Rome, Italy (Photo by Luca Carlino/NurPhoto via AP)

John Waters

Associated Press

It’s a “Dirty Shame” that the film industry is abandoning “art movies,” according to John Waters.

The “Hairspray” writer/director joked to The New York Times that the next generation of filmmakers is content with larger-scale productions without the same texture as Waters’ DIY films. “They want to go to a mall. They want to sit in stadium seating. They want special effects,” Waters said. “To me, cheesy special effects are much more fun than these new ones.”

For “Pink Flamingos” auteur Waters, cancel culture is part of the censorship that even his own films were subject to. “The few times I’ve ever said anything negative it was about something that everyone else loved. Here’s what I hate: a movie where the audience goes ‘awww.’ If anybody goes ‘awww,’ I run,” Waters said of pushing the envelope onscreen. “I want to be disturbed. I want to be shaken. I don’t want to be patted on the back.”

Waters continued, “I want movies to disturb me. But that’s mainstream taste basically: People don’t want to be disturbed. I don’t think that’s anything new…’Pink Flamingos’ probably violates more values now than it did then.”

“The right used to be my censors. They aren’t anymore,” Waters added. “I don’t have any. If I did, it would be young woke liberals. But I always try to use humor to put everything in perspective because I question my own values. Why is this OK and that isn’t? The only way you can do that is with humor.”

As for actual cancel culture when it comes to Hollywod stars, Waters dished that “practically every artist would be canceled” retroactively — with one exception.

“I have a thing about who I would cancel: J.K. Rowling,” Waters said. “Give her some Preparation H for that transphobia. What’s the matter with her?”

Rowling most recently tweeted a series of statements railing against trans rights in Scotland on International Women’s Day. Rowling dissed the holiday, writing, “Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.”

Waters continued, “There are people I would like to cancel, but at the same time I’m saying it humorously. I’m not going to go through each person who’s been canceled and say what I think, but I never saw Johnny Depp act negatively to a woman in my entire life — and I did drugs and got drunk with him.”

“Cry-Baby” star Depp — who appeared in the adaptation of Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” film adaptations before exiting the franchise — has alleged Hollywood was “boycotting” him after ex-wife Amber Heard alleged domestic abuse.

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