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Harmony Korine Talks 'Spring Breakers', Narrative Freedom & Why The ATL Twins Make America Great

Photo of Erik McClanahan By Erik McClanahan | The Playlist March 20, 2013 at 2:05PM

After opening in New York and Los Angeles last Friday, this weekend, U.S. audiences will get to see the latest fucked-up cinematic opus from enfant terrible Harmony Korine. "Spring Breakers," featuring James Franco alongside an unlikely young cast including Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson, tells the story of four bored college coeds (the aforementioned three actresses plus Rachel Korine, the director's wife) who rob a restaurant to fund a booze-and-drug-fueled trip to Florida, only to fall in with Franco’s Alien, a rapper and gangster who loves spring break (calling it "the American dream") almost as much as he loves the four females leads, and their brazen acceptance of the criminal lifestyle.
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ATL Twins Selena Gomez
Can you talk about the influence from your father, Sol Korine, on your work? From what I understand he produced documentaries for PBS in the '70s and was interested in colorful, Southern characters, which seems like a very direct inspiration.
Yeah he’s great. He’s a filmmaker that made some really amazing documentaries in the '70s and early '80s with his partner Blaine Dunlap. They were always attracted to something with a distraction in it as well as the more marginalized characters, a lot of Southern eccentrics like moonshiners, carnies and fire breathers. I spent a year of my life living with a carnival, traveling through Florida as a kid. They were drawn to those types of characters so growing up around that stuff and watching them make films, you know, for much of my life, I got to see a lotta good shit. It definitely shaped my worldview.

Talk about working with the ATL Twins, who appear as James Franco's sort of henchmen, for this film.
I mean, the ATL Twins are what makes America great. They're just like the most perfect scumbags to ever exist. They're pure delinquents, almost like non-human. Their whole philosophy has been distilled in to this idea of the power of the double penetration, a double dick. That's basically how they've distilled all their beliefs, into that idea. They don't even drink water, they just live off of vicoden and Red Bull and menthol cigarettes and they just piss kidney stones all day. They're kind of like first class citizens. They're unbelievable. How could you not be drawn to that?

Spring Breakers
Any other up and coming freaks or outsiders we should be on the lookout for who you've discovered and are waiting to use in the future?
Ceddy Bu Da Rap Sumo

Will "Fight Harm" ever be released?
I don't know, I have to wait and see. It's one of those things I go back and forth on, whether it's more powerful as an idea or whether I should show knife fights. Only time will tell. It's difficult for me to make that decision to show it. It's just brutal. And it's also hilarious, but it's hard for me to go back and look at that. It was pretty intense. 

A few years ago you mentioned you were working on something involving a voodoo tap dancer, is that a reality, is it something we'll ever get to see?
You mean the video that's like an instructional voodoo dance video? Yeah, that's something that will probably come out. My only fear with that is I've shown it to a few people and it's fucked them up really badly, like they go in to almost a trance. It brings out some really weird shit in people. The hard part is trying to get them out of that experience and be able to dance in reverse.

Spring Breakers James Franco
You've directed James Franco in "Spring Breakers" and collaborated with him on some art projects as well, will you work with him more in the future?
Oh yeah for sure, I think this is just the beginning. He's one of America's great actors. We're friends, we always talked about working together. It was just a matter of finding a character. I feel like at heart, at his core, he's a great character actor and he'd never been given the chance to play someone like this, to explode onscreen...it's gonna be hard for him to top this shit. 

"Spring Breakers" is an incredibly subversive film, and a lot of that stems from lead actresses. Was that the idea from the beginning, to subvert expectations and even confuse the audience expecting something else from these actors?
Totally, I was really excited by the prospect of fans coming to see this film and having this type of experience outside the realm of stuff that most of them have seen. That was definitely a bonus.

"Spring Breakers" opens in wide release on March 22nd.

This article is related to: Harmony Korine, James Franco, ATL Twins, Spring Breakers, Interviews


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