By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 26, 2013 at 11:10AM
Maybe it's our fault for watching too many late-night talk shows in the late 1990s (to be fair this writer was in his pre-teens, and also on the wrong continent) but we'd never in a million years have thought that Harmony Korine, the one-time enfant terrible of the independent world as the writer of "Kids" and director of "Gummo" and "Julien Donkey-Boy," would be a popular figure on the late-night circuit.
But as his latest film, "Spring Breakers," becomes a surprise hit (it's already comprehensively outgrossed everything Korine's ever made up to this point), it turns out that Korine actually did frequent that circuit, appearing on David Letterman's "Late Show" three times between 1995 and 1998 as a sort of boho freakshow act, but has seemingly been the subject of an infamous ban for unknown reasons since then. But Letterman had "Spring Breakers" star James Franco on his show last night, and the cause for the ban has been unveiled. It's both surprising and exactly what you'd expect late-'90s Harmony Korine to have done to get barred from network talk shows.
Franco brought up the band, and defended the filmmaker, saying "he said he was a little out of it... I think he had a period where he was going a little off the rails, so maybe he was on something that night." And Letterman gave it away: he'd caught Korine trying to steal from Meryl Streep's purse. "I went upstairs to greet Meryl Streep," the host told Franco, "and welcome her to the show, and I knock on the door...and she was not in there. And I looked around, and she was not in there, and I found Harmony going through her purse. True story. And so I said, 'That's it, put her things back in her bag and then get out.'"
So there we have it. The mystery that we didn't know was a mystery has now been solved. And Franco may have helped repair some bridges, with Letterman saying that he'd be "more than happy" to invite Korine back at some point, though we can't help but feel that, if ever there was a time that Letterman invited indie filmmakers onto his show, that time has long since past. But if we see Korine on the show alongside Lodge Kerrigan and Charles Burnett, we'll happily eat our words. You can watch the video for yourself below, along with Korine's original appearances. [THR]