Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Behind The Scenes: So 'Exit Through The Gift Shop' Started Out As A Lawsuit Against Mr. Brainwash?

The Playlist By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist September 8, 2011 at 6:31AM

So, the accepted wisdom is that street artist Banksy delivered a fantastic documentary last year entitled "Exit Through the Gift Shop," that had everybody talking about it as soon as it first debuted at Sundance. But the story didn't end there: even after garnering an Academy Award nomination and heaps of critical praise, a debate raged on for months as to whether the film was "real" or a hoax, partly because the story was too good to be true and partly because many assume anything that the prankster-ish Bansky does is disingenuous.
0


So, the accepted wisdom is that street artist Banksy delivered a fantastic documentary last year entitled "Exit Through the Gift Shop," that had everybody talking about it as soon as it first debuted at Sundance. But the story didn't end there: even after garnering an Academy Award nomination and heaps of critical praise, a debate raged on for months as to whether the film was "real" or a hoax, partly because the story was too good to be true and partly because many assume anything that the prankster-ish Bansky does is disingenuous.

However, according to an recent interview with fellow street artist Ron English, who's perhaps best known for his portrait of a rotund Ronald McDonald, the film was entirely real. In an interview for his hometown rag The Herald Review (via /Film) detailing a mural he put up in the town of Decatur, Illinois, English claims the film started out as a lawsuit against Thierry Guetta, the enthusiastic street artist wannabe who follows the renowned Shepard Fairey and Bansky through the first half of the film, before the doc turns the cameras on Guetta's longing to be a vapid, mass-produced, faux street artist named Mr. Brainwash.

Here's what English has to say:

"Here’s what actually happened: when we first met Thierry, he was supposed to be making a movie about Shepard. He was filming Shepard all the time, wherever he went. They made a deal, 50/50, we’ll make a movie. They shot for five years doing this, Shepard in his Spiderman prime, leaping off buildings and stuff. At the end of five years, Shepard says 'Alright, let’s put the movie together,' and Thierry said 'I’m not giving you the footage.' He’s actually quite smart and can be a little devious -- he figured 'I just took away five years of your fame,' because in his heart, Thierry always wanted to be the artist. He figured he was messing up his competition, in a way, and holding onto valuable footage. Shepard didn’t quite know what to do and filed a lawsuit against Thierry.

Then Banksy figured 'I’m in the same situation, he has tons of footage for me.' He had some of the only footage of Banksy where you could actually see who he was. So he calls up Thierry and said 'I’m sending you a first-class ticket to London, get on the plane, I have to talk to you.' That’s when he told Thierry that he would make a movie about him instead, in exchange for the footage, which Thierry turned over to Banksy. That’s when they realized that the footage wasn’t nearly what they thought it might be, but it turns out they did get a different sort of treasure trove, because you’ve got a portrait of this weird guy, Thierry."

So Banksy and Fairey thought Guetta was going to ruin them on film, but then Banksy turned the cameras on Guetta to create a rousing critique of modern art? Sounds like a fair trade, and another intriguing twist in this already engaging story. It's as if Banksy has purposely created the career of Mr. Brainwash to be a walking, talking work of art.

As Badass Digest notes in the original posting of this news, it's just great that people are talking about this almost two years after the doc's debut, and the fact that the film lends itself to all sorts of interpretations and theories also points to its quality. English's interpretation seems a sound and reasonable explanation of the events that take place in the film, but we don't have any idea what Banksy thinks of it, and lacking that, we lack a definitive final word on the subject.

This article is related to: Documentarian, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Banksy


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates