Ahead of the anniversary screening of River's Edge at a MGM HD Special Event at Sundance London, we caught up with star Crispin Glover to discuss the teen classic, his filmmaking career, Dennis Hopper and Back to the Future.
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Why do you think River's Edge is still relevant?
Crispin Glover: River's Edge is a well structured, well cast well shot, well scored, well edited and well directed film.
You were still a young actor when you made it - are there things you've learned since which would've made you approach the role differently?
Crispin Glover: No. I am glad with the way that I played the role. I like this film a lot and I would not change the performance. That being said of course I think about things in different ways at all times so every second that work comes in to being has a slightly different perspective. On the page in the original screenplay it seemed apparent that [my character] Layne's primary motivation was to save his friend from the police. In that sense on the page Layne has a strict moral sense that his friend should be stood up for. Actually the element that probably makes the character feel more unusual than what I am describing was an intention switch I made on the character. The intention switch I made was that what Layne actually wanted was the attention saving his friend would cause himself. That intention switch is probably what comes off as selfish and perhaps feels as 'removed from reality'. Like I say the character of Layne is not removed from reality, but has a motivation that may seem out of place in the circumstance. I would argue however that people in real life act out of strange motivations without the diagnosis of psychosis.
Was Layne the character you most wanted play when you first read the screenplay?
Crispin Glover: When I heard what it was about a high school student who killed his girlfriend my inclination was to want to play that killer character Samson. I read the screenplay focusing on that character, but somehow it was not something I was that interested in. The filmmakers had wanted me to look at Layne and my girlfriend at the time was an actress and she read the screenplay and said it was a really good role. So I read the screenplay with that character in mind and realised there was a certain sound of the dialogue that I was familiar with and had grown up hearing and knowing and that if Layne's dialogue was spoken in the particular dialect it would have a good humour and dynamic for the character specifically and the film generally.
Was there any sense on-set for River's Edge that you were making a piece that would stand the test of time?
Crispin Glover: It seemed like it was a good screenplay and that Tim Hunter had cast the film well and Fred Elms had shot Eraserhead, which I had had watched a lot when I was 16.