Interview by Ryan Gee
Choreographing A Magnum Opus
Interview and photography by Ryan Gee
Bam Margera has been keeping himself super busy this past year with his passion for skating and directing films. Whether he’s flying to London for interviews, getting wrecked out in L.A. for the Jackass movie, or busy directing is own movie Haggard, Bam finally found the time to talk about his new movie and how he still fits skating into his busy schedule.-Gee
Okay, we’re on our way to shoot a photo for this little interview thing while riding in your ’99 Ferrari Medina. People are looking at us like we’re freaks. Anyway, what’s been going on with you for the last six months? The last six months, I’ve been filming the movie Haggard, but mostly stuff that has to do with postproduction-like aftereffects, color corrections, and sound. Also, little random bonus features, like the making of H.I.M. music videos and CKY music videos. I actually did, like, two CKY videos because I had like 50-grand I wanted to spend, and they ended up turning out so good that Island Records now wants us to make a music video for every song on the new CKY album. So I’m probably going to be spending a lot of time doing that. Joe Frantz is the director of photography, and I’m the director-slash-editor. Umm, yeah-next question.
Question number two: has all this time directing and editing pushed your skate time aside? It definitely pushed it aside from the end of August to the middle of November. I pretty much only skated six days out of those three months. And then as soon as I finished editing Haggard, I went out to shoot with you and pulled my hamstring, which is seriously the worst injury I’ve ever had. I was out for two months-I couldn’t even walk. My whole leg was completely black. Then I’d started walking on it and kind of forgot that it was hurt and fell down the f-king stairs and reinjured it. When do I ever fall down stairs? I’ve never done that before, but I have to do it when my hamstring is pulled-such bullshit.
I thought you tore your hamstring. I tore my hamstring, and I tore my groin muscle, too. I was in physical therapy every day for two months-that was like the lowest point of my life ever, so I had to just go out and buy a goddamn Ferrari to make me feel better.
What’s it like driving this damn Ferrari? Ahh, I’m seriously so used to it now, but when I didn’t have one, I’d just see it in the duPont Registry and be like, “Goddamn, if I had a car like that!” And now that I have it, it’s not even a big deal. It’s filthy, and I don’t even give a shit. The day I got it, I was all careful, but now when I parallel park, I’ll accidentally hit the car behind me and not even care.
When you get out of the car at the grocery store all raggedy, do people look at you like you’re just some crazy dude? Yeah, I kind of do it on purpose. I’ll make sure that I’m wearing a headband, cop shades, and some filthy blazer. You see these businessmen pull up in their five series BMW and get so mad! They totally think some rich kid’s dad bought them a goddamned Ferrari, but Phil (Bam’s dad) only makes twenty-grand a year from baking bread.
Do a lot of people think you just leased this car or financed it? In all the newspapers around here it says I just walked into the Ferrari joint and paid 180,000 dollars cash for it. How do they come up with that? I paid for the whole thing, but it was with a check. Who would go around with a suitcase full of cash? It’d take so long to count that. It’s just funny how people fabricate stories.
Okay, flipping it back now, how did this whole movie start? I remember around 2000 you kept talking about how you wanted to do this movie. Well, when we were doin’ the CKY videos, it was fun filming digital videos and jumping into shit. We’d be shooting sixteen millimeter and it costs so much. The whole time I was just like, “Dude, film looks so good! I’d do anything too do a movie.” And I just had 300,000 dollars sitting around, and I needed 400,000 dollars. So Adio gave me a 100-grand, and the rest I spent. I knew that it’d be a good movie, but the possibility of having the film get f-ked up was a serious nightmare. I sat around for like two months not doing anything, debating whether or not to go through with it because it was becoming such a hassle. We never planned on the camera being completely jacked. I was like, “Sure, we’ll probably mess up acting a couple times, so we’ll make sure to have plenty of extra rolls of film.” But nobody ever thought, “Suppose the 80,000-dollar camera we just bought is completely jacked?” Nobody thought about that. And that’s exactly what happened.
So you had a few technical difficulties? Yeah, getting it paid for wasn’t a problem, it was the time it took to get fixed. We had to send it to Arriflex in New York, and they told us, “Yeah, it’s gonna take a month to fix.” And I was thinking, “A month to fix? We’ve got this whole schedule! Everyone is flying out and flying in!” So then (Tony) Hawk and Jason Ellis came in-they’re the ones whose footage got jacked! Why couldn’t it have been the part with Brandon (DeCamillo) playing around at Rake Yon’s house with the reverse microwave? Instead, it had to be Tony Hawk wearing a cop outfit in a cop car! So Tony had to come back here, and we had to get another cop outfit and another cop car. It was such a mission, but now it’s done, and it was worth it.
Explain the whole plot of the movie. Okay, the story’s pretty much about Ryan Dunn and his haggard relationships. It’s all based on a true story. The things that happened in his relationships were so ridiculous that it was obviously just one full-blown movie. Like how his girlfriend locked him outside his house in the snow and he was in his boxers. And then she called her girlfriend over and they stole both his cars. What would make her think she can just steal his cars? Then she’d say that he’s being too overprotective about seeing her with an ex-boyfriend at a bar. Then a year later, he found out that her ex-boyfriend humped her out in Ryan’s driveway, then she came in and cuddled with him! The stories are so ridiculous that a movie needed to be done!
Is she aware of this? Yeah, she knows we’re making a movie about her. But her name in the movie is Glauren, and her real name is Lauren (laughs). No one will figure that one out!
So that’ll help with legal stuff? Like defamation of character? You can’t really prove that, though, because “Glauren” is a completely different name. And the fact that Jen, my girlfriend, is friends with Lauren, Jen’s like, “Yeah, I’m playing you in the movie.” The only thing she could possibly do is laugh it off.
When’s Haggard going to be released? I have a screening on May 26 to see who wants to distribute it because Lion’s Gate, Universal, and possibly MTV want to put it out. I want to have a screening for a whole bunch of other people because Tony Hawk hooked me up with his manager, and he thinks having a screening with 30 distributors is the right way to go.
Are you going to keep pursuing this after your skate career is over? Yeah, I’m always going to skate. But when you’re doing a movie every single day for two months, you can’t just go and Smith grind a fifteen-stair rail-you gotta work into it. That’s why I like to skate FDR park. You can just cruise around until you’re warmed up enough to start ollieing the big pyramids and things like that. It’s just fun, and you don’t have to worry about parking spots and things like that. Oh yeah, we’re already working on Haggard 2.
Any advice you want to give to up-and-coming filmmakers out there? Yeah, if you’re going to do film, make sure Joe Frantz is involved, ’cause it’s gonna turn out like shit if he’s not there.