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Corman Was Hands Off With ‘Corman’s World’

24 Jan, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Alex Stapleton and Roger Corman

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Give it to Alex Stapleton; she’s persistent.

The budding young filmmaker spent two years pestering actor Jack Nicholson for an interview for her documentary about famed director Roger Corman, and when she finally got him, the tone of the entire enterprise changed.

“It was the holy grail interview,” Stapleton said of the all-day sit-down with the actor. “It was very moving.”

Anchor Bay Entertainment releases Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel on DVD ($26.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($29.99) March 27 (order date Feb. 29). The film features interviews with Hollywood’s elite, including Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Peter Fonda, William Shatner, Brett Ratner, Quentin Tarantino and more.

Many featured got their break on a Corman flick.

The documentary mixes archival footage with the interviews, tracking Corman’s career from the beginning to modern day, focusing on how the man’s work changed both the industry and the careers of so many.
“I didn’t collaborate with her that much,” Corman, 85, said about the project.

Stapleton approached him about the idea at a film festival, and he said yes, based on her enthusiasm and knowledge of his work. Besides a few suggestions from him that she made with the final cut, Corman said he was hands off.

“Essentially this is Alex’s film,” Corman said. “I liked that all the guys and women who spoke remembered the good times we had together.”

And about that Nicholson interview, which seems to relay Corman’s impact above the rest: “It made me emotional too,” he said.

Stapleton said Corman probably thought she was crazy, in that she put so much passion, time (five years) and effort into the work, but she said it was crazy no one had bothered to chronicle Corman’s work since a 1976 documentary about him.

And what did Corman do while Stapleton made her movie?

“He made 12 movies while I made my one,” she said.

Anchor Bay includes extended interviews, special video messages to Corman from interviewees and the theatrical trailer on the discs. Both Stapleton and Corman spoke to the importance of DVD for works such as Corman’s World.

“Be aware of the market, and these are very difficult times for the independent film market,” Corman said. “You’re going to be dependent on DVD, cable and foreign sales. DVD is going down, but VOD can pick up the slack.”

As for Stapleton, she said she’s just glad she could squeeze some stuff that was left on the cutting room floor onto the bonus features.

“That’s the beauty of DVD,” she said.

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