Interview: FDR American Badass! Director Garrett Brawith

If you haven’t seen director Garrett Brawith’s upcoming motion picture “FDR: American Badass!”, a flick which concerns itself with the president’s battle against the misdeeds of werewolves, then you’re really missing out on something special. Seriously. I feel sorry for you. I really do. You’ll have a chance to see the film for yourself when it arrives later this year, but until then, I shall walk as a God among men, for it is I who has experienced new and uncharted Bostwickian heights. And, of course, no one will care. Point and laugh… now.

Because I enjoy reading ridiculous answers to typical interview questions, I was given the opportunity to chat with Garrett Brawith. If you’ve read any of my posts on this website over the past few months, chances are you’ve seen me mention “Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury” and, most recently, “FDR: American Badass!”. Well, he’s the guy who directed them. Now you should understand everything. Good for you. Enlightenment is pretty sweet.

Please to enjoy the interview below.

Todd Rigney: Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get into filmmaking?

Garrett Brawith: Working as an actor and male prostitute, I realized nobody would ever discover me walking down the street. So I bought a camera, took some peyote and started making movies. They’re more fun than the TV shows I was on and I won’t get an STD.

In addition to directing, you’re also an actor. Have you always wanted to make films?

I guess I was always making them. My grandfather was the guy with the Super 8 camera in the amateur film club.  I was in short films since I was a baby, and I was incredible as that baby. 

What’s it like working with Kevin Sorbo? What sort of role did he play in the creation of “FDR: American Badass”?

Our nickname for Kevin is “Sor-bro” because he’s the coolest, most down to Earth guy on set. And although he’s a hell of an actor, when he walks in dressed like Abe Lincoln with the beard and everything, you know you’ll spend the rest of the day trying not to lose it. He was also an Executive Producer on the film.

What inspired the over-the-top look and feel of FDR?

We just didn’t have the budget to compete with the big studios, so why try? The old Batman show in the 60’s had this fun comic book feel and although FDR is more cinematic, fun was the goal, so we went for it and it fit perfectly.

Was this a hard sell to investors?

Oddly enough, they just got it. It’s rare and beautiful.

Like “Poolboy, Drowning Out the Fury”, you guys managed to snag an impressive cast. How did you convince such a large group of talented people to participate in such a goofy film?

We were lucky because it’s like summer camp for movie stars. These amazing actors spend the year working hard on huge projects, and by the time they get to us, they’re ready for a laugh. They don’t come to work, they come to play.

Barry Bostwick is easily the centerpiece of the film. Did he do any research for the role, or did he just “freestyle it”?

Barry really got in to the role and it’s like it was made for him. Of course he did his homework, but where he shined was just saying “Screw the history books, today FDR has a rocket launcher and he’s kicking werewolf ass.” It’s a brilliant performance.

Some of the bits in the film are pretty offensive. Hilarious, but offensive. Are you ever worried about potential backlash? Is anything really taboo nowadays?

There are plenty of things that are still taboo. That’s what wakes me up in the morning. I want to find them all and shove them down your pants. And backlash is a gift, because the people who freak out, you probably wanted to piss off anyway.

Kevin Sorbo in Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury (2011) Movie Image

Lin Shaye is a freaking national treasure. What was it like working with her?

Lin is such sweetheart that you never see the comic 1-2 punch coming. In one scene, she went so far that people had to leave the set because they couldn’t stop laughing. She nails it.

Self-serious history buffs are probably going to hate this movie. Did you have fun reworking and retelling the past?

They’re the ones who go the craziest! It’s like a super-hero movie just for them. But a lot of people will never get it. I make movies for the people who do…we’re not alone.

Who handled make up duties on the flick?

Steve Costanza, our FX make-up artist is an American Badass himself. He and his team rival anything I’ve seen in Hollywood. And I’m not just saying that because he paid me 5 dollars. I mean it.

Was there ever a point when you asked yourself, “What in the hell are we doing?”

Every day, and often. But my family was attacked by werewolves and I needed hope that somebody could finally take these mother******s down. Thank you Franklin.

Barry Bostwick in FDR: American Badass (2012) Movie Image

When can audiences expect to see the flick?

The film comes out on September 25th through Universal and Screen Media. Look for it!

Do you enjoy directing comedies? Any plans to do something serious?

I’d like to do a nude ballet musical version of “Avatar”. Oh wait…

Finally, what’s the one thing you hope audiences take away from “FDR: American Badass”?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a normal guy in a wheelchair or leader of the free world, one person can make a difference. Or some hippy s*** like that.

If you haven’t read either of my reviews for “Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury” and “FDR: American Badass!”, then you’ve yet to experienced a movie review in which the author stops just short of rubbing his misshapen crotch on the screen, so strong is his love of the subject. They’re pretty uncomfortable, so enjoy. Those of you who’d rather watch a trailer and be done with it should investigate the pair of videos embedded below.

If you’re still hard up for more interviewin’, check out my exchange with writer Ross Patterson.