AC: Joe sitting here as we are beside your Olympic-sized swimming pool Im reminded that you are a staggeringly wealthy man. Just how rich are you?
JS: Listen kid. Lets get one thing straight. I dont know. My accountant knows. Hell, my ex-wife certainly goddamned well knows. But I dont. Yeah its a lot. A hell of a lot. A goddamned hell of a lot actually. But I never talk money anyway. Theres only two kinds of people I talk money with; movie makers and hookers.
AC: Your wealth is based entirely on the fact that your films are so supremely successful. Why do you think they are so popular?
JS: Ive been doing this for thirty years. Ill tell you what Ive learned. Its real simple. In fact get a piece of paper write it down and maybe one day youll be as successful as me. Ready?
JS: Then Ill tell you. I give people what they want. See? I told you it was simple. I give people movies they wanna come and see. Thats it. Bottom line.
AC: But surely theres more to it then that? What about the scripts or the acting?
JS: Forget all that. Forget all the film school crap. Did you go to film school?
AC: Yes. Yes I did.
JS: I knew it! The moment I set eyes on you I said, "film school". I dont know what the hell they do to you guys. Its like a goddamned concentration camp. You come out scarred for life. Anyway forget everything they told you there. Its all worthless. Give the people what they want. Thats the key. Let me put it like this; MacDonalds sell a lot of burgers, right?
AC: I suppose so. Whats this got do with film though?
JS: Quiet film school, youre learning here. Anyway like I said MacDonalds sell a lot of burgers. But they dont sell burgers made of dogs do they?
AC: Well obviously they dont.
JS: But they would if people wanted them to. See? Give the people what they want. They dont make burgers made out of dogs then dont sell them. Except in Korea. They go nuts for a MacDog burger with cheese. But thats Korea for ya.
AC: You have had some criticism though. Joe Queenan wrote an article in Movieline magazine entitled Joe Silverman is single-handedly destroying Hollywood (and hes a gigantic asshole too)
JS: Joe Queenan can kiss my extensive backside. I listen to the chink of the cash registers in cinemas. I dont take any advice from dickless pen pushers. No offence.
AC: None taken. But what about the accusation that your kind of high-concept, highly simplistic approach to storytelling is largely responsible for the dumbing down of Hollywood?
JS: Thats bullshit. Hollywood always was a stupid town. It was originally called Hollywoodland for Christs sake. How clever a name is that?
AC: But shouldnt you be trying to fight against that stupidity? Instead you seem to be encouraging it.
JS: Look at my great big house one more time and then tell me how stupid I am. I make films in which girls get naked and cars blow up. I dont pretend to make some huge artistic statement. Im not Martin Scorsese. Look at Francis Ford Coppolla. He used to make that kind of crap until he couldnt get any more work and he was forced to make crap like Jack and Peggy Sue Got Married. The difference is people come to see my films. How many people saw Jack?
AC: Youve also been accused of wringing every last drop of creativity from your films by making an endless chain of sequels.
JS: Listen film school, you just dont get it do you? If people want more I give em more. Do MacDonalds turn you away if you want a second burger? No. They keep stuffing you full until you dont want any more. Its the same with films. Weve just finished shooting Lethal Action 9: Pension Day. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that its as good as the first one.
AC: Leonard Maltin called the first one "moronic in the extreme".
JS: Leonard Maltin has a two inch dick. He never shouts about that though does he?
AC: But Lethal Action 9 is credited with having fourteen writers working on it. Werent you just trying to cover the fact that the script is just a lazy re-hash of old ideas?
JS: Theres no such thing as an old idea. Theres just old ideas told in a way that seems new. The reason that we had fourteen writers was that we wanted every single sequence in the film to be the best that we could do. Sometimes a writer will only contribute one line to the finished script. One guy only wrote one word for us.
AC: What word was that?
JS: I believe the word was "shit".
AC: Youve always been an innovator. You were one of the first major producers to make a Hollywood movie in Australia. Why was that?
JS: People talk about economics. They talk about tax breaks. Thats a crock of crap. The reason I went to Australia was because its a country thats going places. Britain is finished. I tried making a movie in Britain once. Jesus. Do you know that youre eight hours behind LA? What kind of two-bit, one-horse town is eight hours behind LA? Im surprised youve even got electricity. Now Australia, theyre a whole day ahead of the States. Imagine that. Theyre living in the future. It takes some brass balls to be ahead of America my friend.
AC: Joe Silverman, thank you.