Harmony Korine: Spring Breakers

I saw a poster for Spring Breakers on the way here that came with the review line ‘Good girls go bad…MEGA hot’, what do you make of the different approaches to the film and their duality – that you can take it on a ‘girls n’ guns’ level or more as a social commentary?
Harmony Korine: It’s good because I wanted to make a movie that worked on two levels simultaneously. So like, if you wanted to watch it and only get that broad surface appeal then that’s fine, and then if you were more open to experiencing it in a deeper way then that’s also OK.

So it’s not possible to misread the film?
Not really because it doesn’t have a definitive meaning. I tried to make something that’s more inexplicable and almost like a drug experience, something that’s more hallucinatory and transcendent.

Is the central group of girls’ slide into criminality at the centre of the film, or spring break itself?
Spring Break is a metaphor for the rest of the film and what happens later, it’s more of a backdrop and for me the film really kicks in when Alien takes them to that beach noir enviornmet; the cocaine houses, the violence, the rotting yachts and that kind of more sinister, menacing American underbelly.

What image came to you first?
One day I dreamt up girls in bikinis with ski masks robbing fat tourists on white beaches with guns. I just thought it was a striking image and started to develop the storyline from that.
It’s weird that in the UK Florida still has the reputation of being a perfectly pleasant holiday hot-spot…
[Laughs] That is weird because it’s one of the most f***ed up states in the country! But again that’s what makes that place interesting is that people are lured there by fun and sun and then the night comes and s*** gets real.

Does part of you ever wish you’d gone on ‘spring break wooooo’?
Kind of, but it’s not something I ever really thought about like ‘Damn, I wish…’. I grew up around all of that stuff anyway, it was part of my upbringing, but I was probably trying to get away from it when I was in high school, I was more into skateboarding and that kind of stuff.
It’s funny how the 90s felt devoid of character when we were in it but now its aesthetic has become kind of retro and appealing. Do you think the same will happens for this moment in youth culture in the 2010s that 

Spring Breakers depicts?
Definitely, it always happens, every decade romanticises the decade that precedes it and when you’re in the moment it always sucks. It’s hard to say what will be remembered fondly and how things will translate and evolve or devolve though. Plus everything is filtered through some sort of technology now which affects perception.

What was it like working with the ATL Twins?
They’re incredible, they’re pure scumbags of the highest magnitude. Real generate bastards who just revel in filth and they’re amazing because of it. There’s just no filter, they’re turned up all the time double penetrating anything that breathes.
They’re rare because they are like the American id, they are the pathological subconscious, they are the dregs, they came out fully formed and it’s very rare that you meet characters as pure and extreme as them.

Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez were obviously keen to break out of their Disney shackles, but was it still difficult to get the chemistry right with their characters?
No they were really game and ready. They surprised me just how hard they attacked it. They were at a point in their careers when they wanted to do something that was much more extreme and a different type of acting style, and they were very much willing to go to those places.

Are there any others or actresses you’d like to work with who have maybe hit the wall?
Harrison Ford.

At the end of the film the two remaining girls gun down a house full of gangsters unscathed, why did you decide they needed to live?
Well because they’re almost like characters out of a video game – that’s their mantra ‘pretend it’s a video game’ – and they become more and more bold until they’re almost like gangster mystics. They have to survive, they were ultimately more gangster than the most gangster.

What have you got coming up next?
I’ve been thinking about a couple of different ideas but haven’t still haven’t figured out what kind of film I want to make yet, right now I just sit at home now and make paintings and hang out with my daughter.

Film seems determined to move into 3D, 48FPS etc at the moment, is that stuff at all important?
It’s all bulls***. It’s just technology, it’s just machines, they’re all good and they all suck if you know what I mean and anyone who gives it too much power is a moron. They’re just instruments with tones, it’s like saying oh, the kazoo is better than a ukelele. If you know how to play them they sound great if you don’t they suck. You can have 10 trillion pixels and still be a bastard.

TV seems like a good place for a writer/director to be lately, is that something you’d be interesting in doing?
Definitely, I’m interested in just making things whether they’re a minute long or three days long. It seems like there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on with TV lately so why not, but I’ve always loved movies and going to see them so that medium will always be the most romantic for me and my favourite I think.

With sequels and reboots littering the cinema, has the film industry become more difficult to work in?
Honestly it was always hard. For whatever reason with the types of films I make it’s always difficult so I’m used to it, I just don’t give a f*** and try to make it happen.

The project What Makes Pistachio Nuts sounded fantastic, whatever happened to it?
The script was burnt in a fire unfortunately. It was a 300 page script about a boy and his pig named Trotsky. It took place in Florida after a race war and the kid needed money so he raised this pig, put adhesive on the pig’s hooves and would ride it up walls and throw Molotov cocktails and people from everywhere would come and pay money to watch it.


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