First published on 17 Aug 2012. Updated on 17 Sep 2012.
God Bless America follows Frank, a middle-aged man whose life is falling apart and who is sick to death of the world around him. On the verge of suicide, Frank decides to turn the gun on all the arrogant, selfish and obnoxious people he feels deserve to die. He teams up with 16-year-old Roxy as they set out to clean up America.
The movie has really started to take off, was that something you expected?
No, I wrote this as a Christmas present for my wife. I don’t really know who I’m making movies for, I guess I make them for myself first and then if it finds an audience that’s nice.
You express some fairly strong views in this one, how has the reaction been?
It is very polarising but the folks that are offended are usually the people I wasn’t making the movie for anyway. I’m sure there’ll be people that will miss it or like it for the wrong reasons, but I can’t make my movies and worry what people will think of them.
Offending people is obviously not a great concern for you then?
I’m a 50-year-old relatively pissed off old man so some people are pissed off by what I have to say. Those that are offended should be (laughs).
Your main character Frank has some lengthy monologues to express these views, how much of them are yours personally?
Probably about 80 percent of what he says. I wanted to see if I could write these characters with these big long monologues, I never saw it as a way people actually talk. It’s not like I’ve got a lot to get off my chest; I’ve had access to a microphone and an audience since I was 15 years old.
Was Joel Murray someone you had in mind from the start?
Joel’s an old friend of mine. When I was on very high narcotics for my back pain I watched Joel, and my wife suggested he would be a really good Frank. So it’s partially because of my wife and partially because of the drugs I was on. I’m glad it worked out; he’s an amazing actor.
You’ve had experience on both sides of the camera now, what do you prefer?
I always joke I retired from acting the same time they stopped hiring me so it worked out well. I like being behind the scenes, I’m trying to become a good director and that’s what interests me. I don’t think I have the tools to become a great actor.
God Bless America screens from Thu Nov 15