This is the touching story of ... I'm not
Questions and a lightning round with Todd Rohal
Let's talk about the movie "Knuckleface Jones."
What inspired you to make this movie?
I had made a few films prior to this that weren't as
satisfying to watch. They didn't have much energy,
which was intentional in a way, but it made for lousy
repeat viewings. I had this feeling that I wasn't
going to be able to make another film, so I decided to
make something that I'd want to watch over and over
again...which meant plot was the first thing to go...I
didn't want anyone to know where this movie was coming
from or where it was going to. If I spent time
plotting a storyline, someone would figure out where
it was going before the movie's 10 or 15 minutes were
up, so I used the time to create things I had never
seen before on screen and that I thought would be
funny....then I figured out how they fit together.
There's actually more structure in Knuckleface Jones
than I had originally planned...I was actually afraid
people would complain that there's too much story in
it..but no one has said that yet.
Where was this movie shot?
We shot Knuckleface Jones in and around Athens, Ohio
in the Spring of 1998. It was a fun shoot, but now I
don't remember much of it.
When you're pitching this movie to people (e.g.
actors, financial types, etc.) how do you explain this movie so they
get excited about it?
I didn't have to pitch the movie to many people before
we made it. I got a bit of a grant from the Princess
Grace Foundation, and if they ever saw what I did with
it, they'd probably ask for their money back.
Otherwise, I've never really tried to get anyone
excited about it. I figure that if someone sees an
image from it, or reads the title and description (I
did not write the one on atomfilms, by the way)
they'll know they're not walking into an NYU drama
about children with cancer. Of all my favorite films,
I think I found them without a huge amount of
hype...these great discoveries. It sort of makes it
better that way.
Are you a guy who's normal on the outside and
crazy on the inside, or are you just crazy all over?
It depends. I'm normal, but I throw things around the
house a lot.
Who do you relate to the most in this movie?
The boy scouts. We used to burn everything we found. I
think it's a bit of a dream when you're a kid to find
an adult tied up in the woods and to beat him with
The funniest part of the movie for me, is seeing
the rapping guys in their underwear. Was it tough casting for these
No. It was cast before I wrote it.
The lead guy is the funniest guy I know, and used to
be one of the most dedicated--he'd do anything.
The guy on the right said he'd do it if he got to kiss
the lead actor.
The guy on the left was the Assistant Cameraman, who
filled in when another actor's car broke down and
didn't show up in time. He didn't even need wardrobe,
those were his own tighty-whities.
I have never seen a film on the web polarize
people like this one has. Either they love it or they hate it. What
has been some of the nicest and some of the meanest things you've
read about this movie?
Oh, they're all so good. I wish some folks could be
more creative, though. "I'm gonna kill you if I ever
meet you," "You suck at everything you do," "I hate
you and I hate your dreams." Are some of my favorite
personal emails that I've received.
Some of the nicer things have come from some reviewers
and people at film festivals. The best feeling was
having the Johns Hopkins Film Festival show it 4 or 5
times in a weekend, and having people come back to see
it, then leaving before the feature started.
Do the mean things bother you?
No, I just wish they were more creative. The reviewer for Film Threat
did an awful review of it right before Slamdance. He criticized it
for not having a plot, and then summarized the plot. Then he wrote
these incredibly nice quotes about the acting and my directing, but
called it unwatchable and useless. I saw him in Park City. He was
eating a sandwich with shit and boogers in it and talking about how
great it tasted. It's tough to tell where reviewers are coming from,
and I don't think they always understand what it is they're supposed
How did you get Piper
Perabo to be in the film?
I asked her if she'd be in it and she said yes. I
didn't pay her anything and she supplied her own
How did you get the chance to ask Piper
Perabo to be in the movie? Was she hanging out at Coyote
Ugly and you sauntered in with your best 10 gallon penis and say,
"Yo, you wanna be in my film?"
Piper was in another film I did before Knuckleface
Jones called "Single Spaced" it's on ifilm.com. We
went to school together in Ohio where we worked
together at the car wash.
What's coming up next for you?
I just finished shooting a short called "Hillbilly
Robot," which has a lot of good stuff in it...a
Bulgarian dancer, a troop of Brownies, a breakdancing
sequence and a dead racoon.
I also complied over 4 hours of shorts - all made in
Ohio - onto a DVD that'll we'll be selling cheaply on
our website (www.comeandgetitfilms.com) it's a huge
assortment of original stuff. Not one film is based on
a Raymond Carver short story.
What did I forget to ask you?
"What was that?" "What just happened?" "What's
up with those guys in their underwear?" "What the hell did
I just watch?" - all questions from the atomfilm viewers, I don't
think I can answer any of them right now.
Ready for the Lighting Round? Yes
Favorite Sound? Ben Affleck getting his
throat cut open
Favorite Word? Sandbox
Favorite Taste? A meaty belch
Favorite Piece of clothing? My tighty-whities.
Dinette Set or Trip to Europe? I guess
the Dinette set, please.
Ability to Fly or to Turn Invisible?
Sure, you mean instead of the Dinette Set?
the Movie Knuckleface Jones on atomfilms.com