Shouting in Parking Lots: Jim Cummings and P.J. McCabe on The Beta Test | Interviews

An auteur theory class would say that your movies all deconstruct traditional forms of masculinity. Why does that interest you?

JC: I love that you couched it in “If I was a film theorist, that’s what they would say.” [Laughs]. I love public freak-outs. I love watching people on the edge. I love “Dog Day Afternoon.” I love watching people say, “It’s bullshit and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” It speaks to the times. It speaks to the human spirit and people who are dying to say this to their boss. “Thunder Road” is the most cathartic because you can watch the guy remove his full uniform and get naked in the parking lot and quit his job. And I’m an actor, so I have to play dudes, and so it always becomes about toxic masculinity because I just like shouting in parking lots.

PM: The Shouting in Parking Lots Trilogy.

That’s the name of the eventual book about your work.

JC: Shouting in Parking Lots! I’m writing that down, Brian. I’m stealing that.

Let’s go back to my film theory class. Three very different genres—a dramedy, a horror movie, and a thriller. How intentional is that?

JC: It’s kind of whatever is making us laugh at the moment. The next one that we’re doing is a Victorian Horror Comedy Buddy Romance.

Another one of those.

JC: We don’t have enough of those. It really depends. It was kind of circumstantial. The werewolf movie is something I had written before “Thunder Road” and because of the success of “Thunder Road,” the studio reached out to say what else you got. “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” is kind of like “Zodiac” as a comedy—a detective murder mystery. And then this one is kind of like an erotic thriller in a weird way. It’s what P.J. and I find interesting that we know will work for audiences.

Let’s go back to something. You’re very vocal about your support for the independent film community on Twitter. It’s a big part of what you do. This is such an open question but what’s the next decade of independent cinema look like?

JC: It’s gonna be fucking great, man.

That’s what I want to hear. Why?

JC: Because of the power dynamics. Because these giant corporations are making lame, tame, sanitized content because of the political generational shifts. And it’s this birth of like the punk movement or rock and roll where everything is pop and then this was the alternative. Audiences want to watch something that is un-sanitized. They want to see something that has real cursing, real sex, real violence. “Audiences are perverts,” to quote David Fincher. If people can create movies in their garage—we finished the film in this space on the computer I’m talking to you on—anybody can do it now. If you can entertain an audience better than the corporations can, you win that crowd. I think all it’s gonna take is pushing these independent filmmakers a little bit and encouraging them—“You can make a movie in your backyard through a Kickstarter campaign and win an audience and play on the world stage.” People will start doing it.

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