Did you know you wanted James Franco to play him?
Yeah, that’s kind of how the movie started. I had this idea, and when I wrote it down in a quick treatment—this idea of just characters and scenes—I emailed it to James and he was like, “I’m down, let’s do it.” And it just happened to coincide with spring break and I just hopped on a plane. There were all these girls dressed like Taylor Swift fucking in the hallway at the Holiday Inn where we were staying.
And in terms of the girls, did you know whom you wanted to cast? Was there always this idea of casting these people with very squeaky-clean personas and strip them of that?
That was the dream. That was the ultimate to me, to have those girls be in the film. When I was writing it, when I was trying to come up with who should do it, I was like, those girls are of that culture and of that world and I like the idea of it working both ways. So yeah, that was the dream. I wanted that.
That add to the sort of nature that it was frightening and such a deviation from these people you always see in this one way.
Of course! That’s what’s so exciting. It’s great to see people in a way you’ve never seen them. I find it’s exciting to see people you’re used to being one way going the other. Anyway, it just made sense.
And did they have any reservations about the things they had to do in the film?
I would honestly say, working with those girls and the whole Disney thing and everything, I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know how far to push them. It was one of the most surprising parts of making this movie, how bold they were and how hardcore they are. And obviously, it’s a movie and these are characters and it’s a different type of thing. I explained to them, it’s a different type of thing than you’ve ever done before and a different type of filmmaking, and the idea behind it is something you haven’t experienced, and the way I make films is something different, and the acting style is different. Once they understood that, it was pretty obvious they were excited and went for it. It was crazy how good they were and how they were always there. There weren’t any arguements about anything.