The indie flick Don Peyote tells the story of Warren Allman (Dan Fogler), an unemployed stoner who finds purpose in this life after an unpleasant encounter with a homeless man preaching that the end is near. His vivid apocalyptic dreams cause Warren to become obsessed with 2012 doomsday theories, and he decides to make a documentary on the subject instead of helping to plan his own wedding.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, Dan Fogler, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film with Michael Canzoniero, talked about writing a role that could show so many different sides of him, as an actor, allowing the actors with cameos (i.e. Jay Baruchel, Josh Duhamel, Anne Hathaway) to have creative freedom with their roles, how much footage he had to cut, some of which will end up on a sister documentary, seeing himself as a multi-hyphenate, and what he’d like to do next, as an actor. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
DAN FOGLER: Yeah, I knew all of that, going in. A big part of why I wanted to do the movie was so that I could show all those different sides. I knew that I wanted to do a wild performance. I wanted to sing and dance, and cry and laugh. I wanted to do everything. And then, I sat down with Michael Canzoniero, with whom I’ve made other films with and I trust him to watch my back, especially if I’m acting in it. I literally turned to Mike and said, “The first part of the movie will be documentary style, so we can just shoot with whatever we have. It should look mumblecore-ish and real raw. And then, when he goes nuts, everything becomes like Terry Gilliam with lush colors. So, let’s start filming this first part, and if it seems like we have gold, then we’ll really raise money.” We started the train before the tracks. That’s how we did it. I called in favors. That’s how we did Hysterical Psycho, the first one. We just got together and let passion push the thing forward. We had a lot of synchronicities that happened that helped us along the way. There was a lot of positive energy that went into the movie. Even though it took too long to make, it made itself at its own pace. We had a lot of different endings, but it organically became the film it wanted to be.
When you do something like this, where you know you’re going to be in it and you want to show all of these levels, do you feel like you have to actually put those crazy things down on paper, so that you don’t talk yourself out of it?
FOGLER: Oh, there’s no talking yourself out of it. There’s a gnawing sensation in your soul that says, “Get it out! Tell the story! Do it!” I’ve always had a thing where, if I start something, it’s gotta get finished. No matter how long it takes, I’ve gotta see it to fruition. So, I knew that if I started doing this, then I’d complete this journey. And we got some incredible stuff.
Did it help you to get the cameos that you wanted for the film because you gave the actors such creative freedom with their roles?
FOGLER: That was the big reason that people were attracted to do the film. I was like, “Create your own character. Let’s do something do.” I wanted to let them show an angle that they hadn’t shown before. I think that’s why a lot of people were really excited to be free and creative. We got a lot of gold because of it. Each one of these people did me a big solid that I have to repay them for. But, they got to play and they got to do something that the audience hasn’t seen them do before.
When you went to the different actors, was there anyone you were most worried about getting to agree to do it?
FOGLER: I knew that Jay Baruchel would do it because he’s just down to do stuff, and he loved the subject matter. And Josh Duhamel was super easy to get on board. He was like, “Yeah, I liked working with you. Let’s do it!” With Anne Hathaway, I was like, “Oh, my god, if I get her in this movie, then I have some kind of magical Jedi powers.” And I guess I do because she’s in the movie.
Did you shoot a lot of stuff that you ultimately had to cut out? Are there are a lot of deleted scenes?
FOGLER: Oh, yeah! We went to Costa Rica. There were so many interviews that didn’t make it into the movie. There was a scene with Wallace Shawn where he’s just like, “Come here, Warren, I want you to try my vaporizer.” I just anted to get him to say “vaporizer.” And because we did a whole rush job, trying to get this out to the public at the finish line, there aren’t a lot of DVD extras. But there will be a sister documentary to the movie, that will have a lot of the interviews and a lot of fun stuff, that will come out at some point down the line.
FOGLER: A multi-hyphenate! I think I approach everything as an actor first. I’d rather walk onto a set and just act and just worry about that. I made this movie because I wanted to make a nice juicy part for myself to show off with a little bit. I also sculpt. I do a little editing. I do everything. You’ve gotta do a little of everything, nowadays, in order to compete and get by. Everybody is super multi-hyphenated.
Do you know what you’re going to do next, as an actor?
FOGLER: If I could control it, I think I’d love to do something super serious where people are like, “Holy shit, was that Fogler! That was like Taxi Driver. That was fucked up!” I’d love to do something like that. That being said, if Mel Brooks said, “Hey, Dan, do you want to be Young Frankenstein Jr.,” I’d say, “Let’s do it!,” and jump on that boat. I have a large pallette of tastes. I don’t know. I’ll go wherever the wind takes me. I hope Don Peyote does really well, so that I can sculpt the next film for myself. It would be cool to work with a really great director.
You did some great work on Hannibal. Is there another show that you’d love to do a guest spot on?
FOGLER: I’d love to do something on Mad Men. Or play Peter Dinklage’s cousin on Game of Thrones. That would be fun. I think it would be fun to do something so out of left field that people wouldn’t expect it and would be like, “Is that the guy from Balls of Fury?!” I’d love to do some Reservoir Dogs type of shit, out of nowhere, and just impress people.
As a guy with a lot of ideas, do you keep those ideas catalogued, in some way, until you can put them to use?
FOGLER: I’d say that 50 % of them are microscopic blurbs, floating in the back of my mind. And then, 50% of them are down in my computer somewhere, more fleshed out, and in different states of fleshed out, from outlines to scripts. If I get to half of those, I’ll be happy. I’ll be busy for awhile. I don’t mind that.
Don Peyote is now playing in theaters, and on VOD and iTunes.