Behind The Lens: Michael Paul Stephenson, Director of Best Worst Movie

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Hey folks, we’re introducing a new feature here on Film Junk called Behind The Lens. The idea is to pose four or five questions to one of our favourite filmmakers, actors or artists, in order to get to know them a little better. Don’t expect anything too serious and in-depth, but hey, you never know what secrets may be revealed!

To kick things off, we caught up with Michael Paul Stephenson, one of the stars of the cult classic Troll 2, and director of the Troll 2 documentary Best Worst Movie. Best Worst Movie is playing at Hot Docs in Toronto this weekend. Don’t miss out!

What movies have most influenced your work over the years?

American Movie, King of Kong, The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

What are your current addictions?

Sour Patch Kids and Green Tea.

Recommend a movie that more people need to see and why.

How about an entire series? Planet Earth. It’s beautiful and entrancing. We’re constantly running this rat-race called life and it’s nice to sit back and let the beauties of the natural world wash over you. It’s like a therapeutic escape for your mind and soul. Close second would be, Carnival Magic. I dare you to not fall in love with the inept and heartwarming story about the powers of linguistically gifted primates.

What upcoming projects can we look forward to from you?

Well, Troll 2: Part 2, of course. I’ll give you a little taste:

After the gruesome death of his wife, “Farmer Waits” (George Hardy) has become a back-woods recluse with a grisly beard and a rusty shotgun that has the word “Hospitality!” hand-carved into the gunstock. The only life left life in him is spent plotting revenge against the goblins that ruined his family’s trip to the countryside.

It’s in development. Claudio and Rossella are penning the script. All of the original cast is returning, even the dead ones. Patton Oswalt is attached to play “Ancient Lord of Stonehenge Magic Stone.”

Apart from Troll 2: Part 2, I’ve recently been asked to direct a film that takes place in Tokyo, titled “KAIJU”. It’s a beautiful father-son “underdog” story that is charming, humorous, warm and full of heart yet dysfunctional enough to feel real and meaningful. Nothing is confirmed yet, it’s still in the early stages of development and I want to make sure that I’m the right-fit for this story as I keep my eyes open for “that next project.”

Whether it’s another documentary or a narrative, it’s inconsequential to me. Simply, I’m interested in genuine and heartfelt stories; Stories that resonate with the human spirit. My next project has to grab hold of me and make it impossible for me not to want to put my heart into it.

Whatever my next project may be, I know that I can’t rest until George Hardy is on Dancing With The Stars.

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  • cronenfly

    This is a pretty neat little feature, i like the questions too. you should have added this funny scene from troll 2 though:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyophYBP_w4

  • caseofbase

    I saw the movie at Hot Docs and loved the film. Nobody could have asked for better/stranger characters to film. I especially liked the shopkeeper.

  • Love this interview. Best Worst Movie is amazing. So is Troll 2…in a completely different way of course.

  • Neil M

    I saw Best Worst Movie yesterday at Hot Docs. I ended up liking it quite a bit. It was a great movie to see with an audience. Everyone was killing themselves laughing. I’m sure it would have been even better to have caught the late night screening.