This is one of the most insane stories I’ve ever had on the show, and I have a small part in making it happen. In 2008, Sacha Gervasi made his documentary directorial debut and executive produced Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a 2008 Canadian rockumentary film about the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil. The film is directed by screenwriter Sacha Gervasi, in his directorial debut, and features interviews with other musicians who have been influenced by the band, including Slash, Tom Araya, Lemmy, Scott Ian, and Lars Ulrich.
The amazing documentary premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival about a heavy metal band that never gave up on their dreams of being a successful band. Anvil was established in 1978 and became one of the most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts with thirteen albums. The documentary ranks at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I was invite to a screening at Sacha’s house to watch Anvil in 35mm. After the film I told Sacha you should rerelease it to the world because the planet needs this film right now. Well he did just that and man did he ever.
Enjoy my entertaining conversation with Sacha Gervasi.
- Sacha Gervasi – IMDB
- WATCH: My Dinner With Herve – Amazon
- WATCH: Anvil! The Story of Anvil – Amazon
- Watch: BPS 118: From Short Film Script to Spielberg with Sacha Gervasi
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Sacha Gervasi 0:00
I've had this experience you probably had something similar, you know and it's that sense of connection of not being completely isolated and alone, which I think was certainly I seek You know, that's why you you get into film is because, you know the first time for example, I saw Advil play at sunset and sunset at Sundance, you know, we will enter no one really had seen the film, apart from Sundance Sundance programmers.
Alex Ferrari 0:24
I'd like to welcome back to the show, returning champion Sacha Gervasi.
Sacha Gervasi 0:42
I have no idea what's going on this morning, Alex, but we've just been talking for 10 minutes. We're just laughing. So hopefully people will forgive us. But just being somewhat ridiculous in without question.
Alex Ferrari 0:51
This conversation is going to be somewhat ridiculous that I can promise you.
Sacha Gervasi 0:56
What's new Alex?
Alex Ferrari 0:59
So my friends, so for people who don't I mean, you can come on a while ago on an indie film hustle and on bulletproof screenwriting. And we talked about your you know, your career writing the terminal and writing directing. I dinner with aurvey And Hitchcock and many other films. But we're here today to talk about, honestly, what you will be remembered for. Let's just Let's just put it out there. I mean, on your gravestone.
Sacha Gervasi 1:23
I'm hoping if I die on this podcast so that
Alex Ferrari 1:27
I mean, that's going to boost the ratings. I'll give you that.
Sacha Gervasi 1:29
That'd be good for you. No, there is no doubt that anvil. Yeah, anvil will be on my tombstone with I told you I was ill.
Alex Ferrari 1:43
That's fantast I told you I was ill. No. So tell everybody the story of anvil because when we first spoke, you had such a so many other highlights of your career that I wanted to kind of dig into that I didn't realize there was like an eight foot poster behind you as we were speaking of the story of anvil, and I think
Sacha Gervasi 2:05
As we've been carrying out this release, people just want to talk wherever it's like. You know, I'm working on the crown right now. No one's interested. They want to focus on anvil and lips and Rob and, you know, there's the story is very simple. I was a fan of this band anvil at 15. I met them at the marquee in London. I showed them around London, and they invited me to come on tour with them as a drum roadie, and so I was a 15 16 year old kid running around doing a Canadian hockey arena tour in like the summer of 1985. And that was the time of sort of Live Aid. And so I was, you know, there set up Rob Reiner's drums at metal aid in Albany, New York, not quite as glamorous, but it was pretty funny. Notable for the fact that the lead guitar player of the scorpions came into the dressing room and said, Who is Africa, he thought it was a benefit show for a person called Africa and someone had to point out actually, MIT says it's a continent. Anyway, so you know, this was the kind of shit that was that was going on regularly. And I was just around for this all this kind of like 80s metal stuff, but I was a kid you know, and I was so in love with anvil and particularly the drummer Rob Reiner. His real name is Rob Reiner people think that that's one of the reasons that movies Spinal Tap is the director of spinal tap and the drummer band will have the same name. But the reality is that's really his name. And so this it began this journey for me that obviously continues now you know, 45 You know, 50 years later or whatever it is. And it's just extraordinary with the film is about to come out again into theaters nationwide, which which we're gonna get into that story.
Alex Ferrari 3:42
So that's the basis of the story so it's so for everybody listening anvil is this amazing story of how not to follow I'm not how how to follow your dreams, but also how not to follow your dreams and never give up because there has to be a persistence and since this is a you know, podcast about, you know, artists and filmmakers and things like that, you know, being an artist is not easy. Being a creative is not easy in any field you get into this film is one of those films that touches your heart for anybody who's ever tried to do something and have been told no 1000 times. And but they should have stopped.
Sacha Gervasi 4:21
Yeah, well, years ago. I mean, this is about two guys who when they were 14, they made a pact to rock together for air ever. Here we are more than 50 years later in the bands still doing it and they haven't sold millions of records and, you know, played Wembley and done all this stuff that one associates with a successful rock band, but what they have done is recorded 19 albums kept on and kept working. given up their day jobs, their full time gig is being an anvil. And it is, as you said about persistence. It's this extraordinary story about what happens when you refuse to give up on your dreams. You know, you just refuse you're like I don't care, I'm not getting the results, I'm not getting the money, but I'm just going to keep doing it. And somehow, if you just hang on, you know, some young fan from 30 years ago comes into your life and makes a movie about the struggle. And that movie in itself, you know, has completely propelled the band as well has really helped the band. Because people have identified with, as you said, what it means to be an artist, what it really means to be an artist for most artists, right? It's, it's, it's very, very hard. And so I think this was sort of one of the movies, the intention of that movie was for people to really appreciate the kind of not just the dedication and commitment of not having the money and the success and the fame and all that stuff. But what what it's about for them, but also the dedication and the support required from their families. A big part of the movies, in the wives is talking to the sister who plays a big role in the film is, is what is the impact? What is the cost of refusing to give up your dreams, that's what the film was essentially about. And I think in a strange way, it's resonated, because for most artists, this is some version of their life, you know, in other words, it's really hard, maybe you have a moment of great success, maybe it passes, maybe you have another one. But you know, for most artists, they do it because they love doing the thing. It's, and they do it for reasons of passion, and because they have to because that's who they are. And, you know, sometimes you get the fame and the money, you know, sometimes you get it briefly, in the case of Advil, you know, but the point being that everyone can relate to this film and I think the really shocking thing to me because it's so you know, agile is not you know, heavy metal music is not something that most people listen to, it's certainly not in the mainstream anymore. And and it's sort of the film seems to have resonated beyond the heavy metal and rock community to any creative artists. So we've over the years, I've had letters from long distance cyclists and Potter's and, you know, our friend Rich role is one of the biggest advocates of the film, just people who really just recognize that universal story of of struggling to do something you believe in, and it not working, and being so committed and so passionate about it that you just don't don't care, you don't you just go like, Screw it. I'm just going to keep going. And I think that's a it's about the human spirit and film, ultimately. And it comes served up in a really quite unexpected package with lips. And Rob, you know, and at the beginning of the movie, you're kind of laughing at them going, Oh, my God, these Canadian headbangers. They're just so weird and crazy. And but by the end, I think, you know, the movie works for you, you feel a sense of empathy and compassion, and you feel a sense of admiration. Because these guys are really doing it for the real reasons. They're not doing it. Oh, yeah. You know, and I, and, and ironically, of course, that this story, which is essentially about giving, not giving up and about, in one sense, failure, some might say, but it has a happy ending, and that happy ending continues because they've been rewarded somehow, you know, it's just been it's been, you can ask me anything. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 8:06
I mean, it's really fascinating, because that's what I was, when I when I saw the film, for the first time, in this in the most ideal way, you can watch that film, at your house, in your screening room on a 35 millimeter print for the first time. And you're telling us stories about what happened on you know, on the set, and things like that after the movie, that was the first time I got to see it. And I was crying at the end, I was tear, I was literally tearing up because it connected with me at a at a really almost spiritual level. Because of like, because all of us have gone through that struggle of trying to make it. So two questions. One, how did you deal with your own rejections coming up in the business? Because I know, the road wasn't paved with gold for you, as it isn't for most artists who've made any sort of significant career, you know, made a career of themselves. And to after that, can you tell the story of how anvil was birthed the original phone call, like why you even got the idea to do anvil in the first place. And, like, that whole story is fascinating. But first, first, you know, how do you deal with and then I'm assuming you still get notes, we all still get? No.
Sacha Gervasi 9:21
Here's the reality man, you can have to have some success and have made films that have been popular or work with, you know, incredible people or whatever, you know, you're still gonna get failure or rejection. That's the thing people don't realize, I think people on the outside of the business thing, you know, once I get my first movie made or sell my first script, you know, frankly, that's, that's just making it to the battlefield. That's where the battle begins. It's an absolute miracle. It's a great thing to sell a script and to you know, have a movie made but you know, it's there's so many, just the war continues, the pitfalls, the potholes, the unexpected. Ups and downs, the kind of Someone in route decides to market the movie wrong or release it on the wrong date. Or, you know, the act is not right. Or you know what I mean? Like the most brilliant spec script in the world that, you know, if it's cast wrong and made wrong, it doesn't work as a movie. You know, it's like, there's so many things that need to go right. So you continue to encounter those. I think in my own experience, you continue to kind of that all the time, you know, so but the thing is that I think when you have sort of have pulled off a few things, you get some sense of confidence that even if you get a rejection, or it doesn't work out, you're like, Okay, we'll figure out another way. You just have a you have the faith that perhaps you don't have, if you haven't had anything go right, you know what I mean? Like, if you've had some things go right, then you're like, Okay, so, there will be
Alex Ferrari 10:44
And then your your origin story of how you got the terminal event, essentially, you got the terminal, how it was based, purely on a short film, a short film script.
Sacha Gervasi 10:58
Well, you mean Herve, Herve
Alex Ferrari 11:01
Yeah, but that whole story is, but before you tell the story, the thing I love about that is that you wrote down something that was so authentic to you, you put it all out on the table there. And even the power of that little short clip is what kind of launched your career.
Sacha Gervasi 11:20
I mean, I have been a journalist, and I really did not like the very cynical 90s sort of newspaper culture in Britain, which I mean, still, to a degree, it continues today. But it was extremely cynical. And you could just see a whole bunch of kind of, you know, people who found it much easier to sit on the sidelines being kind of shitty to other people and judging than actually, you know, have the balls to take any kind of risk on their own. And I just was part of that culture. I was a young kid, I was sent on assignment. And I was sent to interview have a villa shares, who at the time was a faded star, but had been the star of one of the biggest shows on American TV, and in fact, around the world in the early 80s, called Fantasy Island. And so I was sent on this, you know, interview, which was kind of like, a side dish to the much more important things I was supposedly doing in LA, this was like, go and make fun of a dwarf and come back. And, you know, there's that kind of thing. And I went in, frankly, filled with kind of judgment, I'd already written the story before I'd got there. And it was just like, take a few photos, you know, hahaha Habibollah shares. And, you know, there's actually a vulture article about the real story she could about my dinner with Harvey, is it real, you can look it up on voxer.com, which tells my first person narrative of what that experience was like. And then obviously, it was adapted to a film. And the first time I met him, he actually pulled a knife on me.
Alex Ferrari 12:39
As one does
Sacha Gervasi 12:40
As one does, because I'd written the story and I was rushing to get somewhere else. And it's all in the film, you'll see. And he kind of said, you know, you're, you're basically you're pathetic, you're not a reporter, you're not interested in the truth, you're just interested in trotting out the same old stereotypes, and kind of screw you. So pull this knife to kind of like, get my attention. And you know what he was right. In the end, I spent three nights within three days, three nights, I can't remember over five days between all my other interviews. And at the end, you know, I just had a such a completely different idea about who this person was versus who I'd thought they were. And I looked at them as you know, a three foot 10 kind of French dwarf with this funny voice. Hello, how are you? You know what's up. And I just thought it was just surreal being with him. But when I got to know who that person actually was, as a human being what had gone on with his parents, how, you know, he'd been such an extraordinary artist, the youngest ever painter to have his work hung in the Museum of Paris, as an 18 year old, you know, he was just a he was very well educated, extremely sharp, urbane, Cosmopolitan, very funny, and also completely screwed up by the multiple rejections that are, you know, happened throughout his life and the primal rejection at a certain point of his mother. And, and I just felt such empathy for him. I was like, I really love this. But at the end, you know, so we really connected and he opened my eyes to my own kind of cynicism and judgment, which, which was really, I needed. And so at the end, when we saw each other and universal share it in the scene is actually in the movie, and we shot it in the place where it happened. You know, he leant down and his eyes were filled with this incredibly tragic defiance and tears. And he was, and he said, Tell them I regret nothing. You know, it's actually in the movie, and Peter Dinklage does that scene so beautifully. And it was this thing of I had his story. And when I went back to the newspaper that no one was really interested in that story. They were interested in, you know, all the other stuff. But what was really sad was five minutes after I left him in that lobby, I got a call from Kathy, his girlfriend who in the movie is played by Maria Menounos and just say that Herbie had committed suicide that morning. And so I had this 11 or 12 recorded hours of interview with this kind of face. Did Forgotten Star who people thought was a joke and I just thought, you know what I'm I'm, I'm gonna do something where I'm going to try and honor this person and I wrote this piece. And I went into the newspaper. And literally, they said, and the line is in the film, one of the editors said, Well, Jeff Aziz top two midget, where do we send him next? And they all started laughing. And I was just like, I get it. But actually, you have no idea who this person is read this article, and they will, and they cut it down. And they just basically watered it down. And I realized that I had to tell this guy's story. I mean, basically five days before he died, I promised him that I would tell the story one way or another. And so I wrote my first script was a short screenplay called my dinner with Herve, which was about this unexpected encounter with this sort of, quote unquote, joke celebrity, as they called him in the office. And you know, that script was written from a place of the magazines kind of ruined, you know, cut it down, and it just didn't feel right. And I just have to tell his story, so that it took me 25 years to make the film, which I did, eventually, with Peter Dinklage starring as Herve and Jamie Dornan in an amazing breakthrough performance, actually, which led to Belfast, and Andy Garcia and Harriet Walter. And so I mean, it was a data strip. And of course, so you know, it was an extraordinary epic journey to get it made. But it was that story, that fairly full page short script was the one that eventually ended up finding Spielberg found it and hired me to do the terminal with Tom Hanks. After that, so it was, yeah, it was an incredibly important moment in my life to just and it was all about just standing up and going, I'm going to tell the story properly in a way that is more personal and, and talk about how much this experience in this person actually affected me. And so that was my dinner with Harvey so yeah, it was the purity of it was the, the just the refusal to just kowtow to the prevailing culture of kind of cynicism, and frankly, and stupidity. And, and, you know, just people want to put, you know, like, all the time, and we go through life, you know, life is fast, there's so much going on, we have to put people in a pigeonhole or put a situation there's so much judge, and, and so the point is, like, what if I just removed my judgment? What if I didn't have such a strong opinion about everything? You know, people use that in a way as a defense when they don't want to have to deal with something that's uncomfortable or unpleasant, which is fine. But that but that so I kind of it was how everything began, for me, it was that short script, and it was coming from a place of I have to tell the story.
Alex Ferrari 17:39
And, and the thing that's fascinating about that store, and it's such a great example of what I've talked about all the time, people always ask me, how do you make it? How do you make it? What do you know, you've talked to so many, you know, screenwriters and filmmakers who've made it like, what's the secret? And I'm like, the secret is you. It's your secret sauce. It's the thing that nobody else on the planet has other than you. And if you're brave enough to show it, that's what brings success. And in your example, there is literally no one else on the planet that could tell that story.
Sacha Gervasi 18:11
Yeah, I have to I think everything you say is exactly correct. It's like, what is the thing that's singular or unique to you the experience you've had maybe in a family maybe in a work situation, maybe as an artist, whatever it is, what is that story whose perspective only you are able to provide and tell and explore and that's apps there was no one else who could have told that story. And the frankly, I didn't we'd have a an anvil the story of anvil are two examples of extremely personal stories and actually both end both movies end with a photo of me and the subject is because, you know, I think part of doing these movies is is not to be successful, whatever that even means it's to make sense of your own life. You say why? What was all that about? You know, anvil is partially I was 15 Your fat fan who kind of ran away from home and joined the circus or went on the road with a heavy metal band, which my mother was not happy about, obviously. And it was like What was all that about? In that case? It was the music it was escape. It was growing up it was being becoming an individual. It was kind of going screw you you know, it was like the normal teenage stuff. And with Herve it was about something putting something right in myself. Forget the culture of the newspapers, it was like, oh, okay, so I was putting him in a pigeonhole and rushing to judge them being cynical. You know, I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be a cynical person who's not open to other people just because he happened to be three foot 10 Anyway, so my point is that you are sometimes you do a project, you write a script, you make a movie, you only realize after you've made it, why you did it. And so but you just have to follow that instinct and as you say, do the thing that only you specifically can do and I chose to photograph films as I call them because they ended that photo one of me at the lips of anvil would have been Herve, there's a third one coming in, which will be there'll be there'll be three films, eventually, after I do this other film, but those are the personal films, man. And those are the ones that resonate mostly with me. And I think also with other people, you know, so that's just my own impression, but, you know, you've got it, and I do them because I love I have something to express, I think it's important that I think other people are going to recognize we've all been cynical, we've all been wild and carefree and young and wanting to kind of go out into the world, which was the end of it, you know, we will, it's like that those universal things are, are the reason I do stuff because I want to connect with other people. Because I want to say, you know, I've had this experience, you probably had something similar, you know, and it's that sense of connection of not being completely isolated and alone, which I think certainly I seek, you know, that's why you get into film is because, you know, the first time for example, I saw Advil play at sunset and sunset, at Sundance, you know, we were in a, no one really had seen the film, apart from Sundance Sundance programmers. And they seem to like it. But you know, you never know until you put it in front of an audience. And we, you know, we premiered it in the library, and that sense of the response afterwards, and when lips and Rob came out, and there was incredible, you know, overwhelming applause for them and just a momentous reaction to the, to the film. You know, it's like, Oh, okay. Okay. So all of that the years of work and financing this movie myself and going through all the, the ups and downs of trying to pull the film together, it was all worth it. Someone heard you someone related, it meant something to someone. And I think I told this story to you, I don't know if I did. But after the premiere vandal, like 660, people came out of the library and adults sitting with a little van selling T shirts and CDs in the snow. And like 600 people were like, lining up to it. And there was this really nice, old lady, elderly lady, and she went up to anvil and she was posing for photos and, and she bought three copies of their CD. This is 13. And as she was leaving, I went up to her with my producer, Rebecca. And I said, Excuse me, madam. Just out of interest. Why did you buy three anvil CDs? I mean, it doesn't seem like you're a heavy metal fan. You know, she hauled them up, and she said, I will never listen to these, but I just want to help. 70 something year old, you know, school teacher in Park City, she was a school teacher who went to her local film festival, Sundance. And, and that's when we knew we had something that's when we knew, Okay, this movie is reaching people just as human beings, you know, and that's what you can't buy that kind of sense of excitement and relief and satisfaction, where the story you're trying to tell the themes in the story resonate with people, you know, who you would never expect them to resonate with. That's a beautiful thing, because then me and that lady are connected, and we probably have nothing else in common. But somehow this movie created a connection. So I know it sounds hippy, like but you know, I like I like that. Of course, to reach people, you know?
Alex Ferrari 23:17
Yeah, it's not it's not hippie at all. I mean, look, the thing that's so beautiful about anvil is that even if you just watch the trailer, there's a level of that these guys are pathetic, that you're like, This is never going to happen. Like you guys should stop their families like they should stop it's over. It was over years ago. They had their moment. They're in the movie, they're like 50 something at that point,
Sacha Gervasi 23:41
But just so you know, the guys now lips is 66.
Alex Ferrari 23:47
Right and rockin.
Sacha Gervasi 23:49
They still going and he'll go until he dies
Alex Ferrari 23:52
Till he dies on stage until it just there's no question. But that's the thing that's so beautiful about this because as a director, and as a as a storyteller, you brought us in, and really showed us the life of a failed artist of two failed artists who won't let go. Even though everything around them is saying you're just not it's not gonna work, man. It's not going to happen for you. Yeah. And that's so difficult because I think every artist at one point or another comes to that come to Jesus moment. Yeah, of course, where you look in the mirror and you go, am I good enough to make a go with this? And then if the answer is no, they either get out and go get a real job, or they go, I'm gonna give it five years I'm gonna give it and if it doesn't work, these guys gave it 20 odd 30 years and they still would like
Sacha Gervasi 24:52
What I think is beautiful is like, if you're willing to really commit if you're really, really willing to never give up that's what It looks like and but if you never give up, it allows for the possibility of some kind of miracle to happen some way. And this movie was what happened to those guys. I didn't know what I was doing when I was making it. I think they have less clue. But you know, and when it came out the first time, you know, I remember standing AC DC up past anvil to open some of their stadium shows. And I remember standing on the stage and giant stadium, and 50,000 people were screaming anvil and lamb, you know, and you could never predicted that, you know? And so it's just magic happens, you know, when it's over
Alex Ferrari 25:39
So that so that's so let's talk about that magic because you literally I mean, so everyone understands. A 15 year old roadie goes off the Hollywood makes makes a go of it. He's doing all right hanging out with Steven and Tom and, you know, and do it. And he's got he's building a career for himself. And then he goes, You know what, I'm wondering whatever happened to anvil? Yeah, that's, please pick up the story from there. Because the making
Sacha Gervasi 26:11
I've had my first we've made the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, or, you know, there's obviously, you know, good, amazing,
Alex Ferrari 26:18
if you could get that kind of work. It's fantastic. And that was amazing.
Sacha Gervasi 26:21
No, and Tom and Steven were fantastic and hit, you know, they were taking some young kid from London and, you know, giving them a chance to make a movie with them, which was, you know, seemed extremely rare and exceptional. I'll never forget that because it created my career. And it gave me choices and options to go off and do things. And, you know, what an amazing gift. And I, you know, I remember stepping onto the set of the terminal for the first time. And I was just like, because I've made a little movie at Warner Brothers called the big TVs, which was my first film. And remember, waterparks, the producer took me onto the set of terminal and he was holding my eyes. And he like said, okay, and I opened and I just and I looked and I it was like a fully functioning airport. And it was like, you know, the set of the terminal had cost $16 million dollars, I think at the time was like four times the budget of the my entire first movie, I was just like, you know, this was me sitting in a room, you know, trying to get some story together, based on this true story of Alfred mosseri at Paris airport, and shoulder ball. And it was magic, you know, when you realize that it's so hard to be a writer, it's so hard to be creative. But if you just hang out long enough, and you keep going then you know, and hundreds of people ended up going to work, you know, that's a good feeling to feel like your creativity has employed a lot of people when you're on a set, and you think this came from me sitting there on my own, you know, so that was a lovely two. And it was a great experience for me. And Hanks was extraordinary. And I love topics. So and Steven too. They weren't they were and remain Wonderful. So you know, and then I had choices about what I wanted to do. And ironically, from that situation, I really thought you know, I want to be a director, you know, and no one was gonna give me a job to direct. But that was going on in my mind. And then also going on my mind was, here I am I've made a movie with Spielberg and Hanks, you know, making a living doing sort of sitting in some Malibu beach house or whatever, you know. And I was just thinking about life. And then I was like God, whatever happened to handle, but went online. And I discovered, you know, that band who I'd been on the road with, and I've known so well over those sort of night from 1982. I first met them to about 86. For those four or five years, I'd really known them very well and been out on three tours and you know, so I looked them up and I discovered that they were still going and that they done like 10 albums I'd never heard of and they were playing a pub in Quebec. And they're all these photos from their last show at this pub. And anyway, I wrote to the website, and I said, you know, dear website manager for anvil, I'm an old friend. But anyway, an hour later, I got an email back directly from lips. There wasn't a website manager. I mean, this website did not need to manage. And the email was like teabag, which is my animal name. We thought you died or became a lawyer. And I was like, well, both sort of happened. I went to law school and nearly died for another reason. But let's, so he flew out to LA lips, and I picked him up at LAX. I got him a ticket to come the following weekend. And he was like, Hey, man, how you doing? And it was like as he is in the movie, it was like so filled with enthusiasm. And he's like, Yeah, we're doing the songs for this new record. And I mean, he was wearing the same scorpions t shirt that I had last seen him in 24 years before he was literally won't say it was an exaggeration.
Alex Ferrari 29:33
It's not an exaggeration.
Sacha Gervasi 29:36
It was like nothing had changed. I was like what the, what is going on? I took him to my my good friend, Steve Steve Zaillian, the screenwriter, who would actually been the one that introduced me to Steven Spielberg and began my career. So I took lips this crazy Canadian head back over to my friend Steve's place and, you know, lips I remember, I was making coffee with Steve and looking through the window. his kind of kitchen out into the garden just by the ocean and lips was there with Steve's wife, Elizabeth. And he was saying, Yeah, we can do this record and you know, this is anvil and she was like looking at slightly frightened. But you know, he was so enthusiastic and sweet. And Steve said, you know, tell me who this guy is that you brought to my house. I told him the story. I was at Brody. And you know, he said, My God, and these guys are still going for it. And I'm like, yes, they're still going for it. He said, You know, he's a very interesting character. Maybe, maybe there's a film there. And I was like, yeah, what are you talking about? So anyway, that germinated that idea, where Steve just thought he noticed there was something about this guy, and about the themes of this story about never giving up when basically you should have as he said, it was it was it was just something something like that happened. And it took me a couple of months, and I went to the Toronto Film Festival. And I was with Rebecca Yelder, my producer who came in to produce the movie who had done Motorcycle Diaries and The Kite Runner. And you know, she'd also been a programmer at Sundance, brilliant, brilliant producer. She was the head of film that I think I can't remember. But so she went to me anvil with me. She said, Well, I don't I hate heavy metal. But let me meet these guys. Let's just see what happens. So she was like, they're incredible. She just thought they were so larger than life, such extraordinary characters. And we, she took us to this restaurant, and then lips started crying when he got the menu records like, are you okay? And lips was like, Yeah, well, I delivered fish to this restaurant for nine years. And this is the first time I've ever had a meal upstairs. And Rebecca was like, Oh my god. So she was like, okay, okay, I got it. Okay. Okay. And so that began the adventure of, okay, let's just go make this movie. We'll put a crew together. I put an amazing crew. I had Chris Sue's as the DP. I have Matt Dennis. I had incredible editors, Jeff Renfro and Andrew decla, who really became my creative partner is absolutely brilliant. He also cut Palm Springs, by the way, like a brilliant, he came in, did a fantastic job. And we just made this movie at my kitchen table. And we for two years, we traveled around the world. And, you know, no one was going to give me the money to I remember going to my agents at the time. And they were like, so you don't want to do that Jim Carrey rewrite, you want to do a self financed documentary about an unknown Heavy Metal, Canadian heavy metal band? And I was like, yeah. And they're like, Okay, I was, but they didn't get it. You know, the so important that if you have an artistic instinct, expect that no one is going to support it. Expect that everyone's going to think you're crazy. But I kind of knew in myself, I had to make the movie. And it was a huge risk. There was no one I wasn't there's no way I can go into a room in Hollywood and pitch that story. No one's going to. Yeah, because I didn't even know it. Was there an ending? What is it? You know, it's like, I think one of my favorite movies of all time. If I was to go and pitch in a room, it's to unemployed actors go to Wales for the weekend. That's with nail and I it's one of the greatest British films ever made. Right? It doesn't. It's, it's who those people are, in those circumstances, that comedy is the pathos, it's, you know, that the story of male bonding, it's a story of ultimately success and failure in a certain kind of way, once one, one moves on the other is stuck, you know? So it's just all about the specifics of what that is. And there was no way so I had to finance the movie myself. So I did. And I got these rewrite jobs. And I was just like, for the two years just editing at my house and trying to put it together. And then even when we went to Sundance, right, you know, it was 2008 was the bottom of the documentary market was basically the bottom of the market was a bad time, as everyone remembers 2008 to be people love the movie, no one wanted to buy it. So we had one offer from the UK, they were absolutely mad for it as they still are, to this day. This crazy company called the works, they and they offered us they bought the movie for the UK for a big enough sum that we were able to kind of get some of the money back. And then I you know, I got offered this big DVD deal for the states. And I was like, I'm not going to do it. Man. I've seen this movie play now at Sundance or hot dogs, all these festivals and the audience loves it. I've got to get it in front of them somehow. So in the end, I was like, I had this brilliant guy called Richard Abramovitz who's actually also involved in the rerelease, Abram Abram aroma, and sort of put it together. And we released I just took out a mortgage on my house, too, which is, by the way insane, and I would absolutely advise not to do this no one else to do this because it was completely mad because me and the band were at the same thing, you know, that we were all on the edge. I had this everything I've ever earned was in this movie, ever. Because I was that crazy about it. But it wasn't just delusion. It was like I'd seen the movie play. And I knew how audiences reacted. So I was just kind of trusting that I just like somehow, someway, we've got to get it to the audience. So we released the movie into 10 cities. is, and it's, you know, it's in the last 13 years since it's released. It's just gone on and on to the point where Alex and you're right at the epicenter of this, the movies being released into theaters again. So on September 27, of 2022, which is two, three weeks from now, the movie goes out into 250 in theaters, which is six times the size of the original release.
Alex Ferrari 35:27
I'm laughing, because it's insanity, it's insane.
Sacha Gervasi 35:32
I mean, it's, it's just crazy.
Alex Ferrari 35:35
Okay, alright, so before we get to the release, which mean, like, ridicu, which is ridiculous. Alright, so that's, that's another story so much, because it really does truly show. And you both were basically at the same place. Yeah, you had some success. But you were putting it all on the line, you're like turning
Sacha Gervasi 35:56
Everything on the line. And that's another thing is that, if you want to progress in life, I think in general, and you'll know this too, you know, you've got to take some risks. And you've got to know what that risk is, and what moment to take that risk, right? And it was like, I put everything on 20 to black. And if it hadn't come up, I don't know where I'd be. Because, honestly, you know, I, I just knew I just had this instinct. I just knew I just had to trust what I saw with my own eyes and ears with the audiences who were responding. And you when you came to that first screening, I mean, what did you think the response was from the audience?
Alex Ferrari 36:32
I mean, it was it was insane. Everybody, like most of the people there hadn't seen it. Yeah. And everybody was, you know, crying and laughing. And, you know, when you first watched that movie, the first part, you're just like, you're just kind of laughing. You're like, these guys. These guys are like they act clownish. They're, they're doing their, their kind of ridiculous, if not fully ridiculous. But then as the movie progresses, you start to connect with them at a deeper level. So at first, there's the spectacle, the oh, look, ha ha, ha, look at these losers. They're not going anywhere. But then when you when you start going in the arc of the hero's journey, if you will, that arc, you start going like but they're not stopping. This is not funny anymore. Because they because they're serious. They're not morons, they're not idiots. They're not people who they're just passionate, might be misplaced passion. But passion nevertheless.
Sacha Gervasi 37:39
Well, you're exactly that's exactly the journey of the movie. And I explained this to the band. At the beginning, I said, look for this movie to work, you know, I'm gonna be I'm gonna have to be 100% honest with you. And you're gonna have to trust me a bit. But the reality is, I'm going to encourage the audience to laugh at you at the beginning. Yes, number one, you're fucking hilarious. Let's, let's just face that. Number two, I think the audience will go from a place of laughing at you to recognizing underneath the passion and the perseverance that you were talking about. By the end, they're going to really admire you. And I said, to make that journey in a tonally, it's so complex from step to step. Because this is literally a movie that has a guy playing a red flying V with a dildo in a bondage harness, right? That's Yes. And also, the Holocaust is in the movie, because Rob Reiner is the survivor is the son of a survivor of Auschwitz. So when you've got such crazy extremity in the film, you have to build that tunnel journey little by little, and I explained that to them. And I think they really appreciated it. Because after that, they really trusted me because, and I said to them, if there's anything in the film that you really, really objective, I'll take it out. I'm not going to, I don't want to put you in a situation where you feel uncomfortable. And it was because I'd been their fan and their roadie that they knew that and they knew I was telling the truth that they trusted me. And I think that's a big thing. The reason the movie works is it's so intimate, because it's about me with my friends in the most sort of intimate, private moments that go on behind the scenes, as it turns out with many bands. And actually, when Metallica saw the the movie, last called me up, and said, and he's in the movie La Zurich, and he said, you know, me and the boys watched anvil on the jet drinking champagne, and we were all in tears, because that could have been us. And, you know, it's a very truthful, intimate film.
Alex Ferrari 39:33
It's in, by the way, what Laura says is absolutely true, because it's not that they didn't have the talent to do what they're doing is that the chips fall where they fall for certain people in certain groups. And sometimes there's that one thing that happens, that they're like, Oh, you opened up for this one band and that one person was in this in the audience that then booked you out of? It just goes up. There's so much luck. That's involve.
Sacha Gervasi 40:00
And I think any artist knows that if they're successful, they have some luck. It's about so many things. But you can't have the luck if you don't persevere if you don't keep Absolutely. But that said, you know, we all know this. I mean, look around at the world right now, Life is not fair. And life makes no sense. Why is it we have, you know, a war in the Ukraine, you know, why is it that people who have pandemic, yeah, pandemic impacted by the energy crisis, so desperately unfair? Why is it that, you know, the lower income households are having to pay more, you know, that just the world is so unfair. So you have to factor in the fact that so many factors are involved in why someone has a successful artistic career and why someone doesn't, and that you can't control all the elements, and you just have to do your best and give everything you can. But one thing I do know is that if you don't give up something, there's a possibility that something happens. And that's exactly what happens at the end of the anvil movie. So it's important. It's like, if you're doing everything you can, you're doing everything you can, but just trust the universe, that if you're doing the right thing for the right reason, somehow, someway, you get rewarded somehow.
Alex Ferrari 41:14
And people always ask me to and this is just I'll throw my journey in here for a second is that when I started podcasting in 2015, I just showed up every day. And I did two episodes a week like nobody else. And there was no mommy there was no nothing. It was just kind of like, I'm just going to show up and pound the stone pound the stone, cut wood carry water, pound the stone cut wood carry water. That's all I did. And then people like we're like, oh, well, you know, you got Oliver Stone. Oliver Stone was episode 425. Yeah, exactly. I'm just just so you understand, like, Yeah, before then I was like, and then after Oliver showed up, then a lot of doors opened up. And then people like yourself and other guests started coming up. And then it became what it's become now. But that was episode 425 425 other episodes without any major Oscar winners or you know, any, any major, you know, people other than filmmakers just grinding it in and out.
Sacha Gervasi 42:16
But you know, it's like the same example. In my case, you know, with the terminal. It wasn't the first screenplay I ever wrote, it was probably 30th. And it all came down to when I was at, or the 25th or whatever. It all came down to when I was at film school, I could not finish the script. At the end of my first year at UCLA at the MFA screenwriting program, the head of the program came to me and he said, Look, you got to finish the script. And I was like, I can't it's not good enough, though. He said, if you don't finish this script, I'm sorry. But I'm going to have to ask you to consider leaving the program because that's what we're here to do. And I was like, but it's going to be terrible, it's horrible. And he said, it doesn't matter. You just have to finish it. And so I finished this script. And it was indeed, absolutely unreasonably awful, was terrible. But, you know, he congratulated me said, You finished it. And he said, You've got to allow yourself to be bad before you even have the possibility of being good. So many of us are like, I've got this idea. And I've got to protect myself legally. Because this first idea I've had is good, you know, it's not doesn't, it's a process, it's like, you've got to write a lot of scripts before you start to get the hang of it. It's like riding a bike, you don't just get on it. And you're, you know, you win the Tour de France, you know, you've got to get on and work and be in a process, you've got to go to the gym, you've got to write some terrible scripts, you've got to have some heartache, you've got to not be able to finish the script, you've got, you know, those is such a part of earning that success, you know, is failure is such a critical component, I think. You have to be able to embrace it, to learn from it, to be willing to go through the experience of what it feels like to be a failure. I've done that a lot. And I will do it again. That's just life. And I think, you know, people just imagine, I remember at film school at UCLA, it was all gonna get an agent, like getting an agent was like this magical solution. It's irrelevant. You know, someone said to me, there's a reason why you're 90%. And they're 10%. It's just a connected little piece of connector, a sort of connective tissue that helps you get into the industry or whatever, but it's the script. It's not work, it's the thing you're doing, that is going to get you the agent, the agent doesn't have any power to make a screenplay well written, or to make a story well told, you know, they've just servants of, of the business, right? So I just think it's interesting. It's important for people to bear in mind that it's a long journey to get anywhere at anything, whether it's screenwriting or violin or become or doing pottery or being a heavy metal band, or being in a heavy metal band or designing maps or you know, whatever it is that you do, you know, the people who are good at it, did not get good at it by snapping their fingers. It's a real commitment
Alex Ferrari 44:59
For people listening to like, oh, because now we're in a different generation now a different time in history where YouTubers and everybody wants to be famous, and everybody wants to do this. And then everyone looks at someone like Mr. beast who has 100 million subscribers. And he said he's like the first 10 years. Yeah, the first 10 years. I barely made it. Yeah, totally. Because it's takes a long time. So, and that's what that's what film schools don't want to teach you. They don't want us they don't want that. Who's gonna buy that product? Hey, we're gonna teach you something that's gonna take you about 10 years to make a living at it. Like it's horrible marketing. Without question, okay, so,
Sacha Gervasi 45:39
Yes, but anyway, so now you want to go to the present moment, Alex.
Alex Ferrari 45:42
So let's go. So let's go to the president of anvil so I go over, I'm gonna tell him I'm gonna tell you the story from
Sacha Gervasi 45:50
Remind me of the madness that ensued I'm having oatmeal please forgive me.
Alex Ferrari 45:54
So we are. So I go over see the movie for the first time. And the audience is fantastic in the in your screening room, which is a whole other your screening room as it was in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It's Al Pacino screening room. And once upon a time in Hollywood.
Sacha Gervasi 46:12
Quentin Tarantino came to the house, he said, I need to use this room for my movie. My wife was like, Absolutely not. I'm not we make movies. We're not having a film crew. Anyway, this out anyway. So I made this deal with Quentin, which is like if you if we let you use this room, because it's a real 35 room that he wanted. I need a 35 print of Once Upon a Time America, or Holloway was at a time in Hollywood. And he gave me one he was amazing.
Alex Ferrari 46:39
And I remember the day you got it, you called me up and like, do you want to come see,
Sacha Gervasi 46:43
You want to come see. And it can only be shown in that room. And you know, it's like the but but the point being that he was so cool about it. And I was like, Okay, if he wants this room, then I want I want to print the finished movie. And he was he was amazing about it. But when it came to getting the print, this is a side story. There so kind of, you know, these, these prints are like gold, you know, like we keep it in a vault because you have to keep it under, you know, under security. And you know, all the paperwork will so many people and Mike Rothman Tom Rothman, head of Sony had to like approve, this print was given and Roth was like, is why is this guy getting? We agree. That's the only way I got the print. But it was like, it was like getting something out of Fort Knox. It was unbelievable.
Alex Ferrari 47:28
I didn't know it was that big of a deal. But I guess it doesn't make sense.
Sacha Gervasi 47:31
Yeah, like made so few of them. And they struck a print and they gave me this print. And anyway, so thank you, Quentin, if you happen to be listening. So
Alex Ferrari 47:40
So anyway, so we gotta go see that movie. And by the way, for people when I'm in the room, there's a bunch of very cool looking older gentlemen in the room. Like, older gentleman, that should not look as cool as they looked.
Sacha Gervasi 47:56
Like who were they
Alex Ferrari 47:58
Walking in there and you're like, oh, that's Culture Club. Oh, yeah. It's no boy, George. Boy, George. Wasn't that with you? But But it was called your club? Oh, yeah. He works for Rod Stewart. And I'm like, this makes more sense.
Sacha Gervasi 48:09
David Palmer, the drummer of Rod Stewart. And we had Jim James, who was the lead singer of my morning jacket and all these kind of Muses wanted to see the movie,
Alex Ferrari 48:16
Right! So we see it then. And then like a few weeks later, you call me up like, Hey, we're having another screening of anvil. Do you want to come over? I'm like, Well, yeah, I mean, I mean, I got to see anvil. Again, I'd have no problem. So let's go back over. And we watched the movie, again, with a new audience inside the inside the screening room. And then at the end of the screening room, I pulled you aside, and I said, you know, I want you to come back on the show just to talk about anvil, because I feel it's a movie that needs to be talked about in today's world, because it's such a great message. And I think so many people need to hear the message of anvil. And I go, Oh, by the way, I'm working with this distribution company who's a friend of mine, and we're trying to put some stuff together, would you be interested in re releasing this? And that's how the conversations, that was the germ of the idea, and then you went off and you're like, a 15 year old? Yeah, we'll do like a 15 year release party, like we'll do, you know, we'll do a small thing, and this and that, and then we and then that's how the whole idea started. And then and then that rep that that, that that germ of an idea revved up very quickly, here.
Sacha Gervasi 49:21
And now. And then in the end. I mean, it was just crazy. And I mean, the whole thing, the screenings began, really, with my godson, Rio, who's 17 and his mother produced Rebecca produced the movie. And so Rebecca, and I had made this film and Rio was, you know, 678 years old. So last summer, he said to me, Look, because I'm his godfather. He said, I'd love to see that movie you and mom made, you know, all those years ago because I was a kid. So I said, sure. I'll show it. I invited him. And he brought all these friends from high school. Yeah, and this whole thing began because he brought all these kids to see this movie, none of them had heard of, obviously, apart from Rio, and they went nuts for the film. And we were like, what is going on. This is like a 13 year old documentary. And these kids have never heard of it. And they're vibing with it. And it was post COVID. And it was just landing the story about two best friends never giving up on a dream. It just really resonated with them. So that's where you and I started talking. And then I started talking with these guys that utopia. And it was astonishing. You know, that this screening that began, let me show my god godson, this movie that I made with his mum, that ended with offers from two separate distributors to bring it back out.
Alex Ferrari 50:38
To restore the film to bring it back out. And the thing that's so fascinating to me, and we keep joking about this, because utopia is run by a friend of the show, Rob. Yeah, Rob, who was on the show before. And I keep telling you, every time I talk to him, like, Rob knows this movie was released 1513 years ago, like he, he understands this movie.
Sacha Gervasi 51:02
Well, this is the thing because they've, they've really gone for it. And we have two large billboards on Sunset. And so sorry, this movie was released before but the great thing is they're acting like it hasn't been because they want to get, they've never even heard of this film, a lot of them. So now they've just gone through it. And it's, as I said, Richard Abramovitz, who released the movie, the first time around, Utopia has brought him in. And it goes to I think the current count is like 2 15 or 17 screams at the end of this month. I mean, it's, I mean, yeah. And so we're doing this big event la on the 22nd, at the sebamed Theatre, where we're showing the restored movie on a giant screen in front of 1200 people. And then the band is going to come out and play at the end. And we have Scott Ian from anthrax, and many other luminaries coming out to jam with them. It's gonna be complete madness. And then New York next Tuesday. We've we've, you know, we've sold out the angelica with Peter Dinklage as the host. And you know, it's crazy. It's all happening again, around this movie, that it's just a weird, it's got this magical energy this film, you know, and
Alex Ferrari 52:15
This is unprecedented
Sacha Gervasi 52:16
This has ever been like, it's never been done. Yeah, trickle rerelease of a documentary from I think because since anvil came out, you've had all these incredible movies like searching for sugar man and Ami and 20 feet from stardom. In fact, one of the things that happened with anvil was, you know, it didn't get long listed for an Academy Award. Due to the voting machine, they changed the voting rules actually in the academy in the in the doc branch, as regards music documentaries because of anger, because so many people were upset that it didn't get it got some amazing recognition. But as a result, when searching for sugar man won the Academy Award, you know, two years or three years after anvil came out, Simon Chu and the producer who's a good friend called me up and said thank you to anvil because he had the rules not changed, we never would have been in the situation to even win it in the first place. So Apple came ahead of this sort of the AMI sugar man 20 feet from stardom. Thing, and it was considered, I guess, you know, reasonably influential. So I think that it's one of those movies, which changed the paradigm a little and so I think that's one of the other reasons why it's being re released again, because it was sort of before all this kind of this recent kind of rise of documentaries, particularly particularly music documentaries.
Alex Ferrari 53:29
I'm fascinated to see how it does. I am absolutely fascinated to see to the numbers are going to be wouldn't it be crazy if this like starts to turn into something? Like?
Sacha Gervasi 53:40
I mean, as far as I'm concerned, it already has,
Alex Ferrari 53:43
You won no you've won Sacha
Sacha Gervasi 53:46
I mean, you know, I'm, it can't wait, I'm going to the Grove to do a q&a in LA, which is a pretty big theater. And we're you know, we're a premiere is twice the size of the original premiere. So I can't even we had an amazing premiere at the Egyptian. Yeah, we did that. But this place is with the band too. And it's twice the size. So
Alex Ferrari 54:08
And there's going to be there's going to be a few fans that. And that's the thing that's too is like you have fans of this film, like some of the biggest movie stars in the world, some of the biggest rock bands in the world. They're huge Star fans.
Sacha Gervasi 54:20
I mean, they relate to it. I mean, I was an artist as I was at a screening in London. It's really interesting. I was a screening in London a year and a half ago and it was like Julian Anderson from the X Files, you know, obviously many other things. Margot Robbie, Olivia Coleman. Boy, George, I mean, Lulu is a famous singer from the 60s in England who's brilliant to sew with love. They all went nuts for this movie. So I don't really know how to explain it if there's just something about it where people recognize something.
Alex Ferrari 54:53
So so I have to ask you, Robin and Lipson Rob, who are the two the two stars of this I have this opus what what did they think about this? Because I was there I did live. There was lips that popped on one of our original zoom meetings. We got I got to see lips. When you call them back up and go, Hey boys, we're doing a massive release of anvil theatrically around around America,
Sacha Gervasi 55:23
Around the world, by the way, Britain is bringing it back to altitude who released searching for Sugarman? Actually, I'll be releasing into theaters in the UK. It's we've just done a deal with Australia. It's going back around the world again, in this new restored version.
Alex Ferrari 55:37
What did they say when you call them about this?
Sacha Gervasi 55:39
They were just like, What the fuck are you talking about? I'm like, I don't really know.
Alex Ferrari 55:44
Like, this is the end. We had our run through. We're good. Thank you.
Sacha Gervasi 55:48
Correct! Yeah, exactly. I didn't think it took them quite some time to believe it. until we, until actually recently and this is another thing going on right now. They started talking in the UK about anvil the film of the band playing the Royal Albert Hall together. Wow. So that I think that was what really went lips was like, oh, oh, we're gonna maybe do the Royal Albert Hall. Okay. He started freaking out about that. I think it was just a bit like, it's very unusual. But it's like, it's like Top Gun. You know, I mean, Top Gun Maverick. Over the years of Top Gun. I mean, this is obviously not on the same scale. I'm not that deluded.
Alex Ferrari 56:30
Sacha Gervasi 56:34
I want to talk about Maverick and animal story Rambo double bill, the feelgood hits of the but the point being that over the years, like everyone loves Top Gun. And so I think what's happened with anvil is that people have found the film over the obviously, point 1% of the scale of Top Gun, but there is a fondness and a love for that film, which is seems to have grown. And so it's exciting because you just never know what's going to happen. Like, I would never have predicted that 13 years after the original release, there'd be a release, you know, four or five to five times that size. And the band is still here. They're still doing it. They've done six albums. Since you know it's
Alex Ferrari 57:13
And look at and look at all of the elements the universe put together for this to happen. You I invited you on a podcast.
Sacha Gervasi 57:22
Alex Ferrari 57:22
We became friends. Yeah, we then I go to a screening. We talk. The kids had to come and you saw that reaction. We have this. There's so many parts that had to fall into place for this to be released. And then you have utopia, who's insane. And I still say they're insane. I wish them all the best. But they're absolutely you just showed me pictures of of the billboards.
Sacha Gervasi 57:52
Yeah, yeah, no building a building covered in anvil. And then we have above Gil Turner's on Sunset for those who don't know, LA, I mean, it's like one of the prime spots at the intersection of sunset and bahini. For the entire month, we have an annual billboard standing alone, every and he's like, calling up but they're laughing because they're like, like, it's making people laugh. I love that. But it's just we are the underdog story. Like you've got the anvil billboard. And then you've got like, you know, you forget season two, or, you know, Lord of the Rings, the power of the ring sequel or whatever. I mean, just people are laughing is because it's ridiculous. But that's sort of part of what Advil is, is the absurdity, the the, you know, The Little Engine That Could madness that this film was always had. And so I kind of love the fact that Robert and, and Utopia acting as if it hasn't been released before.
Alex Ferrari 58:42
God bless America, God bless. And we and you've been kind enough to give two free tickets to the big premiere in LA, it's gonna be the big premiere in LA, which I'm going to if you guys are interested in I'm gonna be there. I'm flying out from Austin to dope, just specifically to go see him again, and to hang with you guys. But we're gonna
Sacha Gervasi 59:07
Alex will be you and me and the ticket winners in the 1500s or 1200 seat auditorium, with anvil. The great thing is, they'll be a show of their lives. If there's four of us, it won't matter. They'll play a stadium
Alex Ferrari 59:20
in that as the movie has showed, because we saw some of those with like, all in the pub in the tree if you if you guys just watched the trailer in the show notes, you just see like they're in a pub. And there's just like the one dude in a chair, like right next to rob because it's such a small venue that Rob is like literally bumping into the guy in the chair.
Sacha Gervasi 59:41
Alex Ferrari 59:43
But they're going hard,
Sacha Gervasi 59:44
They're going hard,. Because that's the point is that doesn't matter if there's one person or a million people in the audience, they go for it, they still get the same.
Alex Ferrari 59:51
And the lessons that this film can teach all of us as filmmakers and screenwriters as artists as people in general of what we're trying to do in life. It's so valuable. That's what I saw in the film. That's why I brought that idea up to you. And like, we got to get this out, as are people to know about this story. Because God, it's just such a, it's just such a ridiculous, wonderful, touching, insane story that will uplift and make you laugh. It'll make you cry. I mean, it's Tapcon. Let's just call it it's Top Gun Maverick.
Sacha Gervasi 1:00:24
I'll send you I actually got Alex, I'm gonna send this to you. I actually got a mic when when I was on the road with anvil at the time, right? I actually took a break in one of the tours in 86 to go to a family Bar Mitzvah. And so there's this film that my cousin on Earth, which has been digitized, which is, I really want to send you because I wish you would do if your notes. But usually, if I can find it, hold on, I'll find my guys
Alex Ferrari 1:00:52
Send it to me. I'll put I'll put it on the
Sacha Gervasi 1:00:54
Complete madness, dude. It's just a hole. Hold on one second. But anyway, so I'm feeling like really quite encouraged by the response so far. And, you know, who knows, whatever happens, it's great gravy, you know? I mean, it's just like, does it matter?
Alex Ferrari 1:01:10
It doesn't matter. But the thing is, look, I'm just happy to be a very, very small part. You had a big part of it, dude. I'm just glad to be any part of this release. And that, I mean, my God, I hope it can make 1% of 1% of what Top Gun did
Sacha Gervasi 1:01:29
I show you? So I show you this thing. So my cousin, when I was cool with anvil shot this video in 1986. And it's gonna go on to tick tock, I'm just gonna play this in your screen Hold on. If you don't buy the new album,
Alex Ferrari 1:01:48
Holy cow, is that who I think it is?
Sacha Gervasi 1:01:52
It's me. So I'm gonna send this to you.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:55
I'll put it up, I'll post it on social media, that's gonna be great.
Sacha Gervasi 1:01:59
I was like 17, or 16, or whatever. So I'm gonna send this to Alex. And it's one of the Tiktok things we're doing. Again, it's all being marketed in a completely different way. Right?
Alex Ferrari 1:02:10
This is this is a case that, listen, if it makes a billion dollars, hell, if it makes $100 million. Next $100, you're going to come back on the show, I need you to come back on the show. And we have to talk about what happened after that easily ever ending story.
Sacha Gervasi 1:02:29
Even if it makes enough money for you and I to have dinner at soup plantation, I'll be thrilled. You can have anything on the left side of the menu. I have a coupon it's going to be great.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:39
So man, so I'm going to ask you a few questions. I ask all my guests because I think it for this episode, I think it really makes sense. What is what advice would you give a filmmaker or screenwriter or anybody trying to follow their dreams trying to get to where they want to go,
Sacha Gervasi 1:02:56
I think the thing to do for me is to try and find a way to filter out other people's opinions. Because a parent will have an opinion or a friend or that will never work. You know, people can throw kind of wet blankets on what may be great ideas. So I think it's just being quite determined to just be true to what you know to be true. Like I said, you know, with the anvil, everyone was like, this will never work. Literally people would say this will never work itself. Finance, you're being crazy, who's gonna watch this movie, you know, and here we are 13 years later with the second release of the film. So it's just you got to trust your own instinct. Just know what you know, and and expect that other people will not support it, or frankly, even understand it, because only you know what you need to do. So that's, I think one big aspect of it. Because there's no trick, there's no secret, it all comes down to the movie or the script, it all comes down to the quality of the work. And that comes from your own authenticity with yourself. You know your own kind of like, okay, this makes me laugh or this makes me cry, or I feel something around the story. Just trust your own feelings around your story. I mean, I knew with anvil, you know, I just knew there was something good about it. Like you can't tell me that it's not commercial. You can't tell me you may be right. I don't give a shit what you're saying. What I'm focused on is I know this is there's something special here. And just you know, and don't doubt your instinct. So that's the thing I would say is do not doubt your own private instinct about what it is.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:26
Now, what did you learn from your biggest failure?
Sacha Gervasi 1:04:29
I've learned not to make a movie if the circumstance is not right. I was forced into making a movie or forced. I chose to make a movie where I knew it was super risky for various different reasons because of the producers and finances that were involved. And I loved the material and I was just like, Okay, I'm gonna go make this movie and screw it and everything will be okay. If you know at the beginning of a process. If you see red flags, and you ignore them, which I did. Ignore that You're parallel because things only ever get worse. And the other thing was like with with a crew member on a movie, it's like I knew I had a problem with a particular crew member, I didn't fire them, because I thought, Oh, this will be too much, you know, I really regretted that decision. As Alexander Payne always says, you know, fire quick fire early, you know, as soon as you see a problem, that problem is not going to go away, it will magnify and amplify. So, I guess my piece of advice is, do not ignore red flags. And, and also, you know, having failures, though is is how you learn the lessons, you learn the lessons through having the faith. So even if you do have a failure, it's okay. It's all about, you know, the old thing is, like, if you've got, if you get knocked down six times, the most important thing is you get up the seventh time, it doesn't really matter, you know, you've just got to keep getting up. So that that sort of refusal to refusal to give in, you got to train yourself, because often you're going to be on your own, you know, I mean, I look at you mentioned Oliver Stone, I mean, the stuff that that man has been through his films made the determination, the kind of hard core stuff full force, like people telling him like, this is a crazy movie, and you're anti American, and but you know, but he knew that he knew what he needed to do. And he just did it. And there's a certain relentlessness that I think is required, like, just don't get caught up in other people's opinions, because everyone is not going to see what you see. And everyone's not necessarily going to believe in you. So I'm quite sensitive person, I think most creative artists are, but you've got to have a sensitive side, where as it regards the work, but you've got to develop this warrior side. And I needed to develop that. And thankfully, I have had failures. And that helped me to develop those things, to be able to look failure in the face and go, Okay, I'm gonna avoid that now. So I'm not going to avoid that red, red flag. So when a crew members doing this kind of shit early, get rid of them, just deal with it, just pull the band aid now, and deal with the pain, don't put off dealing with situations, that was a big lesson that I needed to learn. And I learned it, but I learned it the hard way. And I think most people will learn their lessons the hard way. Right? You know, it's, it's very, what is it? Like, what is that great thing. The wise man learns, what is it a wise man learns mistakes from others, a genius lens them from himself or something I can't remember, but whatever it is, right, it's like, you have to earn it yourself, you know, all the wisdoms out there. And we know all the facts we need to know, but you got to, you know, Track down your road on your own and just learn and, you know, being a creative artist or filmmaker, you know, it's, it's a wonderful business, it's also a lonely business, you got to realize that, and, you know, family members of people that are just not necessarily going to understand, and you have to be cool with that. But anyway, it is what it is, it's also the most wonderful thing in the world, where if you do get through the battlefield, and you do make a film, and you do feel good about it, and you sit in an audience, you know, with people and you watch people listen and hear and respond to the ideas that you were trying to put into that movie, there, it's just so beautiful, because you feel connected with complete strangers. You know, it's it's extraordinary, you know, it's like, I was able to get an amazing print of ET, and play it, you know, and I got this fantastic print, and I was playing it, you know, at my house with some filmmaker friends. And, you know, we were all in tears at the end, you know, it's like, the ability that Spielberg has to reach people's hearts, you know, when he's working at his best, which is quite often to be able to reach people's hearts and, and connect everyone around this notion, in that case of sort of family and home and, you know, that's a powerful spiritual skill, to possess and to be able to deploy to bring people closer together. That's the whole idea of for me the stories and films is to bring people closer together.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:02
I have to ask you, did Steven ever see anvil?
Sacha Gervasi 1:09:06
I think he has. I didn't I actually have to invite him to the premiere, I think. But I know that lots of people, I mean, some incredible people already coming from quite famous actors, actually. But yes, I think he may have I think
Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
From what I understand from us is talking to so many people who've worked with him. He's that kind of guy. He will ask
Sacha Gervasi 1:09:31
He has everything Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:32
Everything and you know, write you a little note. It'll go
Sacha Gervasi 1:09:35
I got from, actually from Tom Hanks. I got one incredible note about anvil. So
Alex Ferrari 1:09:39
Did you? That's amazing. And last question, sir. three of your favorite films of all time.
Sacha Gervasi 1:09:46
Oh my god. Okay, sweet smell of success. Alexander mackendrick. 1957 James Wong how brilliant photography, but Lancaster Tony Curtis. Ben Hecht Clifford Odette screenplay unbel believable the greatest of the New York movies there's something so raw and visceral and Burt Lancaster was JJ Hunsaker is one of the great onscreen performances opposite Tony Curtis. And I love that movie. It's about power and moral corruption and desperation. And you know, New York and this is just such a great film. So I'd recommend that with Neyland I, you know, recommended before which is my great Bruce Robinson, you know, who was Academy Award nominated for killing fields, Written Directed with with Matt and I absolutely brilliant writer, brilliant filmmaker. I love that. And Chinatown. Which is one of my favorite films of all time, extraordinary. Robert Towne script Polanski at his best Nicholson at his best, just a brilliant film in a you can go back. And those are movies that you can go back and watch multiple times. And each time you watch it, you discover something new, or have a different experience, or you see it through the prism of whatever is going on in your life at that moment. That those are the great films are the ones that you can watch when you're 1020 3050. And they still work. And there's still something interesting, new and exciting about them. And those are the classic films. So those are like off the top of my head. Sweet Smell with nail and Chinatown are probably three of my favorite films. Also, I have to say I love remains to the day. And it's a beautiful memory. Yeah, most of which actually was written by Harold Pinter though he refused to take credit for the screenplay. Emma Thompson at her best Hopkins, I think in his best performance, and James IRA is the best Merchant Ivory film to me. So I would recommend people watch Remains of the Day. It's just the script is structured in such a truly extraordinary, simple, brilliant and effective way. It's such an emotional film because it's about unfulfilled yearning. Yearning is one of I think one of the most powerful human emotions. For me, it's like, particularly when it's unfulfilled in the case of a man, Stephens played by Hopkins who cannot express himself, he cannot say, I love you. And there's something there's such pathos in that and power because love is there. If only you'll have the courage to reach out and grab it. You know, I love that film. So that's one of my favorites. I have a printer that I actually have two principal remains of the day which I watch pretty regularly.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:16
And that is also a theme of anvil. Are you brave enough to go out and grab what you want in life and and if they don't give it to you right away? Are you willing to spend the next 30 years working in dive bars trying to figure it out until that 15 year old roadie calls you up who made it in Hollywood and said, Hey, you want to make a documentary? And then 15 years later, call him up?
Hey, we're gonna re release.
Sacha Gervasi 1:12:40
I would also urge anyone who's interested in the anvil story to look at one of the album's they did since the movie, the album is called anvil is anvil and Rob Reiner, the drummer who's also a painter, as you'll see in the film, he actually do drew an oil painting of an anvil, staring at itself in a mirror. And the album's called anvil is anvil I, when I saw this cover, I called up Rob Reiner said, Dude, how flipping high, were you? And he said, pretty high. He said, Don't you think it's great? And I said, Actually, I do. It doesn't get any deeper than that.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:11
By the way, you if you guys get a chance, the album covers for that 19 albums that they've done. But really art piece
Sacha Gervasi 1:13:21
Anvil and all the titles are, you know, sort of the illiterate metal on metal forged in fire strength of steel, pound for pound, you know, whatever is madness, go go and Seattle. But most importantly, can I can I can I suggest that if people want to see the movie, they should see the restored movie on the big screen. There's an interview afterwards and some bonus footage. And it's nationwide, September the 27th. Go to anvil the film.com to get tickets. And you'll see it's across the country and Canada. And I really hope that people go and see it and take their friends because I think what you will have is a really good time.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:57
There's no There's no and I don't even like it I don't even like heavy metal and I love this film without without question.
Sacha Gervasi 1:14:05
And it's also like Helen Mirren loves this movie. It's one of our favorite movies.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:09
Of course it is.
Sacha Gervasi 1:14:11
You know she's in the rock and roll I really the reason I got the job directing Tony Hopkins in the Hitchcock was because he loved to handle He and three times he loves and I think it just reaches you so check it out. We really hate the movie you write to Alex he'll send him I will give you a money back guarantee. If you really hate this movie, that's what you deserve to have your money back. I will send
Alex Ferrari 1:14:42
I appreciate I appreciate that. And I'll put put information about the giveaway for those two free tickets for the la premiere. On what date is it again September 22.
Sacha Gervasi 1:14:53
And then nationwide in theaters the 27. Five days later,
Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
My friend it is a joy having you on the show. You're all He's Welcome back whenever you want. It's just such a wonderful, I'm so glad that we're able to put this out into the world.
Sacha Gervasi 1:15:06
Thank you, I should say for your audience. Thank you Alex Ferrari because you were like the little seed that planted the whole idea. When you said you should bring this out into theaters again. I was like, What the hell are you talking about?
Alex Ferrari 1:15:18
Are you high Alex?
Sacha Gervasi 1:15:21
You suggested it man, so
Alex Ferrari 1:15:23
It's all my fault. So if it's if it's if it wins, it's my fault if it's a lose.
Sacha Gervasi 1:15:28
By the way, if you don't like the movie right to Alex, he'll give you your money back.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:34
So we're breaking up this is a very bad connection now all of a sudden Sasha, my friend it is a pleasure as always good luck to you and please come back and let us know how it goes.
Sacha Gervasi 1:15:43
I will let you know I'll see you the premiere just be me you and anvil in a giant auditorium, but we'll have the time of our lives.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:50
A pleasure, brother.
Sacha Gervasi 1:15:51
Okay, see you soon guys.
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