Interview : Frank Whaley

It’s been a busy month for writer/actor/director Frank Whaley. The one-man machine behind new film "The Jimmy Show" has been in and out of interviews, zipping from Premieres here and there – and mostly working. CLINT MORRIS talks to Whaley about the new film, as well as chatting about a couple of new films.

Tell me about the origins of The Jimmy Show

I first discovered the material in 1994. It’s based on a play called "Veins and Thumbtacks" by Jonathan Marc Sherman. The play ran successfully off Broadway and I became very interested in the role of Jimmy and making his story into a movie. After my first film I decided it was the thing to do next.

You’re good friends with Ethan Hawke, is it automatically assumed he’ll appear in your movies?

ha ha. I don’t assume anything. But he’s a very good friend and talented actor.

As a director, do you have influences?

My wife, my son, my accountant, and Tony Richardson.

You’ve played a heap of roles over the years – any favourites?

I would say Jimmy O’Brien in a little picture that’s just opening called "The Jimmy Show."

How was working on "Pulp Fiction" – do you still get recognized for the role?

It was a wonderful experience meeting and working with Tarantino, Sam Jackson and Travolta. After the movie first came out I would get screamed at from cabs passing by lines from the movie. Nowadays people just scream things at me.

They’re talking about a pre-quel to Pulp – surely your character would turn up in that one!?

I haven’t heard about it, but Lord knows I’m available.

How did you you end up involved in "Red Dragon", especially uncredited?

You have to talk to my agent about that one (as soon as he gets out of jail).

As a director, do you have any films you’d really like to make?

Yes, I’m presently writing a romantic comedy for Disney.

Can you tell me a bit about your next two films, "A Cold Day in August" and "Self Medicated"

No, "A Cold Day in August" I did two years ago and I’ve forgotten what it’s about and "Self Medicated" I dropped out of to do Rick Linklater’s new film "School of Rock" with Jack Black.

THE JIMMY SHOW is now screening.