Penn Jillette — illusionist, bestselling author, outspoken libertarian and atheist — has a new project on his hands, and some new roles: screenwriter, director, and movie star. His revolutionary new film project is Director’s Cut.
Director’s Cut, a horror film written and directed by Jillette and his colleague Adam Rifkin, is about a psychopath, portrayed by Jillette, who stalks and kidnaps a young actress. What makes this film project unique is that it is not funded by a major motion picture studio. Instead, the film is being financed by individual contributors through the website FundAnything.com.
Jillette’s project offers people an opportunity to be part of creating a film that will be seen by audiences across the country. Incentives are being offered for donations of certain dollar amounts: A $20 donation will allow you to see your name in the end credits of the movie; $150 entitles you to attend a red-carpet advanced screening. Other larger dollar donation incentives can be found on the website.
Asked why he wanted to portray the “bad guy” in Director’s Cut, “good guy” Jillette offers a “poetic point” (his words): “I love when violent, dangerous art is done by people who are not violent and dangerous. I love that when George Romero was making Dawn of the Dead, he was coaching his son’s little league team … I love the idea that horror and fear is a celebration of health and life … One of the rushes you get, whether you’re talking about Shakespeare or you’re talking about Dawn of the Dead is the feeling after the horror, of being alive.”
Turning to national topics, libertarian Jillette sounds off on the curtailing of civil liberties and the ineffective dynamic of the two parties. He admonishes the NSA regarding the vast spying apparatus revealed by Edward Snowden. “The NSA is a pretty easy call for me … they shouldn’t be doing that. End of story.”