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Interview: Paul Weiner

Ok, I have something really cool and interesting here. If you follow the Quest For The WORST Movie then you'll know I've reviewed a little movie called Monsturd. I also got OddWolf to check it out too. I've been lucky enough to catch up with Paul Weiner, who played Sheriff Duncan, about Monsturd, acting, and what the future holds for him...

Hello Paul and welcome to Zenless Popcorn. So let's start off with acting...what inspires you to act?

If I like a character. I’ll attempt anything. It’s fun and when I can become the character I’m very happy. And I know it’ll be something entertaining for others, I don’t need anything else.

What a brilliant inspiration! What advice would you have for people who want to act?

In my case, it was later in life. It’s never too late. I did a short recently and at 54 years old I’m going to keep doing it along with stand up. I love doing things that are creative and other creative people are fun and inspiring to work with. The feeling I have is something I want everyone to experience in some way in this life. If not acting whatever it is that makes you feel alive.

In 2003 you were in the cult classic Monsturd... I love this statement. It sounds like something a prosecutor will say to me when I’m charged with glitter bombing some haters. 😂

How was the role pitched to you? What were your initial thoughts on being offered a role in this movie?

I was working in San Francisco. Two coworkers approached me one day. I was a mailroom coordinator. One day I went to work dressed in a sharkskin suit like I was Sinatra. They approached me later. And pitched a movie idea with a Sinatra-type character. That never happened. Instead later, they handed me a script. I still have the original. It was called; Number 2, Part 1. I read it and was hooked. The fact that they told me it was self-financed, no pay, and hard work was punk as fuck to me. I love DIY stuff. The script was hysterical. I said yes immediately.

I can only imagine how crazy the script looks, and have to admit I'd love to get hold of a copy if it were possible. How long was filming on set? Were there any incidents that stuck out on set that you could share?

It took forever. Two films over almost five years. I started filming on day one with a girlfriend. When we finished I was married to her and we had an infant son.

Every shoot had an incident. Shooting on federal land. Getting tourists and locals to give us space so we could shoot.Tons of crazy stuff. Logistic and technical stuff all the time. During a shoot for a cameo in another film. Former Dead Kennedy’s frontman Jello Biafra saw us in front of his house. He later did a cameo in Retardead.

The craziest thing for me was in Napa. In some wine caves, they somehow set up for a shoot. It was used as underground sewer scenes. First, we couldn’t unlock the entrance to the caves. Then power was unavailable. Then we had power outages. It started late. We finished near sunrise. At one point when running across the gravel floor while wearing a diaper I just ate it. Fell face-first into the gravel. I believe we all did at some point. We were delirious. Some real falls made it into the movie.

The filming sounds like it was absolutely insane! Was there much footage left on the cutting room floor that you are aware of?

I’m sure. That’s a good question for Rick Popko and Dan West.

The making of the making is better and funnier. We had a lot of fun. Even when it sucked.

Is it true that the movie was made on an incredibly small budget and some of the actors actually volunteered their services?

I think I paid them. Lol. All kidding aside. All of us had lives. Jobs, kids, relationships. It’s amazing we got it together. I had it easy. I just showed up and acted. We all did other stuff on set. Dan and Rick did so much. I really can’t believe we did it. They did it. Twice! If they had a budget and funding with no artistic restrictions. They’d have been dangerous.

I still dream of a version they make both movies with a Hollywood-type budget. It would be cool. It would never match the magic of what we did. But it’d be cool.

Do you get recognized at all? How do fans react?

I was once. It was pretty cool. I wasn’t so much recognized as I was caught. I’m being silly. Truth is, It’s awesome knowing people not only appreciated us but were entertained. That made it all worth it. That’s all anyone really wants who creates something. Just one person to say, you did it. And if it’s good, that’s even better. I’m so proud we did something so fucking hard and saw it through.

Have you watched the movie? What do you think of it?

It’s been years. I’ve seen it three times. It was hard to watch myself. I’m one of those types. Always wanting to do it over. It was my first movie. It gave me the courage to audition for stuff. Since then I’ve gone on and done some film stuff. With DIY types. I have been doing stand-up for four years, improv, sketch, and got cast in a queer version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s called Breakfast at Joe’s. I love creating art and comedy is my thing.

Reflecting on it now, what are your thoughts on the experience of making the movie?

As much as I want to be faux humble. I’m very proud. Rick and Dan gave me an opportunity to do stuff I wanted to do as a child and never had the courage. If that’s as good as it gets. It’s pretty awesome. Who knows fifty years from now someone may see it for the first time. I may be gone. But I won’t really be gone. And that makes me happy.

If there was an actual Monsturd 2 (I know that the 2 of the trilogy was RetarDEAD and the third is being filmed I think?) and you were asked to be part of it would you get involved (I know ideas for Monsturd 2 were scrapped, but never say never.)?

It’s an immediate YES.

What are you doing now? What are your future plans?

Open mics. Stand up. In Austin. My son who was conceived during the making of the monsturd is 20 now. I have a 30 and a 15-year-old too. And grandkids. My dreams are happening. And I want to take my stand up in the direction of real-life stories of trauma and survival and bring humor and healing with them. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 12. Paul Weiner, thank you very much for taking the time to talk about the movie!

My pleasure. Thanks for being a fan. In 1999 when we started I never would’ve believed in 2021 I’d be asked about it. Dan told me we’d have cult fans for years. And they told me they wanted me to be their cult underground star like Bruce Campbell. They knew just how to boost my ego to get the most out of me. Haha. I love those guys.

So there you have it folks, a nice chat with a really nice guy (he actually thanked me for this interview and said it was fun which really meant a lot to me). I hope all goes well for his future endeavors.

Monsturd is rated 15 and available on DVD (if you can actually find a copy) and VOD.

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