Talking with Gregg Araki about his eye-popping new film Kaboom
SFBG It's obviously there in the style and mystery of it. But I was also curious about its being a television serial might be important. There are all these stretches in Kaboom where it feels like you're watching three or four-minute tight episodes in fast succession — all this crazy shit keeps piling up. It reminded me of what getting hooked by a TV show is about, but in a compressed way.
GA Yeah, someone told me that there's basically a whole season of a show in this one movie. I worked on Kaboom for years, and in a different incarnation it was actually developed as a TV show. So it definitely has a relationship with that kind of storytelling, but there was a point when it just made more sense to make a movie. The first cut of Kaboom was half an hour longer, but I wanted the movie to play like a roller-coaster ride, where you get on and then it's sort of over before you know it — again, with the idea that the cult audience can just pop it in over and over. If it was three hours long, that wouldn't work.
SFBG Another thing that gives Kaboom the feeling of a ride is the wall-to-wall soundtrack. A lot of short scenes have three or four distinct music cues.
GA We had the score composed by four people and then on top of that we had about 30 songs. Every one of them is a personal favorite. The music is always where a lot of my inspiration comes from. A lot of the mood and spirit of Mysterious Skin (2004) is in the Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd score. If you listen to the soundtrack of Kaboom, you can almost see the movie in your head. So much of what the movie is to me is atmosphere. And so much of that atmosphere is created through the music.
SFBG And it fits with that time when you're living in a dorm and music is coming at you from all sides.
GA I still live that way. I get up in the morning and before I even turn on the coffee, I turn on my stereo and listen. It's always playing. When I write, too. It's such a big part of my life — so of course it's there in my movies. *
KABOOM opens Fri/18 in Bay Area theaters.