It’s a Relationship Comedy-Drama with a Little Bestiality

Talking with Bobcat Goldthwait, whose film opens the new CineVegas Art House Screening Series

Julie Seabaugh

When people first hear the word "bestiality" in association with Sleeping Dogs Lie, is there a misconception that the film is more of a gross-out comedy or, alternately, more of a shock-drama?

A relationship comedy-drama with bestiality, or a little bestiality, and then it's directed by the guy from Police Academy—I can understand why it wouldn't have any specific audience lining up, you know what I mean? I think people do think it's going to be, like you said, a gross-out comedy, but that wasn't really too interesting for me to go make that kind of movie.

The overriding themes of honesty and forgiveness—are they based on a time when you've been too honest with someone, or someone else has been too honest with you, or you think that this is something everyone has to deal with?

When you're in a relationship, you spill all your secrets for various reasons. One, because you think, "Oh, this is the person for me, and I can tell them anything." And all those things later on will probably haunt you during the break-up. Or people tell way too much stuff during sexy pillow talk. Has this happened to me? I think I've been burdened with things that people told me that I wish they didn't.

You got into stand-up comedy at a very early age, but at what point did the urges to write and direct come to you?

I think my wanting to write and direct stuff came out of frustration from when I was in movies. If you're a greasy wheel, you could probably do really well in show business; if you're a complainer, you know. And despite complaining a lot onstage, I'm never that kind of person on-set. Directing came from when I went, "Oh, that's what I want, because you can be a quiet, polite greasy wheel."

Sleeping Dogs Lie is part of the new CineVegas arthouse series. Did you ever see yourself as an arthouse-film kinda guy?

Yeah, 'cause I'm old enough to remember that "arthouse" was code for porn.

What do you have next on the directing and writing front?

I'm going to keep directing. I like working with other comedians, so it doesn't necessarily always have to be about me. I worked on the [Jimmy] Kimmel show, and the Dave Chappelle show. That's kind of a really cool job, so if I went and did that now, that would be great. If I got one of my scripts going now, that would be great. But I've never really been one of those people with a big plan. I don't have a two-week plan, let alone a five-year plan.

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