HARMONY KORINE ON THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN
The Late Show with David Letterman / April 3, 1998
David Letterman: Our next guest is the talented filmmaker behind the controversial motion pictures Kids and Gummo, and now he has written a novel entitled A Crackup at the Race Riots. Here's the pleasantly odd Harmony Korine.
(Korine walks out and greets Letterman before sitting down. He is wearing very shabby clothing and his general appearance is unkempt)
Letterman: Thanks for being on the show.
Harmony Korine: Thanks.
Letterman: How you doing?
Letterman: You know you, ah...
(looking at clothes, audience begins to laugh. Korine laughs)
Letterman: Thanks for fixing yourself up for the show too.
(the audience laughs. Korine laughs)
Letterman: Skateboard park clothes, what's going on?
(Korine laughs a little and shrugs)
Letterman: It looks like something's happened, are you ok?
Korine: I just had to rent it.
Letterman: You rented this little number? (laughs)
Korine: Yeah, I rented it.
Letterman: What's new in your life, everything well?
Letterman: Hey, how did that Gummo turn out by the way?
Korine: Good, it was a really amazing blockbuster and...
Letterman: What was the budget on that? I think we talked about that, it was like 1.3 million dollars.
The Late Show with David Letterman (April 20, 1998)
Letterman: What kind of dough did it make, like what did it make back?
Korine: I'm not really sure. I never asked. I think it made ... alot.
Letterman: Is it still in theatres?
Korine: That's how I got my outfit
(audience laughs. Korine rubs his eyes)
Letterman: Is it still playing?
Korine: Yeah, it's been playing 18 months straight.
Letterman: Now that's interesting because on the one hand they had Gummo for 1.3 and then on the other hand, on the other end of the spectrum...
Korine: [Forrest] Gump?
Letterman: No, no, no, you had Titanic
Korine: Oh, yeah, that's...
Letterman: Have you seen Titanic?
(Korine is looking around and then down at his feet)
Letterman: 200 million, my friend. Right there, 200 million. Now that's a movie.
Korine: Yeah, I know it'd sink.
Letterman: Have you seen the film?
Korine: Oh, I liked it.
Letterman: Yeah, you enjoyed it.
Korine: I mean, I liked what I saw of it, and, um, it was pretty, ah, I don't really remember.
Letterman: Do you, would you...
Korine: I mean I saw the previews.
Letterman: Oh you saw the previews, well that's good enough
Letterman: Would you one day like to direct a film on that scale
Korine: Yeah, the second one.
Korine: I'd do the sequel probably.
Letterman: The sequel to Titanic?
Letterman: And how would that go?
Korine: I'd use a rowboat.
Korine: I don't know if it'd sink.
(close-up of Harmony's feet. He is wearing dirty white sneakers and torn up jeans. Audience laughs. Harmony waves them off, laughing a little, and then sits forward)
Letterman: Tell us a little about your book, A Crackup at the Race Riots.
(Korine starts laughing)
Letterman: This, by the way, is why they invented child-proof caps
(Korine sits back)
Korine: It's my first novel. I wanted to write a...
Letterman: Are you a novelist?
Korine: Yeah (nodding).
Letterman: You're a filmmaker, I guess it doesn't make any difference, you're just a creative entity.
Korine: I just work a lot and (shrugs), I wanted to write the great American novel, or a novel, I just wanted it to be American.
(audience and Letterman laugh)
Letterman: Now here's the book...
(Letterman brings the book out from the side and begins flicking through the pages)
Letterman: Now how long did it take you to write this book?
Korine: I think probably over a two year span. Two or three years.
Letterman: Now here I turn to page 59, we've got it clipped off here, and all I see on page 59 is the word "hepburn."
(Letterman holds the page open on the desk for the camera. Close-up of the book)
Korine: Yeah, that was going to be the first page, 'cause I wanted to write the great book of just one word but it ended up being on like (pointing to the book) something like page 67.
(Letterman is flicking through the book for a moment. Audience begins to laugh)
Letterman: (serious) How much this thing go for, Harmony?
Letterman: What are we talking about?
Korine: I think it's the regular book price.
(Letterman and audience laugh)
Korine: I don't know, I don't like to, I never even, I can't imagine why anyone would buy a book nowadays
Letterman: Yeah, now would you buy this book, would you recommend people go out and buy it or not?
(Korine sits back)
Korine: I'd probably read an older book.
(audience laugh and then Letterman starts to laugh)
Letterman: Are you happy with this book or are you not happy with it?
Korine: Oh, I like it.
Letterman: You couldn't recommend it though?
Korine: I'm the author, so it's hard, I wouldn't endorse it.
(audience and Letterman laugh)
Korine: But not my own book, I would rather endorse someone else's book.
(some members of the audience laugh)
Letterman: Now who published this one?
(Letterman looks at the spine of the book and shows surprise at the publisher)
Letterman: This is Doubleday, oh Doubleday, now are they pleased with the work?
Korine: Yep, they love it.
Korine: I mean, I think so.
Letterman: Yeah. Do you have a deal to write another book?
Korine: Um... I gotta check.
Letterman: So now you've done directing and writing, now which of the two do you prefer?
Korine: I like writing and directing (nodding).
(Korine is looking at Letterman. He says nothing. Audience laughs. Letterman starts impersonating a child trying to open a safety cap. Korine laughs and looks around. Letterman screams "mom" to the side)
Korine: No, I like to do both, I think they're both nice, just some of the people i come into contact with I can't stand...
Letterman: Do you have a girlfriend... oh some of the people you come in contact with you can't stand?
(Letterman smiles and laughs. Harmony shakes his head)
Korine: I just don't like them.
Letterman: They just kinda rub you the wrong way, huh?
(Harmony does a shoving motion to the side and then starts to laugh. Letterman taps at the desk)
Letterman: Yeah, because you know, you're like a mouseketeer, who would have trouble with you, huh?
Korine: I don't know. It's not good. I could get sued.
(Korine cracks up laughing. Letterman taps the desk and looks to Paul Shaffer. Camera on Paul Schaffer)
Letterman: Paul, you got anything for Harmony?
Paul Shaffer: No.
(back to Korine and Letterman)
Letterman: Do you know Ruby Wax?
(Korine shakes his head. There is a silence for a moment and then he and the audience start laughing)
Korine: I never met him.
(there is a bada ching on the drums and the audience applauds. Harmony looks over to the band, smiling. Close-up on Paul and the band. Paul sallutes Harmony)
Letterman: Harmony, I'm about to say something I've never said to a guest before in the seventeen years we've been doing this. You go back to the hotel immediately right now (audience laughs) and take a long hot shower (audience laughs a little).
(Letterman is laughing. Letterman picks up the book. Harmony shrugs, looking at the crowd)
Letterman: The book is called A Crackup at the Race Riots. Harmony Korine wrote it although he can't really recommend. Harmony, nice to see you, thanks for being here.
(Korine and Letterman shake hands. Korine also waves to the crowd as they shake. Music plays as the camera pans out)