[Tribeca '12] Interview: ‘Eddie’ Director Thinks Other People Suffering is ‘Hilarious’!

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal makes its North American premiere on April 20th as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, and is showing again on the 21st and 28th in New York City.

Onetime art star Lars Olafssen is all washed up. Too uninspired to paint, he accepts a teaching stint at a small-time art school in podunk Koda Lake, Canada, where he does double duty as caretaker for the offbeat town’s neighborhood weirdo, Eddie. Eddie doesn’t speak, doesn’t have any friends, and is generally regarded by the townsfolk as a harmless loon, but to Lars he quickly becomes a trusted companion. As their unlikely friendship evolves, a dark and violent secret about Eddie’s nocturnal impulses begins to surface. A secret that stirs long-dormant artistic urges in the creatively stunted Lars. A secret that he feels compelled to nurture…

I wasn’t sure how to translate the chaos I’ve been seeing on the trailer posted below. Looks zany. Leading up to Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal‘s North American premiere at Tribeca Film Festival this year, I spoke with the film’s director Boris Rodriguez, and got it right from the horse’s mouth – where he’s coming from and what it’s all about.

Eddie is an off-beat, dark comedy,” Boris declares. “It’s meant to entertain us thanks to the suffering of others because other people suffering is always hilarious! The laughter Eddie evokes is as uneasy one, there are some hilarious moments for sure, but most of the comedy is subtle. It’s up to you to find it funny, which you will if you’re sick and twisted… That’s what I love about dark comedies, they give you the right, the option, to laugh at things that would normally be considered in very bad taste.

An obnoxious drunk fell down the stairs at my house once, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I found them sprawled on the floor in my foyer, so there is something to that.

Being that Boris is not only the film’s director but also its screenwriter, I imagined the end result of Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal was the sum of dreams and ideas he envisioned early on. I asked him about that.

Rodriguez explains: “The original idea came from my co-writer at the time, the very talented Jon Rannells. At first the film was set in the outer banks of North Carolina, amidst the sand dunes during the off-season, when things feel quiet and desolate. The mute character was a werewolf – not a sleepwalking cannibal. And the artist was a novelist. When the werewolf would eat someone, the novelist would write a new chapter to what he hoped would become the next great American novel. Oddly enough, I saw the story as autobiographical. Jon of course thought I was nuts – he just wanted to tell a whacky story! But the idea of a creative person going to great lengths to create their art at the expense of others, the question of ‘how far would you go for art?’ was a theme that interested me. But I also wasn’t interested in doing something too heavy. Even if the themes I’m dealing with are heavy, a film that I direct will always have a certain levity to it. It should be entertaining, first and foremost. Eventually Jon moved to LA and the story got moved up to Canada (where I’m from). The werewolf became a sleepwalking cannibal and the novelist became a painter, but the theme remained the same, how far will you go for art? And of course all the fun blood and violence was still there!