Connect with us

The Low Down

Juliette Lewis Opens Up About Controversy Surrounding ’90s Tarantino Flick ‘Natural Born Killers’

Updated

on

Juliette Lewis

Released in 1994, Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic Natural Born Killers was oozing with controversy upon its release. For actress Juliette Lewis, the film featured one of her most beloved performances. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Lewis spoke to Entertainment Weekly about working on it and the controversy it garners to this day.

Heart Of Stone

In the early ’90s, Lewis gained critical acclaim for her work in Cape Fear. As expected, many scripts were thrown her way following the film. While the script for Natural Born Killers was superb, director Oliver Stone was the deciding factor. “At that time in particular [he was making] things that make you think, and really pack a punch, and were really intelligent. So, for me, it was an incredible opportunity to show these kind of primal energies that you particularly don’t get as a female to demonstrate. I was 19, going through my nihilistic rite of passage phase [laughs], so it was really a perfect project for me,” Lewis told Entertainment Weekly.

Stone is one of the most decorated directors of all time. Before Natural Born Killers, he earned Oscars for Midnight Express, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July.

Going Behind Bars

Instead of using a fake prison, Stone shot the film inside Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center. For Lewis, being inside the prison was an unbelievable experience. “It was wild. It’s funny, because there’s a lot of stories from this set that are really unique. We were like an old band of gypsies, carnival folk. I mean, people use those terms in movie-making, but this was particularly true, because we were literally in caravans, going from town to town. Winslow, Arizona, to New Mexico the next week, and landing in the prison, a working prison,” Lewis told Entertainment Weekly. “And that’s all Oliver. He used actual inmates in the riot scenes. That’s Oliver. I don’t know. He comes from the war, you know. So, there’s a fearlessness in the way he wants to create electricity on a set. It was a trip.”

A select amount of actual inmates were used as extras. To be safe, Stone handed them plastic weapons for the riot scene. Unfortunately, inmates caused a real riot in the prison. Two-hundred extras were brought in to replace the inmates.

Pointing The Finger At Them

Natural Born Killers would have earned an NC-17 rating if it didn’t delete certain scenes. Despite the R rating, the film was banned in Ireland upon its release. In the U.K., the film saw a delayed release due to its controversy. The movie has been blamed for causing various copycat crimes across the country. With so much happening to the film, Lewis was stunned. “As actors, when we were selling the film, I never had experienced the level of animosity and aggression or disdain from journalists. They were so so mad at us! Like, we were at fault! And I went, Wow, this is Oliver’s ability to antagonize who he wanted to light a fire under,” Lewis told Entertainment Weekly. “I feel there are relevance in the statements of the film and it’s also ugly in that these characters are vomiting out ugly behavior and then there’s humor within it. Anyway, I feel like it has a place. But when you started getting the stories of where you blame [the film for crimes] — I don’t go to criminals to get their excuses.” Lewis’ performance in the film earned her a Pasinetti Award for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival.

While it became controversial, Natural Born Killers earned $50 million against a $34 million budget. 25 years later, the film is one of few perfectly merging violence and romance into a phenomenal delivery.

The Low Down

Guilty Pleasures Galore, These Are The Best Reality TV Shows Ever, Ranked

Reality TV shows are what “guilty pleasures” are made of. But some of these series are a cut above the rest, managing to become true works of art. We went through all of the crowning achievements in the world of reality television — not including competition shows — and came up with our rankings of the best shows you can’t help but revel in.

Published

on

Continue Reading

The Low Down

These Stars Refuse To Film Nude Scenes, And They’ve Explained Their Reasons Why

Is putting one’s body on display for the whole world to see really necessary for Hollywood fame and fortune? Not if you ask these humble actors and actresses. While many other screen stars are willing to go the whole nine yards, these ones simply refuse to do it. Here are the stars who you’ll never see in nude scenes.

Published

on

Continue Reading

The Low Down

Double Threats: We Didn’t Realize These Stars Made The Switch Between Music and Movies

Whether some musicians break away from the stage to act in a film as a side project, or whether they leave their singing careers behind completely in order to start on a totally new career path, some of the biggest stars have been able to reinvent themselves from music to acting. Here’s a chance to glimpse your favorite stars in a totally new light you may never have expected.

Published

on

Continue Reading