Who are you?
(Coughs) If this is the question, "Who am I?" then know thyself, Socrates. It's a lifelong journey, Nardwuar, you know. I'm getting there gradually. I wrote a new book called A Child's Night Dream. It was my first novel, and it's about a person based on myself. It's fiction based on myself up to the age of twenty.
You are Oliver Stone!
Well, so that doesn't mean anything unless you take the sum of all the films and you'd have to see all the movies to sort of understand where that all leads to, but even there in the movies it's not me completely. It's part of me.
Oliver Stone, do you feel like "William" or "Oliver" today?
Well, it's an issue I raise in the book. As a child I had had sort of a split identity. To my father I was often called "William," "Bill" or "Willy." Willie Mays was one of my baseball heroes. And then to my mom I was "Oliver" or "Olivaire." She was French. So I had sort of a split identity when I was a kid. Each name means something else to me.
What did you dream last night, Oliver Stone.
Hello, are you still there, Oliver Stone?
Yeah, I wasn't ready for this question. I dreamt probably, I had a busy night last night. I slept very hard. I don't remember my dreams actually. I was at the YMCA in New York City doing a reading for my book in front of a big crowd so I was a little bit excited. I was exhausted last night.
I heard you really like cheese, Oliver. You're a big cheese lover.
No. I used to be. As a Frenchman, I used to eat cheeses, yeah. I've been cutting down so my doctors are not for it.
Well, I heard your deli tray, we're speaking here to Oliver Stone, I heard for your deli tray you had requested some cheese on there. I was wondering if you liked Canadian or American cheese.
Oh, Jesus Christ, you really do your job! Well, Canadian cheese, what do you suggest, Nardwuar? Well, I guess Canadian. I love cheese! American cheese doesn't quite do it for me as much as Canadian cheese, since we are in Canada.
But speaking of fellow cheese lovers, Oliver, it was really nice of you to put up one hundred grand of your own, your own! Money to have Courtney Love appear in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Like, a hundred thousand bucks is a lot of money! What was this all about? Have you ever done this type of thing before?
No, I never had, but I felt very strongly that she was being unfairly discriminated against by the insurance companies, and it was a real battle to get her into the movie. We won it. Milos and I, and the other producers put it together, and Courtney put up a portion of her own fee. It was the price to enter "the club," I guess, you know, because she had a bad girl reputation.
Because a hundred thousand dollars from an established director like yourself, that's amazing! It had not been done too much in Hollywood before, had it?
I don't know on a case by case basis. It's not a common thing, no.
Oliver Stone, can I ask you a few questions about your new novel, A Child's Night Dream?
On page 137, it's wild, like, you kind of predict the future! You're like, "In later years of my life, when I would work alongside fabled, powerful people." Like, in your actual novel, you're saying this!
Yeah, well, bear in mind that it's true, I deliberately shifted the timeframe there, but keep in mind that I wrote the book thirty years ago. That's where the original material came from. Last year, after Nixon came out, I took some time off, six months alone, and I worked on the novel extensively, to put a framework around it, a framework of a fifty year old man looking back at a twenty year old man. So the idea was just to hint at the possibilities in the future there.
Well, the wild thing is on page 198; you go, "Until one inexpressible day, in October 1997...." Hey, that's today! In your actual book, you're saying "October 1997" and I'm speaking live here to Oliver Stone in October 1997!
(Laughs) Those are what I call Future Fantasies. They were listed as Future Fantasy One, Future Fantasy Two.... They were chapters because it wasn't too ago when you were nineteen years old, and you're young, and you're very lost in the world and footloose and you don't have a "home" yet. The idea is that the young person is often subject to strong fantasies, strong imagination, a strong pool of imaginary lives. And that's what I did: in 1967 I imagined myself in the 1990s as a successful person, and you've seen what the chapters are about. I mean, there are a lot of desires there; a lot of wish fulfillment.
And Oliver Stone, on page 13, you actually mention my namesake, Ruskin!
(Laughs) Why, you have a thing for John Ruskin?
John Ruskin is my real name!
Oh, is that right?
Although my radio name is Nardwuar the Human Serviette, John Ruskin is my real name, but now that I've told everybody that, we should really move on. Next question, and we're speaking here to Oliver Stone, now, looking into your book, three lines and twenty-seven words into A Child's Night Dream, the word "erection" appears.
Now, although the word "fuck" doesn't happen until page 9, and also, Oliver, you use the phrase "anal sphincter" twice.
Anal sphincter. Have you used that word recently at all?
No, a lot of that words have gone with the time, you know. I tried to, I used a lot of bigger words back then when I was into the literary world. I've since, you know, moved on in my life. But it's a beautiful language in that book. So beautiful; Poetry.
Yup, like things on page, on page 43 there's a sentence such as "He has an irresistible urge to slide his man-weapon into the lady's soft moist mouth of the Nile."
Or, or on page, um, or another one, "slipping, slipping his snake sweetly into her supper." Or, on page 66 and we're going through here A Child's Night Dream with Oliver Stone, on page 66, "camera focusing on the last trickle of snow as it melts from a shrinking gland."
(Laughs) I can see your obsessions at work.
Oh, oh well your prose is quite incredible here. Is that part of a reason A Child's Night Dream was rejected by New York publishers? Was there too much pornocracy in it?
That's the word I use later on. A pornocracy: to indicate a society filled with pornography, right?
I mean I don't even think there's as much pornocracy in say like "Penthouse Letters" or-
No, c'mon, you're exaggerating.
Well no, back then.
Back then, "Penthouse Letters" was not in existence, so was that some of the reason you had a hard time finding an outlet for your work? Like, why did the publishers reject it?
(Laughs) Well, it was a very raw book. Put it that way. And it was also much more chaotic than its present shape, that's part of what I did last year. I put it into an order, an A, B, and a C. Uh, I was able to put an ending on it, a beginning, and a frame. So back then it was really a chaos, Henry Miller combination with Joyce, and me, nutty. So, sex was a big part of a young person's life. A very big part; And as you know, uh, as you may not know, in the early 60s, late 50s, uh, relations between the sexes, young male and young female, wasn't encouraged. It was a segregated society. I grew up in boys school only, uh, only, and went to, you know, boys summer camp and I would go to the army and merchant marine there's a long section there, and the merchant marine.
Well speaking of that, Oliver Stone, although I couldn't find it in the book, I did read somewhere, it might've been an allusion to a book, that your mom taught you to masturbate at age 15.
Uh no, that's not quite accurate. No, she, we discussed it, and she's French, uh, and she's an open woman, not you know an Anglo-Victorian woman like you might find. She's a very open woman and the French are that way. And as a young person I was a little naive and she explained things to me.
Oliver Stone, you mention about the merchant marine and stuff. The sea stuff in A Child's Night Dream is really great. You had been to sea at that time when you wrote the book?
It's really cool. Now, I realize that the book is a novel, but the killing of Oliver's pet poodle bongo.
Was that a real story? Like, Bongo, you killed your pet poodle. Is that true Oliver Stone?
No I didn't kill him but I, uh, there's a section where it describes the guilt that the young man feels towards his animal. Remember this, you know, Nardwuar, I'm not comfortable with telling you exactly what happened, and happened because what's described is fiction. Oliver Stone is known as a fictional viewer, a kind of third person. But I did have a poodle and he did die of cancer, so I didn't kill him. But he certainly suffered a lot and I was ashamed of the way I handled his suffering. That's sort of what I was trying to get at.
Oliver Stone, it seems also you mention quite a bit of Ursula Andress.
(Laughs) Ursula "Pussy Galore" Andress. Now, she seems to be a secret obsession of yours. Were you sad when she married John Derek? Oh, man, yes!" (Laughs) That's very funny. Yeah, Ursula Andress is one of the most beautiful women of that era. And so for that matter was, uh, Julie Christie and Julie Andrews. I was very turned on by Julie Andrews, you know. I loved The Sound of Music. I saw it several times. And I think Julie with her bangs and her set teeth: my Victorian image of a mom, of a Victorian mom.
On this tour, Oliver, you're doing this tour to promote, I guess, A Child's Night Dream, are a lot of people coming up to you and going, "Hey, Oliver, I have some very important information to give you!" Do you have a lot of people coming up to you?
Yeah, all the time. Yeah, Sure; People are very much into giving me information on Kennedy or the Moon or, you know, or the Moon/UFO program, or even.... I get a lot of strange stuff.
Were you aware of Dave Emory when you put together JFK? He does a radio show out of Los Altos Hills called Radio Free America.
No, I don't know him at all.
Because watching JFK was a lot like listening to his show. He was a descendent of Mae Brussell, the Brussell Sprouts. Have you ever heard of her before?
The Brussell Sprouts: I've heard of them before. Yeah, she was a big social worker in the 19th century?
No, actually she received the Warren Commission for Christmas and transcribed it.
Oh, right. She did a great job. That woman is a saint, by the way. Sylvia Marr, you're talking about, right?
Well, actually, Mae Brussell is her name. That's at least her radio name she gave. She died of cancer a little while back.
She did a great thing. She actually transcribed, and it helped, it was really important in the early dissident research that was done....
People have said a lot of times, "It's time to get off the grassy knoll," you know. "Get off the grassy knoll." Get off that knoll, acknowledge that there was a coup d'etat with the assassination of Kennedy, and get on with "out there" today. But, you know, since now JFK the movie has come out Oliver that you put out, some files have been freed. Has there been any new interesting information that has come to light since then?
Oh, yes. Most recently it was covered in the wire services but not much attention was paid to it. Gerald Ford, who was a member of the Warren Commission, admitted in a letter that was published that he had moved the wound two inches from the "magic bullet" wound, so the point of entry had been moved slightly. And as you know the "magic bullet" wound entry is one of the big issues that has always confused logical people: it is such an impossible road for a bullet to take. Ford moving that bullet wound a little bit helps sell, makes it a little bit possible although it is still a wacky idea, the "magic bullet" theory. That is what he did! And nobody paid much attention.
How about Larry King? The other night, Larry King was on and he was playing those Johnson White House tapes and he was saying how they proved the JFK movie was not right because it showed Johnson didn't want to go to war in Vietnam. Have you heard those tapes? Did you feel phoning Larry King and saying, "Hey!"
Well, I don't know if any single tape will prove to you Johnson's intention. He was a known man who was lying. He lied to anybody who walked in the room. He was never an honest man. It is hard to say who the real Lyndon Johnson is and who he isn't. So based on any single one recording, I wouldn't, I don't know what you're talking about so I would have to have a context for it.
Well, Oliver Stone, I was curious: have you done any JFK-type research yourself? Like Woody Harrelson has been in your movies. Have you ever asked him about his dad, Charles Harrelson, that apparent JFK hobo?
No, I haven't, although I do know that Woody's feelings are that he is innocent. Because apparently he had been linked through tabloid shows. No, he wasn't the hobo, no. That was John, no, he was not in Deeley Plaza, I know that. He was a look-alike, but he wasn't.
Oliver Stone, what do you think is the most ridiculous Vietnam movie you have heard of? For me, I saw this movie called 'Nam Angels, where the quote was, "You think being a soldier in Vietnam was rough? How about being a motorcycle cop in Saigon?"
(Laughs) In 1969. It sounds like fun. I'd like to see it.
Were there any ones that seemed kind of ridiculous to you? Any Vietnam movies like 'Nam Angels that you think were just blatant propaganda?
Well, the worst movie ever made on 'Nam was the John Wayne movie, The Green Berets. That sold a whole pile to the mentality of the popular consciousness of the American public. It was done before we got in heavily into the war, and I am sure it romanticized it. So, The Green Berets. John Wayne. One of the worst movies ever made.
Oliver, I saw your house in Architectural Digest.
Oh, your ex-house?
Yeah, I sold it a few weeks ago.
Oh, really, jeez.
It was too big and I wasn't there enough in Colorado.
But I did see your car.
It is a beautiful house, by the way. It was beautifully designed by an architect.
Navajo type designs?
Very modern glass. It was built on a plateau in Colorado, which is about ten thousand feet above sea level, it is very tough to build on that level, with a view. With the blue sky, it was something out of a Wagner opera. Incredible.
What type of car do you drive, Oliver Stone?
Personally? I drive the same car for years. I have always liked the Mustangs.
Do you still have the Cambodian knife that you talked about in A Child's Night Dream?
No, I lost it. I have lost everything at one point or another. (Laughs) It is funny you mentioned this. I've got to go pretty soon, Nardwuar.
Okay, just winding up here with Oliver Stone. Oliver, what do you find wrong with Evian or Perrier bottled water?
Perrier and Evian. Let's see. Somebody told me Evian is bad for your back; it leads to some kind of back calcium deposits. I don't know. I have no idea, but I enjoy drinking water.
And finally, Oliver Stone, thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; I really appreciate it, I was wondering, do you think it's a conspiracy that Stanley Kubrick and Orson Wells haven't won Oscars but you have?
(Laughs) Well, I think they're both great masters, you know. The academies are always based on fashion; they're like the fashion business. You know, you make the right colour dress at the right colour time. It's a blue season or a purple season or whatever. Both of them have made great giant films and they were probably ahead or behind their times.
But they don't have the Oscars like Oliver Stone has. Thanks, for your time, Oliver.
Keep on rockin' in the free world.
And doot doola doot doo...
Okay, take care, Nardwuar.
Oh, Oliver Stone? Doot doola doot doo...