Female Filmmaker Friday: Penelope Spheeris, Director of "Wayne's World" Doesn't Need the Industry to be Content
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"If you do something weird and out there, and you get really criticized for it, it may not be that way forty years from now. You don't know if something's good or bad until some time has passed."
Maybe you’re familiar with Penelope Spheeris, and maybe you’re not. I guarantee you are familiar with her work.
Penelope Spheeris, an American director, writer, and producer, is best known for documentaries and directing the Mike Myers, Dana Carvey banger hit, Wayne’s World. Her career has spanned over several decades, including Little Rascals and The Beverly Hillbillies. But her “docu-trilogy”, The Decline of Western Civilization (Parts I, II, and III) about the punk rock scene and its followers is some of her best work.
After making a few more features, documentaries, and TV movies, Spheeris has since called it quits on the film industry. Ever since her film Senseless (produced by the Weinsteins, and her last studio film) didn’t perform well at the box office, (something she had predicted due to countless rewrites and studio overhaul), her choices became less and less.
She recently gave an interview on her career, saying, “Women can’t make mistakes…One little mistake, and you’re done. Like Senseless, they kept rewriting it and rewriting it.”
Though she had a rough go in the film industry, Spheeris is glad young female filmmakers are being given more opportunities today. As for herself, she’s happy to be out of it. “I don’t need the movie business.”
Be sure to read her amazing interview here.