Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank were the protagonists of the 1999 film American Movie, a documentary that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the People’s Choice Awards at the Denver International Film Festival (among other awards). In Britney Baby — One More Time they play characters customized to their personalities. (See the capsule review.) Schank also has a bit part in the Todd Solondz film Storytelling, also premiering at Sundance.
PK: Describe Britney Baby — One More Time.
Sundance 2002 Coverage
Five Days at Sundance 2002: a festival overview
23 Capsules: Sundance 2002 capsule reviews
Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank: an interview with lovable subjects of American Movie, both working in new films showing at Sundance 2002
Mike: Well, uh, it’s kinda freaked out, I guess. Um... um, I know they want to... I’m trying to, It’s hard to tell you about the film and keep the storyline a secret, y’know, ‘cuz it’s like, I haven’t seen the film actually which makes it even harder. And, uh, it’s like... um, I dunno. Why don’t you have Mark tell you about the film?
Mark: They film is about this actual, real-life dude who won the Britney Spears look-alike contest, who was a dude. And one of the prize winnings was that he was going to meet Britney Spears, and he actually went to one of her concerts and some of the press mistook him for the real Britney Spears, and when the Britney Spears people found out about it they got really enraged about it and tossed him out.
Mike: Wow. That’s amazing. Yeah, I play his bodyguard in the movie.
PK: How did you get involved?
PK: This isn’t the only film you’re in here at Sundance. In Storytelling Mike has a small role and Mark gets a credit.
Mark: Todd Solondz just calls us up, man, and halfway through the conversation Mike gave me back the phone and said “I don’t even know who this dude is.”
Mike: I’d never seen a Todd Solondz movie and, uh, it was really cool. Todd Solondz was a really cool dude. I got out there and I told him I was kind of paranoid about acting in someone else’s movie that I didn’t know, and he said “Well, Mike, you can just let your brain go a straight line you don’t even have to think to be in my movie.” So I said, “okay.” I haven’t seen that movie either. In fact I’ve never seen any Todd Solondz movie, but I’ve talked to a lot of people who have and I’m looking forward to seeing both movies.
PK: It’s been three years since American Movie, a documentary about your lives, won several awards here at Sundance. A few reviewers felt that the filmmakers were having fun at your expense. Did you feel exploited in that film?
Mark: Of course you’re being exploited but we go by the original definition of exploitation which is not a negative definition. We’re responsible for our own behavior on the screen and there’s only so much that the images can be manipulated.
Mike: It’s kinda weird because a lot of people don’t think it was a documentary. To a lot of people it seemed scripted. I don’t really know where I’m going with this answer ‘cuz I forgot the question.
PK: What were some other reactions to American Movie?
Mike: Jason Newsted from Metallica called me. Angus Young from AC/DC called me. And (unintelligible) sent me an autographed photo, two cd’s, and a video. And I’ve got a cd out that they all have and they think it’s cool. It’s called Songs I Know, it’s got 11 original songs and all the songs I played on American Movie.
PK: If someone wants to get your cd, what to they need to do?
Mike: They go to www.americanmovie.com and they look for my cd and it tells them how to buy it. What happens is that they send a check to my dad for $10 and that includes the shipping and handling and I send them the cd. I got a number you can call me at too, 414.466.MIKE. I get calls from people, from Japan, from around the world, mostly from New York, who bought the cd and they all seem to like it and give it good reviews.