A Minute With: Roger Corman, "Hollywood Rebel"

Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:34am EST
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By Jordan Riefe

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At this time of year Hollywood brings out big-budget movies like "Mission: Impossible" with Tom Cruise and the new "Sherlock Holmes" film starring Robert Downey, Jr.

But Roger Corman, the antithesis of big Hollywood who has made low-budget, independent films for 60 years, will also have his say. He is the subject of a new documentary, "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," which will be in U.S. theaters on Friday

Corman, 85, has produced about 550 movies and directed 50 more, including "The Wild Angels" and "Little Shop of Horrors," and lesser known movies like "The Terror" and "Naked Angels."

His New World Pictures became a hotbed for up-and-coming directors and actors including Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, John Sayles and Jack Nicholson.

Corman spoke to Reuters about movies, how Steven Spielberg impacted his career and smoking pot with the Hell's Angels.

Q: On "The Wild Angels" you spent some quality time researching with the Hells Angels. Any close calls there?

A: "We went to all their parties and were welcome because we made the point of bringing the marijuana. As one often does, you see the prettiest girl in the room and you go up and start talking to her. Most of those girls were not that good looking but there was this one good looking girl and (screenwriter) Chuck (Griffith) came up to me and said, 'You just spent the whole evening with the old lady of the president of the Hell's Angels and he is really mad.' You've never seen anybody walk away from a girl as fast as I did."

Q: You gave Martin Scorsese his start with "Boxcar Bertha" but when he came to you with his next picture, "Mean Streets," you passed.   Continued...

<p>Filmmaker Roger Corman as he arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &amp; Sciences 2009 Governor Awards in Hollywood. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>