HOLLYWOOD — Fred Durst has always talked of expanding his directing repertoire beyond music videos and into film, and this year he took a significant step, although rather slyly.
"I created and directed a film for The Unquestionable Truth," Durst revealed, referring to the EP Limp Bizkit released in May with virtually no promotion. "It's a 30-minute short film, and Wes [Borland] and I both act in it. I play an evangelist named Evan Gelis, and that's something that I think is gonna find its way out there on the Internet or through somewhere."
With the short behind him, Durst said he will now be moving on to two different feature-length films. He refused to reveal the titles or other details, but the projects are presumably the thriller "Life Without Joe" and the drama "Runt," about a high-school outcast — two movies to which Durst has long been attached. He was also at one time set to helm "The Lords of Dogtown" but was replaced by "Thirteen" director Catherine Hardwicke (see "Fred Durst No Longer Directing Skateboarder, Mob Flicks").
"Directing a movie is serious, it's not a joke," Durst said, explaining the many years it's taken to develop his films. "I thought [directing videos] was serious, and it's not. Directing a film is a lot of work. It's characters, it's arcs, it's beats, it's just a lot of things, and I've been blessed to have been mentored by some really great people like ["Fight Club" director] David Fincher and just really have absorbed it. I think I'm a storyteller, and I'm gonna apply it."
Durst said that he's actually been working on his film projects since before Limp Bizkit and that the band set him back in more ways than just filling up his schedule.
"While the band was taking off, I was trying to have meetings with movie people," he said. "And all Limp Bizkit being successful did was hurt me and get in the way of the movie business. They don't take music people seriously. They'll take you serious if they wanna throw you in a film and let you be an actor and cash in on your success while you're hot, and that's not what I wanted to do. I was offered all kinds of cheesy movies that were really successful to direct and I was like, 'I'm not here to make movies like that.' I want to make timeless movies. I want to be beside Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson and Francis Ford Coppola. I'm a real director. So it took years and years of having meetings, going through the wrong people to the right people to get to this point where I am now."
Along the way Durst has also stumbled upon a few opportunities in front of the cameras, including a role in the NBC miniseries "Revelations," which aired in April, and an upcoming talk show (see "Fred Durst Developing Reality TV/ Talk Show Hybrid").
"The acting thing happened on accident," Durst said. "I did 'Revelations' [for a friend] and I said as long as I'm not playing a typecast, a tattoo artist, a drug dealer, a gang member, somebody like that. I told my friend who was the director that I would do her this favor, and they liked me for this part. So I went to Prague, and I was doing my album over there, too, and I gained a little bit of the weight for the role, just to look a little bit weird or look like I used to look. I did it and it seemed to be something natural."
A producer on the miniseries then handed Durst the script for an indie film called "Population 436."
"I said, 'I don't wanna be an actor, I'm a director,' " Durst recalled. "He said, 'Please read it — it would be great for you to play this deputy in here. He's totally different than you are, it'd be a big reach.' I thought it was a good role, and I didn't think anyone would see it — it's a very low-budget movie. So I read for it and the director ended up picking me."
The movie, shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, stars Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under") as a census-taker who is sent to investigate why a small town has had the same population of 436 residents for the last 100 years.
"It's an interesting role," Durst said of his deputy character. "It felt like something I could get into."
There's no word yet on when "Population 436" will be released. In the meantime, expect a new Limp Bizkit album in 2006 (see "Fred Durst Says Limp Bizkit Are About To Bring On The Gravy").
For more from Durst on The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) and quiet life since its release, check out "The Truth, According To Fred."
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