John Waters, a world-famous film director, producer, artist, actor, stand-up comedian and prolific writer has just released his first novel: 'Liarmouth: A Feel Bad Romance' and donated his entire art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art.
WJZ's Denise Koch sat with Waters, who's now 76, to find out how he sees this crazy world and why he'll never leave the city he loves: Baltimore.
"You know, people that love Baltimore, they make fun of it, but they love it at the same time," he said. "But don't you make fun of it if you're coming from somewhere else. I have a whole thing in my show where I say, 'We should embrace it. We should have a bumper sticker that says, The Wire. It's still like that.'"
Waters' beginning goes waaaay back to the 60s, when he and his friends got together at his parents' house in Lutherville and made movies. Edgy, shocking, disturbing, outrageous but crazy funny movies.
"Sometimes we have to make fun of ourselves before we can make fun of others and my whole career has been about making fun of myself. I called my films 'trash epics' right from the beginning."
Waters has earned the titles Sultan of Sleaze, Pope of Trash, Baron of Bad Taste, and now a 'Filth Elder.' In six decades, 17 movies and almost a dozen books he has gone from the margins to the mainstream.
"I use shock value to get people's attention, and then you speak seriously and then you make your point," Waters said. "You know, if you're in a political argument you don't try to make the enemy feel stupid, even if they are, you try to make them feel smarter by laughing at what you're saying and maybe changing their mind."
'Liarmouth' has just been optioned as a film with Waters as writer and director. He says he'll soon start working on the adaptation.
"It's just been optioned for me to make a movie which is really outrageous," he said. Because, ah, I know when I'm doing the audiobook when I'll have to read it out loud, I'll realize how outrageous it is when I look over and the technician."
"When I read this book I thought, 'what a mind, what an imagination,'" Denise said.
"No, it's the craziest thing I've written since pink flamingos... it is, yea. yea. Plus you're in it. It's complimentary. You'll have to play yourself in the movie."
Waters is a writer, but he also does a heck of a standup. And he's not afraid to branch out into fashion either, despite not having much to do with Nike in his personal life.
"I was in a Calvin Klein campaign. I did the Yves St. Laurent campaign, Nike campaign... no one has thrown a ball to me in my life," he said?
For those who've known Waters, the big revelation: he quit smoking.
"Matter of fact I have not had... it's the only regret in my life is smoking," he said. "And I have not had a cigarette...and this isn't planned... I have not had a cigarette in 7,256 days. I write it down every day"
"It seems as though you've had an extraordinary life," Denise said.
"People say 'why don't you retire?' I'm busier than I've ever been in my life, because I believe you only get one life, and I'm trying to see every movie, meet every person, and go everywhere in the world," Waters said. "I don't have time to sit around and miss the last 'winter of my years," as they call it."
"I have had an extraordinary life," he continued. "If I die going home today, I had a good life."
Behind the Lens: Denise Koch discusses her catch-up with prolific filmmaker John Waters
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