Interview and Review: Director Matthew Lillard Talks on His Triumph FAT KID RULES THE WORLD

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, directed by Matthew Lillard, tackles the difficult subjects of obesity, teen suicide and punk rock in this critically acclaimed, ten years in the making, film.

Produced by Rick Rosenthal, Nick Morton, Matthew Lillard, Jane Charles, Jennifer Maas, Evan Wasserstrom and Talan Torriero, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, is based on a novel by KL Going and adapted for the screen by Michael Galvin and Peter Speakman.

Staring Jacob Wysocki as Troy Billings, a teen struggling with obesity and suicidal thoughts, FAT KIDS RULE THE WORLD also stars Dylan Arnold as his brother Dayle Billings, Matt O’Leary as addicted punk rocker Marcus and Billy Campbell as their concerned father, Mr. Billings.

FAT KID RULES THE WORLD tells the story of life through the eyes of “the fat kid.” Troy Billings is 16 yrs old, overweight and suicidal. He often has thoughts of self injury. When the film opens, he is envisioning what would be left if he jumped in front of the oncoming bus, a mass of blood, brain and body matter splattered against the double pane bus window are an inviting end to the sorrow the seems to fill every waking hour of each and every day.

Satisfied with the image in his mind of his demise, and as fate would have it the bus arrives on schedule, “the fat kid” takes one step towards the final victory and bam! He is flattened by a stranger, a grunge punk rocker, who feels it is his duty to save Troy from his desires.

Marcus, the life-saving grunge punk rocker, embodied a Seattle troubled youth, dying of decay brought on by parental rejections, abuse, drugs and loneliness. He loves hoping to be loved. He saves hoping to be saved.

As the story unfolds, layer upon layer is removed and the audience discovers idyllic childhoods have been replaced with hurt, rejections, self-loathing, and peer pressure leading to drug, alcohol, food and other addictions.

Interview With Director Matthew Lillard

Having the opportunity to interview FAT KID RULES THE WORLD Director Matthew Lillard at the PMK BNC Los Angeles Offices we talk about his dedication in making this project, its impact and the way obesity is viewed.

Janet Walker: Tell me about FAT KIDS RULE.

Matthew Lillard:  Ten years to make it.

JW: Wow!

ML: It’s a long time to figure out a way to get it done. Every time when somebody says ‘what do you want to tell about the movie,’ I mean its funny most go right to the business side. It took ten years to get it made. Every time we turned around we think we something is going to change the trajectory of our film and it doesn’t. And instead of giving up we kind of double our efforts. There’s been no quit on the movie since its inception, to be honest.  My producers when we won the audience award 'Oh this is going to change the movie.' We got into SXSW and we’re hoping, 'Okay here we go.' And then nothing really changes. Huge success in the audience level and people love the movie, great reviews, and we’re like ‘here we go’ and nothing really changes. And we won the audience award, 'Okay now we’ve got validation.'  Still the world didn’t really pay attention. So what do we do? Do we either give it away or put it on VOD and on platform that no one really cared about; nobody really cares about the movie; so do we stick it on a platform, nobody wanted to buy it.  

If somebody came and said we’ll give you a million. We made it for $750,000.00 so if somebody came and offered us like a million dollars we would have sold it and nobody really wanted to put any kind investment into it.

The good news is we believe in the movie. We think the movie is great. I love the movie. I’m super proud of it. It strikes a cord. We make a movie that has something to say and is funny in the same breath.  Our struggle has been finding a way of getting it into the world. From me optioning the book to know it’s always been, ‘how are we going to get it into the world?’ It was our goal to find that kid out there who needs something. I think we made a piece of art that can affect that kid.

JW:  So tell me when you decided to option the book what did you do?

ML:  So I read the book on tape. I had this crazy emotional experience reading the book. I called my manager. She made me do the book on tape. Because I’m not a very, I have a mushy mouth, very Californian, I sound like I’m drunk half the time. Me doing a book is a disaster. I’ve never gotten an offer before and haven’t gotten one since. So I called my manager and she said, ‘I think you should do it.’ I asked, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘Because it is about an obese teenager and punk rock music.’

I come from very overweight stock. Our family struggles with obesity all through our bloodline so it means a lot to me. Getting into it and reading the book I found it isn’t about obesity at all. It isn’t about weight at all. It isn’t about fat or skinny or size. It is really about finding your place in the world. And to me I found acting and he finds punk rock music.

JW: So what was your most memorable moment? I want to ask you a little about on how you motivated the talent? But I want to ask about your most memorable moment first. Over ten years there has to be maybe one, there may be more than one.

ML: Sure. There’s a lot. The first thing that comes to my mind is I lost the options. I lost the rights. And in losing the rights I figured how to make it. I went back to the guys who owned the rights and they had put their proposal forward and we countered and they countered back and I basically wrote the most angriest email I’ve ever written and said, ‘you’re going to blow up this deal over things I can’t give you.’ I can’t give you these things and you’re asking for things out of nothing and we’re fighting about stuff that may never exist.  So let’s all agree to make the best possible movie we can and do what’s best for the movie. I remember I was on a golf course and I was reading this email and I thought I’m not going to get this email over five thousand dollars. Cause I didn’t have Five Thousand. I couldn’t give it; my producer said we’re not putting money into it.  

Then I think about production. I want to walk people through every moment and at the end of production I wanted to thank Jacob for being a movie star and trying to not cry and being overwhelmed with emotion.

JW: He’s overweight. There’s moments when he is not portrayed in the most flattering light. There are moments he shows himself and he shows his flesh.

ML: The first scene in the movie is him getting about the bed in his underwear; 350lbs.

JW: Was he aware . . .

ML: It wasn’t his favorite shot in the movie. I think  . . . first of all, he always says yes. He’s an incredible actor. He’s completely brave. I think he's so brave there will never be a joke about you made that’s based on your size. You’ll never be the butt of the joke. You know, the script respects that character, that kid’s journey. I think he knew it going in.  And that shot originally was supposed to be toward the latter half of the movie. And I wanted to, in the re-write, I wanted people to remember people to know he was obese because I knew he would be the hero at some point. And you would be following him; it’s his journey.

FAT KID RULES THE WORLD a poignant indictment on modern society as bullying increases and more teens are lost to drugs, addictions and murder by suicide predicated by bully stalking, Matthew Lillard and Jacob Wysocki present a solid counter culture revolution film that eventually gets parental endorsement. FAT KID RULES THE WORLD has won multiple audience awards as it should. See it.

FAT KID RULES THE WORLD is playing now in New York City and in Los Angeles and will be released on VOD October 25, 2012.

Haute Tease

  • Ready Player One Review – A High Tech, Action Adventure, Thrill Ride

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ready Player One, from Amblin Entertainment, presents a high tech, multi-dimensional, thrill ride as the new world order pits the independent gamers against the corporate developers in the ultimate quest to find three magical keys that unlock the future.

  • Stript Wax Bar - Stripping the Competition Bare

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Katherine Goldman and Eric Schimmel are the owners of Stript Wax Bar, the sexy new boudoir dedicated to the art of waxing, located on trendy W. 3rd street in West Hollywood, California.

  • The White Dress Destinations Book Review – Complete; Removes the Guesswork When Planning that Special Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The White Dress Destinations, from Schiffer Publishing, offers a comprehensive guide that removes the guesswork when planning that special day including romantic locales, styling tips, photography, along with accessories, inspired invitations, reception themes, signature menu's and personalized drinks.

  • Austrian Wine, Wolfgang Puck, Chef José Andrés and the SLS Beverly Hills host the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Benefit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Austrian Wine, Wolfgang Puck and Chef José Andrés recently held an evening of culinary and wine sampling at the ultra-chic SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills benefiting St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.

  • Marguerite Review - An Enchanting Off Key Comedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Marguerite, from Cohen Media Group and Fidelite Films, brings to the screen Paris in the 1920’s, the combination of French aristocracy and bourgeoisie, the artist and the lover, desire for self-determination and the courage to live.

  • Applaud The Art Of Watch Making At The 15th Celebration of The 12th Art

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The world most exquisite watches pre-selected by the 2015 jury will be competing to win the prestigious "Aiguille d'Or" Grand Prix. These 72 timepieces are now available on the official website of the Grand  Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève,

  • Beltway Insider: NATO Summit; Iraqi ISIS/ISIL Syrian; Ebola Numbers; Al-Qaida Operative Dead

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama traveled to Wales, United Kingdom, for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit where he met with world leaders from the twenty-eight member nations to discuss the challenges and direction of the 65 year-old organization.

  • Money News: North American, European Markets Close Down; Asian Split

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, fell prey to the predicted Bear market taking a hit for the second straight week, closing the trading week down with triple digit losses setting a world tone with eight of the ten most watched market in the world closing down.

  • Blue Man Group Review - Fresh, Fun, Loud and Messy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I had seen the famed Blue Man Group Las Vegas show before albeit more than a decade ago. Even so, I recently proceeded to secure tickets to see what has since become a Vegas entertainment staple. I wondered how, or if, this show had evolved so it would seem fresh and new the second time around.

  • Delphine Eatery & Bar West Hollywood Review - Mediterranean Magnificence

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Next time you are in L.A. and hit West Hollywood to mix, mingle and munch with movers and shakers, then Delphine Eatery & Bar is a must. Housed at the ultra-chic W Hollywood Hotel directly across the street from the Pantages Theatre, this remarkable restaurant dishes up Mediterranean cuisine in a warm, inviting and electric brasserie setting.

  • Exclusive interview: Torryn Orriss, GM of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Las Vegas, Talks Chop

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Las Vegas breaks the "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" brand mold. My exclusive interview reveals secret menu items, James Bond experience and other distinguishing features of this venerable Vegas eatery.

  • Milan Fashion Week: IH NOM UH NIT SS19 Runway Debut

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Inspired by the 2016 science fiction movie "Midnight Special," designer Chaz Jordan unveiled a cohesive urban collection infused with a charming interstellar fashion with multiple garments distinctively free of gender identification. 

  • Chiu Bill to Audit Backlog of Untested Rape Kits Passes Senate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A bill by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to address the backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits passed the Senate floor today. The measure, AB 3118, will require a statewide audit of all untested rape kits in California.

  • Victim from World Trade Center Terrorist Attack Identified through Forensic Anthropology, DNA

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The remains of a victim from the 9/11 Terrorist  Attack has been identified sixteen years later through the forensic science and DNA bringing the total to those who died as a direct cause of the World Trade Center attacks to 2,753.

  • Nine Confirmed Dead; 40 Expected; Dozens Missing in Oakland Rave Party Inferno

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Ghost Ship Warehouse, a converted loft space used by local artists as studios, erupted in flames Friday night at the height of a dance party that left nine confirmed dead and at least 32 others missing.


Login Form