Subject of Seattle film talks about the movie that almost destroyed himon June 22, 2012 @ 12:37 pm (Updated: 9:16 pm - 6/22/12 )
Grant Cogswell is the subject of "Grassroots," opening this weekend at the Harvard Exit in Seattle. His campaign inspired the as-told-by-tale by campaign manager Phil Campbell's book, "Zioncheck for President: A True Story of Idealism and Madness in American Politics," that then became a movie.
Cogswell wasn't involved in much of the film. He said he probably would have only been humored if he had made many suggestions to the filmmakers, including director Steven Gyllenhaal. But, this wasn't the poet-writer-former candidate for city council's first foray into film.
The film failed. "Cthulhu" was, according to Variety, the lowest performing film from the lowest performing distributor when it came out. Cogswell had invested all of his own personal assets in the film, and the assets of many others. The project, which was filmed in Seattle and along the Oregon coast, cost $1 million to make. But it looked like it only cost a quarter of that.
"You need to do something for 20 years before you're good at it," said Cogswell. While the lighting and cinematography were splendid, it was the directing, the writing, and the acting that were the problems.
The folks that were excited enough about the Seattle film believed that Cogswell and his co-writer and the director knew what they were doing. Were relationships irrevocably damaged by the film - the need for money and the ultimate realization that the movie wouldn't make a dime? "Moving on," Cogswell replied.
While the cash was flowing in 2005, by the time the movie was released, the economy was in the toilet.
Cogswell had sold his condo in anticipation that his film would be good enough to at least recoup the money spent, but just two years later, he was pushing all of his possessions in a shopping cart across the San Fernando Valley. He would ultimately sell that for $7.
"I was basically homeless, but I never slept outside." He bounced from place to place, from couch to couch, and ate most of his meals at food banks.
Then, with only $1,000 in his pocket and a backpack, he moved to Mexico City in 2009.
He owns the metropolis' only independent English language bookstore. He loves the city, his girlfriend, and his job. He also loves the climate.
Are there regrets? "If you can regret anything? Of course." He asked Luke, "Are you sorry you're who you are? Are you sorry you're where you are?"
He's happy in Mexico City, he has one book out, "Dream of the Cold War: Poems 1998-2008," and another one on the way, that will include the story of "Cthulhu." So maybe Cogswell's life will eventually appear on the silver screen when a Hollywood director decides they want to turn the making of "Cthulhu" into a movie.
Listen to Luke's full interview with Grant Cogswell on TBTL Weekends
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.