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Morgan Parker On Using Beyoncé To Explore Black Womanhood

Culture
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

The inside scoop on ‘There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé’

In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called UNAPOLOGETIC. Every day, we’ll celebrate different aspects of black culture through profiles, interviews, roundtables, reviews, videos, and op-eds. #Blacklivesmatter and we hold that truth to be self-evident. 

All eyes are currently on Morgan Parker and her newly released poetry book, There Are More Beautiful Things Than BeyoncéThe collection has been five years in the making with around 50 poems featured in the volume. Despite this being Parker's second book, she wasn't set on being a poet her entire life. Parker didn't find her calling for poetry until she was an adult when it became an important tool for her to articulate her thoughts.

"When people think of poetry, they're not thinking about my work," she says. "It doesn't rhyme, it's not pleasant... I think that people have this idea of poetry with a capital P that is very outdated, and it's white, very male, and very digestible. That's not the power of poetry—the power of poetry is to be able to respond to real life and to politics and to one's body and the most intimate thoughts; to render it in a way that is surprising and sonically interesting, and allowing the reader to feel playful in language, and to push the limits of what language can do. I think there's so much about that tradition of poetry that is problematic, and we don't think of black womanhood as something that's reflected in poetry. So, even that feels subversive."

Many of the poems featured in There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé were written when Parker was a graduate student at NYU, where she received an MFA in poetry. A majority of this body of work comments on popular culture while also tying in Parker's own family history. Other pieces capture the landscape of Parker's hometown in southern California, the only place she knew before abandoning it to earn her bachelor's in anthropology and creative writing at Columbia University. Overall, the book provides commentary on the vision of a black woman's place in America.

"It's been a long journey with these [poems]. It's sad to lose an era," she says. "It was fun to be in this place where anytime there was Beyoncé news, a million people would email me and be like, 'Where's the poem about this?' I think it is notable that I've been working on it for so long, so some of the more recent Beyoncé happenings aren't referenced here because the book was already done and the era of Beyoncé that I was writing into is so different than now."

Also a renowned essayist, Parker published a piece in the New York Times after the presidential election in 2016, titled "How To Stay Sane While Black," which touched on the stigma against mental health in the black community and her personal battle with depression and anxiety.

"I felt so much shame growing up with my depression. It was like a secret, and it really took a very, very dark moment for me to actually go to a therapist and get diagnosed, but after that, it still was like a secret... There was so much shame," she says. "[My parents] always ask me if it was their fault, and it was really confusing and hard for everyone. For that reason, I will never stop talking about it. I think it's important now to normalize as much as possible. Why should I feel ashamed of my illness? That's crazy. Why should I also not want to get better? Why should I suffer? I think there's so much that society's doing to tell us that we should suffer, that we deserve it even, and I think that it's important for me to insist that, no, I don't need to suffer and to convey that and to reach the right people. I was just writing what I needed to hear."

Learn more about how Parker gained the skills to make a career out of creative expression in the interview, below.

When did you start to develop an interest in poetry? How did you initially get involved with this craft?
It's actually really interesting. I hated poetry for most of my life. I'm kind of new to it in the scheme of things, and I think that it's just because the poetry we're taught in high school is so boring. I didn't feel like it related to me. I've always been interested in writing. I tried to write fiction when I was a kid, but poetry didn't feel relevant at all, and it wasn't until I took a college class in contemporary poetry that I realized what a poem could be and what you're allowed to say in a poem and how you're allowed to say it; that really was a moment when I connected with the craft. There's something about poetry that is more in line with the way that our brains actually work. We don't think in sentences. We think in memories and images and thoughts that kind of jump around from one thing to another—it's not necessarily linear. So poetry has this way of being able to capture that better than prose can, though I do write both things. I really hated poetry for most of my life, so it is kind of interesting that I'm now a poet. I still don't like a lot of poetry. I get bored easily, and I am not interested in reading poems about the woods or whatever. I don't know what a pasture is. So, I think the way that I have tried to focus my craft is writing poems that feel relevant to me and my life and reflective of that.

How were your experiences in academia valuable for someone pursuing a creative career?
In undergrad, I double majored in creative writing and anthropology, and that was really essential, looking back on it. Studying anthropology and reading theory and thinking about observation of oneself and of others is really essential to my writing practice. I wasn't able to articulate it at the time, but for some reason, I think of the two as very, very linked, this idea of cultural anthropology and literature. Being able to be immersed in a lot of different types of texts has really helped my writing career and to shape my work. When I got my MFA, it kind of felt like the next reasonable thing. I didn't know what an MFA was when I was in college and a professor of mine was like, "Oh this a thing you can do, and it will give you the time that you need to work on a manuscript." So, when I went into my MFA, I actually had quite low expectations. Taking writing workshops was not about learning how to write, it's more about really having that space and being able to be committed to it. So, basically just the fact that my whole job really for the two years of getting my MFA: to write and to read. Of course, I was working at the time, but that was the focus. So to be able to learn how to practice that is regular and sustained. I think that was really the lesson of my MFA, and it also gave me the time and space and colleagues that allowed me to write my first book.

How did that feel the first time you published a book?
Surreal. I've always wanted to be a writer, but I hated poetry and didn't see myself as a poet, so, of course, I wasn't thinking about it as being a book of poetry with a small press. I don't know. It was something I hadn't expected for my life in that way, but it was fun. I feel like everyone I've ever known was [at my book launch]. Because it was my first book, some of the first poems I ever wrote were in that book, and it just felt like the culmination of a lot of different things. It's scary, putting a book out there. My poems are really personal, so I had to kind of quickly get over that and have my parents be okay with that, but I think the fear is worth it.

Let's talk about There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé. What made you decide on that title?
So, there is a poem in the book and that's part of the title for that poem and I kind of went back and forth on whether or not to name the book that and I did it for fun. I don't know, it's definitely something that gets people's attention, and I like that part of it, pulling people in. I like calling out the fact that the book is going to be an exploration around pop culture, but it also feels a little bit false; like it isn't a book about Beyoncé and even the poem that mentioned Beyoncé or have her name in the title or whatever are not hers—they're all me. So, it is a little bit of a trick. I keep saying, people are going to see the cover and be excited and be like, "Oh this is fun. This is a book about poems about Beyoncé!" And they're going to open it, and it's just going to be my sadness. There's a little bit of a trick there, but there's a playfulness to that; there's a playfulness in going ahead and leading with that title. I felt a little bit of concern at first like, what does it mean to invoke Beyoncé? Even in the title of the book, do I want that? Why not? I'm the type of person that if someone says that maybe I shouldn't do something, I'm probably going to do it. So, that was one of my things were my friends were like, "Well, maybe it could be More Beautiful Things" or "Maybe you shouldn't put it in the title," so I was like, "Well, guess I'll do it."

Are you anxious at all about the potential of the Beyhive coming for you?
I mean, I encourage them all to read the book before [judging]. I actually rewrote the jacket copy for the book, because people were coming up to me and being like, "I don't think you're right. There aren't more beautiful people." And I'm like, "Okay, but the things that I mention that could possibly be more beautiful than Beyoncé are, like education and the sky." I don't think that she would argue with that. It's not like I'm saying Beyoncé is not beautiful. I think people need to take a step back and see it for the reality. It's not a diss on Beyoncé, the poems don't intend to do that, but they also aren't praise. It's complicated and complex, and that's what's fun about it. I have been assured that I won't get sued, so that's good, but I'm open to having these conversations. I'm not interested in people rushing to judgment or conclusions. I'm super interested in having conversations and talking about all the complexities that I raise in the book.

The thing to remember is, it is a book of poetry. This is not a book that is pop cultural analysis or anything like that. That is in the poem, but it is a creative work. I talk about pop culture a lot in my work, but only so much as it bolsters the poem and the more intimate moments in the book. So, I really feel that it's a tool. For all intents and purposes, the Beyoncé in the book is not Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. It's a reflection, an image, it's a symbol, a metaphor, and I think that once people can kind of sign on to that idea, that's kind of where the magic happens and where you can have the most fun with these poems.

I'd love to talk more about the content of your book and these poems. I've read on the site that it centers on the idea of the 21st-century black woman in America and all of those different types of experiences and feelings and ideas on femininity and racism and politics. Could you expand on that?
I just want [people] to realize that the center of the book was this kind of statement on black American womanhood. I wanted then to bring in as many visions of that as possible. It's really about the multiplicity. It's about the fact that we are contradictions—we are so complex, and on one hand, you can be totally praised for your body and the way that you take up space, and at the same time, you can be totally defaced. I think that there are these dichotomies that we all hold in us; we've been subjugated but also are powerful. These are the undertones that I wanted to play with, so the book moves around a lot. The speaker is sometimes super vulnerable, the speaker is sometimes very, very tough, and I think it was important for me to walk that line of all of the different emotions and all the different women that we are. It's playing a role—everyday you're a different woman in the world and responding to a lot of different political moments and pop cultural moments; being in different spaces, like in a classroom of white academics versus being with your girls. It's a lot of that. I wanted to make sure that I captured all of us and everything that we are. I get really frustrated by renderings of black women that are flat or one-sided, so I wanted to create and represent a black woman in this book that is whole and broken and funny and strong and all the things. It really felt important for me to bring in a lot of different voices, which is why I kind of reference not only Beyoncé but also song lyrics and other pop cultural characters, as well as voices of my friends and visual artists and visions; I really tried to conjure a lot of different people and voices within the book.

You also make references to jazz, hip-hop, visual arts, and your own family history. 
It feels important to kind of gather up everything. I think about writing these poems as a way of archiving how I felt, what I laughed at, what I cried about, who was there with me, and what I was watching and listening to, and all of that. It's kind of a living document in that way.

What types of reactions are you hoping to get from readers with this book?
I want people to feel that they have permission. I want people to feel that, because I kind of put everything out there, they can then take that as permission to really express themselves and know themselves and to be proud of themselves and to heal themselves, because you need to have that permission. I want to be someone who says, "Hey, it's okay, and you can do whatever you want. You can say what you're really thinking." I want to embolden people.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Courtesy of Adidas

The Stan Smiths are a must-have

Adidas just shared its capsule of sneakers paying tribute to Keith Haring, and TBH I can already feel my wallet emptying (and they're not even on sale yet). The new collection features three shoe silhouettes, all including the late artist's iconic imagery as embroidered designs.

The standout style of the collection is the Rivalry hi-top; with bright blue and orange stripes and piping along the edges, Haring's stars and cartoon bodies, in black thread, pop right off. If you're looking for something less over-the-top, the quirky white Nizza Hi RF sneakers show a snake wrapping around the back of the shoe and chasing one of Haring's cartoon bodies toward the toe. There's also a minimal embroidered design on the toe of a classic Stan Smith pair. Look a little more closely at the tongue though, and you'll notice the traditional image has been swapped with a caricature of Haring himself.

Peep the three silhouettes, below, and set your calendar for the official drop at the end of the month.

Adidas, Rivalry Hi Keith Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

Adidas, Nizza Hi RF Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

Adidas, Stan Smith Keith Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Hopefully this one will be typo-free

In an Instagram Live on Thursday, Taylor Swift announced that she would be creating a collaboration with fashion designer Stella McCartney inspired by her upcoming Lover album. Although she kept it vague, we can only assume that the two are working on a collection of luxe merch.

Swift noted in the announcement that she has been friends with McCartney "for a really long time," and that the designer already heard the new album. "I respect what she creates, how she creates it," Swift continued. "There's so much whimsy and imagination and romance to the clothing that she designs." Swift has been wearing McCartney's designs "a lot recently," so maybe we should have seen the collab coming.

One eagle-eyed fan pointed out that Swift wore Stella McCartney rainbow-hued shoes during her Wango Tango set. If the collab is anything like these shoes, you can bet I'll be copping it as quick as I can.

Swift detailed in her Instagram Live that the album Lover would be all about romance, which makes McCartney and her feminine designs perfect for the collaboration. We just hope that this collection doesn't have any typos, like some of Swift's "ME!" merch did.

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

And spreads the message that "we all got crowns"

Late on Thursday, Taylor Swift dropped a new single, "You Need To Calm Down," and announced her forthcoming studio album, Lover, out this August. Following her lead single "ME!" Swift continues to spread her message of self-love and call out haters—particularly the homophobic ones—in this latest song.

Swift "ended homophobic locals," as one fan put it on Twitter, with one particular lyric: "'Cause shade never made anybody less gay."

Along with the song, Swift shared a lyric video via YouTube which made her sentiments even clearer. With her lyric, "Why are you made?/ When you could be glad?" she spelled "glad" as "GLAAD," referencing the queer media advocacy organization.

Swift sings of homophobic protestors in the second verse: "Sunshine on the street at the parade/ But you would rather be in the dark ages/ Makin' that sign must've taken all night." In the pre-chorus, she adds, "You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace/ And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate."

Swift additionally comments on women being pitted against each other—"We see you over there on the internet comparing all the girls who are killin' it"—asserting that "we all got crowns." There's nothing trolls can do to rain on her parade anymore.

One fan pointed out the possible symbolism of the crown lyric. In "Call It What You Want," track 14 on Reputation, she sings "They took the crown but it's alright." Now on "You Need To Calm Down," track 14 of Lover, she sings that there's not just one crown—we all have them.

Some fans are pointing to the double meaning of the track title. If I had a dollar for every time someone said those words to me in a totally condescending way, I'd probably be richer than her! What woman hasn't been told to calm down about an entirely not-calm situation or while expressing their distaste?

During Swift's live stream for the release of the song, she also announced a fashion collaboration with designer Stella McCartney, a peek of which we got during the singer's WangoTango performance.

Lover is set for August 23 release.

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Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features

"I was like, 'Did I sleep with this critic's girlfriend, or what?'"

The day I meet Jim Jarmusch, the sun hangs so bright and hot and yellow and solid in the sky that it's hard to believe that it will actually set at night. It's one of those New York June days that suggests we might be in permanent daylight; it's got a completely different feeling than the crepuscular atmosphere of Jarmusch's latest film, The Dead Don't Die, which takes place in a small town in what feels like one long twilight, maybe the last one.

But for today, Jarmusch and I are sitting at a table in a sun-filled restaurant, though we're in the shade. We're in a part of the city that used to be very punk rock, and is now very NYU, yet being there with Jarmusch, who looks so at home, like he's holding court in the booth (it helps that Larry Fessenden, an old friend of Jarmusch's and a writer/director/producer/actor, who appears in The Dead Don't Die, happens by the table to say hi), makes the area feel a little punk rock again, even with all the sun.

The Dead Don't Die is a very punk rock zombie movie, by which I mean: It's not very scary, but it is very cool, and even when it's sneering, it's a little bit tender. Starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Chloë Sevigny as a trio of small-town cops who fight back against a nascent zombie apocalypse caused by fracking, the film is cast with a who's who of Jarmusch regulars, like Steve Buscemi, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, and Fessenden, to name a few; but it also features younger stars like Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez, and Luka Sabbat—and there's a real earworm of a theme song, courtesy of Sturgill Simpson.

Below, I speak with Jarmusch about the movie, being a dilettante, and why he only reads his negative reviews—which is definitely one of the most punk rock things I've ever heard.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/ Getty Images

This was filmed on a pretty condensed shooting schedule, right?
It was a very rough schedule. A very difficult one, actually.

We only had seven weeks to shoot, and we had to shoot Adam Driver out in three weeks because he had to be delivered to Star Wars, and the financing of the film was incredibly grueling and took a long time, so we were pushed so far that we had about one month of prep, and then three weeks with Adam. And then all these different actors coming in and out; I don't know how Carter and Josh, the two producers, organized it all. And then we'd shoot 15-hour days, and halfway through, I had walking pneumonia; I had two coats; it was 95 out; I was shaking. You know, just weird stuff like that. But it's all okay because we had such great people—our crew—everybody. And then, the visual effects were very taxing and complicated.

How did that all work together? Because there's more than one decapitated head.
Yeah, it's a mixture. First of all, we mixed prosthetics with makeup with masks for some of the zombie stuff, but all of those effects with the decapitations, we had to just imagine. So we had to choreograph everything and then only imagine kind of what it would be like, which was, for me, very abstract because I'm not very versed in visual effects. You know, you had to really kind of trust your instincts, because Adam Driver's chopping away with a machete with no blade.

It could've been a machete, it could've been a lightsaber, who knows? So, to what degree is this a sequel of Paterson with Adam Driver's character's last name being Peterson?
Well, I just do these things to amuse myself while writing, you know? Bill Murray in Broken Flowers was named Don Johnson, and in this, I gave him the name Cliff Robertson. Tilda Swinton's character is Zelda Winston. Rosie Perez is named Posie Juarez. You know, I'm just kind of amusing myself.

And Peterson, Paterson. While we were filming Paterson I was always teasing Adam that the next one, we would make was gonna be a sequel about a psychopathic murderous bus driver named Peterson. Tag line: "Get the fuck off my bus!" Or "Next Stop Hell!" You know, stuff like that. It's just to make them... I love trying to make Adam Driver laugh, because he has a very odd and wonderful sense of humor, but it's on the dry side, so I'm always joking around with him between work to try and see what makes him laugh.

But yeah, there's no sequel of any kind, and I don't think that way, and I don't plan, and I don't see my films from the past ever again. I just look toward the next thing.

Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features

What was the original concept for this? When did you start coalescing all of these different elements into knowing that you wanted it to be your next film?
Some years ago after Only Lovers Left Alive, Tilda kept teasing me, calling me, saying, "When do we do the zombies? When are we doing the zombies?" And in between I made Paterson and Gimme Danger, but then after those I started writing the zombie one, and my original conception was: I wanna make a film that's really funny and silly like Coffee and Cigarettes, where people talk about whatever nonsense I want them to, and I want to get actors I love, you know? So I thought, okay, if I make a zombie film, I can have a structure where different groups are cordoned off against the zombies, and the zombie attacks will be intermittent and not very long, so I'll have long lags where they're just stuck there, like in the house of The Night of the Living Dead, where they can talk about any kind of nonsense. So that was my first idea, and then when I started writing it, for some reason, I wanted to have a small town, Centerville, and I just followed my intuition, and it became this, I don't really know why beyond that.

What is it about small towns that make them the perfect setting for existential terror?
They're insular. They're kind of… everyone kind of knows each other. It's controllable by the characters. It's believable that everyone kind of know each other. I don't know. I'm not very good at analyzing that. And also, this is not a horror film because horror films use devices that are necessary to frighten people, like suspense, and then you get scared. We have no interest whatsoever in that. This is more of a metaphorical zombie film, but I would not call it a horror movie. It's a comedy with zombies with a kind of sad ending. Beyond that, I don't know what it is.

And horror nerds may not like it if they're expecting creepy, creepy, scary thing! They're not gonna get it. They're not gonna get that delivered to them.

What's interesting about it is seeing who fights back against this existential dread. Or, like, Chloë Sevigny's character, Mindy, doesn't fight, she is on her own separate trip, avoiding the end till she embraces it.
It's a character film. It's not even a plot film, really, although critics say that about all my films. But Chloë… it's a complicated thing, because when I first called Chloë, I told her... I wrote her a letter, and then she said, "Yeah, yeah I'd like to do this." And I said, obviously, this is not a feminist character. She's reactive. She's our sort of "Scream Queen." She screams like six times. But Chloë is the master of reaction, and I love watching her react.

She definitely feels like a stand-in for what a normal person would feel during these absurdist experiences, which is nice to have. It's not necessarily that you need a relatable character in a movie like this, but...
Yeah, but she's an empathetic human that's in a job with some authority, but in a small town where that means taking care of whatever, you know, as a police officer, pretty minimal [stuff]. There's not a lot of rampant crime or anything going on… or anything at all, really.

Credit : Frederick Elmes / Focus Features

A lot of people are going to be projecting tons of different meanings onto this film, like with all your films. To what level do you participate in that or pay attention to that? Or, once you're done making a film, is it just out there, and you just let people project onto it whatever they will?
I've always felt that anyone's interpretation of a film that I write and direct is probably more valid than my own. Because it's a funny thing, the beauty of films is going into a world—or a book or whatever—but going into a world that you don't know, and you are entering a world, and it takes you. And if you wrote it, and you were there filming it, and you're in the editing room every day for six months, the mix, and all that... I can never possibly see it. I like hearing what friends or people I know... I like Q and As after screenings because they have no agenda except their interest. I like that a lot, and I value that. I don't really like to read a lot of reviews unless they're really negative. I love the negative ones.

You do?
Yeah, because they must be very far from me in their perception of the world, and that is interesting to me. But I try not to read a lot...

I think you're probably the first person who I've ever spoken to who says they like to read the negative reviews.
I really like them. The worst one I ever got in my life, I laminated and used to carry in my wallet. It was a brief thing from a right-wing French [paper], maybe Le Figaro or something, of a film called Dead Man that we made, and they said—this is the English translation—"The French intelligence celebrates Jarmusch in the way death and blind parents would celebrate their retarded child. Jarmusch is 33 years old, the same age as Christ when he was crucified. We can only hope the same for his film career." I was like, Whoa! That is harsh! I'm keeping that one!

It gets personal.
But that was vicious. I was like, Did I sleep with this critic's girlfriend, or what? What happened? It was really... the knife was sharpened, you know.

That speaks to a very specific kind of agenda for sure.
A friend of mine Amos Poe, he's sort of a mentor of mine, a punk filmmaker, whatever, and when we were young when he made, in the late-'70s, one of his films—The Foreigner or Unmade Beds—the New York Times called it "the cinematic equivalent of kindergarten scribbling," and he put that on his posters and put "New York Times" and we were like punks, we were like, "Yes! Amos! That's great!"

I mean, it genuinely is a pretty great pull quote, and I think also a little bit oblivious to the charms of a kindergartener's scribbles and what the value is in that anyway.
Yeah, it was kind of accurate in a positive way, and they intended it as very negative.

In this film, there are so many actors who are veteran actors, but there are also a lot of younger actors. What do you like about the combination of that dynamic?
I just like the variety of sort of world perceptions—indicated in a very minor way when Bill Murray's character says, "I've known Hermit Bob since we were in junior high," and Adam's character says, "Oh, wow! That must've been like 50 years ago!" And Bill says, "Yeah. It was." But just the kind of difference of perception of age I find as I get older really interesting. And I'm very interested in young people, especially teenagers, because I think they form our sense of style, of music, of so many things, and yet they're kind of pushed around and treated badly and constantly told, "You don't know how the world really works! You're just a teenager!" But they gave us poetry. They gave us Mary Shelley and Rimbaud and chess masters, and all the great music comes a lot from teenagers. So I tried to keep a pulse, that's why the three teenagers, I would not let them turn into zombies. There are only four people [who don't get turned by zombies]: those three that are delinquents, and the Tom Waits character, who's already removed himself from the social order long before.

When the zombies become zombies, they all have one inciting thing that they're still pursuing in the real world. Do you have one thing that you think you would pursue if you were a zombie?
You know, it's hard because I'm a self-proclaimed dilettante. I'm interested in so many things, I don't know if I would be breaking into a bookstore, or if I would be in the alley outside of a movie theater, or if I would be trying to get into a guitar shop. I'm not sure. I have a lot of interests.

I mean there's a way in which it's a really tender portrayal of the human impulse to just seek out these things that they love.
It's not totally a critique; it's their vestigial memory of some things that they were drawn toward, whether it was power tools or oxycontin.

The Dead Don't Die is in theaters now.

Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features