Welcome Peter Brown, Writer and Producer of Sons of Porno… ACK, PROVO. I MEANT PROVO…..

A while back I wrote about the Sons of Provo DVD porno debacle, and invited the filmmakers to come visit Trapped by the Mormons. Well, by golly, today I’m thrilled to introduce Peter Brown, the writer and producer of Sons of Provo. I think he had a role in the film, too, which has gone to the top of the Collins Christmas Wish List because it looks damn funny.

So, without further adieu, here is Peter Brown.

Natalie: Peter, welcome to Trapped by the Mormons. First and foremost, we need to know, do you like those funeral potatoes, and would you do just about anything (including killing and maiming and crashing Mormon funerals) to get them?

Peter: As a matter of fact, part of the inspiration for the film Sons of Provo, came from a dinner that I had with some fellow “not-any-Mormons.” We had a pot roast, funeral potatoes, green bean casserole and several jello salads. Every once in a while we get together for some good old-fashioned Mormon cuisine.

Incidentally, I was at a funeral recently that had NO funeral potatoes. I resisted the urge to write a letter of complaint to the relief society president in the ward. But the rolls were good. I’m pretty sure they were Rhodes. Just like the kind my grandmother used to defrost.

Natalie: Tell us a little about your movie. What inspired you to make it? And after you did so, did you become persona non grata at family gatherings? That would make it hard to get funeral potatoes.

Peter: Sons of Provo was born when I was in New York with my friend, Will Swenson (star of The Singles Ward and The RM). We were out to dinner and when my margarita came I made sure to bless it to “nourish and strengthen my body and do me the good that I need.” We laughed about it and pretty soon, Will, being the musical genius that he is, had turned it into a song. Next, we were talking about making a Mormon version of This is Spinal Tap starring an extremely-self righteous Mormon boy band. Incidentally, the Prickly Pear Margarita at Chevy’s is really good.

For the most part, I am still welcome at family gatherings. My family are all big fans of the film. This film was financed almost entirely by very active members of the church (mostly family members). I tried to not make fun of things in the film that were sacred to my family and many of my friends. The movie is intended to satirize the self-righteous, not the LDS church.

Natalie: When you are in the business of poking fun at Mormon culture, you have to carefully tread a fine line, because many Mormons take themselves way too seriously, and before you know it they are sending you hate emails threatening you with curses from God of speech disorders and an eternity spent in outer darkness. Overall, how has the response been to this film, and has there been any death threats or excessive testimony bearing? (I prefer the death threats.)

Peter: So far, I have not received any hate mail or death threats. In fact, I have yet to come across very many Mormons who have been offended by it (with the exception of some of the executives at Deseret Book, who seem to be very easily offended).

The response to this film from the Mormon community has been fairly lukewarm. People tend to either love it or hate it. But it seems that the people who have disliked it are those who can compare it to other LDS films. The people who have no idea that LDS film existed tend to enjoy the film a lot. For example, inside the Zion curtain, we received nothing but negative reviews from critics. However, TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter, and the Arizona Republic, all gave the film a positive review.

Before the film was released, we played the film in 10 different film festivals–we won either the audience award or the jury award in 8 of 10 festivals. All from non-Mormon jurys and mostly non-Mormon audiences. And at almost every film festival, someone would come up to me and ask how the Mormons react to this film. Their assumption was always that the Mormons would be offended by it.

Natalie: Don’t you think Fast Sunday should be against the law? I bet crimes are a lot higher on the first Sunday of the month in Mormon communities. Someone should do a study on that. People SAY and do the stupidest things when they are hungry.

Peter: I’m currently doing that study. I haven’t eaten for about 6 hours and I’m getting a little tired of all these DAMN QUESTIONS!

Natalie: What’s the funniest thing you ever heard or saw in a Fast and Testimony Meeting? And could you make a film out of that?

Peter: What a great idea. Anyone out there want to write a film about a short, old, spitfire of a woman who had multiple surgeries on her finger, and spoke about them in great detail every month?

Natalie: What was your first reaction when you heard that the Sons of Provo DVD had been inadvertently replaced with a DVD about a gay porn star? And furthermore, when you learned a few Mormon families had purchased said DVD and got the shock of their lives, did you consider going into a different line of work, say, maybe, leading tours at Temple Square?

Peter: When I first heard of the fiasco, I was on vacation in Costa Rica. I got an urgent phone call from my director/co-writer, Will Swenson, and I looked up the story online. Sons of Provo had been replaced by Adored: Diary of a Porn Star. My first thought was, “How in the hell did someone get their hands on my diary?”

Natalie: Do you think the mixup hurt DVD sales, or has the heightened controversy actually increased them?

Peter: I honestly believe that the mixup hurt DVD sales. We have never had any marketing geared toward anyone but the Mormons and more specifically, Mormons in Utah. So, the fact that the story was picked up around the country (even around the world), didn’t help because no one could buy the DVD because it wasn’t available. In Utah, it had been pulled from the shelves temporarily, and outside Utah it is almost impossible to find.

Natalie: Are you working on other movies about Mormon culture, and if so, can you share? Please? Pretty please with funeral potatoes on top?

Peter: I’m not currently working on anything Mormon, but since I’m unemployed right now, I’m starting to write a few other things. But I’m not really far enough along to talk much about it. But I’m hoping that it will star Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Co-starring, me, Peter Brown, as the wacky gay neighbor.

Natalie: Was this the first movie you’ve written, or the first movie you’ve written that got made?

Peter: This was my first movie. It’s unusual to have your first feature film made and distributed. This was largely due to the fact that my director and co-writer was a big star in Mormon cinema.

Natalie: Don’t you think someone needs to form an intervention and get Katie Holmes AWAY from that weirdo Tom Cruise? (I know, I know, totally off topic, but we need informed opinions on this subject, and aren’t you somewhat close to the situation, being an “artsy” type yourself?)

Peter: Huh. Interesting question. I want to say yes, we should get her away from him, but I’m not sure that I wouldn’t convert to scientology and become a weirdo, temporarily, for a few happy months with Tom Cruise.

Natalie: Anything else about the film, the making of the film, the people in the film, the fans, the media, or anything else you feel like sharing?

Peter: I just want to reiterate that the film is first and fo
remost, a satire about these self-righteous characters. I think Mormons, not-any-Mormons, and non-Mormons, can all take something different away from the film. But we did not set out to lampoon a religion. Okay, maybe a teeny-weeny bit.

SHAMELESS PLUG:

You can rent Sons of Provo at your local Hollywood Video, Blockbuster (in Utah), and coming soon to Netflix.

Better yet, you can buy it at http://www.halestormentertainment.com/p_store.asp. The CD is also available there as well. Through December 31, you can use the coupon code EVERCLEAN to knock 10% off our already ridiculously low prices.

Thanks! This was fun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there you have it. And I agree with Peter! This WAS fun. Peter has an open invitation to visit Trapped whenever he wants.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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