Drew Denny discusses The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had with My Pants On
Filmmaker, performance artist, songwriter, actress, screenwriter Drew Denny’s first feature film, the partly autobiographical The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had with My Pants On, was screened at this year’s AFI FEST in Los Angeles. The film, a mix of road movie, (female) buddy comedy-drama, and, using Denny’s expression, "communal exorcism," follows friends Andy (Denny) and Liv (Sarah Hagan) — and Liv’s dog (Chloe) — as they cross the American Southwest from Los Angeles to Austin, spreading the ashes of Andy’s recently deceased father along the route. (Photo: Drew Denny at AFI FEST 2012.)
But why "communal exorcism"? Well, you’ll find out why once you check out the q&a below (and on the next couple of pages), as Drew Denny has kindly agreed to answer a few questions via email for Alt Film Guide.
And make sure to read the q&a until the very end. That way you’ll also find out whether or not Denny played Dean Paul Martin (that’s Dean Martin’s son) as a little boy in the 1979 romantic melodrama Players.
Official website. Drew Denny / The Most Fun I’ve Ever Have with My Pants On images via InclusivePR.
To go from performance artist and musician to filmmaker. How difficult / easy was the change? What were your biggest challenges as a first-time movie director / screenwriter / actress / producer / songwriter?
I actually went from filmmaker to musician to performance artist then back to filmmaker! I graduated from film school at USC, which is where I met almost everyone who worked on the film. My frustration with my lack of the funds and equipment necessary to make a film led me to tell stories and express myself with music which I could do immediately for no money with friends in my bands like Big Whup.
As my art practice expanded, certain material required more physical and conceptual materialization — I pursued those ideas through installation and performance artwork while attending the Aesthetics and Politics MA program at Cal Arts. During that time, I taught Art for LAUSD continuation and toured America and Europe performing music, installing large-scale artworks and presenting performance artworks.
I was on my way home from a Dutch artist residency when my father was diagnosed and given three weeks to live. Caring for him for those three weeks was the most intensely intimate experience of my life, but also the most absurd and the most frustrating. As soon as he died, all I wanted to do was run around, celebrate life and love and beauty in any way I could.
That impulse manifested in my art practice as a performance artwork I presented on Father’s Day 2011 for an exhibition in Echo Park LA called "Tears and Ecstasy." I performed the story of caring for my father as he died, incorporating live music, pre-recorded score, projection, audience participation and a sing-a-long led by my dead dad singing “Swing Low.” The performance was incredibly cathartic for me and the audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive. I took a step back from that work and realized — these are the pieces of a film!
["Q&A with The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had with My Pants On Filmmaker Drew Denny" continues on the next page. See link below.]