Think you know everything about the classic punk subculture film “SLC PUNK!”? Think again! These mind-blowing facts will change the way you view this 100% accurate totally not bullshit take on ’80s punk in America forever!
James Merendino was inspired to write “SLC PUNK!” after seeing a mohawk in real life
In a 2015 Reddit AMA, Merendino recalled the moment that inspired him to write “SLC Punk!”
“I was at a coffee shop wondering what my deeply personal autobiographical movie should be about and all of a sudden in walked a man with the craziest hair I had ever seen in my life. He was bald, but he had this sort of red shark fin growing out the middle and sticking straight up! Naturally I asked him how much money he was saving at the barber by skipping the middle part of the head like that, and when he told me he had done it on purpose I was compelled. I thought to myself ‘I’ve just got to put that hair into my life’s story.'”
Merendino went on to explain that as he wrote about what his youth might have been like with hair like that, a sort of snowball effect took place.
“I was talking about the crazy hair man non-stop to anyone who would listen, and in return they were feeding me all this great stuff. One friend told me ‘That hair style is from a sub-culture called ‘The Punk Movement.’ Great, I’ll put it in the movie. My cousin said to me ‘Sometimes they do the hair blue or green instead of red.’ Great, I’ll put it in the movie. At some point someone said ‘Some of the punk people are women.’ I found that a little hard to believe, but hey, it’s a movie, why not?!”
In the end, Merendino credits the crazy hair man for helping him figure out what it is he wanted to say with his movie.
“I was determined to prove that the weird and crazy hair man was incorrect for having his hair all crazy like that instead of attending Harvard University, and within a few weeks I had completed my first draft of ‘Hair Idiots,’ later renamed ‘SLC PUNK!'”
Matthew Lillard never stopped breaking the 4th wall
Sometimes playing a complicated role can have a lasting and troubling effect on an immersive actor. As anyone whose seen the Scooby Doo live-action movie can tell you, there is no actor more immersive than Mathew Lillard.
Lillard recalls being warned about the dangers of portraying a character as complex and darkly nuanced as Stevo by a respected acting veteran.
“I got a call in my hotel room one morning and it was Jack Nicholson! He said ‘Matthew Lillard this is Jack Nicholson from ‘Terms of Endearment.” I know we’ve never met, but I understand you’ve been cast as Stevo, the hair idiot. Be c-a-r-e-f-u-l. That man’s hair is crazy, and it will warp your mind. I should know. I was in “Terms of Endearment’ after all.’ I thought ole’ Jack was just being cooky, but looking back, I wish I had taken him more seriously.”
Friends and family are burdened to this day as Lillard will randomly look to an imagined camera and break down whatever situation or conversation he’s involved in from the perspective of Stevo, then return to Lillard form as if nothing happened.
“Last week I was giving a speech at a friend’s wedding and all a sudden I blacked out. When I came to people told me I went on a 5-minute rant that Marriage is an archaic institution designed to reinforce the status quo set forth by our cis-white patriarchal slave-owning corporate founders and has nothing to do with love. I’m not even sure what that means.”
There were originally more tribes
The movie’s dueling factions of Punks, Mods, Neo-nazis, Rednecks, Heavy Metal Guys, and New Wavers were initially more expansive, and complicated!
As James Merendino would later explain “I wanted to weave a rich tapestry of all the players, the politics involved in a social scene comprised of many dueling factions. That’s why the tribes of Salt Lake were originally rounded out by Mimes, Orcs, The Baseball Furries, Leather Daddys, and the Burger King Kids Club, the latter of which I had hoped to sell as a product promotion but was ultimately sued over.”
The first draft had flourishes of genius — a tale of incredibly complex interplay involving espionage, intrigue, alliances, betrayals, and incest. It collapsed under its own weight and was eventually reduced to everyone beating each other up.
The failure still haunts Merendino.
“‘Game of Thrones’ would eventually get it right, but I can’t take credit for that. Well, not all the credit anyway, some of it for sure.”
The movie syncs perfectly with Berkshire’s 2023 annual shareholders meeting!
Warren Buffet says “Due process” at the exact moment Mike breaks the cop’s windshield, it’s uncanny!
Merendino assured viewers this was merely a coincidence. “We made the movie in the late ’90s, we had no access to a meeting that would happen two and half decades later. There is a chance those billionaires were big fans of the movie and did it on purpose, but I’ve tried talking with Warren Buffet and he said if I keep trying to contact him I will be ‘dealt with accordingly.'”
The Utah Mod scene is stronger than ever
If you’re not blasting Roxy Music from your Vespa scooter in Salt Lake you’re basically nobody.
Local mod enthusiast Karen Harper says it’s harder than ever to find stylish clothing at local thrift stores thanks to the popularity of the movie. “I’ve had to travel out of state to find fedoras and long jackets because the racks at the local Goodwill are always bare. Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to find a sharp looking sweater or a pair of nice boots.”
The character of Heroin Bob went through several different versions in pre-production
In an early draft of the script, the character we know as Heroin Bob was called Gorilla Sex Accident Bob, and was characterized by his hatred of sex with Gorillas. In this version, he ironically died in a gorilla sex accident.
To get into the mindset of a man who does not do heroin, actor Michael A. Goorjian abstained from doing heroin for the entire shoot
“That was the longest 6 weeks of my life and I would not do it again,” a comfortably strung-out Goorjian later admitted.
The actor was so comfortable with needles in real life he would make a show of shooting up on set. He reportedly would toss a loaded syringe in the air, catch it in one of his veins, and then depress the plunger by encouraging another actor to throw a hot baked potato at his arm from across the room.
SLC Punk! Isn’t the movie you’re thinking of
You’re actually thinking of Empire Records. Which is the better movie if everyone is being honest here.