“Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut” hits shelves this week, and I had the tremendous honor of interviewing director Frank Oz and Ellen Greene, who played Audrey, about the upcoming re-release of their 1986 film. The new cut of the film is particularly notable because it features an entirely restored and remastered version of the original ending for the film, which was initially deemed too dark for movie audiences at the time.
Talking with Frank Oz will probably go down as one of my favorite interviews of all time due to how many of his projects played a big role in my childhood movie memories. Along with all the “Little Shop” talk, we ended up talking a bit about “Star Wars” and whether he’ll return as Yoda at any time soon, as well as the reason we haven’t seen too many of his other projects lately.
Still, as nice as it was to talk to Oz, it was a special moment to talk with Ellen Greene, too. Audrey is such a unique role that she’s made very much her own, and it was easy to see how much of herself she’d invested in the character over the years. She ended up giving me a hug at the end of our interview, which was an extremely nice and touching gesture.
Here’s an excerpt from my interview with Ellen and Frank:
IFC: With a lot of actors and filmmakers, certain projects fill a specific creative urge in their lives or served a important purpose in their development as a professional in this industry. What niche did “Little Shop of Horrors” fill for you? What makes it special to you, individually?
OZ: That’s an interesting question. It was a vast learning process for me. It was only my second movie, because the first one was really Jim [Henson]‘s movie, “The Dark Crystal,” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan” was really my first. “Little Shop of Horrors” was a rare opportunity to do something that no other directors had done. Musicals just aren’t made these days, so having the opportunity and the backing to make something of quality, well… It was just a rare opportunity to do something that can never be done again.
GREENE: This means a lot to me. It always meant a lot to me, because Howard and Alan mean a lot to me. A few times in your life you create magic. “Pushing Daisies” was another one for me. You’re just very lucky sometimes. “Little Shop of Horrors” is the one everybody remembers me for, though, and why people are kind to me. They love Audrey, and the thing is, Audrey has my heart. I put a lot of myself into Audrey. And I’m forever grateful that Frank put me in the film. How often does someone who creates a role get to play themselves on screen?
You can read the rest of the interview at IFC.com, and I recommend that you do. It was a really interesting conversation for me, and I think quite a few people I know will get a lot out of it.