Interview: Michael Glover & Robyn Rosenkrantz "Go With Le FLo"
One of the latest films to catch my eye is a wonderful romantic comedy that combines both French and German cultures, “Go With Le Flo”. The film revolves around a middle-aged, half-French, half-German salami maker named Florian who thinks he has fallen in love with the girl of his dreams. Throughout the film we see the desperate attempts of a man trying his hardest for a shot at happiness, and the things he is willing to go through to make it happen. The film will make you laugh, sympathize, and make you want to try French cuisine!
I enjoyed the writing, the directing, and the music in the film, and it just so happens that I had the pleasure of having a great conversation with the two people that made this film happen. Michael Glover who directed and wrote the film, and Robyn Rosenkrantz who co-produced the film with him. They both did the music for the film and did a magnificent job. In this interview we talk all about the film and their wonderful careers.
Nick Leyland from The Movie Network: How are you guys doing today?
Michael Glover: Good, doing great. We're just busy with all this getting ready for pre-tour stuff, getting ready to leave the country again.
TMN: Well, are you guys off on your music tour? Is that what's going on?
Michael Glover: August 12th, we start the tour in Denmark and Germany, Holland and UK. Releasing the movie there. That's what we usually do, we take our movies on the road, 'cause we're a band, we started as a band. When you have a new CD, you go on tour to promote it. And so we thought "Well, let's do that with our movies." So we've been doing that since our beginning. Five movies ago when we started we thought, "Well, let's treat it like a CD, just go tour with it."
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Go cinema to cinema. It's working out. It's a lot of fun.
TMN: Do you play at the premiere of the movies?
Michael Glover: Yeah, we do. We always play a few songs in the cinema. Just a few just to say, "Hello," and kind of set the atmosphere.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Lot of times we play unplugged in the cinema which is a lot of fun. We're on guitars and Michael and I both sing, a lot of vocal harmony and sometimes percussion and then this time, you might have noticed in the movie, we are playing some instruments from India, tablas and harmonium. So we're gonna take those on tour for the first time. So we're really excited about that.
Michael Glover: Yeah, I'm not that excited 'cause they're heavy and I have to carry them.
TMN: Can you play the tablas?
Michael Glover: Yeah, I started as a drummer. Robyn and I both came from the punk movement, and I was the drummer in the punk band. We used to tour with The Ramones. We were opening act for The Ramones.
Michael Glover: I started really young, so I had a pretty good punk rock career before I was even able to vote.
TMN: The tablas are tough though, you gotta play with all parts of your hand.
Michael Glover: Yeah, they're a really special instrument though. We meditate a lot, we practice a kind of yoga meditation, and there's a thing called Kirtan which is a devotional chanting like Sanskrit chanting or whatever that they do before you meditate. That's why I learned the tablas, so that we could do that... But now, we use it in our act.
TMN: That's awesome!
TMN: Can you tell our audience what they can expect to see when they watch this film, "Go With Le Flo"?
Michael Glover: Basically what I wanted to do was make a movie that was a homage to the old films there, and old Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, you know the old basic, freestyle romantic films. And that happens to be the kind of movie that I prefer to a lot of what I see now. I watch almost exclusively old movies, very old stuff. I'm filled with that, and so I tend to write that way and think that way. Fortunately, we've had a good reception to this movie. It's basically a romantic version of Berlin with people that are not totally disgusting like many of the movies today.
Michael Glover: But they are just good people that are trying to make something beautiful out of their lives. It's a standard romantic comedy. It's in German and French though, so it's kind of interesting for Americans being a foreign film. And, there's a lot of comedy in it, and some romance, and hopefully it will hold some surprises to people. I've had the pleasure of watching it with a lot of audiences, like 12 audiences around the world, and their reaction is pretty much the same every where. In China, I was surprised, they really responded in the same place in the same way.
TMN: Now can you tell me some of the common traits that you'll find in a French style of film, or a German film, that you don't normally see in an American style of film?
Michael Glover: Well, now, German films, you know, the modern German films, they tend to be a little heavier than American films. The older German films like the stuff that I'm referring to, like Ernst Lubitsch films, the 1930s is basically is what I'm talking about, that was basically the Hollywood style. That was what, in fact, some people don't know this, but, Hollywood actually took Hollywood style from Germany. Because Germany was quite ahead in the 1920s and the 30s with their film making style. And so what the Hollywood producers did was they basically bought all the best directors from Germany. They convinced them to come to Hollywood, and the camera people, too, to help them make these beautiful old style Hollywood movies. So, what we're getting, what we do in our film is basically keep it entertaining. It's light-hearted entertainment. That's the idea. It's not a heavy picture. We try to make it intelligent. That's one important thing for me is that I never write down to the audience, and I never think they're stupid. I always expect my audience to be fairly intelligent, and we've had a lot of good response because of that.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Yeah, and we like to keep the films family friendly and uplifting. We've had people comment that when they come into the cinema they might be in a certain mood but when they leave after watching our movies they always feel better. They feel uplifted somehow. And that's a goal of ours that we want people to feel better than when they came in. And, so it's a real nice community experience that the whole audience has together.
TMN: I really enjoyed the film. I liked the comedy aspect of it. I know that it's more of a romance, but I enjoyed the kind of the quirky character of Florian, you know what I mean?
Michael Glover: Well, yeah. Me, too. I mean that's my favorite genre is comedy, you know. It's hard to find really good ones these days. Some of them tend to be kind of raunchy comedies. That can be funny. It can work. What I have a problem with with the current way is they're really playing to the largest possible audience that they can, you know for financial reasons. They're creating a movie that will appeal to almost everyone. It's like if you do that, you're gonna have to dumb it way down.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Kind of bland.
Michael Glover: Yeah, it'd be real simple usually violent or just crude something that appeals to sort of the reptilian brain in everybody.
TMN: What inspired you to write the film the way that you did?
Michael Glover: We'd made four other films before this. They were all comedies, sort of screwball comedies. One is sort of a romantic comedy. We shot them in LA, the four previous films. And then we decided we wanted to make a foreign film, and we've been touring and performing in Europe for almost 25 years now, quite a lot. Every year we're usually in Europe more than we're in America. So we had quite a lot of friends there and quite a lot of people that really understand what we're trying to do and appreciate our art. So we thought, "Well, let's shoot a movie." So we talked to some friends in Berlin, and they were all very enthusiastic about helping out and so we decided to just go for it.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Yeah, plus like the movie before this one, "Lose with English," about a third of it was in Italian. That was an experiment we did with two Italian actors that we know and that was so much fun shooting in another language that Michael and I said, "Wouldn't it be fun to make a whole movie in another language?" Even a language that we don't understand. That's the funny thing, Michael and I don't speak German or French, but we picked up little bits of a lot of languages touring in Europe for so many years. But we found that we don’t need to speak the language to make a movie in another language as long as you have a good translator, a good script supervisor, and you can communicate with the actors that they get what you're doing. All the actors spoke English, so Michael was able to communicate with them. It was an interesting experiment shooting in another language. I loved it.
TMN: So we have Americans writing a movie for a French guy that's living in Germany.
Michael Glover: Yeah, well we just thought it was a goofy idea. The thing is, the nice thing about being really self-financing, which means basically no budget, is that nobody tells us we can't do it. There are very few movies in more than one language that are mixed language. They're very few because they don't know how to market them. The studios don't like it. So they're always discouraging people from doing that. They're always trying to get people to make movies in English. Always make it in English. If you wanna sell it make it in English. And so we just thought we could mess around with it. We're gonna go do another one now. We're gonna go back for this tour, part of this tour is pre-production for the next movie which is gonna be shot in Germany and Italy. It'll be a multi-culti movie with different languages, German and Italian and a bunch of things. There'll be quite a lot of English in it.
TMN: Well, speaking of the money aspect of everything. Tell me about "Bright Blue Gorilla."
Michael Glover: Yeah, "Bright Blue Gorilla" started as our band. Robyn and I met here.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: We met at a club in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip and we got together and wrote a song and fell in love. And soon after we were living in LA together and working full-time jobs and just doing our music part time like a lot of artists in LA. It's pretty challenging to survive here. But one morning we were having breakfast, and we just said, "You know what? Let's get out of here. Let's quit our jobs. Let's sell everything we have. Let's take backpacks and guitars and buy one way tickets to Europe. Let's go explore the world and see what we can do." And that was way back in 1990 and somehow with lot's of miracles, we're still going.
Michael Glover: Yeah, we've been going ever since. It just keeps rolling. We've never stopped, we've always made choices to where we said, "We're not gonna spend all our energy and time trying to have what most people think they have to have like a permanent house, a permanent place, a bunch of stuff that make you feel like you're alive. Yeah, luxury things. So we just decided to go for the artistic that we said, "We wanna make projects. We wanna put all our resources into artistic projects and working with other artists and traveling and experiencing." So we basically put in all our energy in experiencing things and creating things rather than accumulating things. That's what we've been doing. So we're still at the point where Robyn said, we're staying in Hancock Park which is a very ritzy fancy part of Los Angeles, but we're house sitting that's why we're here.
TMN: 1990 traveling around the world. Can you imagine life back then with no internet?
Michael Glover: Yeah, it's so funny when we think about it. I remember the first couple of times... 'Cause we were like a lot of musicians we were early adopters to that kind of technology stuff and so when we first started booking shows through email, someone would answer, "Hello, received your email message, and I'm happy to book you at my venue."
Robyn Rosenkrantz: I think when we first toured Europe, we were also using the fax machine.
Michael Glover: Oh, yeah, that's right.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: And we'd fax them.
Michael Glover: Hi-tech.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: A different world indeed. And when we first started touring, Michael and I had little cassette tapes we were selling. So...
Michael Glover: Yeah, remember those?
Robyn Rosenkrantz: We've gone through a lot of stages.
TMN: Everything was by word of mouth and by hand to get your name out or anything out.
Michael Glover: Yeah, well, I'll tell you. When we went to Europe at that point, the public or the government funding of the arts was still full on, just full go, you know, in the early '90s. So, in Holland there were probably about 500 clubs that you play. Holland’s about the size of Massachusetts or something smaller? There were 500 clubs in that area, that would all pay you three or 400 bucks to go play, even if nobody knew you. If you were good. That's just if you were good. So...
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Well, 'cause they also trusted the club owners, you know, the local people. You know, I go to this cafe or club every Friday, and I know there's going to be good quality music, because they trusted the owner who booked the place.
Michael Glover: Yeah, people would just show up, it'd be packed.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Yeah, I remember like being from LA we're like saying to the clubs, "Hey, do you need us to hand out flyers or do anything?" They were like, "No, just come play."
TMN: What style of music do you play?
Michael Glover: It's kind of folky. It's like singer songwriter. We're basically songwriters. We're writing performers, or performing writers, however you want to say that. And she's quite a good singer, so the two of us both sing. But it's basically we're singing our stories, you know. We don't care that much about the style. Like I said, we used to be in the punk scene both of us. And now we're playing like folky music, you know.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Kind of folk rock. On our CDs one song is blues, one song is kinda new wave, you know, one is singer songwriter. It just depends on what the song needs. But our live performance, you know, probably you'd just call us singer songwriters, troubadours.
TMN: Were any of your songs in the film?
Michael Glover: Yeah. We always do all the music ourselves. With each movie now we try to bring a couple of friend guest composers on there. Friends that we can co-write some songs with to get some new blood, you know, some new sound.
TMN: I feel like there was accordion sounds in this film. Is that right?
Michael Glover: That's this great guy who's an accordion player for the Berliner Ensemble, who, which is Bertolt Brecht's theater there in Berlin. And he's this amazing accordion maestro really. And he wrote a song for the opening or we basically had the melody and went and said, "Hey, would you want to co-write this?" And we sort of hummed out our melody and played it a little bit on guitar. And he went, "Oh, great!" And he just whipped it out, this improvisational accordion song. I recorded it, he played it six times. I took the best pieces of each recording and made a composite song.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Yeah, he's amazing, and it was amazing. He's a German guy from Berlin. And we were staying in Prenzlauerberg, right in the center of Berlin, like one of the best areas. This director we know had an extra apartment, "Hey, you can live here while you make the movie."
Michael Glover: It's like an artistic area.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: And all these musicians lived in the building that we were staying in. But what was amazing was the accordion player, Gerhardt, lived a block away from us on the same street. It was incredible!
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Yeah, that wasn't planned, you know. That was amazing and then the other composer, he's an American named Andy Fite. And he, oh, my gosh, he's an amazing jazz guitar player.
Michael Glover: He's one of those guys that's just like, he's a chord man, you know, he knows every chord in the world.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: He's an American that lives in Sweden. And, so we asked him to come to Berlin, and co-write. And he also has a cameo in the movie. In the proposal scene, he's in that band.
TMN: Well, that's awesome. Yeah, because I feel like the music was very well done in the film.
Michael Glover: Well, thank you. Yeah, that's real important to us, because as you know, like you, we're musicians, so we care.
TMN: Now, let's talk about the releasing of the film. It came out in April in LA. But where can people check it out now?
Michael Glover: Yeah, well, we made a deal with Eurocinema, this company called Eurocinema which is a nice company and they represent the Miramax and Samuel Goldwyn catalog.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Eurocinema specialize in foreign films for the American market.
Michael Glover: One of their people from the company saw us, at one of our screenings in Los Angeles (actually The German consulate hosted a special screening of Go with Le Flo) and reported it to the CEO and he watched it and loved it and wanted it for the catalog. So, we're on their website, and more importantly on their cable channel. They have a cable channel, it's a pay-per-view channel over the Comcast network. So I think we're on 36 million home televisions now. You can watch pay-per-view, and you can watch it on Eurocinema, and he just made a deal for us for iTunes worldwide.
Michael Glover: I guess we're gonna be launched worldwide on iTunes in every country and also things like Netflix and all that stuff that's gonna come, too.
TMN: Well, I'm really glad that I got to speak with you guys today, and I enjoyed the film and, I wish you guys the best with everything.
Michael Glover: Thanks, Nick.
Robyn Rosenkrantz: Thanks, Nick.