The Two-for-One Meal

Richard Linklater chews on 'Fast Food Nation' and 'A Scanner Darkly'

CP: What would you like the Fast Food Nation movie to achieve?

Linklater: You can never prove or predict the cause and effect of anything, whatever its purpose. When The Jungle was published a hundred years ago, they enacted the FDA. But in today's world, we're more likely to see legislation enacted to prevent us from criticizing the way things are. In Texas, it's against the law to criticize an agricultural product—even though this [fast food] industry is potentially harming us. I guess Fast Food Nation would be immune to this law for being "fiction." Or would it? Kind of interesting, isn't it? I mean, can Fox Searchlight enact legislation to prevent you from writing a bad review of my movie?

CP: Uh [laughs]...

Let's hear it for the vague blur:  The animated Linklater
Warner Independent Pictures
Let's hear it for the vague blur: The animated Linklater

Linklater: The times we're living in make for an interesting disconnect. We know that the free market of ideas is sort of under attack, we know there's this orientation of our leaders toward war, toward the corporatization of culture, that there's all this legislation to support it, to harm the environment. We know that corporate culture is at the root of so much of this—but there it sits on the books. And yet you look up the food chain of Fox and you've got Rupert [Murdoch], you've got the Fox Network, and you've got Harper-Collins, which published [Schlosser's] book—so it's an interesting world. The industry is very fluid in a way. At the same time, things are starting to come out about the campaign against [Schlosser's] new book, Chew on This, which is Fast Food Nation for kids: It's being leafleted and picketed by firms that have been hired by the fast food industry. These firms always have names like "The Center for Consumer Freedom." Sounds like such a good idea.

A Scanner Darkly will be released on DVD in December; Fast Food Nation starts Friday at Lagoon Cinema.

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