Naked Lunch


1h 55m 1991

Brief Synopsis

A part-time exterminator and full-time drug addict longs to be a writer. Filled with disillusion and dissatisfaction, he murders his wife and escapes to the fantasy world of Interzone. There, in his altered state, surrounded by half-alien, half bug creatures and other oddities, he finds he can write

Film Details

Also Known As
Festin Nu, Le, Le Festin Nu
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1991
Production Company
Balsmeyer & Everett Inc; Blue Heron; Casablanca Sound Services; Chris Walas Inc; Completion Bond Company Inc; Cts Studios; Film House Entertainment; Film Trustees Ltd; Films Effects; Glinwood Films; Henry Embry; Jdh Studios; Master Musicians Of Jajouka; Michaelson'S Catering; Naked Lunch Productions; Nippon Film Development & Finance Inc; Numbers Inc; Ontario Film Development Corporation; Panavision, Ltd.; Recorded Picture Company; Sound Mix Ltd; T'Nt Negative Cutting; TTlTfilm Canada
Distribution Company
20TH CENTURY FOX DISTRIBUTION/ALLIANCE RELEASING; 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox International; Acteurs Auteurs AssociƩs (AAA); Alliance Releasing; Alliance Releasing; Distribuzione Angelo Rizzoli Cinematografica; Finnkino Oy; First Independent Films; Iberoamericana Films; Independent Productions; Jugendfilm; Opal/Solopan; Shochiku-Fuji Company Ltd; Zeta Films
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Synopsis

A part-time exterminator and full-time drug addict longs to be a writer. Filled with disillusion and dissatisfaction, he murders his wife and escapes to the fantasy world of Interzone. There, in his altered state, surrounded by half-alien, half bug creatures and other oddities, he finds he can write.

Crew

Marlene Aarons

Makeup Assistant

Youssef Abedalnour

Interzone Extras Casting

Zakaria Alaoui

Special Thanks

Scotty Allan

Gaffer

Rhoda Ancill

Hairdresser

Connie Angland

Purchasing Agent (Cwi Crew)

David Appleby

Rerecording Mixer

Michael Auger

Electrician

Evan Ayotte

Other

Donato Baldassarra

Special Thanks

Blake Ballentine

Rigging & Daily Grip

John Bannister

Key Scenic Artist

Paul Bannister

Construction Trainee

Carol Bauman

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Gordon Becker

Carpenter

Hercules Bellville

Special Thanks

Eldie Benson

Head Driver

Jon Berg

Technical Advisor (Cwi Crew)

Silvio Berti

Wardrobe Assistant

Ian Biddy

2nd Electrician

John Board

1st Assistant Director

Simon Board

3rd Assistant Director

Samuel Bojin

Bestboy

John Botelho

Electrician

Deirdre Bowen

Casting

Eddie Bowman

Driver

Michael Brownstone

Location Manager

Hugh Brule

Bestboy Grip

Michael Burke

Trainee Assistant Director

William S. Burroughs

Source Material (From Novel)

Michel Burstein

Publicist (France)

Richard Cadger

Dialogue Editor

Carlos Caneca

Trainee Set Dresser

Marlene Chapelle

Assistant Carpenter

Ted Churchill

Steadicam Operator

Veronica Ciandre

Hair Stylist

Brian Clancy

Carpenter

Lesley Clark

Other

Wayne Clarkson

Special Thanks

Brian Cole

Driver

Denardo Coleman

Other

Ornette Coleman

Songs ("Write Man" "Bugpower" "Midnight Sunrise" "Ballad" "Intersong")

Ornette Coleman

Alto Saxophone Solos

Ornette Coleman

Other

Ron Coles

Driver

Kent Columbus

Rigging & Daily Grip

Arthur E Cooper

Assistant Camera

Janet Cormak

Scenic Artist

Jocelyn Cousins

Assistant (To Jeremy Thomas)

Hazel Crombie

United Kingdom Accountant

Cassandra Cronenberg

Trainee Assistant Director

David Cronenberg

Screenwriter

Denise Cronenberg

Costume Designer

Michael Curran

Transportation Coordinator

Tony Currie

Dialogue Editor

Joe Curtin

Construction Coordinator

Kevin Curtin

Carpenter

Alex Dawes

Riggings & Daily Grip

Bryan Day

Sound Mixer

Mac Day

Driver

Rossana Decampo

Other

Sevilla Delofski

Assistant (To Jeremy Thomas)

Homer Dennison

Original Music

Stephan Depuis

Other

Paula Deresti

Set Dresser

Brian Dewe

Animatronics Engineer (Cwi Crew)

Julian Dickens

Special Thanks

Ron Dickie

Propsman

John Dondertman

1st Assistant Art Director

Attila Dory

Stills

Nigel Draper

Electrician

Tom Durnan

Electrician

Henry Embry

Cableman

Prudence Emery

Unit Publicist

David Evans

Sound Effects Editor

Danielle Fleury

Assistant Set Decorator

Otto Fondan

Scenic Artist

Mary Ford

Song Performer ("Vaya Con Dios")

Ian Fraser

Head Carpenter

Vic Fraser

Other

Joel Freisch

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Richard D Gaal

Electrician

Elinor Rose Galbraith

Set Decorator

Deborah Geaghan

Assistant Accountant

Chris Geggie

Assistant Property Master

Maggie Gibbons

Bookkeeper (Cwi Crew)

Pamela Gibson

Props Builder

Brenda Gilles

Costume Supervisor

Terry Glinwood

Special Thanks

Lorelee Godden

Assistant Carpenter

James A Gore

Foley Assistant

Terry Gould

2nd Assistant Director

Lori Greenberg

Assistant (To Gabriella Martinelli)

Evangeline Griego

Assistant (To Gabriella Martinelli)

Wayne Griffin

Dialogue Editor

Duane Gullison

Generator Operator

Steve Haines

Carpenter

Brian Hamill

Stills

Richard Harkness

Assistant Sound Editor

Douglas Harlocker

Property Master

Christine Hart

Makeup Artist

Jacqui Hemingway

Other

Ann Henshaw

Wardrobe Assistant

Will Hoddinott

Location Assistant

Bill House

Special Thanks

Guy Hudson

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Mike Hyde

Carpenter

James Hynemar

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

David Hynes

Dolly Grip

Dave Isaac

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

James Isaac

Supervisor

Satoru Iseki

Special Thanks

Conrad Itchener

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Colin F Jones

2nd Grip

Julie Jones

Seamstress

John Keenan

Carpenter

Murray R Keith

Carpenter

Bernadette Kelly

2nd Assistant Editor

Sean Kelly

Assistant Sound Editor

Judy Kemeny

Assistant Sound Editor

James Pennington Kent

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

George Kocuba

Assistant Carpenter

Michael Lacroix

Boom Operator

Patricia Lambkin

2nd Assistant Editor

Sabri Lariani

Assistant Head Carpenter

Elinor Lavender

Extras Casting

Helene Leblanc

Stand-In

Kelly Lepkowsky

Supervisor

Michael Levine

Special Thanks

Victoria Lewis

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Tim Lindstone

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

James Lovisek

Insect/Centipede Wrangler

Brian Lumley

Carpenter

Michelle Lyman

Animatronics Technician (Cwi Crew)

Carmen Macdonald

Hairdresser

Joe Madziak

Carpenter

Susan Maggi

Assistant Sound Editor

Andy Malcolm

Foley Artist

Mark Manchester

Key Grip

Rick Marshall

Carpenter

Gabriella Martinelli

Co-Producer

John Martins-mantiega

Other

Mia Matson

Other

Peter Maxwell

Rerecording Mixer

James Mcateer

Art Director

Jerome Mccann

Driver

Michael Mcdonald

1st Electrician

David Melrose

Carpenter

Allan Meuse

Carpenter

Marvin Midwicki

Other

Thelonious Monk

Song ("Mysterioso")

John Morrison

Set Dresser

Steve Morrison

Electrician

Michelle Mundy

Assistant (To Peter Weller)

Howard Munford

Props Builder (Choice)

Judy Murdoch

Makeup Assistant

Kevin Murphy

Electrician

Stephen Myers

Electrician

Malcom Nefsky

Rigging & Daily Grip

Peter Nicolakakos

Set Dresser

Marilyn O'quinn

Makeup Assistant

Jak Oliver

Scenic Artist

Gregg Olsson

Supervisor

Lucy Ortan

Hairdresser

Julie Oudot

Assistant (To Jeremy Thomas)

Greg Palermo

Rigging & Daily Grip

Richard Parker

Animal Wrangler

Les Paul

Song Performer ("Vaya Con Dios")

Paul Paulauskas

Riggings & Daily Grip

Suzana Peric

Music Editor

Denis Perrier

Assistant Head Carpenter

Barre Phillips

Other

John Picard

Stand-In

Pierson Heldring Pierson

Funding

Lisa Pilcher

Camera Trainee

Warren Quigley

Other

Nic Ratner

Assistant Music Editor

Michael Rea

Post-Production Coordinator

Michael Rea

1st Assistant Editor

Terry Redman

Construction Bookkeeper

Doug Rice

Contruction Driver

Janet Riggs

Assistant (To Peter Weller)

Beverly Ross

Assistant Accountant

Ted Ross

Floor Special Effects

Myles Roth

Carpenter

Dug Rotstein

Script Supervisor

Michael Ruggles

Electrician

John Ruscin

Special Thanks

Russell

Song ("Vaya Con Dios")

Steven Sacrob

Driver

Ronald Sanders

Editor

Michael Saxton

Post-Production Supervisor

Nick Schefter

Driver

Stephen Scott

Production Assistant

Chris Severn

Color Timer

Pat Shatka

Other

Tracy Shaw

Grip

Dale Sheldrake

Dialogue Editor

Howard Shore

Music Conductor

Howard Shore

Music

Film Details

Also Known As
Festin Nu, Le, Le Festin Nu
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1991
Production Company
Balsmeyer & Everett Inc; Blue Heron; Casablanca Sound Services; Chris Walas Inc; Completion Bond Company Inc; Cts Studios; Film House Entertainment; Film Trustees Ltd; Films Effects; Glinwood Films; Henry Embry; Jdh Studios; Master Musicians Of Jajouka; Michaelson'S Catering; Naked Lunch Productions; Nippon Film Development & Finance Inc; Numbers Inc; Ontario Film Development Corporation; Panavision, Ltd.; Recorded Picture Company; Sound Mix Ltd; T'Nt Negative Cutting; TTlTfilm Canada
Distribution Company
20TH CENTURY FOX DISTRIBUTION/ALLIANCE RELEASING; 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox International; Acteurs Auteurs AssociƩs (AAA); Alliance Releasing; Alliance Releasing; Distribuzione Angelo Rizzoli Cinematografica; Finnkino Oy; First Independent Films; Iberoamericana Films; Independent Productions; Jugendfilm; Opal/Solopan; Shochiku-Fuji Company Ltd; Zeta Films
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Articles

Naked Lunch on DVD


In Ira Silverberg's Everything Is Permitted: The Making of Naked Lunch, William Burroughs writes how "Junky, had been published the year before, and my second novel, Queer, had been put aside as unpublishable. At that time I had no idea that the novel I was writing, then called Interzone, would ever be published, and much less could I have imagined that it would be interpreted by an acclaimed film director some thirty-five years later. Such are the things that can happen if you live long enough. Isn't life peculiar?" With the Criterion double-disc release of David Cronenberg's film, Naked Lunch (1991), viewers can now truly make sense of one of cinema's most brazen and peculiar literary adaptations to the silver screen.

William S. Burroughs (1914 - 1997) has impeccable hipster credentials as a Godfather to the Beat Generation and an influence on popular culture that stretches on from films (ie: Drugstore Cowboy), to music (he worked with, and outlived, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain), and beyond. His seminal work, Naked Lunch (which played a pivotal role in a famous censorship trial back in 1965), was a title suggested by Jack Kerouac who, as the main actor Peter Weller observes in the commentary track, "is the title given by Kerouac to that frozen moment in time when each of us gets to see exactly what's on the end of our forks - because we don't look at what we eat, we just eat. Meaning that (because of) the things we're obsessed on - we rarely ever stop to see what it is we're doing day-to-day so obsessively." Naked Lunch remains a testament to both the extremes of deranged creativity and our most primal drive to survive for it is, after all, a work whose inception can be found in one person's desperate attempt to find redemption after he literally kills his own wife. Peter Weller not only plays the role of Bill Lee (an obvious stand-in for William Burroughs), he's also a fan of jazz and literature who has definitely done his research, as revealed in the dvd bonus material where he quotes a journalist who asked Burroughs: "is all of your writing only to free you from the sin of killing your wife by accident?" To which he responds: "Well, my God, of course. If you've killed someone you'll never get them out of your mind."

From the opening credits (influenced by Saul Bass) to the end scene (that brings to mind a serpent swallowing its own tail), Naked Lunch is not a literal adaptation of an impossible literary work, so much as an amalgamation of William Burroughs, the man and his work, as filtered by director David Cronenberg's unique sensibilities. Cronenberg himself noted that "When I spoke to Burroughs about fusing together many of his works and incidents from his life - in particular the shooting of his wife - he had not objections to it." With this in mind, it makes sense that Cronenberg's Naked Lunch would derive its template from a body of work, the zeitgeist in which it was made, and unique metaphors that tie it all together such as the typewriter-insects that featured talking sphincters. (Cronenberg notes how there were "a lot of talking assholes in Burrough's writing and I wanted to find a way to deliver that in a movie without being censored in every country in the world, so this was my solution to that problem.")

Whether you're a literary buff or a cinephile, the Criterion double-disc is beautifully packaged to meet your every need. The audio commentary features director David Cronenberg (whose insights are precise and constant) and star Peter Weller (who definitely did his homework for the role and, among other things, notes how Naked Lunch predicted aids, liposuction, and crack cocaine back in the '50's). Bonus materials include a gallery of photographs taken (and annotated) by Allen Ginsberg. There is also a "Making Naked Lunch" documentary shot for London television (which includes the actual clippings from the front page of the Mexico City newspaper that had pictures of Burroughs and his deceased wife), illustrated essays, a film stills gallery, excerpts from both the marketing campaign and the novel as read by author William S. Burroughs, and the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. All-in-all, this is an exceptional package that shows how two mediums (writing and cinema) can co-exist, much in the manner the director suggested to the writer that the end result was like the two of them entering a telepod (a reference to Cronenberg's 1986 film, The Fly) to create a third creature.

For more information about Naked Lunch, visit Criterion Collection. To order Naked Lunch, go to TCM Shopping.

by Pablo Kjolseth
Naked Lunch On Dvd

Naked Lunch on DVD

In Ira Silverberg's Everything Is Permitted: The Making of Naked Lunch, William Burroughs writes how "Junky, had been published the year before, and my second novel, Queer, had been put aside as unpublishable. At that time I had no idea that the novel I was writing, then called Interzone, would ever be published, and much less could I have imagined that it would be interpreted by an acclaimed film director some thirty-five years later. Such are the things that can happen if you live long enough. Isn't life peculiar?" With the Criterion double-disc release of David Cronenberg's film, Naked Lunch (1991), viewers can now truly make sense of one of cinema's most brazen and peculiar literary adaptations to the silver screen. William S. Burroughs (1914 - 1997) has impeccable hipster credentials as a Godfather to the Beat Generation and an influence on popular culture that stretches on from films (ie: Drugstore Cowboy), to music (he worked with, and outlived, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain), and beyond. His seminal work, Naked Lunch (which played a pivotal role in a famous censorship trial back in 1965), was a title suggested by Jack Kerouac who, as the main actor Peter Weller observes in the commentary track, "is the title given by Kerouac to that frozen moment in time when each of us gets to see exactly what's on the end of our forks - because we don't look at what we eat, we just eat. Meaning that (because of) the things we're obsessed on - we rarely ever stop to see what it is we're doing day-to-day so obsessively." Naked Lunch remains a testament to both the extremes of deranged creativity and our most primal drive to survive for it is, after all, a work whose inception can be found in one person's desperate attempt to find redemption after he literally kills his own wife. Peter Weller not only plays the role of Bill Lee (an obvious stand-in for William Burroughs), he's also a fan of jazz and literature who has definitely done his research, as revealed in the dvd bonus material where he quotes a journalist who asked Burroughs: "is all of your writing only to free you from the sin of killing your wife by accident?" To which he responds: "Well, my God, of course. If you've killed someone you'll never get them out of your mind." From the opening credits (influenced by Saul Bass) to the end scene (that brings to mind a serpent swallowing its own tail), Naked Lunch is not a literal adaptation of an impossible literary work, so much as an amalgamation of William Burroughs, the man and his work, as filtered by director David Cronenberg's unique sensibilities. Cronenberg himself noted that "When I spoke to Burroughs about fusing together many of his works and incidents from his life - in particular the shooting of his wife - he had not objections to it." With this in mind, it makes sense that Cronenberg's Naked Lunch would derive its template from a body of work, the zeitgeist in which it was made, and unique metaphors that tie it all together such as the typewriter-insects that featured talking sphincters. (Cronenberg notes how there were "a lot of talking assholes in Burrough's writing and I wanted to find a way to deliver that in a movie without being censored in every country in the world, so this was my solution to that problem.") Whether you're a literary buff or a cinephile, the Criterion double-disc is beautifully packaged to meet your every need. The audio commentary features director David Cronenberg (whose insights are precise and constant) and star Peter Weller (who definitely did his homework for the role and, among other things, notes how Naked Lunch predicted aids, liposuction, and crack cocaine back in the '50's). Bonus materials include a gallery of photographs taken (and annotated) by Allen Ginsberg. There is also a "Making Naked Lunch" documentary shot for London television (which includes the actual clippings from the front page of the Mexico City newspaper that had pictures of Burroughs and his deceased wife), illustrated essays, a film stills gallery, excerpts from both the marketing campaign and the novel as read by author William S. Burroughs, and the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. All-in-all, this is an exceptional package that shows how two mediums (writing and cinema) can co-exist, much in the manner the director suggested to the writer that the end result was like the two of them entering a telepod (a reference to Cronenberg's 1986 film, The Fly) to create a third creature. For more information about Naked Lunch, visit Criterion Collection. To order Naked Lunch, go to TCM Shopping. by Pablo Kjolseth

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Judy Davis was named best actress of the year (1992) by the London Film Critics Circle for her performances in "Naked Lunch" (USA/91), "Barton Fink" (USA/91) and "Husbands and Wives" (USA/92).

Cited for best screenplay by the Boston Society of Film Critics (1991).

Judy Davis was named Best Supporting Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle for her performances in "Barton Fink" (USA/91) and "Naked Lunch" (USA/91). David Cronenberg was also honored for Best Screenplay.

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1991

Expanded Release in United States January 10, 1992

Released in United States on Video June 11, 1992

Released in United States February 1992

Shown at Berlin Film Festival (in competition) February 13-24, 1992.

Honored for best screenplay and best director by the National Society of Film Critics (1991).

Received 11 Canadian Genie (1992) awards, including best picture, best adapted screenplay, and best editor.

Began shooting January 21, 1991.

Film was to shoot in Tangiers in January 1991, but cancelled due to the threat of terrorism.

Completed shooting April 20, 1991.

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1991

Expanded Release in United States January 10, 1992

Released in United States on Video June 11, 1992

Released in United States February 1992 (Shown at Berlin Film Festival (in competition) February 13-24, 1992.)