Writer/director/author/painter/skater/weirdo/genius Harmony Korine is one of the film industry's most distinct personalities. The man behind The Beach Bum, which stars Matthew McConaughey and debuts in theaters today, has been making feature films since he was 18 years old. He wrote Kids, directed Gummo, and attracted the attention of David Letterman before he was 25. His interviews on the Late Show are now YouTube gold.
Korine's movies defy description. They must be experienced. And that goes triple for the man himself. The son of a tapdancing documentary film producer, Harmony was eccentric, witty, and completely attention deficient as a younger man. That's when Letterman got ahold of him.
Known for warming to artistic outcasts like Harvey Pekar and Andy Kaufman, Letterman saw a perfect foil in young Korine. After the fledgling filmmaker rose to fame following the release of Kids in 1995, Letterman booked him for his first Late Show appearance. Korine was nervous, fidgety, and totally endearing. More invites would follow.
Sadly, Korine would eventually get himself banned from the Late Show. On the night of his fourth booking, he was bumped. The reasons why are Hollywood legend. He may have been on some very illegal substances. He may have had some with him. There was also a rumor he pushed Meryl Streep — who was the other guest that night — in the green room for unknown reasons.
According to Letterman himself, who talked about the night in question with James Franco years later (see video below), the reason did involve Streep, but Korine didn't assault her. Letterman found the director rummaging through Streep's purse backstage! Of course, who knows what's real. Judge for yourself if you're not familiar with Harmony Korine on the Late Show. It's nothing less than completely entertaining.
H/T to Metaflix.