Interview with Danny Garcia

Spanish director, Danny Garcia, has his hands full at the moment. Hot on the heels of his previous documentary The Rise and Fall of The Clash, he's just completed Looking for Johnny; which is about the legendary New York Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist, Johnny Thunders. Before the promo train is even showing signs of slowing down, the man is already deep into production on his next project - this time dealing with our very own Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen - entitled Sad Vacation. Taking the time out of his busy schedule, Danny talked to LOVE KILLS' Brett Dunford about the filmmaking process, and why he decided to tackle Sid and Nancy as his next project.

LOVE KILLS: First off, I want to give you props for having the balls to even attempt this film. Having run a website about them for five years or so, I've come to learn that Sid and Nancy are rather well-protected by fans, who can be deadly critical of artists that create movies and books on the subject. Let's begin with how you started it. At what time was it that you decided to make a Sid and Nancy documentary, and why?

DANNY GARCIA: While conducting interviews for Looking for Johnny I realized it was about time I started shooting the conversations I have with people, usually off-camera, talking about Sid and Nancy. Why? Because that's what I do. Anytime I meet anyone who was there I always end up asking them about Sid. I like him. I think he was a great frontman. His versions of "My Way" and "Something Else" are amazing and timeless.

LK: I think despite all the tabloid controversies that have surrounded Sid, including the more negative aspects of his life, he has still remained a lovable icon somehow. Why do you think he's still popular today?

DG: I think it's because people don't fall for all the crap that was published in the press and they see Sid as a young guy trying to find his way, and trying to have fun in the process. Also both his look and that "fuck you" attitude can be very inspirational for kids today as it was 35 years ago.

LK: You've got a lot of people on it, including Syl Sylvain, Bob Gruen, and the lovely Leee Black Childers, who passed away recently. Was it a convenience or hindrance shooting all the footage on cell phones?

DG: That was a bit of an experiment. I love the Super 8 look and I just went with it but I plan on shooting more interviews with proper gear soon.

LK: I imagine having interviewed so many people, you will have much footage in the pool to draw from. Do you already have an idea of what's in and what's out? And will they be constructed to follow any timeline?

DG: We're still at the early stages so it's hard to say what's gonna come out and how it's gonna end up looking like; a bit like having a baby I suppose. But the idea is to get a good collection of Sid and Nancy stories that we haven't heard before and put them together in the best possible way. These two interacted with a hell of a lot of people in their short lives, so there's still a lot of anecdotes I personally have never heard before and that's because a lot of these people have never been interviewed for a documentary before.

LK: I have heard so many stories about Sid and Nancy over the years that I will probably release a book on it sometime. A fair chunk of them would probably be considered offensive. Are you setting yourself any boundaries, or will you be keeping the everything candid?

DG: No boundaries, no point in that. The idea is to get whatever these interviewees remember out in the open and a lot of it is not candid at all.

LK: The most questions I've had about this film pertain to Nancy's murder. How deep will Sad Vacation scratch this part of her life?

DG: That was covered in Alan Parker's documentary Who Killed Nancy, so unless we come across some new information I don't think we're gonna solve the murder mystery at this point.

LK: Your new film, Looking for Johnny, is presently on a theater run. What are the DVD plans at present?

DG: We'll have a release date for the DVD very soon.

LK: Of course, Johnny and Sid were good friends. Do the two films touch upon each other in this aspect?

DG: Yes, there's a bit of Sid in Looking for Johnny and there's the obvious connections that will be mentioned in Sad Vacation. The fact that Nancy went to London following the Heartbreakers is just an example of how their stories are intertwined. Plus everybody knows Johnny was Sid's hero.

LK: Let’s talk about you. Who are your influences as a filmmaker?

DG: I like the work of many filmmakers; some of them are really inspiring for their attitude besides their work, like Don Letts and Nick Broomfield.

LK: So when can we roughly expect to see Sad Vacation?

DG: I'm aiming for Summer 2015. We'll keep you all posted via Facebook and our website.

Roughly two-and-a-half years after this interview was conducted, Danny Garcia finally completed Sad Vacation. It will be released on December 9th, 2016.

Brett Dunford

Danny Garcia