Tell us a little about Adam Rifkin?
Being that I've never been all that good at talking about myself
I thought I'd put this question to a 3rd party. Someone who
knows me well and is familiar with my accomplishments. I asked
my 90 year old grandmother Libby Sokol, who I loving refer to as
Grams, if she wouldn't mind helping out. Here is her actual
ADAM: Tell them about Adam Rifkin Grams.
GRAMS: Oh, uh, well, let's see...Adam Rifkin? Adam Rifkin is a
wonderful boy. He's Jewish. From Chicago. Very handsome.
Look how nice you look. (pinches my cheek) I could just eat
you up! Although I could do without the holes in the knees.
You don't have any nicer pants? Why don't you get some nicer
pants? You don't go on meetings in pants with holes in them
like that I hope? They won't take you seriously.
ADAM: I think they meant tell them about Adam Rifkin
professionally. They're looking for a brief biography.
GRAMS: Oh, um, well, he makes movies. Very successful. We're
all very proud of him. I could do without some of the language
though. Why do you have to make movies where people talk like
that? Who talks like that?
ADAM: People swear Grams.
GRAMS: None of the people I know swear. Can't you make a nice
movie where people talk nice to each other, without the swearing
and the sex and the carrying on?
ADAM: What about all the children's movies I wrote? Those
don't have any swearing in them.
GRAMS: Yes. Those are wonderful. The one with the little
mouse, what was that one called? Mouse Trap?
GRAMS: Oh yes, Mousehunt! That one was wonderful! Tell the
people that's the one they should watch and not this cockamamie
ADAM: I'll take it from here.
Where did Rif Coogan originate from?
ADAM: Rif Coogan is my nom de plume for grindhouse fair. Not
because I felt I needed to hide my identity? Everybody knows
I'm Rif Coogan. I just thought it would be fun to create a
larger than life character who cranks out these fun exploitation
movies. I had always intended to make more than just THE
INVISIBLE MANIAC AND PSYCHO COP 2, but luckily I keep getting
side tracked with legitimate projects. One of these days Rif
Coogan will ride again.
You've acted, directed, produced and written in the film
industry - what is your favourite skill?
ADAM: My favorite skill? I don't think I can legally mention
that here as this is a family website. My favorite skill of the
4 you mentioned however, is directing what I've written. I love
being a writer/director most. I love having an idea, writing a
script of that idea and then seeing that idea through to
completion by directing the filmed version of said idea. It's a
very fun and satisfying experience.
Who do you believe are the most influential people on your
ADAM: Everybody who's ever made a movie I've liked or a tv show
I've liked or recorded a song, or animated a cartoon or written
a book that I've liked is an influence on me. I take influences
from everywhere I can. As far as personal influences go, I've
had many of those as well. Famed director John Landis, for
example, has been a real mentor to me. He has had an
immeasurable influence on my career. The local Chicago horror
show host, Svengoolie, he's also had a dramatic influence on me.
It's tough to narrow it down because I am influenced by so many
different people for so many different reasons. As far as the
top filmmakers on my list of filmmaking heros, names like Woody
Allen, Kubrick, Billy Wilder all come to mind. But there are so
Which actor would you love to direct and why?
ADAM: Grams, who's your favorite actor?
ADAM: Who's your favorite actor?
GRAMS: Oh, uh, Clark Gable. He was so handsome. We used to
ADAM: No, who's your favorite actor today?
GRAMS: Alive today? Oh, uh...what's his name? You know, the
GRAMS: The Italian fella. Oh, uh...what is his name?
ADAM: He's Italian?
GRAMS: He's always in Italy, he dates all those beautiful
women? He has that villa there. You know...
ADAM: George Clooney?
GRAMS: Yes! George Clooney. I like him.
ADAM: George Clooney is Italian?
GRAMS: Well he's always in Italy.
ADAM: I'd love to direct George Clooney because he's my
Grandmother's favorite actor.
You've helped create a wide gamut of films, what were some of
ADAM: I've been very lucky in that I've gotten to make lots of
different types of movies. It's fun to get to spread your
creative wings and experiment a little sometimes. Some attempts
are inevitably gonna work out better than others, but it's
usually very fun and rewarding to try different things. I'd
have to say that my sentimental favorite of all my films is
definitely THE DARK BACKWARD. It was the first script I ever
wrote, and it was a rare opportunity to get to make something
truly unique. LOOK I'd say is my best film. At least in my
opinion. And I'd even go one step further and say that LOOK The
Series ended up turning out even better than the film.
Letís talk about LOOK: The Series. Security cameras are
everywhere in the modern world, how did you come up with the
idea of LOOK?
ADAM: As you know, LOOK was a film before it was a series. And
the idea for the film came when I received a ticket from one of
those red light cameras. Apparently I had run a red light
without realizing it and when I got the ticket in the mail it
was accompanied by a photo of me running the light. Making a
heinously embarrassing expression I might ad. The idea that I
had been photographed without my knowledge and that the picture
had been sent to my home address unnerved me. I started to
wonder how many other times on a given day I was being caught on
camera without knowing it. I started paying attention and soon
started spotting cameras everywhere. I then did a little
research and discovered that the average American is caught on
camera hundreds of times a day. That's when the idea of
shooting a movie entirely with surveillance cameras started to
come into focus.
Statistically, LOOK: The Series states that around 4 billion
hours of surveillance footage is collected every week, do you
find this scary?
ADAM: Of course I find it scary! We all do a multitude of
embarrassing things on a daily basis when we think we're alone.
Who knows what's been captured by some hidden camera somewhere
and is just sitting on some server waiting to be unearthed?
What are your thoughts on privacy and the use of surveillance
ADAM: With LOOK I didn't want to take a hard stand and use the
film or the show as a platform to say that all surveillance
cameras are good or that all surveillance cameras are bad.
Truth is, I think there are compelling arguments on both sides
of the issue. Many people believe that this proliferation of
cameras is a real invasion of privacy and that the more cameras
there are peeking into our personal business, the more of an
invasion of our privacy it is. Conversely, we've all seen
surveillance cameras catch the bad guys. The London bombers for
example. With LOOK I didn't feel it was my job to preach the
pros or cons of these cameras, just to show that they're there.
They're everywhere. And just about everything you do is being
captured...so act accordingly or risk getting caught with your
pants down. Figuratively and literally.
Why do you think humans are so voyeuristic in nature?
ADAM: Perhaps people are so fascinated by what other people are
doing when they don't know that they're being watched because in
some way watching other people is like holding up a mirror to
ourselves. We're all narcissists and so when we get an
opportunity to gaze in at raw human nature we invariably feel we
are watching some aspect of ourselves. Either that or people
really just like peeking in at tits.
You've received some powerful reviews from the media about LOOK:
The Series, what was the biggest highlight in creating the TV
ADAM: LOOK the movie and LOOK the series have both galvanized
an impressive group of champions, from the worlds of
entertainment, music, politics, media and more. The most
exciting highlight however I'm not at liberty to discuss. I'll
put it to you this way...a former US President watched it and
loved it. I can't tell you which one, or how I was able to get
it into his hands, but suffice it to say, that was quite a
Your most challenging aspect of the series?
ADAM: The most challenging aspect was the total lack of
creative choice with reference to the camera. We only put our
cameras where real surveillance cameras were or would be. No
cheating. As a result there was no creative thought put
whatsoever into camera placement. That was our hard and fast
rule going in. As a result we had to figure out how to stage
the actors to seem natural but couldn't rely on camera trickery
to help tell the story. It was tricky but ultimately worked out
Look: The Series is the story of five people, who is your
favourite character and why?
ADAM: Impossible to say. All of the stories are intricately
interwoven so it wouldn't be easy for me to pick one out and say
that it was my favorite. I think that they're all of equal
importance to the overall story as a whole. That said, there is
one story line that carried over from the film into the series,
that's the story of the kids in the mini mart. That story is a
lot of fun. It provides a lot of the comedic relief. It was
also fun to take those characters from the film and expand them
in the series.
As a writer, what do you think the future holds for surveillance
in not only America but the world?
Lastly, what does the future hold for Adam Rifkin? (any scoops)
ADAM: I'm just putting the finishing touches on CHILLERAMA. Me
and 3 director friends of mine (Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Tim
Sullivan) have all collaborated on an outrageous anthology film
called CHILLERAMA. It's set at a drive in on the night before
it's scheduled for demolition so the owner has one last all
night movie marathon. The movies he plays are the movies each
of us directors have made. My segment is called WADZILLA and
it's an homage to 1950's atomic era giant monster movies. It's
about a giant sperm that attacks New York. Very silly stuff.
But it turned out great!
Beyond that I'm finishing another film and about to start on
another series, but unfortunately, until they are officially
announced I'm sworn to secrecy. No worries though, as soon as
I'm allowed to discuss them I'll be back to blab away.
Thank you for your time Adam.
ADAM: And thank you. Oh, my grandmother has a final
GRAMS: Tell them that my friend Marion Handelman went to
Australia once. Oohh, she had such a wonderful time! This was
years ago, and she went to visit her daughter who lives there.
Do they know Slivia?
ADAM: I doubt it. Australia is a pretty big place.
GRAMS: Well tell them they should call her. She such a doll.
Very sweet girl.