Charles, a veteran writer/director of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, is a longtime collaborator with Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno, The Dictator). He also has a 2019 Netflix series, Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy, and the new indie film Dicks: The Musical on his resume.
“I try to make things like Dangerous Comedy or this movie — this movie’s a very low-budget movie,” Charles said of Dicks, an A24 musical comedy starring Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson and Bowen Yang. “Politically for me, ethically for me, I find it offensive when movies cost $250 million and the world is in the state that it’s in. So I’m also looking to make a statement in the way these things are made.”
He continued, “People make their art in the way they can, and they reach each other in the way they can,” he said. “We have such a media monopoly system here that that in itself is kind of an authoritarian Big Brother sort of thing that we — they’ve figured out over the years, they don’t have to make you, they don’t have to scare you, they have to seduce you. So we’re all seduced by great TV shows and great movies, and we’re distracted by those things, and we’re then indulging in that same capitalist system and there’s no way it’s going to change as long as we do that… I struggle with that.”
Charles said he aims to keep his budget low as a subtle yet radical rebuttal of that system.
“The way I can make a radical work is by saying that I could do it for a little money, and the way [producers] say yes to it is they think, ‘Oh, that radical little work that’s not going to cost any money is going to make money.’ Absolutely. That is the system,” he said. “I haven’t been able, I’ve been doing stuff on YouTube, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get out of that, to move out of that. It’s very, very difficult to do. Because YouTube is owned by somebody, Instagram is owned by somebody. Everything, you know, it’s very hard to get your word out, your thoughts out.”