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'Best Worst Movie' Star Famous For Something Awful

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'Best Worst Movie' Star Famous For Something Awful

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'Best Worst Movie' Star Famous For Something Awful

'Best Worst Movie' Star Famous For Something Awful

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Two decades ago, Dr. George Hardy starred in Troll 2, considered by popular movie websites to be the worst film ever made. Yet since its release, the film has developed a passionate following, and Hardy, now a dentist in Alabama, has become an unlikely cult hero. Host Scott Simon speaks to Hardy about Best Worst Movie, the new documentary that explores the film's cult status.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

George Hardy is the star of what's widely acclaimed and admired as the worst movie ever made, "Troll 2." "Troll 2" follows George hardy's character and his wife and children on vacation in the town of Nilbog. In case you didn't get it, that's goblin spelled backwards. It turns out that the residents of Nilbog are goblins. They turn human into plants in order to eat them. You see, they're vegetarian goblins, and I guess visiting humans are both free range and organic.

(Soundbite of "Troll 2)

Dr. GEORGE HARDY (Dentist/Actor): (As Michael Waits) Who are you?

Unidentified Woman: Who are you? Are you one of the monsters?

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Well, I've been called a lot of things but not a monster.

Unidentified Woman: You're human?

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Very human. Do you want to see?

(Soundbite of panting)

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) What's the matter, are you sick?

Unidentified Woman: They made that stuff. I am dying.

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) They who? What are you talking about?

Unidentified Woman: There they are.

(Soundbite of growling)

SIMON: If you're still listening, thanks so much for staying with us. "Troll 2" is so forthrightly bad it's become a cult favorite. Fans have screening parties, they show up in full costume and movie makeup.

The "Troll 2" phenomenon is the subject of a new documentary called "Best Worst Movie." And George Hardy who, in his other life, is a dentist in Alexander City, Alabama, is the star of "Troll 2" and "Best Worst Movie." He joins us from New York. Dr. Hardy, so nice to be with you.

Dr. HARDY: Thank you.

SIMON: Tell us, Doctor, how did you wind up in this film?

Dr. HARDY: Actually, I graduated from dental school in '81, but then I was out doing post-doctorate program in Salt Lake City and end up staying for the decade out there. At the end of the 1980s, I had one of my patients that said Dr. Hardy, there's a movie audition up in Park City, you ought go up and audition for it. Bottom-line, I went up to Park City and auditioned. A couple of hundred guys reading for the lead dad part and I ended up...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: I ended up getting the lead to the film.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of "Troll 2")

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Look, there's no one other than us in there.

Ms. CONNIE YOUNG (Actress): (As Holly Waits) But he was there before.

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) It's got to be your imagination or hallucination. Are you still smoking dope, Holly?

Ms. YOUNG: (As Holly Waits) I swore I wouldn't, Dad.

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Look, I want to get up early in the morning. We're still farmers now, right?

Dr. HARDY: Yeah, pretty amazing story, what's happened with this whole thing.

SIMON: Well, that's what we want to talk about.

Dr. HARDY: Yeah.

SIMON: We'll mention that "Troll 2" was directed by a couple of Italian filmmakers: Claudio Fragasso...

Dr. HARDY: That's right.

SIMON: And it was written by his wife, Rosella Drudi.

Dr. HARDY: Yep.

SIMON: And I guess they thought they were doing a very serious film.

Dr. HARDY: Well, they were. They were taking their script, everything - they spoke little English and there was a three, three and half-week shoot making a little B-rated horror film. As far as the cast, they picked all non-actors from the area. And...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: ...with them not speaking any English, we were all trying to do the best we could.

SIMON: Well, I mean, how did they tell you what they wanted you to emote or even how to turn left, for that matter?

Dr. HARDY: Well, they would have a translator but even the translator wasn't very good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: You just read the script and we would - I can remember some of the teenagers in the film going: You want me to say this, you want us to say it like this? And they go: Do it the way we say. You know, just do it this way.

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Get me out of here, Drew. Just get me out of here.

Mr. JASON STEADMAN (Actor): (As Drew) Okay. Okay, don't fret.

Dr. HARDY: (As Michael Waits) Hurry, before that crazy lady gets back.

SIMON: You play the likeable, lovable dad. And your son, or the young actor who played your son, is now the director of "Best Worst Movie," right?

Dr. HARDY: Which is really neat.

SIMON: Now, may I ask if you until recently remained in touch over the years?

Dr. HARDY: Well, no. Back in April of 2006, I started receiving MySpace letters or, you know, notes to me. And, by the way, "Troll 2" would be showing intermittently on HBO or Showtime and all that. And it was showing several times during the day on Showtime. Then finally, a fellow was doing a radio documentary on "Troll 2." He phoned me when - he calls me, he goes, don't you know about "Troll 2" being a world cult phenomenon? And I go, what do you mean? And he goes, well, if you don't believe me, go to IMDB, it's at the bottom 100.

Sure enough, I go to the IMDB website and at the bottom of the message board is an invite to ask all the cast members to come back for a screening in Provo, of which I two days later attended. So when I went in the room I got tackled by all the students there because they loved "Troll 2" so much and they wanted me me, Farmer Waits from "Troll 2."

From that I met Michael Stephenson and he said George, you know, I'm getting the same thing. We need to tell a story around this. And so from grassroots, Michael and I started the documentary. And Michael came up with a great title of "Best Worst Movie," and here we are in New York premiering this weekend.

SIMON: Wow. Dr. Hardy, I gather that there's a "Troll 2, 2" in the works.

Dr. HARDY: Right, "Troll 2: Part 2," yeah.

SIMON: A "Troll 2: Part 2," I beg your pardon. Yes.

Dr. HARDY: Yeah. In the documentary, in "Best Worst Movie" we actually go to Italy a couple times and Rosella says she's written the script for "Troll 2: Part 2" or "Troll 3."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: But like the director Michael Stephenson says, how can you catch a lightning and put it in a bottle of twice, you know?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: In "Best Worst Movie" you see scenes of you going to showings of "Troll 2."

Dr. HARDY: Yeah. Yeah.

SIMON: And getting treated like a rock star when you enter the room. But I wonder, does it happen that, I don't know, sometimes you're just walking down the street somewhere and someone does a double-take and...

Dr. HARDY: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: I actually, here in New York a couple times I've had some people look me. But yeah, it's happened. I was in the Virgin Islands shortly after "Troll 2" was released on VHS and I was asked for an autograph way back in the early '90s. And I just thought, oh man, this is really wild. And then, you know, like you said, there's a resurgence of these bad films and it's just amazing, it's - how these kids - I mean, some of them come up to me, Scott, and say to me, I watch "Troll 2" every day. I've seen it 200 times or when I'm in the shower I put it on or...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Oh. Oh.

Dr. HARDY: Wow, don't you have something better to do?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. HARDY: But it's true. I guess they're just amused by every, every - it just delivers from scene to scene, you know?

SIMON: Yeah. Well, Dr. Hardy, thanks so much.

Dr. HARDY: Oh, this has been such a pleasure.

SIMON: The documentary "Best Worst Movie" is out now in select cities. Boy, I'm sure they're select cities. "Troll 2" is available on DVD somewhere.

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