Vicious Fishes, Voluptuous Vixens, and Gary Busey: 'Piranha 3DD' Devours the Alamo

Director John Gulager brings 'Piranha 3DD' to the Alamo

Gary Busey. Hates water.
Gary Busey. Hates water.

How much you enjoyed last night's Ain't It Cool News-sponsored screening of the ravenously anticipated sequel to Alexandre Aja's 2010 bloodbath depended entirely on your passion for ultra-gore, surgically-enhanced bodaciousosity, and your allegiance to Joe Dante's 1978 original.

Let's just say Piranha 3DD did nada to frighten us away from hitting Schlitterbahn as much as possible this summer. Director John Gulager's Q&A had its moments, though.

The post-screening chat was moderated by AICN's Harry Knowles, who kicked the questions off by asking how Gulager -- you may remember him from Project Greenlight and his Feast trilogy -- came to the project in the first place.

"So I get a phone call," the director explained, launching into a damn realistic Harvey Weinstein impersonation: "Gulager. Piranha. You wanna do it? Piranha."

Ultimately, it was, of all things, the punny title that hooked Gulager. "I've heard people [that don't get the jokey title]. They're, like, 'Piranha 3-dee-dee? I don't get it!' But then they'll figure out it's a bra size. I always swore that I wouldn't make a movie that you couldn't pronounce, like Gigli, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyways."

Good thing, too: Gary Busey cameos as victim number one in a far too brief sequence that hardly showcases the Oscar-nominated (1978's The Buddy Holly Story) actor's wildman intensity.

"When you have Gary Busey being eaten by a fish," Gulager recalled, "you hear this phrase a lot: 'Nope. Not gonna do it. Not gonna go under water.' [Eventually Busey consented] to do it once, but you can't ever do something once in a movie because something always goes wrong. But there are certain actors [like Gary Busey] that bring a personality with them to the set, to the movie, and you're paying for that, so really that's what you want. Now, I go back to The Buddy Holly Story and somehow evidently missed 30 years of Busey. As a filmmaker, my cable got cut off and I was NetFlix'n it for a while, so I missed all this reality TV with Gary on it, constantly."

On his film's apparent abundance of porn stars in flagrante delicto: "The [Aja] film had a fair amount of porn stars in it but the studio has now had enough of that because of the first movie. Evidently there were a lot of things that happened during the making of that movie. For instance, the girl that was on the para-glider [who gets eaten], well that's not the girl it was supposed to be. The girl it was supposed to be was arrested the night before doing a sex scene in a public park. So, you know, it's little things like that [the studio is wary of]. We went to the strip clubs [in Wilmington, North Carolina] to cast. It was tough. It's such a different situation [when you're not partying]. I fell asleep."

Final thoughts? "We have piranhas going into every bodily orifice and we still got an R," mused Gulager, who had clearly expected a tussle with the MPAA. "The cooch, the butt, the vagina, the biting of the penis…it's a tonal thing with [the MPAA]. We kill kids, we kill babies, we eat 'em, we chew 'em up, we spit 'em out. But it's a comedy! If it's funny, and how is a kid getting eaten up not funny, we kind of got a free pass."

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Piranha 3DD, John Gulager, Gary Busey

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