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David Letterman: Why I Banned ‘Spring Breakers’ Director From ‘The Late Show’

Movie Talk

David Letterman: Why I Banned ‘Spring Breakers’ Director From ‘The Late Show’


So just how bad were Harmony Korine's bad habits back in the day? David Letterman has a pretty surprising story about that.

On Monday, James Franco appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman" to talk about "Spring Breakers," his new indie hit written and directed by his friend Harmony Korine (and co-starring former Disney good girls Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens). The conversation, not surprisingly, turned to Korine, who had previously appeared on Letterman's show to talk up his early projects, such as 1995's "Kids" (written by Korine, directed by Larry Clark) and 1997's "Gummo" (written and directed by Korine). However, it has been well over a decade since Korine last dropped by for a chat with Dave, and Franco was curious about that.

"The legend is that he came back, and it's I guess in the books, he was here, came back a fourth time, and it says I guess in the books, 'not interviewed,'" Franco said. "So he was bounced. So you don't remember any of it?"

Letterman, who had been playing cagey about his memories of Korine, replied, "No, that part I remember." After the audience laughed, Letterman asked Franco, "What is the story that you understand?"

"The legend is that he pushed Meryl Streep backstage," Franco said. "I mean, if you push Meryl Streep backstage, you get kicked off!"

"Not necessarily," Dave replied drily, and then dropped a bombshell about Korine.

"I went upstairs to greet Meryl Streep and say welcome to the show," Letterman said. After knocking on the dressing room door, Letterman continued, "She was not in there. And I looked around and I found your friend Harmony going through her purse. True story! True story. And so I said, 'OK, that's it, put her things back in her bag, and then you get out of here.'"

"So YOU kicked him off? Holy …" Franco said, while Letterman nodded in the affirmative.

Before Letterman's big revelation, Franco admitted that Korine had something of a checkered past. "He said he was a little out of it," Franco said. "Harmony is a very sane guy now, a great artist and a great person to work with. I think he had a period where he was going a little off the rails, so maybe he was on something that night."

As for Korine himself, he addressed the rumors about being banned from Letterman in an interview conducted a few weeks earlier. "I've heard that, I've heard that for a long time," Korine said after being asked if he was banished from "The Late Show." "It's possible, it's definitely possible."

When pressed for details, Korine replied, "I've heard a lot of different things, I probably don’t want to go into them all." The question then turned to the rumored shoving match with Streep, and Korine said, "I dunno, I heard that, too. I was pretty out of it back then, so I guess anything's possible. Honestly, I have no recollection. I hope it wasn't true."

The more stable Korine would like a second chance, saying, "I would do (the Letterman show) in a second if he asked me back." And after Franco assured Letterman that the director would be on better behavior, the host said he'd be "more than happy" to book Korine on the show.

Just don't expect Meryl Streep to appear the same night.