What was your creepiest encounter on a video chat site such as chatroulette?
My favourite was probably in 2010 when we were shooting Broken Flowers. That was one of those days when we were shooting in Brittany, when we were walking to meet up with the rest of the cast and crew. We were walking along and there was a lovely young woman in front of us who was just very jovial, very sweet, very composed. And then suddenly there was this extrovert lurking a couple of paces behind her. And she couldn't identify him, but she could see his power. And she said to herself, I know how to get along with that guy. And as they walked on, there was this menacing, hostile intonation of his voice that said, What are you doing here? That was our intrositter. She said the line to Woody Harrelson, my co-star, and I thought, This is it. This is the tipping point. We both go, Yes! And then she looked at Harrelson and she said, I want to share my hair with him. And he went, What? And she said, You want me to cut your hair? And she said, Yes. And she was so beautiful. And she reached over, took her earlobes and was like, Just cut them. And she got her hair trimmer and she did, and then she put her head down, took her cigarette and lit it and lit her own hair on fire.
Was this all there was to creepy video chat rooms? Probably not. But it's worth thinking about what's distinctive about creepy video chat rooms. What is different about them than the general atmosphere of chat rooms today, which is just general creepiness? I want to focus in particular on what's different between the early days of chat and what we have now, and I'm going to focus on chat rooms that were mostly used for chat, and not chat specifically, but just general chat rooms. So, chatroulette being the classic example, that's probably where most of our creepy videos were taken.
The thing that is so exciting to me about creepy video now is, instead of just a creepy video, we actually have a creepy video game. And what that means, again, is we actually have a medium that is able to turn our previously-obscure ideas about visual information, about sound, about touch, about taste, about stage fright, all of our ordinary ideas about how images and sounds and so on should be represented into something that is terrifying and exciting. And that's something that I think about when I think about creepy games. I think about what's scary about games, and I think a lot of scary ideas can be turned into games.
So the first thing that I want to talk about is the medium itself, and then I want to talk a little bit about what's at stake in these kinds of games. And