Eli Roth talks about his Blueberries, body and cybersex proficiency



Everyone's beary boyfriend, Eli Roth, talked to PopWrap about everything that makes me smile...down there. From his body to his blueberries, this guy was cute, forthcoming and, per usual, left us hungry for more!

The best bits:

PopWrap: And no classic Quentin character is complete without a cool name and I think Bear Jew kinda takes the cake.
Eli: Well it's funny because I've always been compared to some sort of animal. On "Cabin Fever" they called me hair director. On "Hostel" one of the Czech extras saw me in a tank top and casually referred to me as "Gorilka" which is Slovak for gorilla. So from that point on, it was over. Everyone was always, "Where's Gorilka? We need Gorilka on set!"

PW: I'd imagine high school was also fun then.
Eli: There was a girl who nicknamed me wolfie, so I've always been compared to some sort of furry animal. So I just embraced it -- and Bear Jew felt like the natural evolution.

PW: Well it obviously hasn't hurt, you were named Most Fit Director by Men's Health Magazine.
Eli: Winning that is sort of winning best dancer at a bar mitzvah. Who's your competition? Aunt Gladys? Basically if you can button your pants, you're the most fit director. But since that article in 2006, it's funny how Richard Kelly, Edgar Wright and all these other directors have been hitting the gym like crazy. They're actively trying to take away my title. So now I've really got to stay in shape because everyone wants to be crowned the Most Fit Director.

PW: Well, if you lose the title, I think your Blueberries will have something to say about it!
Eli: The Blueberries love me no matter what shape I am. That's what is so great about them. Look, I had fans before, but they were always big tattoo-covered dudes. The Blueberries take it to a whole other level -- they take every photo of me and create these amazing videos and macros. We actually had a midnight screening of "Inglorious" last week and they brought me blueberry soda and made blueberry pajamas. It's a good thing we were in a public place, otherwise they would have eaten me alive!

PW: But it's not like you didn't give them enough material to work with!
Eli: I'm a very generous director [laughs]. I'm very giving. You know, I've certainly had girlfriends in the past, but I've never had girls seek me out like this before. And I thought, instead of pursuing any of this, what if I just had cyber sex with everyone at the same time and people freaked out. It was one of the funniest, weirdest social experiments ever.

PW: So it was a good first experience for you?
Eli: Actually, when I was in college I used to work as an online operator for Penthouse, posing as a woman. That's how I paid for my student films. They hired guys because guys know what other guys want to hear. So I was on an 800-speed modem in my dorm room with three other guys and, dude, I could type like 120 words a minute! So having cybersex with hundreds of people at once is actually a skill I already had. I just hadn't busted it out since college. It was like, "Hey, I haven't lost my touch!"

PW: I'm fairly certain every guy who visited Penthouse.com just had an "oh crap" moment!
Eli: The creepy thing was, because this was in 1991, we only got doctors and scientists because they were the ones using the Internet. One guy told a customer he was a stripper and he started FedExing him cash -- I never took it to that level, but guys were paying $1 a minute to talk with us. There were ads for me in magazines too!

PW: What was your Penthouse.com name?
Eli: OK, so I'm actually terrified to reveal my name because I had some regular customers -- but one of them was Tami. She was a dirty whore who lived in the East Village. Tami was a heavy metal chick who had a gang bang with Guns & Roses and Poison in one night!

BRING ON THE PIC-GASM KIDS!!!!

Growing up, I used to dream of how I could kill my friends. Power drill to the neck? My sister got that. Throat slit in the bathtub? My friend V.A. was on the receiving end of that kill. Strangled in the shower? Sorry, Leah! But before you start reaching for the 9 and 1 buttons on your phone, rest assured I'm simply talking about the horror movies I used to make in high school.

That's why I've always felt like Eli Roth was a kindred spirit. His flare for flaying has been shocking audiences since "Cabin Fever" hacked and slashed its way into cinemas back in 2002. He then went on to create an entirely new genre of horror, with a nickname he loathes.

So when he made the follow-up to 2007's "Hostel" sequel an acting role in the new Quentin Tarantino movie, I think more than a few of us went, "really?" But his performance as Sgt. Donny Donowitz a.k.a. Bear Jew proves that QT has a singular knack for spotting talent. Not only did Eli take center stage in the anti-Nazi opus, but in the process he found a fiercely loyal following of fans that call themselves Blueberries.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Eli about the sheer joy in being the guy who rewrites history, his rules of cyber-seduction and why a college side-job prepared him to share an intimate moment with nearly one million people.

PopWrap: Was it always part of your plan to mix acting with writing/directing?
Eli Roth: Oh, never. This is the kind of thing you imagine when you're 6 years old, watching "The Dirty Dozen" at 10:30 because your parents let you stay up late to watch everyone blow up the Nazis. And you think, "What if I was one of those guys?"

PW: So what's it like then to have that dream become a reality?
Eli: To actually see it manifest itself is such a strange and wonderful thing. I really knew this was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I always said my passion was writing/directing, but Quentin knew there was a part of me that loves performing, I just never had a reason to do it.

PW: Did this feel like a make it or break it situation for you then?
Eli: I decided that if I was going to do this, I would give it everything I could. I wanted to make it great, make it memorable. This was my chance to create a classic Tarantino character. So I dropped everything, put on 40 pounds of muscle and was completely in character the whole time. I wanted to be the dream actor I always wish I had. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

PW: And no classic Quentin character is complete without a cool name and I think Bear Jew kinda takes the cake.
Eli: Well it's funny because I've always been compared to some sort of animal. On "Cabin Fever" they called me hair director. On "Hostel" one of the Czech extras saw me in a tank top and casually referred to me as "Gorilka" which is Slovak for gorilla. So from that point on, it was over. Everyone was always, "Where's Gorilka? We need Gorilka on set!"

PW: I'd imagine high school was also fun then.
Eli: There was a girl who nicknamed me wolfie, so I've always been compared to some sort of furry animal. So I just embraced it -- and Bear Jew felt like the natural evolution.

PW: Well it obviously hasn't hurt, you were named Most Fit Director by Men's Health Magazine.
Eli: Winning that is sort of winning best dancer at a bar mitzvah. Who's your competition? Aunt Gladys? Basically if you can button your pants, you're the most fit director. But since that article in 2006, it's funny how Richard Kelly, Edgar Wright and all these other directors have been hitting the gym like crazy. They're actively trying to take away my title. So now I've really got to stay in shape because everyone wants to be crowned the Most Fit Director.

PW: Well, if you lose the title, I think your Blueberries will have something to say about it!
Eli: The Blueberries love me no matter what shape I am. That's what is so great about them. Look, I had fans before, but they were always big tattoo-covered dudes. The Blueberries take it to a whole other level -- they take every photo of me and create these amazing videos and macros. We actually had a midnight screening of "Inglorious" last week and they brought me blueberry soda and made blueberry pajamas. It's a good thing we were in a public place, otherwise they would have eaten me alive!

PW: But it's not like you didn't give them enough material to work with!
Eli: I'm a very generous director [laughs]. I'm very giving. You know, I've certainly had girlfriends in the past, but I've never had girls seek me out like this before. And I thought, instead of pursuing any of this, what if I just had cyber sex with everyone at the same time and people freaked out. It was one of the funniest, weirdest social experiments ever.

PW: So it was a good first experience for you?
Eli: Actually, when I was in college I used to work as an online operator for Penthouse, posing as a woman. That's how I paid for my student films. They hired guys because guys know what other guys want to hear. So I was on an 800-speed modem in my dorm room with three other guys and, dude, I could type like 120 words a minute! So having cybersex with hundreds of people at once is actually a skill I already had. I just hadn't busted it out since college. It was like, "Hey, I haven't lost my touch!"

PW: I'm fairly certain every guy who visited Penthouse.com just had an "oh crap" moment!
Eli: The creepy thing was, because this was in 1991, we only got doctors and scientists because they were the ones using the Internet. One guy told a customer he was a stripper and he started FedExing him cash -- I never took it to that level, but guys were paying $1 a minute to talk with us. There were ads for me in magazines too!

PW: What was your Penthouse.com name?
Eli: OK, so I'm actually terrified to reveal my name because I had some regular customers -- but one of them was Tami. She was a dirty whore who lived in the East Village. Tami was a heavy metal chick who had a gang bang with Guns & Roses and Poison in one night!

PW: That's very impressive! Did you ever break it to the boys that you were also a boy?
Eli: That's the funny thing, the last night my friend and I outed ourselves. We wrote, "We are men! we have penises! We've been f***ing with you the whole time!" We debated over hitting the send button, it was like launching World War III -- but we hit it and the guys were like, "Oh shut up Tami, tell me about your t***." But we kept insisting, "No, we're really guys" and the guys kept ignoring it, "Oh Tami, you're so funny."

PW: Men are capable of selective hearing like no one else!
Eli: No matter what you tell them, guys will believe whatever they want. But that paid for my student films. I feel like I was giving back to the community.

PW: Hey, people have done worse.
Eli: Oh people have done it in real life to finance movies! I just wrote a couple of messages!

PW: It's a pretty easy leap to go from that to the term you coined for this movie, Kosher Porn. Where did that come from?
Eli: Obviously I've been associated with this term "torture porn," which I find ridiculous. But it got applied to me after "Hostel." So I called this Kosher Porn in a way to take the piss out of Torture Porn.

PW: Well it's totally on the money -- I can't even describe to you how wide the smile on my face was during the last third of this movie.
Eli: There is something orgasmic about that kind of vengeance, especially since it was verboten for so long. Even post-WWII, nobody talked about the Holocaust. It wasn't until the 50s that people started talking about it. So we all grew up with these fantasies. I remember being in Hebrew school wondering why all these people, if they knew they were going to die, didn't try to take as many Nazis out with them as possible. Obviously there were many reasons, but the fantasy is that you would lead the revolution.

PW: You recently held a screening for a bunch of rabbis, or as you called it a "Jew & A." What was their reaction to the movie like?
Eli: That was incredible. A lot of them had never seen a Tarantino movie before and they loved it. After the movie, there was a lot of stunned silence, but they were totally into it. The movie expressed something they had all fantasized about, so they were just taking it all in. Afterwards, we stood around in the lobby and I'd never seen a group of people so happy. "You did it! You did it! That must've felt so great to shoot Hitler in the face!" Quentin has tapped into something that's so real and something that Jews and non-Jews alike feel: wanting to sacrifice yourself to stop the ultimate evil.

PW: There's been a lot of rumors, so will The Basterds be saddling up again?
Eli: Quentin would only do it if he feels that he can top this movie. He's got a large chunk of the next one already written -- it's about 100 pages of the previous mission The Basterds were on. So after the Oscars in February, that'll probably be the first chance he'll really have to stop and think about all of this. But Brad and myself are ready to go back into battle at any time!

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