VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Matt Dillon attends the red carpet of the movie "The Hand Of God" during the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 02, 2021 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Netflix)
Movies - TV
How Matt Dillon's First Movie Inspired Both Richard Linklater And Kurt Cobain
With powerful themes of protest and revolution, “Over the Edge '' is an excellent film that built up quite a following, inspiring the likes of Kurt Cobain and Richard Linklater. The film stars Matt Dillon, who plays a mistreated teen resident in a planned community called New Grenada.
“Over the Edge” was based on a real-life headline about delinquents who were vandalizing property in a planned community called Foster City. Jane Bernstein, a talent scout for the film, found just the right look in Matt Dillon — someone soft trying hard to play the tough guy.
Handling a bunch of untrained teen actors wasn’t an easy feat, though. Director Jonathan Kaplan had to use $20 bills to make Dillon look in the right direction during takes, but it was Dillon’s cluelessness about acting that helped him portray Richie White with an unfeigned realness.
To counter the atmosphere of growing gang violence, Orion Pictures not only ended up giving “Over the Edge” a muted release, but also created an ad campaign that made it look like a teen horror movie. This left Dillon frustrated, since all the effort put into the film was “buried.”
Despite missing out on a big theatrical release, the film later acquired somewhat of a cult following, with Cobain even paying homage to it in the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Richard Linklater stated, “‘Over the Edge’ influenced ‘Dazed and Confused,’ especially along the lines of its honest depiction of the teens themselves.”