Willis Earl Beal Speaks on Breaking Down During the Making of “Memphis”

“I’m a difficult person,” admits Willis Earl Beal in an interview with Rolling Stone. Willis—an XL Recordings signee who released his second album, Nobody Knows, in 2013—is the star of the Tim Sutton-directed movie Memphis. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, so Willis and Sutton (pictured above) sat down with Rolling Stone to talk about it.

Read the whole interview here, and check out one particularly interesting behind-the-scenes story below:

It was not method acting. They were in search of authenticity. So I started to regress into this mindset of them being against me. No excuse, but that’s what he said, he wanted me to go to Beal Street and act like a damn fool, and I’ve been kicked out of clubs and been drunk in the street, and I’ve done a lot of things to humiliate myself in my real life, and I didn’t really feel like it. I just felt like I was exploiting myself and unknowingly they were exploiting me. I went off, I disappeared, and then I showed up to the house totally smashed and ready to go to Beale street. And they said well, we’re not going down there and I just flipped. I just started trashing the place and in that moment, I knew, right before I trashed the place, I said film this, this is me imploding. I knew that I was quitting at that moment, I knew that it was over, and everyone was going to spread my name and say, ‘He was impossible to work with,’ and my career was over. In a way, it was going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because I’ve ruined everything in my life always. At the end of the whole shoot we had a bonfire, and I had a folder full of pornography images and we had the whole cast come over and I wrote my sins down.



AN INTERVIEW WITH NOBODY