When 1995 film Kids was released it instantly divided public opinion into two camps for its explicit, honest depiction of New York youths indulging in drink, sex and drugs: the first camp took the film’s hedonistic values to heart, while the second was reviled by the graphic plot of the film. However, it is undeniable that Kids was very influential, launching the careers of writer Harmony Korine and actress Chloe Sevigny. Dazed takes a look behind the scenes of the film and finds that controversy extended to the movie production, delving into everything from Justin Pierce getting jailed during filming, how the rape scene was nearly a bust because of a squeaky couch, and an S&M scene that didn’t make the final cut. Read an excerpt below and find the full article here.
Kids opens with sex. It closes with sex. And sandwiched in the middle is a whole lot of sweaty, probing teen sex. It can be awkward to watch, but the conversations it ignited were the direct result of its bald approach to teenage sexuality. Clark mistakenly thought, when hanging out at Washington Square Park before production started, that these kids were committed to safe sex. The reality was a lot closer to what the film illustrates: you got a condom? Bonus. If not, well, no big deal. The consequences to clocking up virgins served as a warning – difficult to prove maybe, but even if one teen practices safer sex after viewing what some describe as Clark’s “cautionary tale,” then it’s a win. For the film’s crew and underage cast, pulling off a believable shag became an exacting art.
Randall Poster (music supervisor): The process of striking a balance between the inexperienced, genuine street kids with teens who could act proved difficult. Clark pushed for as many fresh faces as possible, relying on Korine to pull in skater friends. Leo Fitzpatrick, who plays “virgin surgeon” Telly, was plucked directly from the streets. One career-making decision came by casting downtown it-girl and fashion fixture Chloë Sevigny. However, the role Sevigny plays, Jennie, was already occupied by Canadian actress Mia Kirshner and the crew was just days away from the beginning of production. Kirshner didn’t gel with the rest of the cast, so she was fired and replaced by Sevigny. It was her big break.
Randall Poster: Some ‘actors’ were paid nominal sums for their parts in the film; one girl, named Gaby, reportedly got $50 for her walk-on role and sunk the money back into her ecstasy habit. Drugs even wormed their way on to set. In the party scene towards the end of the film, three underage kids pass a joint between them – a totally improvised and serendipitous moment that cinematographer Eric Edwards just happened to catch on camera. To this day, Clark is unsure whether or not it was real marijuana they were smoking, but some of the crew members, thinking they had gone a step too far, reportedly walked off set after that scene was filmed.