It was filmed her freshman year in high school, when no one’s dad is cool, no matter how many hipster cinephiles say so.
“There’s a few parts in there when my dad asks me to put up posters, and I’m like, ‘Dad, I don’t want to do that!'” Lillian Hardy says of her small role in Best Worst Movie. But four years later, as an Auburn sophomore with people interviewing her and wanting to be her friend because her dad was once so uncool he’s cool, she feels differently about it.
“It was really cool.”
The critically-acclaimed 2009 documentary is about both the making of, and the cult following that has sprung up around Troll 2 (1990), the penicillin of horror films, which inadvertently abandons cinematic convention like plot and coherent dialog (and even a title that references the story: there are no trolls in Troll 2) with such awkward sincerity it broaches the sublime. And Hardy’s father George stars in both, first as the strong-jawed, starvation-practiced, see-no-evil dad who forces his family to endure the most ill-conceived vacation ever in Troll 2, and then in Best Worst Movie as the lovable Alexander City dentist and— it’s almost too good to be true—former Auburn cheerleader coming to comical terms with his status as a cult film icon (here’s the thing Nightline did on it).
Now, in an age when celebrity is instantly transferable, Hardy herself is coming to terms with her status as the daughter of one of the most famous cult movie fathers ever, which we talked to her about it this week (and which we are gladly contributing to).
What was it like being a part of Best Worst Movie?
“It was really cool. When I was younger, I really didn’t know what (Troll 2) was about, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. So, of course, they film me during my teen years in high school, so I was all about being cool. There’s a few parts in there when my dad asks me to put up posters, and I’m like, ‘Dad, I don’t want to do that!’ But, it was really cool. I’ll get recognized on the street for being my dad’s daughter. I’ve been in a few other movies since that movie since my dad has some big connections.”
What other movies have you been in?
“I’ve been in a feature movie called Junk. I’ve been in a bunch of short films, and I’m interesting in creating short films, also. That’s not something they offer at Auburn, but that’s what I like to do — photography and film. It’s just a good connection to have my dad as this cult movie star.”
Do you think you’re going to pursue film after college?
“Probably. I have a lot of facets in my life where I do lots of different things. I make facial aromatherapy cleansers, and I work with leather. I do so many different things, but I don’t know what I want to do specifically. I’d like to travel and do film and photography.”
Had you seen Troll 2 before you were in the documentary?
“Yes. I’ve seen Troll 2 a good 50 times. My dad travels around the world, but I traveled around the US with him and went to places like New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta for screenings. My dad always asks me to come to screenings and conventions, and I’ll always go if I’m not busy.”
Where/when was the last screening you went to?
“The last one was actually here in Auburn last semester. My dad had a screening for Troll 2, and I have a few friends who were working with The Real Food challenge who put it on.”
Do fans hound you at screenings?
“A lot of people are like, “What’s it like being his daughter?” Some people will bring cameras and ask questions and all that. A lot of people in Auburn want to be my friend just because of the fact that my dad was in Troll 2, and I’m like, “Wait, don’t you want to be my friend for real?”
Do you remember the first time your dad told you he was in a movie?
“I went to Movie Rack with my dad when I was six, and we were looking for a movie to watch. He sees Troll 2 on the shelf, and he’s like, “No way.” He didn’t know it was at that Movie Rack. He asked the person who worked there to please let me watch the first five minutes of the movie right then. So, he took us back in the back of Movie Rack and played it. The first five minutes of the movie is basically this princess running through the woods as she’s being chased by a goblin. I was so afraid because it was pretty gory and scary for my age. I was, like, hiding behind my dad. I watched it for the first time again when I was older and thought this is a stupid, stupid movie.”
Should people watch Troll 2 or Best Worst Movie first?
“Definitely Troll 2 first then Best Worst Movie then Troll 2 again. You have to sandwich the documentary with Troll 2 just to get how funny it is.”
Why did you decide to come to Auburn?
“I was originally going to go out West, but I think I wanted to stay close to home for the first two years. I’m thinking about transferring this next semester to just go out on my own. I’m still trying to find a good art school, so I’m not sure where I’m going yet.”
Does your dad come back through Auburn a lot?
“Oh yeah, definitely. He loves Auburn. He was really excited that I came to Auburn.” [Watch him adapt his most memorable line from Troll 2 into a warning for all who would doubt Cam Newton here.]
How has the cult film stardom changed your dad?
“He’s a dentist, but he’s always wanted to be a movie star. When he was younger, he seriously wanted to be a TV show host. When a bunch of people began liking Troll 2, he was really excited that someone wanted to produce a documentary. He was all about it. His dreams came true.”
And what about you, with everyone noticing you as his daughter?
“It’s all definitely impacted my life. It’s given me more opportunities to be in films and be associated with that art community.”
Where is the best place you’ve traveled for a screening?
“Boston for sure. I also love Austin. Those are my two places that I really loved. L.A., c’mon, New York.”
“Oh, I love it. I’m so proud of my dad. It’s awesome. I love that he’s in the movies. Like, you’re the one calling me because of my dad. I’m super proud of my dad and the opportunities he has given me.”
What is your favorite part of Troll 2?
“I really love Grandpa’s smile in the weirdest parts of the movies. He has such a weird smile. As for scenes, probably the double-decker bloody sandwich scene or the popcorn scene. They’re just so silly and stupid.”
What’s your dad up to lately?
“He films still a lot. People want him in their movies. Every few weekends or so, he’ll be flying out to different places for different movies and interviews. He’s been to the 2010 Scream Awards for the horror films. He does a lot of stuff like that.”
Top photo: Lillian Hardy’s Facebook page.
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