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The Education of Charlie Banks Director Fred Durst on Evolving As a Human

Fred Durst, front man of nineties rap-rockers Limp Bizkit, is taking on a new role: sensitive indie filmmaker. His dramatic directing debut, The Education of Charlie Banks, opens today, and stars Jesse Eisenberg as an introspective, bourgeois Manhattan kid who’s haunted by a magnetic and dangerous bully, played by Jason Ritter. Durst spoke to Vulture about overcoming his musical persona, his little-known sensitive side, and why we should all prepare ourselves for a Limp Bizkit comeback.

How and when did you first become interested in directing?
I think ever since I was preteen I wanted to direct movies and tell stories. I never thought I’d be in a rock band; that just came out of the blue and came first somehow. Though it inevitably led me to better opportunities for filmmaking, or to be taken a little more seriously. The room’s kinda warm for me — it’s easier to get meetings.

Being that guy from Limp Bizkit wasn’t an impediment?
Well, it was hard to get meetings for anything substantial. For someone in my position, there’s opportunities to be anything you want to be, even if you shouldn’t be eligible, and I think that’s left a bad taste in a lots of financers' and studios' mouths. Just cause someone’s popular at one thing, letting them do the other isn’t always the right thing. I was just offered at first a lot of typical things that seemed inspired by what Limp Bizkit sounded like or felt like — a music-video-style film, or a throwaway B-horror-genre flick.

You’ve said you identify with both Charlie and Mick, Ritter’s character. They’re pretty different.
Well, class struggle is something I really identify with from the get-go. We were not a wealthy family at all, growing up. We worked very hard for a very little bit of money, and didn’t live gratuitously in any way. That’s Mick. But I’ve also had moments in my life like Charlie — I’ve had a bully in my life, I’ve had those guys come in who passively take your girlfriend. But there’s still something charming about them, even if they might turn on you any second. I’ve been in Charlie’s shoes, literally.

What’s going on with Limp Bizkit?
There’s a lot of time in a busy guy’s life to do everything [laughs]. The original Limp Bizkit is back together, we’re going to tour this summer, and then I’m coming back to direct my third feature, called Psycho Killer, written by Andrew Kevin Walker, who wrote Se7en. It’s a very, very smart script. I’m wearing a couple different hats, and it all blends well.

You sound so mellow. It’s not quite what I expected.
Yeah, I’ve always been. When I put that cap on and go into Limp mode, something happens. But I’ve been able to get some serious perspective on things, and absence made the heart grow fonder. There’s been a void I think, in rock. There’s nothing else like Limp Bizkit; there’s been nothing else like Limp Bizkit. People are like, “You sound like Linkin Park” — we don’t sound anything like Linkin Park! We’re tighter, friendlier, and stronger than ever now. It’s very weird and scary.

Have you grown up?
Well, we’ve evolved as humans, but we finally realized we want to own Limp Bizkit. We’re like, “You know, we ARE Limp Bizkit. We own this shit.” We want to go out there and destroy.  

Photo: Getty Images