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Cult gay filmmaker John Waters embraces a shift from outlaw to insider

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American filmmaker John Waters is well known for pushing boundaries with exuberantly provocative works exploring taboos around themes such as pornography and LGBTQ+ relationships.

But now the cult director, known as the “Pope of Trash”, says he is happy to come in from the cold, as his storytelling finds new audiences. “Everybody now wants to be an outsider,” Waters, 76, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from his office in the northeastern US city of Baltimore. “Both (former U.S.

presidents Barack) Obama and (Donald) Trump would call themselves outsiders, I believe. That’s why I now (want) to be an insider – because nobody else wants to.” Waters is perhaps best known for the 1972 cult classic Pink Flamingos, which follows two groups competing to be the “filthiest people alive”, and his 1988 hit Hairspray, featuring singer Debbie Harry and actor Ricki Lake.

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