Harmony Korine was banned from "Late Show" for snooping through Meryl Streep's purse

However, after James Franco vouched for him, David Letterman welcomed the "Spring Breakers" director back

By Prachi Gupta

Published March 26, 2013 4:11PM (EDT)

Before 1998, the bizarre, "confrontational, slightly prickly" "Spring Breakers" director Harmony Korine, who broke into the film industry in the mid-'90s when he was 22, was a frequent guest on David Letterman's late night show. But he stopped appearing sometime after 1998, and no one knew why, exactly.

On last night's "Late Show With David Letterman," the host told "Spring Breakers" star and Korine-admirer James Franco the real reason for the absence: Letterman had banned Korine after catching him snooping around backstage:

"I went upstairs to greet Meryl Streep and welcome her to the show, and I knock on the door ... and she was not in there. And I looked around, and she was not in there, and I found Harmony going through her purse. True story. And so I said, 'That's it, put her things back in her bag and then get out.'"

Franco defended Korine, saying, "Harmony is a very sane guy now, a great artist and great person to work with, but I think he had a period where he was going a little off the rails, so maybe he was on something that night."

Letterman conceded, telling Franco he'd be "more than happy" to have Korine back.

Watch David Letterman's first interview with Korine in 1995:

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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David Letterman Harmony Korine James Franco Meryl Streep Spring Breakers Video