…WE HAVE SORT OF AN EVIL PLAN AGAINST MR. GORDON…
DAILY GRINDHOUSE: First off, I wanted to congratulate you on a triumphant world premiere of the film YOU’RE NEXT. So far I’ve read three reviews and, not only are they positive, but they’ve been enthusiastic. Could you tell me a little bit about how you started to collaborate with Adam Wingard and Ti West? How did you get involved with this film? Tell me a little bit about the movie, if you would.
BARBARA CRAMPTON: I really haven’t been working that much in the past few years. I live out in San Francisco, and I’ve been concentrating on just raising my family. I have an eight and ten-year-old. We happened to be on vacation in Lake Tahoe, skiing, and I was on my treadmill at the hotel, when I got the call from my agent saying I had been offered a role in a movie called YOU’RE NEXT. I said, “Who? What? What movie? What are you talking about? I haven’t auditioned for anything. This came out of left field. Nobody’s been asking for me in a few years. How do they know they even want me? What’s the role?” He said, “It’s to play the mother in this home invasion/thriller/horror movie.” I said, “Ok, the mother of whom?” He said, “You have, like, four children and this is who the people are and they want you to play the mom.” “Nobody’s seen me in years. How do they know I can still act? They don’t know what I look like. Aren’t they taking it for granted that it might not be an ok thing?” And my agent said, “Barbara, you are talking yourself out of a movie role. You want to do this or not?” I said, “I don’t know. Let me read the script.”
I stopped running, read the movie on my iPhone, and the script was really good. It’s somewhat of a slasher movie, but not your typical one. I don’t want to give away any of the story, so I don’t want to say any more than that, but it was a well-written horror movie and really fun, but not too funny. It seemed like the tone of it was really good. It wasn’t my typical role that I’ve played in the past – this femme fatale. Now I’m the mother and it’s completely different for me. I loved the script so much, and I really liked my part. I thought she was interesting and a little quirky. She’s on medication, and this family has sort of a troubled dynamic, so I thought all of those elements were really interesting. So I said yes. I guess the reason they wanted me was from my prior work. They wanted somebody – for at least one of the parental roles – who was a horror movie person. I guess they’re fans of RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, so they knew of my work and hired me. Luckily, I did it and that’s how it all started.
DG: That’s great. Both Adam Wingard and Ti West are exciting new filmmakers. I loved HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, which West actually directed. Adam Wingard made some waves with his last movie, A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE. So it looks like they’re kind of redefining the genre right now. They’re the new wave of Stuart Gordons, Tobe Hoopers, and such.
BC: It was really nice for me, because I know a lot of the old horror movie directors, and of course I’ve worked for one of the great ones – who is still great – Stuart Gordon. These guys were just amazing because they do seem young and fresh, and I thought it was really cool that Ti West took a part in this movie. He really plays a small part. He gets to do a couple of really fun things. He’s a filmmaker himself, but he’s friends with Adam, and came out to support his friend. Adam just said, “Will you do this for me, buddy?” and he said, “Yes.” Also, Joe Swanberg, who does all those Mumblecore movies – he’s a filmmaker, too. He makes his own movies and he has a part in this. I think when people see it, they’re going to be surprised by Joe Swanberg, because he comes across so fun and so good and so real. People are going to take a brand new look at him and say, “Wow. He’s a really fantastic actor.” Also Amy Seimetz, who was in A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE – she makes movies. It was really a collaboration of all these people. They just came together. They didn’t really cast for too many of the roles. They called people they wanted to work with. It’s not like they hired a casting director and saw hundreds of people. They didn’t. There is a sense of collaboration on this movie that I haven’t seen in a long time – in anything that I’ve worked on.
Everybody was very involved: Is this scene working? What’s the element that really works in this scene, and what’s the main point of it? What I found really great about the collaboration was that Simon wrote the script. He was on the set at every moment and would say, “Is there a way we can make this better?” or “Do you have a line that you think would sound better than what I wrote for you?” Also, Adam wouldn’t move on in a scene unless he felt like he got the tone of it right – where the actors were being extremely real. He would say, “No, no, no. Let’s stop. Let’s do this again.” He really worked with every actor individually on getting the scene just right. It was a wonderfully collaborative film with all these fantastic people, who are so talented, coming together. We had such fun working on the movie. I think that comes across in the final product. It was an amazing time and really re-invigorated me into feeling like I want to act again. I haven’t done anything in a number of years, and just making this movie, I fell in love with acting all over again. I told my agent, “Ok. Start sending me out. I want to do it again. It’s so much fun.”
DG: Well, that’s great. I’m going to hold you to that. I’m following you on Twitter, so if I don’t see you in anything soon, I’m going to start pestering you incessantly. Just warning you in advance.
BC: Ok. Thank you very much.
DG: I’m glad to hear you say they’re actually in talks now for maybe some distribution. A lot of companies are interested in getting this film out there. Hopefully we’ll get a release date and maybe a trailer soon. (FUTURE CREEPER: YOU’RE NEXT was picked up by LG.)
BC: I think it’ll happen very soon. There’s been some great news coming from Variety, and Hollywood Reporter had a nice article about it. I remember leaving the theater last night, and went to the bathroom – I was one of the last people to leave. When I walked back out into the lobby, everybody was out in the front – all the cast members, all the people who had seen the movie – and we were signing autographs and taking pictures. Everybody in the suits was still in the lobby, in varying corners, furiously texting and calling. It was like a Kodak moment for me. I looked at that and went, “Oh my God. They’re already calling their people and telling them they need to buy the movie.” Everybody was so excited. The screening went incredibly well and there was this wonderful audience, of course, at the Midnight Madness at the Toronto Film Festival. They were just so supportive and they’re such knowledgeable filmgoers. We couldn’t have had a better audience for this screening. It really helped the whole feeling of excitement that we all have towards the movie, and how good we all think it is. All the fanfare and people from all the different distribution companies – I think everybody was just on a high last night. We’re really looking forward to it being sold and hopefully having a theatrical release.
DG: Now I’m really excited about it. I didn’t really know anything about YOU’RE NEXT until I started reading a little bit online. Let’s move back some. This is something we usually ask in our interviews. What’s the first movie that changed your life – that made you think, “I need to get into this business?”
BC: That’s a good question. I remember watching THE EXORCIST when I was younger. I went to the theatre with my girlfriends to watch the movie. It terrified and scared me so much. It created such turbulence inside that I thought this is something I want to do. I want to work in movies.
DG: Linda Blair was so young and brave to take on a role like that, I thought.
BC: Yeah. She was amazing in the movie. It still has an impact on me. I can hardly watch it without having such a queasy, nervous, freaked-out feeling for days. I revisit the movie every few years. I think it had the biggest impact on me when I was younger. It made me think, “Wow. If we can create this kind of response in an audience member – this is what I want to do.”
DG: That movie is timeless. It resonates even to this day. So, looking back at early in your career, I know you started off with some soap opera roles and a made-for-TV film. I’m sure as you know, today is Brian De Palma’s birthday, and I was going to ask how you got involved with him on BODY DOUBLE? What was it like working with Brian De Palma?
BC: Of course, he’s an icon. I auditioned for the movie to play Craig Wasson’s girlfriend. When they originally auditioned for the movie – I only have one scene that made it into the final cut – but I had two other scenes in the movie that had dialogue, when he comes back and tries to patch things up with my character. I auditioned for it. This was the day before we started shooting, I got a call from an agent saying that they cut your dialogue scenes, and you just have the one scene when Craig Wasson comes home and finds you in bed with another guy. And I was, like, “Darn. Really?!” Well it’s Brian De Palma, so it’s sure to lead to something else; I got to work with him. Well, I did that scene in the movie, and that’s become a scene all unto its own – one that people remember. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to anything with Brian De Palma, so I’m still waiting. I’m still hoping he’ll hire me for another movie.
DG: Well, you’re just starting to get revitalized back in Hollywood, so it could happen. And I must say, you posted that picture of you before the screening last night, and you’re still gorgeous, so you have that on your side as well.
BC: Thank you.
DG: What part of your acting career do people bring up the most?
BC: Of course, you know the answer to that – the scene from RE-ANIMATOR.
DG: I was actually talking about what film, not that particular scene.
BC: I think it’s RE-ANIMATOR. It’s such an iconic movie, with Stuart’s big break into being a director in Hollywood. It was such a great script and so well put together – so fun, and so funny. Such wonderful elements to it. That’s the movie everybody remembers me from.
DG: Now I asked Mr. Gordon this, and I will ask you the same, because I kind of gave him a bit of a hard time. I said he and Jeffrey Combs worked with each other a lot, and I asked him if maybe Mr. Combs had some incriminating photos of him. Looking deeper into your filmography, I noticed you’re not that far behind. So I’m thinking maybe you and Mr. Combs have collaborated and you have something maybe on the docket against Mr. Gordon. Is that the case?
BC: Yeah. We have sort of an evil plan against Mr. Gordon, and we’re going to release some bad information on him if he doesn’t keep hiring us. No, that’s not true at all. We genuinely love each other. From the first time we all worked together, we remained friends and we know each other’s families. We just had a great time. I think that happens with a lot of filmmakers. You work with people and you have a good relationship with them. You get to know them and you feel comfortable and familiar. So if it’s working, you want to keep going. I think a lot of directors hire the people they’ve worked with before, when they’ve had successful films together. That keeps happening and it’s a nice feeling after so long, to actually keep working with people you grew up in the business with.
TUNE IN LATER THIS WEEK FOR THE SECOND
INSTALLMENT, BASTARDS! JIM WYNORSKI,
MS. CRAMPTON’S FAVORITE ROLE, & STEP UP 4!
Special thanks to
for her transcription services!
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