EXCL: FRAN KRANZ TALKS “CABIN IN THE WOODS”
If you’re a horror fan, it’s basically your patriotic duty to go see The Cabin in the Woods. Are you sick or remakes and sequels? Do you bitch about the state of horror to friends and on message boards? Fine. Cabin is an original horror film that takes a hackneyed horror idea – five kids go to a remote cabin to party and do battle with monsters – and mutates it into something wholly unforeseeable
The DLB recently interviewed co-star Fran Kranz who plays Marty, the requisite stoner, albeit an incredibly smart stoner who is the first to suspect that his friends’ weekend getaway may not be quite as relaxing as they want it to be.
Talking about the film without spoilers is tough. How have you been selling it to people?
Sometimes I do find myself, when people are afraid of horror films… or a lot of people say, ‘I just don’t do horror films.’ And then I say, ‘It’s really funny. Trust me. It’s got this and this.’ And I’ll try to give them tiny little facts without giving too much away, just little hints and ideas about what the movie has to offer that’s more on the funny side.
And then for the people that say, ‘Is it just funny? I’m a crazy horror film fan. I like blood and guts, I like real scares,’ then I give them other information; never giving away too much. But then I tell them I was told that we used the second-most fake blood of any movie ever made, just behind The Shining. I try to get people pumped up just from where they’re coming from and what they want. And what’s beautiful about that is I realize this movie kind of has so much to offer; it’s got something to offer to all these different people. I’m just in a good position because it’s a really entertaining movie that I know will appeal to a wide audience. It’s just a matter of letting them know that.
The Cabin in the Woods really usurps horror movie conventions. How interesting was it for you to play an archetypal character – the stoner – who isn’t nearly as shallow as audiences expect?
It’s a dream role. Marty is such a gift. To me it was all in the script. It was such a perfectly written script. It’s one of the favourites I’ve ever read. And I think even outside of being a horror film fan, it was such a well-constructed script the way it escalated and moved.
You have these archetypal characters, but they’re not necessarily obeying their stereotype. It’s not just this intelligent stoner– it’s the intelligent jock as well. It’s the virgin having an affair with the teacher. The party girl is also sort of intelligent and is also in fact not the ditzy blonde. We had fun with that.
But again as an actor we focused on being real people and having real performances. But for Marty, without giving a lot away, that role goes so far beyond what you’d expect. When I first got the script as I was reading it I was happy after the first scene. I thought, ‘Okay, this is awesome. This is so much fun. I can’t wait to play this part,’ and as the movie developed, my jaw just dropped further and further and further. By the end I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. It’s just such a great part.
Again, I don’t want to give a lot away, but he’s such a three-dimensional character that when you first meet him as the stoner, he’s Shaggy. He just rolls up in his car smoking a bong, and it’s funny, but you’d never guess where this guy is going, and for an actor that’s a gift; it’s a dream come true.
He’s a more fleshed-out, interesting character than what you find in many great dramas. He just really is a wonderful part, and it’s the kind of thing that… Cabin in the Woods is most likely not going to show up on the Best Picture nomination list for the Oscars, but the role of Marty is the kind of juicy role that any great actor would want to play. I believe that.
I remember Drew said at one point that he’s frustrated with horror films today because so often he doesn’t believe the characters actually care about each other and that when someone dies, they don’t turn back; they don’t think about it, and the movie just moves on, and that bothered him.
What is Drew Goddard like as a director?
He loves the movie. And I think that goes without saying. He wrote it and produced it and directed it. It would be weird if he didn’t love it.
It was different from what you get from every director. This was his sort of child. He really loved this movie, to the point that it was contagious. And I love the genre and I love the movie, but I looked at Drew as not just our leader on set, our director, but an emotional leader, a flag point for what we were all supposed to be striving for on this set.
He was a wonderful guy to be around, and it wasn’t that I was ever questioning the film or my love for it. I’ve been so confident about this movie since the moment I finished the script, but I would still look to him for that kick in the ass because it is a lot of hard work. It’s tiring, and this was the biggest part I’ve had in a major film, and we shot for a long time. I think we got up to about 60 some-odd days, and I worked a lot of them, I worked long hours covered in all kinds of stuff. You get tired, and to look at Drew was just an easy way to recharge the battery. I love the guy for his passion. You wish everyone you work with was like that.
The film has got a fantastic reception amongst fans so far. How gratifying is it to see the movie, which was delayed for so long by studio problems, being received so well?
It’s worth the wait. That sounds like such a sales pitch, but it’s true. I mean that 100%. It’s been worth the wait. It’s so gratifying. I love this movie. I love the script, I loved filming it. I put everything I had into this movie because I loved the role. I love the genre, but I saw this as I don’t want to say transcending the genre, but I just saw it as such a wonderful movie period.
When I finished the script I didn’t think, ‘What a great horror film.’ I didn’t think, ‘What a great horror-comedy.’ I thought, ‘What a great movie.’ For me it was just like an adventure. It was just a wonderfully entertaining, crazy movie.
And then we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, but it’s so wonderful to feel this kind of buzz. I can’t believe Friday is here. It’s hours away. It couldn’t come fast enough, and yet I almost… There’s almost something kind of wonderful about this quiet before the storm or whatever hopefully that will do wonderfully. But there’s something kind of wonderful about this period right here, just hearing people’s early response and talking about it. This is all really pure fun. It’s great.
To what extent do you hope the horror community really embraces the movie?
I’m hoping they do embrace it. I’m trying to tell people to go see this movie day and night. It’s become my job because I love it. It’s not just the salesman pitch. I’m constantly telling people to see it, and I do find some horror film fans like certain aspects more than others. Some really want blood and guts and really want to be terrified, so I’ll pitch that side of it to them. Others that are more squeamish enjoy the comedy, and I assure them that it’s a hilarious movie. I believe it has a wide audience.
When I finished the script I just thought it was a great movie. It is a horror film, it is marketed that way. To me, it’s just an entertaining movie. So I’m hoping the horror film fans embrace that rather than maybe not seeing it as one of their own. I can’t imagine they would because it’s made by people who love horror films. It’s an ode to horror films.
Someone called it the horror film to end horror films, but I think it’s more the film that revitalizes and recharges horror films. So I do hope it’s embraced and I do hope that it’s considered as a good thing for the genre. As much fun as it has with the horror film conventions, it is a horror film, and it does love horror films. It’s not completely satirical, to me. It’s crazy, it’s insane, and it’s very entertaining and goes places that are amusing as well as terrifying, but I do think that it’s something that should be good for the genre.
The Cabin in the Woods open April 13.