Adam Green interview
Remember this name: Victor Crowley. He's the menacing, swamp-dwelling villain of the upcoming horror chiller Hatchet and is portrayed by none other than perrenial 'Jason Voorhees' actor Kane Hodder. But for the meantime, remember this name, too: Adam Green. He's the gifted writer/director behind this intriguing new feature, which also includes appearances from such recognizable faces as Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Richard Riehle, Josh Leonard and John Carl Buechler. We send a shout of thanks to Adam for participating in a Pit interview with our ace journalist John Gray.
Where did idea for Hatchet come from?
When I was 8 years old the counselors at summer camp told all of us to stay away from this certain cabin or else “Hatchetface” would get us. That was enough to scare most of the kids, but I was all excited about it and wanted to know more. (My parents had always let me watch horror movies even as a little kid so I was already way into all of this stuff!) Sadly, they had nothing else to their story. They just assumed we’d be scared and stay away so they could use the cabin for their own partying. So one night I made up my own story about “Hatchetface” for the other kids. By morning the counselor in charge of my bunk was threatening to send me home from camp because I had scared the other kids in my bunk so bad.
I had been waiting to make this movie for 22 years.
How did you get such big names attached to this project? Robert Englund, Tony Todd, John Buechler and Kane Hodder?
Each one of those guys has their own unique story for how they came to join the cast. The stories will all be on the DVD so I’ll save them for that. (They’re long.) Ultimately, they responded to the script and what I was trying to do. Being slasher icons, I think they each felt that by participating in the movie they were sort of giving their stamp of approval on my cause and supporting the genre that they built. It also helped once John Buechler was on board because he had relationships with each of them and could put a word in or at least point me in the right direction. He was a huge mentor through the whole process. We all called him Santa Claus during production because he was nothing short of a Saint to us.
Would you call this old school, low budget horror at its finest?
It’s certainly old school in terms of the style and structure- but it has a much bigger feel than most of those movies had back in the day. For instance, the score has a sort of Jurassic Park sized tone to it and I was very focused on the performances, characters, and comedic elements much more so than they were back in the 80’s. I didn’t want to make a movie that just delivered on the deaths but was lacking any heart or fun to it. This movie is a ride.
Did you actually shoot in New Orleans?
We shot a whole bunch of stuff down there. We even closed down Bourbon Street for a Mardi Gras sequence. I think we were possibly the very last film to shoot there before Katrina hit.
Victor Crowley is being hailed already as the new horror icon....how does Kane feel about this? How do you feel about that?
I’m sure Kane is very flattered that people are already saying that about “Victor Crowley." We are all flattered! You never know what’s going to happen with an independent movie. You just make it because you love it and then you hope that the powers up top will make smart decisions with it and realize what they potentially have.
I truly believe that it’s time for a new Antihero-Villain to come back to our genre and wipe the floor with all of these remakes. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have been AMAZING. (Texas Chainsaw and Hills Have Eyes are two of my favorites.) But at the same time I’m very proud to say that this isn’t a remake of a Japanese film. This is 100% hard core original American horror.
How was it to get Buechler and Kane back together? I'm sure they were both thrilled!
The first time we did a make-up test on Kane, John Buechler was right in his face adjusting something. Kane just kept burping and blowing it in John’s face the whole time. It was hilarious. They’re great friends and they’re hilarious when they get together. I was still just sort of standing there watching thinking “WHERE AM I?”
Kane is pretty intense? Did he freak the actors out at all?
Are you kidding? They were scared to death of him. I’M scared of him! The way I ran the set, no actors ever got to see Victor Crowley until the moment they saw him on film. It kept every reaction 100% real and it didn’t give them a chance to get used to what he looked like. The first night that we shot with “Victor Crowley”, Joel Moore and Deon Richmond literally had to push Tamara Feldman forward to her mark because her legs were shaking so badly she couldn’t walk. Once Kane jumped out, nobody did what they were supposed to. They just scattered in all directions and Kane kept chasing them long after I yelled cut.
Kane doesn’t phone anything in at all. If he needs to be rough, he’ll be rough. And the actors never really knew where he was or what was necessarily going to happen. If he wasn’t shooting…he was lurking around. It kept everyone on their toes. Poor Mercedes McNab. One night Kane hid in the bathroom of her trailer and jumped out to scare her. I think he may have waited in the dark in there for over a half-hour. That’s how committed he is to a prank.
Another genre name you have attached is Josh Leonard. How did it come about that he got involved?
Josh was one of the very first people to sign on. I was always a fan of Blair Witch, but I had just seen him at the cast/crew screening of Billy Butler’s Madhouse and I was so impressed with him in the film. The character he plays in Hatchet is a sort of backwoods goofball and he just destroyed at the part. I’m dying to work with him again. Perhaps on something non-horror because he’s hilarious and a great talent.
Talk to us a little about the casting process. Was it difficult to find the right people?
Coincidentally enough, I just answered this exact same question on the GUTS AND GORY forum. So to quote myself....
Casting is always very difficult. With Hatchet we were hoping to wrap up casting within 3 weeks...and then I took 5 months to do it. There are a few things about it that just break your heart:
The first few weeks people keep coming in and reading for you and it's not happening. You start to second guess the script and think...damn. Is the material just absolute shit? None of these people are right. Maybe it's just garbage? And then all of a sudden someone comes in and a light just shines over their head and you're like "YES!"
It's also sad when someone comes in who is just super talented and a very cool person, but for some reason they're just not quite right for the particular project. You wish you could follow them out in the hall and keep telling them what a good job they did and explaining yourself. It's almost like breaking up with someone after dating for 5 minutes. There's a whole ocean of talented actors/actresses out there and you wish you could just write them all a part. You have to respect what these people do day in and day out. So much rejection and so much struggle. And it's even worse when someone you have to say "no" to is also one of your best friends.
Lastly, it's hard because of the politics. If casting could be as simple as just holding open auditions or passing off a script directly to the actor you want--it could be done painlessly and within 24 hours. But there are all kinds of people on the business side who can be difficult and potentially ruin things for everyone. That being said- there were certainly a few people who we were initially considering but their own agents ruined it for them and they never even saw the script. I'd list names--but I don't want to cause trouble and have a bunch of suits after me. All that matters is that in the end, I got a cast that's beyond any director's wildest dreams and I wouldn't swap out a single person for ANY actor in the world.
This is the most solid cast ever assembled in a slasher film. There is not a weak link in the group. Not only are their performances amazing, but we were shooting under horrible conditions and they made it a party every night. I think Tamara Feldman once called it "summer camp"- and that's what it felt like. People were literally in tears on the last few nights of shooting because they didn't want it to end. And more importantly then how well the movie does, how wide it's release is, or what critics say...the time we had making it is all I need to take away from the experience.
What are we looking at for a release date?
Damn. I was hoping you would know cause I’m dying to find out. On Friday March 17th (tomorrow) we will be announcing the premiere of the film on www.hatchetmovie.com. That screening will be the first time anyone anywhere gets a chance to see it and start making those executive decisions. There are still some big hurdles to cross--including the MPAA.
Is it going to the theatres, I hope?
All signs point to a theatrical run. However in this business, I’ve learned not to believe anything anyone tells me until 2 years after it happened. At this point not a single distributor has been allowed to see even a frame of the film, yet we already have offers on the table based on early reviews and buzz alone. Exciting, sure--but let’s wait and see what actually happens over these next few months.
Would you come back for a sequel? A trilogy?
I would love it if it could work out that way. I would die for the chance to get to do it again- but this time with TIME and MONEY to do everything exactly the way I wanted. I know that no matter what the budget is--every Director always wished they had more time and more money. But with Hatchet we only got to shoot for roughly 7 hours each day because of the time of year we had to shoot it at. Most films get 12-16 hours a day or more. It was ridiculous how fast we had to move. And every night I was literally tearing out pages from the script and re-writing things on the spot while my crew watched the sun come up over the trees and said “How are we gonna possibly finish this?” But we did.
Name your top five horror films in no particular order.
Shaun Of The Dead
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
An American Werewolf in London
DISCUSS ON GUTS AND GORY
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