CliqueClack Flicks

An exclusive with Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz, stars of The Cabin in the Woods

CliqueClack sits down with two of the stars of 'The Cabin in the Woods,' Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz, to talk about the mystery surrounding the movie, why they think it should be seen, and rising above cliched stereotypes.

I recently had a chance to sit down with two of the stars of the upcoming horror homage movie The Cabin in the Woods (read our review Friday)Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz, while they were in DC doing press. During our interview, we discussed upcoming plans for the actors, their perspectives on handling horror movie cliches, and who the ideal audience for this movie would be. After a few minutes discussing the Cherry Blossom Festival, Fran Kranz revealed he is originally from the DC metropolitan area, and Kristen Connolly will be in town for a few months filming the pilot for House of Cards, the new Netflix show from David Fincher.

FK: Actually, I wanna work with Rooney Mara.

Well, that was a very impressive performance [in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo].

FK: If I have to work with David Fincher, fine.

We all make sacrifices. <pause for laughter> Well, I guess I could ask a question about the movie, I know that seems a little odd. I know we don’t want to get into revealing anything.

FK: Yeah

I’ve seen the movie, it’s kind of like a deconstruction of horror movies.

FK: Right

But do you think someone needs to be familiar with classic horror movies to appreciate this movie?

KC: Oh, no!

FK: No, and that’s a great question. I mean because it’s made by two guys who have an encyclopedic knowledge of horror films; Drew [Goddard] and Joss [Whedon] are fanboys. They are horror film aficionados, geeks, they love that stuff; they eat it up. They know their horror films — so I think people that do love and know horror films are gonna love the movie. But I do think it’ll appeal to a wide audience; it’s so funny it’s so out there. But it’s not completely tongue in cheek — Drew always stressed the importance that we play our roles honestly and naturally. To play the situation and act and focus on the story, and don’t worry about undermining or changing conventions and leave it up to them, just play the part honestly. So I think it’s gonna — I mean I hope it appeals to a wide audience, I mean this could be the first cabin in the woods movie you’ve seen, and it’ll certainly be the best.

A similar sort of homage movie to horror came out last year: Tucker and Dale vs Evil. That movie is different; it’s really aware.

FK: Right, and Drew didn’t want that.

KC: No, he didn’t.

FK: I think he specifically said to [Kristen] about Scream, which people keep referring to, but in that movie they’re aware they’re in a horror movie. It’s more satirical and tongue in cheek. In The Cabin in the Woods, he wanted us to play it honestly and seriously and really go for it, to really play in the situation and the stakes.

KC: Yeah.

FK: And that everything else that comes about will do that work for us.

KC: And I think there’s also a timelessness to the movie; you don’t really see us on cell phones, there’s like a mention of GPS at the beginning, but it’s different than a lot of contemporary horror movies in that you can’t really place when it’s supposed to be happening. At least from our perspective.

FK: It’s nice that way, and a lot of the stuff that’s happening with the other half of the movie, has a wonderful kind of timeless aesthetic as well. Even though it’s a very bloody movie — in a way, you could say it’s the bloodiest movie ever made, if you think about it.

I’m not going to comment on that. <pause for spoilery laughter> Well, when you’re thinking about this kind of homage to the classis, both of you play very classic archetypes. So how do you go and say “how do I make this character something interesting or unique,” removed from all the baggage.

FK: But is it an archetype or a stereotype?

KC: People have been saying both.

I think it’s a stereotype when you go too far.

FK: Yeah, well, if you remember when how [Drew and Joss] said we’ll do that work for you, playing this slacker or stoner, a lot of what you see of him being more than what you’ve seen before or what you’d expect is just in the writing — it’s in the story, and where the story goes. So I just focused on the character, and the journey he takes does enough. I think he gets to gets to go places your typical slacker/stoner hasn’t gone before.

KC: Yeah.

FK: And I like to think he’s a little bit Shaggy, but also a little bit Scooby. He’s the funny stoner guy but also he’s the one that’s immediately sniffing out that there’s something wrong here, and he’s the first one that’s suspicious of what’s going on and the first trying to expose that something isn’t right. In that way he plays detective, or Scooby, but he’s also the funny Shaggy guy. But I just focused on the character; I thought it was such a fun character, and I’ve played slacker types before. But this was different, I got to have a lot of fun with this — I mean,  he is the fifth wheel, and I thought it could be a little more cartoonish than the other guys. Drew stressed natural acting, and sometimes I got a little over the top and cartoony, but I like that. I asked Joss at one point, “Am I too much of a cartoon?” worried I was taking it too far. But he said “Yeah!” with a big smile on his face, so I thought “Okay, if he likes it, I’m going to keep with it.” But I think I’m allowed to do that more than Kristen’s character, Dana.

KC: True.

FK: She’s described as the virgin, your more classic heroine stereotype — or archetype? What did we decide again? I mean, like the Jock character [played by Chris Hemsworth] is explaining which books to read, but visually is exactly what you’d expect.

He’s Thor.

FK: Yeah, and he’s Thor.

You’ve expressed interest in the past about wanting to get into directing. Would you prefer directing film or theater?

FK: I don’t think I could direct theater, because I don’t know if I could handle the actors. I want to be able cut them up later when they’re not around. Also it’s not all about actors in film, I think theater’s more of an actor’s medium. You take over and say goodbye to the director and do it yourself. In film, the actors are there at the beginning but then you say goodbye and now I get to play. So then you get all the visuals and lights and special effects, wardrobe, etc. There are so many aspects in film, and I think that would be more exciting to me. At least to me, I would feel more assured knowing it’s not all in their hands.

I know that we’re running short on time, but I guess to me there’s this shroud of mystery around the movie, so how can you say to other people, people who don’t don’t anything about it, people who you don’t want to reveal anything about the movie, why they should see this movie?

FK: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are afraid of horror movies, “they freak me out, I’m afraid of the blood,” or whatever. And there’s the die hard horror film fans who wonder, “Is it scary enough, I heard it’s funny, I don’t know… I liked Saw 6.” I think the adjective or characteristic I like about the movie the most, it’s both scary and funny, but it’s just entertaining. It’s really a lot of fun.

KC: Yeah, exactly.

FK: It’s so out there, it’s so different. It is original — I can’t say that enough, I’ve never read anything like it, it was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. And I expected a lot from Joss, because I knew him, and I’d seen Cloverfield, I’m a big fan — so I was expecting something to be different. To be kind of crazy, and it still blew me away. I was thinking, my god, how cool this script is! I was worried about it because I read it before I got the offer, so I was terrified I wouldn’t get the role and I’d know what I missed out on. So I’d say, just tell people how entertaining it is.

KC: Right.

FK: And don’t worry about scary, don’t worry about funny, just enjoy it and don’t spoil it for yourself.

KC: Or for anybody else.

Thanks again for your time.

FK: Of course.

KC: Yeah, it was really great.

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

Categories: Features, General

3 Responses to “An exclusive with Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz, stars of The Cabin in the Woods”

April 13, 2012 at 6:58 PM

. . . . .

Nice interview, Jeremy …

April 14, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Michael, I can never tell if you’re joking or sarcastic when you use those ellipses.


… Thanks…

April 15, 2012 at 6:28 PM

nice interview, Jeremy!

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