The Cabin in the Woods Interview: Drew Goddard & Jesse Williams

What Culture speaks with writer/director Drew Goddard and actor Jesse Williams about the release of the hotly anticipated horror movie to end all horror movies.

Joss Whedon€™s Smart Essay On Modern Horror. The film finally opens today appropriately on Friday the 13th and you should make the trip to see it this weekend. WC: I€™ll start off with an easy question; who€™s more talented, Joss or J.J? Drew: Errrrm€ WC: Sorry, I€™m just joking. Drew: Hahaha. That could get me into so much trouble. Jesse: It starts with a J. WC: But seriously, after three years in post-production the movie is finally coming out, the reviews have all been positive, how are you guys feeling? Drew: It€™s funny because, we joke but the delay really does feel like the best possible thing that could have happened. We€™ve now ended up at a studio that loves us and have been really supportive. And now my actors have gone on to become big stars, so I couldn€™t be happier. You learn to be careful about what you worry about because this is the best place for us, and the best time to be coming out. Jesse: When you€™re excited for a project to come out, you want people to see it, your work is kind of your calling card so to speak. So it was always a matter of when and not if, there€™s something so unique and irreplaceable about the project that I knew it was just a matter of time before it found the right place. I€™d of much rather it came out now with this support and this anticipation than have it not be marketed probably. You don€™t want to swing and miss, you want to do it properly. And now we€™re seeing that not only are people loving the film, and responding with euphoria, but they€™re also being very protective over it, and making sure it€™s being watched as intended, without crazy spoilers or anything. It€™s a testament to the project, years of anticipation and people are thrilled. WC: And now without crappy 3D. Drew: Exactly. WC: Do you think the bankruptcy of MGM has in fact benefited the release? Drew: In terms of 3D, I suspect it never would have really happened in any scenario. It was just something that needed to be done at the time. All Hollywood movies were thinking of going 3D after the success of Avatar. Everyone wanted everything to be 3D. WC: Then €˜Clash of the Titans€™ came out and it all went to shit. Joss has previously described the movie as a €˜love-hate€™ letter to horror, is that a hatred of modern horror and a love of the classics? Or a particular new genre in general? Drew: I think it wasn€™t so much about modern horror, they€™re have been some really good horror movies recently. It€™s more a hate of bad horror, which can be easily defined. You can tell when a filmmaker doesn€™t love the genre, and doesn€™t love the characters, so it becomes €˜let€™s just show kids getting slaughtered for no reason.€™ I think that that is something we bristled against, and it certainly bothered us enough to form the seeds of this idea. WC: With both you and Joss writing the script, then yourself directing and Joss producing it seems like you had complete control over the project, was that any different to working in TV? Drew: It actually ended up being quite similar to working in TV. We set out to design it so we could have that kind of control, and have that voice. We didn€™t pitch this movie around town, we just wrote it and said €˜This is what the movie is, do you want it or not?€™ If we developed it through normal channels, it never would of happened. It would have become something else, something much tamer, because this movie is kind of insane. We never would of gotten to go as crazy as we do, if it went through the normal system. We knew we had to work out a way to do it ourselves. WC: The trailer as well was brilliantly marketed to draw people in with basically telling them nothing about the movie itself. Drew: It€™s finding that line. With this movie, the less you know the better. We also want to tell the audience that this isn€™t your average horror movie. We are definitely doing something different and going for it. WC: It definitely shows. How did you approach casting for the movie? In terms of the characters being horror movie stereotypes at face value. Drew: We definitely tried to cast against that. I always said €˜if you are not the character, I will make you into the stereotype€™. We were actually looking for actors who played the characters real, and it had to be effortlessly. When we found those people, that€™s when we started vacillating and working with archetypes, and talking about how we can subtly do things, so that you can feel the change the actors go through over the course of the movie. WC: And Jesse, you play the character Holden, can you tell us about him and he fits into the €˜smart guy€™ stereotype? Jesse: Holden is a bit of a square and a little socially awkward. One thing that makes him a little bit different is less about who he is but the fact that he€™s also new to this group. The group existed before him, they were all buddies, there€™s a girlfriend and boyfriend, there€™s a best friend and a long-time friend. They€™re all taking a trip and Curt (Chris Hemsworth) invited me. So he€™s just hoping on for the road trip with them, and he gets to meet and learn about each one of them and what the dynamic of the group is, and how he can fit in. He€™s still a little awkward in his own skin and he might like this girl, but there€™s a lot of small steps he has to take and the ground isn€™t solid to really try and establish any of that for too long before, y€™know, the shit hits the fan. So to speak, there€™s a bit where some shit literally hits a fan, there€™s a really cool close up€ WC: Hahaha. Like in €˜Airplane€™. Jesse: Haha. Exactly. So, we all go through changes but he has this disadvantage because he didn€™t have any preconceived notions of who these people are around him. He didn€™t have any existing relationships with anybody except Curt, which makes him see Curt differently. Is this the guy he knew? WC: And how was it being reunited with €˜Whedoneverse€™ favourites Amy Acker and Tom Lenk during filming? Drew: It was the greatest, definitely. It€™s so difficult what we ask of actors, and asking them to vacillate in between hardcore drama to high comedy to pure silliness to raging emotional scenes. When you find actors that can do it, you just hold them close. It€™s just working with people you love and certainly Amy and Tom have been with us for a while as part of the troupe and I€™m sure they€™ll be with us for a while longer. WC: Now I€™ve hastily constructed a little quiz for you guys, inspired by €˜The Cabin in the Woods€™ teaser posters. Drew: Fantastic. WC: Now you have to match the awful tagline to the horror film that features cabins and woods. Jesse: This is gona€™ be hard. WC: If you guys get 8 or over there€™s a prize. Be careful as three of them are fake taglines that I made up. Drew: Oh wow, this is fun. A few minutes later they scored 8 and won a €˜Flump€™. See if you can beat Drew and Jesse€™s score (Answers below); 1. CABIN FEVER2. WRONG TURN 23. EVIL DEAD 24. CABIN FEVER 25. AMERICAN GOTHIC6. FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)7. WRONG TURN8. TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL9. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972)10. SLEEPAWAY CAMPa. THE FAMILY THAT SLAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHERb. IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY, YOU€™RE SURELY GOING TO DIE.c. A 24 HOUR NIGHTMARE OF TERRORd. THIS TIME IT€™S SPREADINGe. KISS YOUR NERVES GOODBYEf. THIS YEAR SPRING BREAK IS CUT SHORTg. IT RESTS ON 13 ACRES OF EARTH UNDER THE VERY CENTER OF HELL€!h. €YOU WON€™T BE GOING HOMEi. WHAT DOESN€™T KILL YOU, MAKES YOU CRAZYj. TERROR€ IN THE FLESH!k. FEAR IT. FEEL IT. KILL IT.l. IN THE FOREST ONLY THEY CAN HEAR YOU SCREA m. IT€™S THE LAST ONE YOU€™LL EVER TAKEThe Cabin in the Woods opens worldwide Friday April 13th. Answers: 1.j, 2.l, 3.e, 4.d, 5.a, 6.c, 7.m, 8.f, 9.g, 10.h. b,i and k are fakes.

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