From the guys who brought you HATCHET, FROZEN, WRONG TURN 2 and CHILLERAMA comes… a really sweet sitcom about young love in a small Massachusetts town?
If you ever thought FRIENDS would’ve worked better had GWAR’s Oderus Urangus occasionally appeared to dish out dating advice to David Schwimmer, then Adam Green’s HOLLISTON is for you. It’s an absurd, gory, but ultimately good-natured comedy about two guys chasing their post-college filmmaking dreams. Green stars with real-life buddy and fellow director Joe Lynch, both of whom play moderately fictionalized versions of themselves as young movie geeks who host a weekly midnight horror movie for a local cable station. Green’s character is nursing a broken heart after breaking up with the love of his life, Corri (Corri English), while Lynch maintains an amusingly bizarre relationship with the adorably eccentric Laura (Laura Ortiz). These four are basically the focus of the show, though they receive integral comedic support from Dee Snider (the manager of the cable station and pansexual frontman for a Van Halen cover band called Diver Down) and, of course, Dave Brockie aka Oderus Orangus (who resides in Green’s bedroom closet).
When HOLLISTON was announced last year, I figured Green and Lynch were attempting a FREAKS AND GEEKS-type show for the horror crowd. Nope. This is a full-on, unabashed, three-camera sitcom with a laugh track. Interestingly, you can see them adjusting to the conventions of the form in the pilot, which runs considerably longer than a typical sitcom episode. But the show finds its groove with the second episode as the four leads develop a quirky chemistry that could sustain this show for many seasons. I especially love the interplay between Lynch and Ortiz; they’re the kind of couple that makes no sense individually, but put them together and they’re magic.
HOLLISTON premieres Tuesday, April 3rd at 10:30 ET on FEARnet, and runs for six episodes – culminating in a “Weekend of Horrors” finale that Lynch in particular seemed very excited about. I am very certain that it is the first TV comedy to ever reference Wes Craven’s SHOCKER, which alone makes it Peabody-eligible. Last week, I hopped on the phone to chat with Green and Lynch about their fun little foray into situation comedy, playing twentysomething versions of themselves at, um, thirtysomething, and the straight-edge lifestyle of Dee Snider. We also discussed their numerous upcoming projects (KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM and EVERLY for Lynch; DIGGING UP THE MARROW, HATCHET 3 and KILLER PIZZA for Green), but that’s all at the end of the interview.
Beaks: It’s funny, in reading the synopsis and everything of what you guys are up to, you are kind of drawing comparisons with THE BIG BANG THEORY and EVIL DEAD 2, but, given the post-college setting, it strikes me that this story could actually be kind of like the geek KICKING AND SCREAMING. What inspired you guys to hone in on this period of young adult life?
Adam Green: When I first started working on this, it was thirteen years ago, and I was in the midst of that that time in my life. That’s what I knew and that’s what I was writing about. When I first got out of college, I had a job making, like, the worst local cable commercials ever in the Boston area, and part of the reason why I took that job, was because it allowed me access to steal their equipment at night and make my own short films with their cameras and their lights - because I had no money. I was shit-ass broke, and, in doing so, I made a feature called COFFEE AND DONUTS - which was essentially the pilot of HOLLISTON, but as a feature. And it was about that time in your life when you finish school and all of these things are supposed to be happening, but they are just not, and you’re watching all of your friends move on and succeed, and because you’re chasing this sort of impossible artistic dream, you’re just constantly getting kicked in the nuts and losing. Everything seems so bleak. I think the overall message of the show, and of course it’s easier for me to say now, because it did work out and I have a great career doing this stuff, but if you can hang in there and you can survive those hard times, it will get better. That’s really the heart behind this whole show. So we take this world as us two guys that are struggling, who want to be in the horror industry and want to make horror movies.
I guess the other aspect of the whole thing, too, because you bring up KICKING AND SCREAMING, it’s like a lot of people forget that horror fans are real people. It’s not like we only watch stuff with blood and guts and disturbing images and stuff. If anybody understands what it’s like to be rejected, to have your dreams crushed, to have the girl say no, she doesn’t want you… (Laughs) it’s us! I think that’s one of the reasons why we are much more than just fans. We are a culture, and what I’m happy about with the show is that it portrays horror fans as actual people - albeit people who play with fake severed heads and fake blood all day.
Joe Lynch: Exactly. You know, which is its own thing.
Green: Which also applies to the KICKING AND SCREAMING reference. If anything, if “HOLLISTON” the name doesn’t work out, maybe we have to do a title change after the fact. We could always call it like “GEEKING AND SCREAMING.” I think that would work fine.
Lynch: One of the things I loved about what Adam has always talked about from the beginning, and it totally goes along with the idea of it being that time in your life when the world hasn’t quite beaten you down just yet: when you come out of college you are a fresh faced and ready to go. You feel like you could take the world at every step. And then it’s that continual process of being humbled. Looking back, in retrospect, was such a great and humble time in our lives to reflect on. We did come up with a lot of scenarios together, but Adam was the one who put everything down on paper, so it really is his voice – and also knowing all of the cast members, and being able to write dialog that was pretty realistic for each of us. But the fact that he captured the essence of what it’s like to get those rejection letters, or have that door slammed in our faces, which only makes us stronger - because every time that we get someone who asks “What’s it like to be in the movie business?” or “How do you make it?” Both times I say, “Just hang in there. Most times, you’re going to get that rejection, or you are going to be told “No” continuous times. Most people give up. Most people I knew in film school have not gone on to make movies. They are doing other things - and probably very successfully. But the ratio of those who graduated to those who actually make movies like myself and a few others in my class, I’m sure it’s the same with Adam when he went to Hofstra: that ratio is very thin. So for everybody who has ever dealt with what it’s like to be rejected and to be told “No,” this is the show for them.
Green: You know, what’s funny is when I went to Hofstra I got made fun of because I was such a Steven Spielberg fan. That’s one of the problems with film school: it’s not cool to like anything that’s popular. You have to like the most obscure director whose name you can’t pronounce, whose movies nobody has ever fucking seen, and then you’re cool. So when people are like, “Did anybody actually go see JURASSIC PARK?” I’m like “I saw it seven times opening weekend! I loved it!” And everyone is like “You suck. Spielberg’s a hack.” Well, I’m the only one working, so to all of them, I hope they are still enjoying watching whoever that director was from France that they all liked that week.
Lynch: Dude, that was totally mine. I remember every summer I would be like “Okay, do I say that I like THE ROCK and INDEPENDENCE DAY? I should probably go to the Angelika in New York City and go see SMOKE, because they’d probably accept that.” You always had to have that back up plan of “Well, I did actually see a revival of THE BICYCLE THIEF.” “Oh, okay, well you spent your summer well.”
Beaks: I kind of had that same experience. But I just went to go see everything anyway, because I kind of liked everything. If I went to go see ERASER, I caught a rash of shit for that, but I was like “C’mon, it’s a Schwarzenegger movie! It’s a big summer movie! I’ve got to go see it!”
Lynch: That summer you had THE FRIGHTENERS and you had KINGPIN, and you couldn’t even accept and enjoy those movies either because people were like “Oh, the Farrelly Brothers? They sold out.” Or “Peter Jackson? Who the hell is that guy?” Obviously before LORD OF THE RINGS. But it’s like, “You can’t enjoy both sides?” That’s what I never understood about film school and even a lot of the film culture. It’s like “You can enjoy everything. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Green: And if you don’t see everything, then how are you going to even know? I’ll meet horror fans at conventions, and that’s all they watch are horror movies, and they are miserable fucking people because of it. They hate everything. They’re like “That one sucked. That one sucked.” I’m like “Watch something else! Seriously, you’ll appreciate it again. Have you ever seen a Pixar movie?” “That’s gay.” “That’s gay? Really?” You have to see everything if you really like movies. You’ve got to see it all.
Beaks: Right. You obviously wouldn’t be doing a show like this if you hadn’t watched romantic comedies.
Green: Yeah, and I started in comedy. I mean, my first feature that I made, COFFEE AND DONUTS, was a comedy and that was what really launched my career. That’s what got me an agent and got me all of my TV-writing jobs that I was doing to provide for myself when I first made HATCHET. When you make your first independent movie, you don’t really have much of a budget and you want that money on the screen, so you don’t really get paid much on your first one. If you’re successful, that changes, but on your first one, it’s not a lot. So these TV comedy jobs that I had are what enabled me to do it. For some people, they think the fact that I’m doing a sitcom is like I’m trying something wildly out of left field, but I’m actually going back to what I started doing and what I always loved doing. I mean, horror will always be my first love, but this sitcom to me… I’ve been working on this for thirteen years tying to get it right and trying to get it to happen with the right people. But it took a new network called FEARnet to actually make the show the way I wanted. Usually [with a network], as soon as you get to the part where you are like “Yeah, there’s an imaginary alien monster that lives in my closet.” They are like “Yeah, that’s not happening.”
Lynch: But FearNet was like, “Go on!” Not just that, but the fact that I have been involved with the project since we started doing the “Road To Fright Fest” shorts - and that was when Adam and I both kind of looked at each other and went “This actually works. This isn’t bad. We are actually not bad together.” And when [FEARnet President and General Manager] Peter Block said, “Do you guys have anything?” Adam was like “I actually have just the thing.” We had gone to another network with it and that network tried to change it to the point where we were all like “I don’t know if this is the same show.” But thankfully Peter embraced it. The other thing that he embraced that was so exciting to us was Adam knew that he wanted me and he wanted Corri [English] and Laura [Oritz] and me and Oderus. He wanted that whole cast. That was a deal breaker and Peter and FEARnet were all very, very excited about that and they embraced it. The fact that they did that was a huge vote of confidence for us to go “Wow, we could actually do this, and do it the way that we are excited about.”
Beaks: Speaking of the idea of this monster living in your closet who dishes out life advice, I have to imagine it always had to be Oderus, right?
Green: It was always Oderus, yeah. It was about three years ago when I first sat down with him. Joe and I have a very good friend at Metal Blade Records, who set us up with Dave Brockie [aka Oderus Urungus] to go backstage and tell him what the idea was. It was the quickest “Yes” I’ve ever gotten. I got five seconds into it, and he was like “Wait a minute, you want to put Oderus on a sitcom?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “I’m in.” That was it. I was like “Do you want to know what it’s about?” “Nope. Sign me up.” (Laughs) But for him I think this is an opportunity that… he’s been playing that character for twenty-seven years and never thought in a million years that he would be in a sitcom.
And that’s also the beauty of the show: it is a sitcom. We are not making fun of sitcoms or spoofing sitcoms; it’s the classic sitcom formula that you grew up with - with the laugh track and the three cameras and the whole thing. But it’s done with our sensibilities and our sense of humor and our references, and that’s been really a great ride. One of the first things that FEARnet did right - one of the many things they did right I should say - was they didn’t go running right to the genre crowd looking for approval and being like “All right, let’s test it with horror fans.” They would test the show with mainstream regular people who just watch sitcoms, people that watch HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and BIG BANG THEORY. And we were blown away by how positive the responses were, that you didn’t have to be a die hard horror fan. Like, if you are a horror fan, the fact that the hamster is named “Horace Pinker” is hilarious. But even if you’re not a horror fan, the fact that the hamster is named “Horace Pinker” is hilarious. You don’t have to get that it’s SHOCKER, to get the joke. But the fact that they were able to roll with exploding heads and the fact that my character is a cutter who, whenever he gets upset, goes into the bathroom and cuts open his own chest, that was great to see. We’ve watched this with senior citizens, with twelve-year-old kids, and they all appreciate it. And I think, what we’ve gotten in the responses afterwards, is they appreciate it because it’s genuine. So even if they don’t get every reference, they get that we do and the characters do, and they are just having fun watching that. I’m so appreciative that FEARnet did that, because another network wouldn’t. They would be like “SCANNERS is not a popular enough movie to make a reference of. Just stick to STAR WARS.”
Lynch: Let me correct you there. I think most places would go “What’s SCANNERS?”
Green: That too. “Who’s Cronenberg?”
Lynch: “What’s a Cronenberg? Didn’t he do that butterfly movie? Oh, my mother loves it!”
Beaks: How much was THE YOUNG ONES an influence on this show?
Green: Not at all. I actually still haven’t seen it. But as soon as we started talking about the show, Neil Marshall was like “You have to see THE YOUNG ONES. I’m going to send it to you. You have to see it.” And that still hasn’t happened to this day. I’m looking forward to seeing it, because you’re the second person to bring that up. I’m trying to think of the shows that we really studied. For me, it was SEINFELD. SEINFELD is my favorite sitcom, and once the show starts getting into drive and gets going - because the first episode for any sitcom is the hardest one. You have to set up everybody, and the one thing that you always find is that until people have seen a couple of episodes and they are really vested with he characters, you never really think it’s that funny. But then they go back and they watch those first couple, and they are like “Oh yeah!” Then it’s really funny. That’s a hard hurdle to get over, and I think we did it very successfully. I’m very happy with our pilot. But, yeah, SEINFELD and the way that situations would escalate - and just the fact that the episodes weren’t necessarily crazy situations. They would take the simplest thing, and because the characters were funny the situation was funny.
Lynch: I think the shows that I watched and the ones that Adam and I were always referencing, especially since you’re dealing with a very traditional sitcom format with three cameras, with the audience, with the laugh track… just the look of it, aesthetically, it looks like a sitcom. But then you also have moments that are more like, say, FAMILY GUY or MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE or SPACED, where you have these little asides to expound on a point, like Adam was saying with the whole cutter thing. The fact that we can actually go away and show a flashback of whatever and then come back to it, those are the things I always loved about not just sitcoms, but just situational comedy whether it be a third camera or a first-camera kind of conceit that you could do that. That’s where a lot of the more offbeat and the more eccentric things come from. But at the same time when we were shooting it… our [director of photography] Will Barratt, who was Adam’s partner in crime for thirteen years practically, was always keeping us from making it too cinematic. Both of us, and most of the crew, were only working on movies, so we had a powwow one night and watched a bunch of episodes of SEINFELD and BIG BANG THEORY and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER just to kind of see where the cameras were positioned. And they were very strict with it, so we were like “We’ve got to do the same thing. The second we start breaking the 180-degree rule or we start splitting cameras or making camera moves that are a little more cinematic, that’s going to break the illusion of this being a sitcom.
Beaks: So no split diopter shots?
Lynch: (Laughs) Yeah, exactly.
Beaks: How is Dee Snider worked into the show, and are there any STRANGELAND references?
Green: There are no STRANGELAND references yet.
Green: But there’s a great Twisted Sister joke where I basically set him up and he breaks the fourth wall and basically refuses. I think that’s episode four. The interesting thing about Dee is that he’s the only one out of the six of us that is actually completely playing a character. Lance Rocket is nothing like himself whatsoever. It’s not based on [Dee]. This is actually one of my favorite stories about the cast: he was the only one who was a little apprehensive about doing this. The rest of us… our character names are all our real names, like “Adam” is Adam, “Corri” is Corri, “Joe” is Joe. But Dee e is playing a character, and he is playing a character that feeds into a stereotype that he has been fighting for twentysomething years now. Everybody thinks of him as this crazy makeup-wearing, off-the-wall androgynous guy, because of Twisted Sister and in real life. That was a character. He is nothing like that. He’s a family guy. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He married his first girlfriend. He is the epitome of an upstanding human being. So what attracted him to this is that he knows a lot of Lance Rockets. He’s met those guys, and he’s seen them come and go in his career, these posers who wore, like, women’s clothing, who were just such wannabes and they were so pathetic thinking they were going to be huge. That character to me is so funny because he’s fifty-four years old; he’s the lead singer for a Van Halen tribute band, but he still thinks he is going to be famous. It’s like “How are you going to become famous being the lead singer for a cover band?” And one that’s specifically Van Halen at that point? But for Dee to put on those outfits… he just went for it and he was so funny. But he was worried. After the first day of shooting, I remember him calling me from his hotel, and he was like “Look, everything is cool…” I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “Everything is cool. I just want you to know I can’t believe I’m doing this right now.” He’s like “These outfits. This makeup. There are people out there who think this is what I really am, and it dawned on me when I was walking…” We shot this on a soundstage in Hollywood, and he’s walking through the studio lot, and security guys are seeing him in his outfits for the show going “What’s up Dee? Still rocking the outfits man?”
He’s like “No!” So all of us commend him for how committed he was to it, and that he did it. I think also the timing of this works out well, because he’s currently on CELEBRITY APPRENTICE as himself and people are seeing what he’s really like. So I hope when people watch this, especially people who know how he is nothing like that, really see what a good acting job he is doing and how committed he was - especially to the weird sexual stuff. One of the pastimes that Joe and I have at work [as characters on the show] is trying to figure out if he’s gay or straight. I mean, you open up the inside of a Motley Crue record or a Poison record, what is going on there? Like how did chicks find that hot?
Lynch: Dude, I thought they were chicks the first time I saw that LP.
Green: So Lance will talk about shaving his ass for the ladies in the front row of his concert, but then look at me and be like “Adam, those are nice jeans.” So you can’t really figure him out. Obviously, I have a very long and very close friendship with Dee, so when trying to figure out what to do with that character, he was my first choice. Thankfully, he accepted, even though he was a little weary about it. He committed, and I think he’s hilarious.
Beaks: Have you envisioned an end point for the show? Like how long it would go and where it naturally would conclude?
Green: Sort of. I mean, hopefully we get to do this for a long, long time. For all of us involved, it’s been one of the best times of our lives. It’s been so creatively rewarding because of the artistic freedom that FEARnet has given us. I’ve never had an experience where I can’t wait for the execs to actually come to set, because they only helped. They never sat there and pulled the exec bullshit of “Well, I have to give a note here or else I look weak” or “I have to do this or that.” They made the show with us, and they let us do our thing and appreciated.
The good thing about TV is it’s quick, so it doesn’t mean that we can’t still do movies and focus on our other things too. So I hope [HOLLISTON] goes on for a long, long time. I would love to do this for years and years if possible. But with this first season we did shoot an alternate ending for one of the episodes that did actually end it and wrap it up just in case we found out “There’s no way that we are doing the second season. It’s just going to be this.” Thankfully it’s looking very, very positive based on reactions and testing that we are doing a second season. So people will see that alternate ending on the DVD release, I hope. But yeah, a lot of it is going to mimic our own real lives. In the first season, Adam and Joe are trying to make a mock trailer to raise money to make their movie “SHIN PADS” about an undead soccer team, and season two we are going to see them actually make their first short film and see what happens there. Then relationship-wise between the characters it’s set up for so many things to go wrong and to go right. This first season… I think the last brainstorming session that the main cast had, we had about seventy-six episode ideas.
Lynch: That was one of the great things about just getting everyone together, especially when it was Adam and I, seeing how much we could push these characters. Like Adam was saying, with going from making a mock trailer to actually doing a short… I mean, we could take this well past SHINPADS or whatever and make “See Adam and Joe actually making their first feature! See them go to Sundance with it! Then get the worst reviews in the world!” (Laughs) It’s so ripe. Even just the film part of these two guys being in the industry… as you can see with stuff like EXTRAS and ENTOURAGE and all of that, there’s just so much material that you can do with just within the movie industry. And the fact that these guys are doing this as like a cottage industry in Massachusetts, there’s a lot of stuff you can do there. But the fact that Adam has really thought about these characters and all of their arcs. Recently, when we got together to talk about stories, I came up with this idea and Adam was like “That’s going to happen in season 4.” I’m like “Holy shit, you really have thought all of this out!” It’s so exciting to see. But it’s out now, and it’s really up to the response that we get from fans and people who want it - because if there is a demand, these stories can go on and on and on. That’s what is so exciting about it. It’s not like a movie, where if you’re lucky you could get a singular sequel or possibly, if you are breaking 300 million or whatever or selling X amount of units, you can do a third one or so on. TV seems like you can really enjoy making more with the mythology and really branching these characters out, like Adam said they are shorter bursts, but even longer forms. There was a joke last week where someone put a hashtag on twitter “Six seasons and a movie.” That COMMUNITY adage. Well, we are hoping for “Ten seasons and a movie.”
Green: That’s one of the heartbreaking things about television, though, is that to make a good TV show you have to think way, way far in advance. Even when you are setting it up at the network and pitching it, you have to have years in mind of where you would take these characters, and you do get attached. So if you do get cancelled – which, If you’re on a major network, your first night out of the gate they could be like “Sorry, you only pulled six million viewers and not eight, so you’re done,” and it’s like “No one has even had a chance to see it yet! That’s your marketing talking there. That’s not the show!” But because we are on a brand new network that is still growing, we get to grow with it them. That’s been something that’s really exciting. We are not so concerned about “How many viewers do we have on the first night?” It’s this kind of slow word-of-mouth spread; the fact that the show is going to be available on iTunes immediately after it airs basically is very encouraging. There’s ways for people to see it.
The other thing that I wanted to mention is that, even though this is a very funny and kind of crazy show… FEARnet allowed me to keep the heart intact, and that’s why this show has the potential to go as long as we think it does. They didn’t shy away from that. There’s a scene in the pilot that, when we tested it, has been a lot of people’s favorite scene, but I know it’s something that we sort of expected FEARnet to say “Get rid of that” or “Get through it quicker.” My character on the show has been in love with his childhood sweetheart for his whole life, and there’s this scene where he breaks down and confesses to her “I have always been in love with you, and I will always be in love with you,” and she basically shoots him down. It’s probably a little bit more emotional than people are expecting to see in a show like this, and I think that’s why they appreciate it so much. And you need that, because that sets up so many opportunities for what’s to come between these two people. I’m very grateful that FEARnet didn’t shy away from that stuff and say “Just keep to the zany weird jokes.” They let me have those moments. Again, getting back to what I said earlier about horror fans: horror fans get their hearts broken, too. It’s not like “Unless there’s somebody getting slashed, we are not interested.” So yeah, we have a long way to go with the show if given the opportunity.
Beaks: I have loved the idea from day one. I’m really excited to see what you guys pull off with it. I imagine that your audience will definitely be there, and--
Green: You would hope the audience is going to be there. I’ve been very, very fortunate. My sort-of-core fanbase is believable. The fact that. if I have a movie that opens in limited release, there are people that will drive five or six hours to make sure that they see it in the theater… I don’t know what I ever did to deserve it. I am so grateful for those people, and so I know that we have a core fanbase that will come. But at the same time we are not so naïve. I mean, this interview is going to be posted on Ain’t It Cool; right below whatever I’m saying right now are going to be all of these statements like “Go fuck yourself!”
Beaks: Those will be the mild ones.
Green: Yeah, exactly. But the fact that Joe and I are acting in this… from the moment this was decided, I was like “Just remember, Joe, no matter what, no matter how good we do, if God himself comes down from heaven and says ‘You guys did a good job,’ we are the worst actors ever. We are absolutely terrible because this wasn’t expected: we are supposed to direct horror movies; we are not supposed to be in front of the cameras.” But I’ve got to say, though, when we finished it and we said “All right, we are going to start showing people,” I was like “prepare for the worst” and I’ve been shocked by how positive the response has been and how fair people have been in not bringing baggage to it of “Wait a minute, this guy is a director, he’s not an actor.” But like I was a standup comedian before this. I was an actor before this. Joe and I have both acted in tons of stuff and a lot of people forget that. I’ve been very surprised by how fair and how embracive people have been over the whole thing - if “embracive” is even like an actual word. I don’t know.
[Everyone Laughs. And “embracive” is a word.]
The girls, to me, are really the highlight of the show. I think that Laura Ortiz and Corri English are absolutely a joy to watch. They are so, so good. They are so fun. The character of Laura in particularly is my favorite character that I’ve ever written. We did four months of very intensive rehearsals for this, because doing a sitcom is a lot like doing theater. It’s like doing a play. And that character of Laura… I was so in love with that character. It was so specific, and I know I was very, very hard on her in rehearsals; there were nights that she left where she probably wanted to kill me. But so far she seems most likely to be everybody’s favorite character on the show. I could almost write her own spin-off right now. I think that it’s so great, and she is so great. It’s the same thing with Corri. We were very lucky to have them to act off of.
Lynch: We were very lucky even just to have the rehearsal process on its own, because a lot of times, even just in movies, it’s kind of like “Okay, you just signed on to be in this movie” and three weeks later you are doing it. Sometimes rehearsals just get thrown right out the door. So the fact that we were able to not only really bond with the girls, but just from a production standpoint, as like a producer on the show and also a director in my own right, to be able to go “We are so fully prepared to step on that stage with everyone watching us, and just nail it every time.” If this was the sort of situation where it’s like “Hey gang, six weeks from now we are going to shoot this show. Yay! Maybe we will talk bout some character beats before we get going,” which is usually the case, it would never work. The fact that we had that summer and those four months of both bonding with the girls so that we really felt like we were a unit, and we really fought for each other and we were there for each other even when times got tough - which wasn’t often - it was still, like, when you’re dealing with the rigors of trying to make a show for one-tenth of what it costs to do an actual show, you get nervous and things get tense. But it was such a great environment because we had the crew behind us. They were like “Wow, these guys are really prepared.” Some of the crew would come up to me and they were like “You guys are just nailing these days. We are not used to that sort of thing. We are used to three or four days of shooting and we are done.” We were going like what Green, fifteen pages a day at times?
Green: We had one day where we did 38 pages in one day. We are not talking about like overall all the time. I mean there were days where days where we would do twelve or fifteen pages in take, so it was a lot like doing theater and you have to know you’re mark and you had to know your lines and it’s not easy to do, especially when you do have an audience watching you. That also feeds your performance so much, like on the days that we actually did have people there to watch and be our laugh track, you feed off of that instantly and get that instant gratification of “Oh, they are laughing when I do this…” It helps guide your performance a lot, which is really fun to do.
Lynch: Without those rehearsals I don’t think we would have had as great an experience both shooting it, but also I don’t think the performances would have been as good, not just for the girls but mostly for us – because, again, it was so easy for us to go “Don’t worry, we will just be playing us.” It was more than that. I have a whole new appreciation for Howard Stern in PRIVATE PARTS after doing this, because it is tough playing yourself. You are always thinking about “How am I coming off as opposed to the “me?”
Green: One of the things that we did to be comfortable and to be less self-conscious was rigorous dieting and fitness stuff. I did four months of fitness boot camp to get ready for this, and both of us did really hardcore dieting. Not crash dieting in just the few weeks leading up to it; we started last April, and then we shot in September. We each lost over like twenty-two or twenty-five pounds. We were in like the best shape of our lives to do it. And it’s not because these characters need to be like super good looking… but to lose that much weight and to get into such physical shape really helped us be confident. So that when you have to look at playback… I don’t care who you are, and I’ve worked with some pretty big name actors before, they are all self-conscious. They don’t like the sound of their own voice, and they don’t like what they look like. It’s understandable. Nobody does. I mean, whenever you just see a photograph, you’re never happy with how you look in it. The same goes for actors, too. So that was one less thing that we had to worry about. When we would look at playback, we didn’t have to be “Oh my God, is that what I look like? Is that what I sound like?” I still feel bad about how I sound, but at least I’m in shape. (Laughs)
Beaks: It sounds like you guys just lost the weight that the camera naturally puts on for you.
Lynch: Yeah, we basically just evened out. So the fifteen pounds that get added, we just kind of scaled it back. We were probably exactly what we should look like after the camera adds the fifteen.
Green: I don’t know, man. Joe went down four pant sizes. I went down at least like three. We kept dropping weight as we were shooting, so outfits that had been established, the wardrobe person, Autumn [Steed], would have to tie our jeans on with shoelaces and stuff to keep them up. That’s a pretty big accomplishment. Anybody who has tried to lose weight, like it is not easy. If it was, everybody would be in shape. I don’t care what you do for a living, you’ve got your list of excuses why it’s not easy. It was really, really hard to do.
Lynch: But the excuse that “You are going to be a on a television sitcom” was the only excuse I needed to start losing weight immediately. (Laughs) I recommend the sitcom diet very highly. It includes copious amounts of roasted seaweed.
Green: My manager was like “If you think you’ve been put through the ringer before being a director with how personal and juvenile or petty some critics or bloggers might be…” like when they are reviewing the movie and they make it about you? “I hope this guy gets cancer and dies.” I’m like, “Dude, I’m sorry you didn’t like SPIRAL, but do I really need to get cancer?” They were like “Just wait until you’re in front of the camera. You’re not even going to believe the shit they are going to say.” So I was like “I’m going to start eating some seaweed.”
I think the other thing, speaking to that, that I’m very grateful for is like I’ve made seven movies now or whatever and we’ve been through all of that and so that stuff doesn’t get to you anymore. You can handle it and let it roll off you; you know what to actually listen to, and you know what’s just trash talk. I’m grateful that I’ve had the career I’ve had, because if I was coming fresh out of the gate being the star of a sitcom… man, it’s awful what these actors go through. It’s crazy how personal people are, and how mean people can be about stuff. (Laughs)
Beaks: So now that this is out there in the world, and you guys are moving back to your film projects and all of that kind of stuff, let me get progress reports on some of these things. Joe, how is KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM coming along? Can we expect to see it this year?
Lynch: (Laughs) Who knows? The movie is still waiting to be finished, and the company is doing their thing. It’s one of those situations were I go “There’s nothing more for me to do, so I’m going to go off and make another movie and make a sitcom. You guys let me know what’s going on!”
Green: I can say I’ve seen [KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM], and this isn’t me blowing smoke; Joe and I are very, very brutal and hard on each other with our stuff. But I’ve seen an [unfinished] cut of it, and it’s fucking awesome. It is exactly what that trailer makes you think it is. It is so fucking fun. I’m really excited for people to see it, so I can start talking about it. But, yeah, the politics and the business side of it just holds things up. Hopefully, people get to see it soon because it’s really, really good.
Lynch: Hopefully before the apocalypse. Or who knows? It could be the harbinger of the apocalypse, and that’s what this whole thing is for.
Beaks: And wouldn’t that be exciting?
Lynch: The day it comes out, a vortex opens up, and Roland Emmerich is there rolling his camera and we are fucked.
Beaks: (Laughs) But you know, you’d take that. That’s momentous.
Lynch: I would take that. At this point, I’m just going to start saying that I directed one hell of a trailer. (Laughs) “That trailer is awesome!” “Thank you very much.”
Beaks: And how is EVERLY coming along?
Lynch: It’s going great. We are prepping right now. We are going to be shooting in early June. It’s been such an amazing experience, especially working with someone like Kate [Hudon], because, again, in a million years I would have never thought that she would be into a movie like this. When you’re first meeting and your possibly lead actress goes “Oh my God, EVIL DEAD 2 was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I watched that with my brother every weekend!” I’m like “Okay, this is good peoples right here.” Just working with her, and working with the producers has been so amazing. I’m just a DP snob, so working with all of these different crew people and putting all of the puzzle pieces together to create what has been kind of my passion project. KNIGHTS was a directing gig. Not to say it’s a money thing, because it wasn’t a money thing. (Laughs) But EVERLY was something I had conceived years ago. I came up with the idea; I brought in a writer to help me flesh it out. And to actually see it all coming together and becoming real has been amazing. Now it’s just a matter of “I can’t wait to get on that set and shoot the shit out of it.”
Beaks: And Adam, you’ve got the documentary that you’ve been working on, DIGGING UP THE MARROW. How is that going?
Green: DIGGING UP THE MARROW is super cool, because it sort of started as like “Alright, let’s do a documentary about where the inspiration for monsters come from.” Alex Pardee… who I think is possibly the greatest living urban artist out there. I’m a huge fan of his work, and when I found out he was a fan of my work, this just sort of seemed inevitable. But what’s cool about this project is it sort of started with “Alright, let’s do a documentary,” but we are being very loose with it and very creative with it, and just sort of seeing where it takes us. It’s going to be a long process. Hopefully by the end of this calendar year we are done shooting all that we are going to shoot and then we start kind of putting it together. But we are not sticking to anything. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything. The beauty of this project is we are letting the project take us where the project is going to take us and rather than us saying “This is how it’s going to be” and “This is when we are going to shoot it” and “This is when it’s going to be done.” It keeps morphing into other things, and the more that you think about or talk to people about monsters, the more that I start to become convinced that they are not necessarily all fake, like somewhere there had to have been a shred of truth to all of this. And the deeper you dig, the more these crazy ideas start coming up, and we are embracing that and going with it. It’s a very experimental project, and I don’t know how it’s going to end up to be honest. I don’t even know if it’s still going to be a documentary by the time it’s done, and that’s what is really exciting about that.
And then we started preproduction on HATCHET 3 about two weeks ago, and the director, BJ McDonnell, is like a little kid in a candy store, which has been awesome. That starts shooting at the end of April. And I’m still working on KILLER PIZZA for Chris Columbus, which we set up at MGM a few months ago. I’m in the midst of the studio notes and the rewriting process, which so far so good.
HOLLISTON premieres on FEARnet Tuesday, April 3rd, at 10:30 ET. Check it out!