Director Nelson McCormack is shooting the opening of his new movie today, having shot most of the film already, in and out of sequence. This afternoon, our heroine, prom queen Donna (Brittany Snow), finds her entire family slaughtered in their home. The young actor who plays her dead little brother can't stop breathing, so I, along with a select group of genre journalists, get to watch take after take. It becomes quite amusing after awhile.
The entire set is on the Sony Studios lot, in Southern California. This one is made to resemble a middle America family domicile, while across the way is a hotel room where much more bloodshed takes place. The story follows young Donna, and her hotheaded teacher (Jonathon Schaech) who is so obsessed with her that he much eliminate everyone who stands between him and her.<p>
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: What's it like having to jump back and forth in your character, shooting out of sequence? <p>
Brittany Snow: It's actually okay, because these scenes that were doing right now and the scenes that we were doing prior to this were all kind of emotional heavy scenes. My best friends are getting killed, and Richard Fenton is killing and trying to come after me, and I'm crying and scared and all emotional or whatever, and then these scenes are kind of the same thing except that I'm 14 and so I kind of like the fact that I get to do all the really hard to emotional stuff for like one month and then the next month and a half I'm at the prom. I'm totally oblivious all my friends are getting killed. And I'm just dancing you know, so I get to have the hard stuff out of the way. And then the last month, I just literally coming to work every day and get to dance on the set that just party on. So.
I give a lot of credit to people who do a lot of horror films, because you know, when you watch a film you're like, 'Oh my gosh'. You're so scared and you're freaking out and you're trembling and you know in the context of the scenes, it all makes sense but then when you actually have to do it. There's 50 crew guys and there is a light in your face. There is no killer coming after you and you know you have words to say, and it's just kind of... It's a really awkward situation to make yourself be that terrified and it's a lot harder than I thought. It's really fun to get yourself up to that level of being so anxious and terrified, but it's definitely not an easy thing to make realistic. I think you know, because you can totally see if someone's really actually scared or just being like, 'Oh my god. I'm so scared', you know, like they're trying to be scared. But yeah, it's difficult, but afterwards after the scene is done when you're coming down from being scared and emotional and running all around it such a great feeling to be liked wow. There was not a killer coming after me and I totally believe that there was. It's a great feeling.
Q: Did you know [director] Nelson [McCormack] from working with him on Nip/Tuck?
Brittany Snow: Yeah that was weird, we totally missed each other. He did a few episodes before I was on there and then after. We totally missed each other. When I initially met Nelson we talked for a while before I even signed on to this project. You know because I just wanted to get a feeling of him and he wanted to get you know, a feeling of what I was about and things like that and we totally bonded.
Q: What's this prom night going to be like for the characters? Have you been to your own prom yet?
Brittany Snow: I want to see what the decorations are going to look like. No, but actually, you know, it's not necessarily a test drive, but I'm pretty easy to work with directors I pretty much love. You know everybody that has their own style, but Nelson, particularly, we've really bonded in the fact that we had almost the exact same notes on the script to a tee like even words that we had to say like we wanted to maybe switch around or change or different thoughts like, 'Oh, it should be her mom's shawl and not her grandma's shawl' and things like that that he would say. And I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I thought the same thing', and we just kind of had this dialogue going back and forth, where he was exactly in the same page, and he was so willing to hear my ideas and shoot them down or be like okay. Yeah, we can work with that or whatnot, and he was just so sweet and he bought dinner and we did a lot of things with his wife and my boyfriend. And we just kind of really became really good friends for shooting the movie which I think is so important, because now me and him have such a good relationship where I can come to him asking anything. And you know, I think that's really cool with this being my first horror film and kind of this is the first thing that I've done where I am you know Brittany Snow on prom night. And to have a good relationship with the director. You have a lot of trust and you can just kind of let him take over. And I'm really, really trusting that he's going to make this great. So.
Q: You come from a long line of scream queens now. I mean, girls who have made cut their teeth on horror. How does it feel?
Brittany Snow: It's actually really an honor I think, I mean, I have watched a lot of horror films and I'm not, you know, I'm not the person that knows everything about them. And I haven't really studied or anything like that the different types or things like that in just by knowing the films that I've watched and the girls that have been in them. I give them a lot of credit, and it's definitely a job that takes a lot of work and end at really excited that I get to be a part of something like that. As somebody who gets to even though this is an exactly a remake. It's kind of in the same title, a remake and you know, Jamie Lee Curtis. I mean come on, she's like an icon in the horror world and for me to follow in those footsteps. That's a huge honor, and if I can see that justice that something that will make me feel really good.
Q: Jamie Lee doesn't look like a high school girl in the original film. She looks 30 something! [laughter]
Brittany Snow: Yeah, I know. I was thinking that too, but I think it's kind of cool that I do look really young, especially now I'm 21, but without makeup I look 12. Whatever, it's a curse and a blessing, I guess. I think it's really important that my character, I am in high school and I get to have that excitement for the prom. And you can kind of see that, you know, in comparison to somebody who's 30 and went to their prom a really long time ago. And they're like, all I think I was excited to go to my prom, but I don't remember you know, but I think all of the kids who are in this movie are really young. Generally. So I think that's going to be kind of cool for the audience to kind of go to the prom and see us enjoying it as something that we just pretty much did.
Q: How was Jonathon as your leading man?
Brittany Snow: Well okay first off, Jonathan is amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better person to work with. I haven't asked him yet, but all I want for him to do is pop a quick that one line as he's getting ready to leave the dance. But I love his work and I think he has such a presence about him. He is the nicest guy in the world. He has a sort of dark and eerie thing going on behind his eyes. He knows it, too.
I mean, he looks at you, and he's either giving you a compliment or he's trying to listen to you, and he has these piercing eyes. And you're just like I feel really uncomfortable, and he is really good-looking too. So it's very intimidating. I think it really works to work with somebody like that, who is so generous so nice. So professional, always willing to share a funny story, giving me so much advice.
But anyway, what happened was I was supposed to do this stupid kick, and Nelson came to me and was just like, 'Go all out. Just whatever happens, happens.' It turns out I wasn't supposed to kick him. But I was on the floor, and he was dragging me, and I don't know if he told you this part, but he instead of grabbing my foot, he grabbed my pants and my pants they were like pajama bottoms. They were falling off, so it was either like my whole butt was going to be exposed to all the crew and the camera and it could be on the dailies for everyone to see. Or I was going to have to like shake him off of me somehow. So he was like down and my underwear was going. And then all of a sudden I just went like this [kicks out]. Like really fast like get off me, and crying, and I'm in the scene. And then all of a sudden he goes 'Ow' and he starts like tearing up and he just like looks at me and then he just leaves. And no one knows where he went for 10 minutes. And that was still crying all emotional. and I'm like, 'What'd I do? What'd I do?' at them. I'm trying to call, like, anybody. No one would tell me. So then I started crying, because I felt so bad. I was like, 'Did I knock him in the nose?' And they were like, 'Yeah you knocked him in the nose'. I was like… it was so terrible. I felt so bad, but it only happened. He was a sport he came back in. He gave me a lot of crap for it. It's going to overflow for the rest of the movie pretty much I think I'm never going to live it down. And a kick in the nose.
Q: Oh, and his knee too. He's limping.
Brittany Snow: I know I didn't do that. I only did one thing, I get one shot per movie. We were having so much fun that as bad as I felt he was the type of guy that anything can happen. And he's just going to roll with. So that's really cool.
Q: So you're going to shoot the prom scene. You haven't done that yet.
Brittany Snow: No we haven't even gone to the prom yet. I don't even know what it looks like. Everyone's died, my boyfriends died. My best friends, everything, but I think the prom will be really cool. Like even when I'm like writing to work hello Nelson I was just talking about you, and I was listening to the radio. And I was listening to this upbeat song and that was thinking gosh I cannot wait to go to prom and just dance with my friends. Because I've been crying and so emotional for a month now.
I don't know why, but I don't like when I see movies where somebody has just died and somebody is just bloody and their guts are coming out, and they're like, 'Oh, my god!' And they're like freaking out and you're just… there's no emotion. I try to put myself in the position like, 'Okay. Like my mother or my best friend or my boyfriend just died.' And I think I would be shaking crying freaking out. And if it's too much just tell me to pull it back. You just went crazy like you know I would like to go there. So it's a difficult to do something like that and then had a crew member come up and be like, 'Hey how's it going?' and try to talk to me, because then I have to do the very next thing, which I think is probably the hardest part about this job. Is that I am a really upbeat person and I love talking to crew. And I love messing around, and we have such great relationships onset and then having to go back to the hysterically crying and breaking down. And then wanting to talk to me again. And you know I can't be like, hold on I'm trying to be nice and it's clearly a balance of trying to do what I'm doing, but also going back to my normal life. I can't stay there forever in that dark place.
Q: Do you think you're going to be more tired of running for your life in the past few weeks or dancing all day?
Brittany Snow: I hope that this is the most tiring part because I like dancing. I think what it will be like one big club for like a month hopefully. Will take breaks.
Q: Do you have a favorite slasher movie?
Brittany Snow: This isn't my favorite, but I remember the first horror movie that I ever saw that haunted me for years. It was, like, Pinocchio Returns. I saw it when I was too young. I saw it when I was eight or something. I remember watching it and literally could not sleep for months and months and months. And even now when people are like, 'What's the scariest movie you've ever watched?', because I was a kid. And I was like, 'Oh my gosh I love Pinocchio', and it seems funny, but still even thinking about it. I was so terrified. There was this one scene where the wooden little puppet comes out with a long butcher knife and starts chopping away. And I have never lived it down.
Q: [Screenwriter] JS [Cardone] was talking about how there was a particular kind of film that competing for audiences. Right now, a horror film. The torture crowd, and then the movies are being geared more towards the adolescent girls, the teenage girls. Why do you think that they flock to movies like this?
Brittany Snow: A to meet girls. I think there is definitely a type of trend of movie is that is going around, where girls want to see girls be in a terrible situation and then kick some major ass. Just like totally go all out. I think girls want to see a movie where the guy isn't the hero but a girl totally saves the day, she's in a terrible situation, and then she comes out of it and she just totally kills the guy at the end. Like The Hitcher. I'm really good friends with Sophia and I remember seeing that after and I remember being like, 'Oh I love you, you are the coolest bad assed chick ever!' Because you want to see girls at the end take control and take charge. I also think that girls love being scared. They love being emotional. They like getting their senses heightened. Guys just want to see car chases, and just zone out.
I think the difference with girls is that they like to think about things, sometimes. They like to watch movies and really get into it and still get in and think about the psychological aspects and be thrilled and go into that whole thing. When guys are just like there is a hot babe and there is a car, and that's what I want. I don't want to think about it too much. I mean that's putting like a bunch of guys in one pot and I'm sure there's a lot of guys who don't like that. But I think that's why a lot of girls like those types of movies and also girls like to take guys to movies where they can be scared and cuddle up and go like oh I'm so scared. You know, that whole classic thing. But it's not just girls. I think it's teenagers in general, that flock to those types of movies, because they are actually relating to another teenager going through a situation. It's not saying a 40 year old guy getting chased by something. It's actually a person that they can relate to and feel that situation. Even though I hope to gosh, that never happens to them. That could be really bad.
Q: You were saying before, this is your first horror movie. What made you decide to go this way, actually make a horror movie, especially?
Brittany Snow: Yeah, that's a good question. I don't know. I've always wanted to do a horror film. Just because I like the female aspects of going through a terrible situation and coming out of the end. I just think it's so cool that you guys are here on Friday the 13th.
I think ironically, a lot of it had to do with Nelson because of his ideas and who he was and just his vision for the movie. It wasn't going to be a movie that was going to be stereotypical horror movie where the teenage girl is like running around, and she takes a shower for no reason, and she starts having sex with this guy for no reason. And then the guy gets killed. It wasn't going to be like that. It was going to be more psychological realistic. This is a killer, who actually is so obsessed and in love with his character that fat is why he does all these things. It's not just out of some psychotic rage that he starts killing everybody. There is a motive and things like that. And I kind of liked that I got to do a teen thriller film, but it also be something that actually could happen and does happen. There are guys all over that get obsessed and go crazy and whatever happens and so I kind of thought that this was the type of film that I was going to do if I was going to do a horror film, which I wanted to do this was what I wanted to be a part of.
Q: Did you kick ass at the end? It sounds like you do.
Brittany Snow: A little bit, I mean, I did hit him in the nose. Unintentional of course. I don't know. We'll see.
Q: Do you cry a lot when you're around him?
Brittany Snow: Yeah. I know that's weird, he just makes me really sad. It's just something that comes out. I don't know, I feel bad for him. I think, I don't know for Jonathon. I do cry a little bit too much in this movie I think, but it's hard to judge in this movie. It's not just one thing after another getting scared it's actually one person after another getting killed. My entire family, all my friends, everybody I'm even close to. I don't know how somebody kind of deals with that. Of course, whatever happens, happens. I think it's going to be really realistic, which is what I'm hoping for.
Q: And what about the scene that he said, you guys ended up in a closet? He was holding you, you were crying. He had decided that would be his ending of the movie. He finally got the girl.
Brittany Snow: Well, in his deluded mind yes. That's what happened but oh no, I got out because I get out for a little bit but then other stuff starts happening, but actually that was a really cool scene. I could see that scene being the scene that everyone really latch onto.
Q: That is in the trailer.
Brittany Snow: I would think that maybe, but you know, it is such a shock. I don't even know why you guys know that he's in the closet. I mean that's sucks, you're supposed to be really surprised don't tell anybody. I'm going to have to talk to him about that. Get them in the nose. But yeah, I think that seems going to be a really cool. I think there is a lot of scare is in this movie that I think a lot of people will see coming. That are really actually really life scary things. Not that we're just sort of making them up as we go along.
Q: Like your teacher. It's really creepy.
Brittany Snow: I know. I love that, though.
Q: Did you ever have a teacher in the school that ever gave you the heebie-jeebies? You don't have to name names.
Brittany Snow: Yes, completely. One of my friends she had a teacher that went crazy and had to leave the state. And I don't know what happened but I guess that one day he was there. And then he just laughed and he blamed it on somebody. You know his family member dying, but I guess he was stealing money and things like that. Yeah, there are a lot of crazy teachers out there.
Q: How about a teacher that you fell in love with?
Brittany Snow: No, there was not one cute teacher in my school unfortunately. I think that would be a little odd to [fall in love with a teacher].
Q: Being an actress and growing up as an actress... Did you ever go to prom?
Brittany Snow: I never went to my senior prom. Thank goodness, because I'm going to be living it for another two months. And that would be like prom overload. I didn't go to my homecoming my freshman and sophomore or junior and senior year. The homecoming in my senior year was kind of like my prom. And I went with my boyfriend at the time, who lived up here and we flew back to Florida and went with all my friends and I had a graduation party, with all my friends and I did that whole thing to an experienced all that kind of thing with my Florida friends. I didn't actually go to prom, but everyone said that our graduation party me and my 10 best friends was better than the actual prom. So I guess that's good, I don't know.