Wes Craven

The Last House on the Left – screening & Q&A

There was a screening of The Last House on the Left last night, with Garret, Wes Craven, Sara Paxton, Monica Potter showing up at the event and doing a Q&A. ShockTillYouDrop has the full report. Here are a few tidbits:

Shock: Garret, you’re slipping in to the shoes of Krug, formerly essayed by David Hess, how was that experience?

Garret Dillahunt: I actually had a great conversation with David Hess and he was really nice. We talked about things that were troublesome for both of us playing this. I, too, hadn’t seen the original but I was surprised because I love watching movies. I had watched bits of it before we started, out of respect for them and with the knowledge we were updating… I don’t know, I just wanted this to be our own. I was so proud of it, so proud of this cast. They’re a really good group and I think Dennis is great. When I met Wes, I said, “Every actor has a checklist of things [directors] they want to work with in their life and Wes Craven’s on mine.” And Wes said, “How far down the list?” [laughs] I’ve watched the rest of the original since because it has a very special place in the hearts of the hardcore fans.

Shock: Can you talk about creating some of that intensity on set? You obviously need to put trust in your director so how did Dennis help you along with that?

Paxton: Dennis was absolutely amazing and was really protective of the actors. We had a lengthy rehearsal process which I thought was really awesome because we could focus on the physical part that we were doing so on the day all we had to focus on was our headspace.

Potter: And because it was such an intense film, we had a bunch of jokesters in our cast. It was so intense and, the producers included, there were so many scenes where we were so distraught we just had to laugh a lot. And we did because we were like a family. We’re in this country where some of us had never been to before and we all sort of lived in this apartment building. We ate together…we didn’t sleep together. [laughs]

Dillahunt: I was lucky, I guess, because Sara and I had worked together once before. I remember originally very nervous about the stuff I was going to have to do. I was happy it was someone I knew, at least. Then I thought it was horrible because you don’t do that to friends.

Paxton: I was happy. I was like, let’s do this, I know the guy!

Dillahunt: I have to say, you really set the tone. Not being a young man anymore, it really amazes me when I work with younger actors who are so together and so capable. Sara really put me at ease. She was nervous I wouldn’t be rough enough to sell it. Every time I grabbed her it was like I caught a wild weasel, she was so into it I had no choice. Everyone was like that and a good thing Dennis and Wes did was assemble a group of people who wanted to make something special. I’m really proud of it, I think it’s great. The first time I met Dennis, I complimented him on Hardcore and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I had some great actresses.” It sold me immediately on him. We’re just a part of the process, but it’s an important part and I’m glad he understood. Sara made that scene happen, really.

Shock: Garret, what did you do – if anything – to bond with your family members, so to speak?

Dillahunt: I didn’t do anything consciously. For me, it’s all about the story and getting around I can play such a horrible a man. I wanted to play him well and I was happy to be surrounded by actors who felt the same way. There wasn’t any ego on set. Everyone wanted to do what was needed to fulfill the story. So that’s easy to bond with. We were alone down there [in South Africa], the problems we had were few and fleeting and we were all there to make it better. I guess it wasn’t me, it was Wes and everyone who put this good group of people together.

Last House on the Left: Interview with Riki Landhome

Fearnet.com has a new interview with Riki Landhome, who plays Sadie in The Last House on the Left.

What appealed to you about this tale of sadism?

I like horror movies. I’ve just come around to them in the last four years because I was scared of them when I was younger. This was by far the best one I had ever read. The script was so different and profoundly creepy. I thought my character was creepy for no apparent reason, which chilled me to the core. I feel they don’t really justify why the three of us do what we do, and I love that. In every other horror movie it’s, “Oh, he has a mean mom.” In this, it doesn’t matter why, they just did it!

Garret Dillahunt and Riki Landhome in The Last House on the Left (2009)
Garret Dillahunt and Riki Landhome in The Last House on the Left (2009)

I read Wes Craven said this version isn’t as brutal as its predecessor.

I think it’s as brutal, but just in different ways. It’s more realistic. I feel that what goes on with the two main characters is something that could happen. The original probably goes further than what people could believe could happen to them. Not all the violence from the original takes place in this one, but I think that makes it scarier.

Not to sound sexist but we expect this deplorable violence from men. Were you shocked that Sadie takes joy in terrorizing these girls too?

Oh, that’s why I loved it. I was shocked! It’s always guys. It’s always the men behind the masks. That’s the reason I loved this part. I don’t remember the last time the woman was right there with the men. Sadie is equally as bad as them; she might even be worse as soullessness goes. They don’t tone her down at all. She’s not wimpy or subservient. She’s as brutal as everyone else.

Is it difficult getting into that headspace to perform these despicable acts repeatedly for take after take?

At first it wasn’t, but being on location with Martha [MacIsaac] and Sara [Paxton], and growing to love the cast and crew so much, it became more difficult as the shoot went on. That was surprising to me, but in the beginning I was able to detach myself more. By the time we were doing the scenes in the woods, it was upsetting. All night, it would be, “Let’s go have a glass of wine and not talk about it.”

The Last House on the Left (2009)

It was. The week where all the bad stuff in the woods happens, the producers saw it was taking a toll on us. They sent Martha, Sara, and I to the spa on the weekend. They got us massages and everything. We were also bruised and cut up everywhere.

Having spoken to Garret Dillahunt, who plays Krug, and now you, it seems they went against typecast for the killers because you both come off incredibly friendly.

That is the genius of director Dennis Iliadis and Wes. I know it was by design that when you first meet us, we are not the people you would expect to be cast in these parts. In the typical horror movie, you go to the gas station and it’s the crazy guy with one tooth. He has yellow eyes and you know he did it. You look at Garret, Aaron [Paul] and I, and it’s like, “Ummm, no.” That’s what makes it creepier. When we first take the girls, people who haven’t seen the original aren’t going to believe what happens because we don’t look like we’d do that. It was inspired casting, especially with Garret because he’s so gentle and calm.

How was it filming that final confrontation with Monica Potter, who plays Mari’s mother Emma?

It wasn’t just with her. The confrontation has changed from the original. That was the most technical part of the movie. Actually dying was slow, technical, and shot over many days. That part was a learning experience and we had an amazing medic on set that had seen every sort of death in real life. He was advising us, “If someone gets shot or stabbed like this, this is what they do.” We were just trying to make it accurate.

To read the rest of it, go to Fearnet.com.