There’s nothing more likeable than a guy who gives back to his fans. Since making a name for himself with his 2007 horror hit, Hatchet, director Adam Green has been constantly connecting with and giving back to the dedicated horror community. The director was nice enough to speak with me about his upcoming FearNet sitcom, Holliston, and give me some details about the upcoming Hatchet 3 as well as his involvement in Killer Pizza. And yes, I did giggle like a giddy little school girl while speaking to him and you probably would too.
Me: What made you take the leap into television?
Me: How would you compare working in TV versus Film? Do you prefer one over the other?
Me: With your busy schedule, did you ever hesitate to cast yourself in the series?
Me: Do you see yourself working on several seasons of the series?
Me: Do you have any ideas for future seasons?
Me: What segments of the show are you most excited about the fans seeing?
AG: It’s hard to pick just one because each episode sort of has those one or two moments that I’m insanely proud of but really, I think the season finale was something that when we saw it finish, it really struck us with a lot more heart than I think we even realized was there. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody but essentially, Adam and Joe finally make their trailer for Shinpads,their undead soccer movie, and they get the trailer in front of John Landis to see what he thinks and in real life, you don’t always get the answer that you were hoping you’d get. So as much as it was written for comedy sake, what happens was funny but when you actually see it happening, it hurts and it’s really devastating.
What I love about it is what people are taking away from it–they walk away from the show really optimistic and that’s really my goal with it. One side, we’re showing the struggles and the bad times but the overlying message of all of this is that if you can keep at it and hang in there, it will get better. I think the last couple of minutes of the season finale will really ring true and I think it’s been really great to hear the reaction from people or to even see people feel something from watching a sitcom. Those are the aspects of the show that I’m most excited about—those moments of heart that sneak up on you when you’re really not expecting it in a show that has an alien in the closet and a mechanical retarded cat, and exploding heads.
Me: The show seems to be more of a comedy than horror. Why do you think that it appeals to horror fans?
AG: This is one of my favorite questions because the answer’s so obvious but, I mean if you back up, the show’s about two guys who are trying to become horror directors . Right there it’s a horror show. All of the references, the nods that we make to horror movies; we have things like exploding heads and scenes like Poltergeist where I tear my own face off or that we allude to the fact that my character is a cutter who whenever he’s upset about something, he’ll slice his own chest open. There’s so many horror cameos throughout it. There’s our whole objective this season, trying to make a trailer for an undead soccer team movie , the season finale takes place at a horror convention, there’s a whole episode about building makeup effects for our trailer. I don’t think it could be any more horror, to be honest, but it’s a sitcom and that’s what makes it special–it hasn’t been done before. Normally, horror shows are always the same exact thing: a horror anthology, or it’s like an X-Files type thing. Nobody has ever taken the medium that we’re so familiar with, that we all grew up with, of a sitcom, with a laugh track and the whole thing, and made it about people who do horror. That’s why it’s also a horror show.
Me: Do you think the “horror sitcom” will become popular after Holliston premieres?
Me: What was it like premiering the series in your hometown (Holliston, MA)
AG: I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve gotten to do some amazing things from two movies that both premiered at Sundance–which is like the biggest and best festival in the world–to sold out screenings in London, and red carpet screenings at Mann Chinese theater in Hollywood. You know, these huge things, traveling internationally to Germany and to Spain and the difference is when I am there, I’m Adam Green the filmmaker, but then you go home and you’re just the kid from 718 drive; I’m nothing special. I’m just somebody else from Holliston and I was really excited that we were able to do that screening because I’ve never done that before in my hometown, but it felt like the time was right because the show is set there and called Holliston.
So we planned this, but there was very little notice. I think there was only about a week’s notice for the most part and the main way for which people keep in touch with what I’m doing is through my website, which got hacked and went down two weeks ago, still isn’t back up yet, so I was convinced that there was going to be nobody there and so as the day was progressing and I’m showing the cast around town, I was getting really nervous. I never get nervous for these things , probably because I’m playing a character usually, and I’m Adam Green-filmmaker—and they’re asking me ‘why are you so nervous’ and I’m like ‘I guess because this [Holliston], more than anything, I really want their approval. I really want to make them proud. I want everyone to like it.’ Normally I don’t care…it was really becoming important to me as the day went on and so as we were getting ready for the screening, which we had to set up ourselves because we had no crew or anything, which made it even more special. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up so I think what made it so special was that the whole day I felt like I didn’t belong there anymore and I felt like I’m now Adam Green from Hollywood—I don’t have a house there anymore, my family doesn’t live there anymore, I was staying at a hotel in Milford, and I’m like ‘Why did I do this? Why did I come back here? I don’t even know anybody here. All my friends are gone. Why did I do this?’ And then you walk out in front of all those people that are so excited and so happy and so proud and you realize that you are home and it will always be home. That’s still what’s most important. Not the fucking red carpets and the money and the limos.
It came at exactly at the right time in my life, when I needed something like that to happen, and it completely renewed my faith in who I am and what I’m doing. So in a lot of ways, that little town hall screening was the biggest screening and the best screening that I’ll probably ever have.
Me: Has the “Real Corri” seen the show or had any reaction to it?
AG: The real Corri’s name isn’t Corri, but she saw the movie when I made the movie version back in 2000 and was very proud of it. I don’t know –I don’t think she came to the screening in Holliston and like hid with a hat on and ran out afterward and didn’t say anything—I don’t think she’s seen it yet but I’m confident that when she does, she’ll really like it and she’ll be proud of it. It was very, very important to me that that character be portrayed extremely favorably and have her be extremely likeable. And testing the show and having the screenings, everybody loves Corri and that was really important to me. In real life, back when Hatchet came out, I did actually reconnect with her and have closure to the whole thing and I’m married now and I don’t know if she’s married yet or not, she might be, but we both have these amazing great lives and it all worked out for the best, and I think she’ll be very happy for me when she sees the show and I also think she’ll be happy for the way that she’s portrayed and how sweet of a story the whole thing is.
Me: The show is named after your hometown and you reference the New England area a lot in your work. Why do you think it’s important to include those pieces of your past for your fans to see?
AG: When I first did that it was literally because like, ‘OK, I need the name of a town’ or I need the name of a person, so I just put in someone’s name that I grew up with or I put in the name Holliston. But after a few years of doing it I started to realize that that’s sort of what keeps everything grounded and keeps it real for me. It’s important to remember where you came from and I’ve seen a lot of people in the business—people who haven’t even had the success I’ve had—forget about that really fast. It’s easy to… I think by incorporating my childhood into everything I do…when I watch it back or show it to other people, I’m still able to see who I am and I really, really haven’t changed.[At the screening] I was literally wearing the same clothes that I wore back in high school twenty years ago. So on one hand it’s great because I haven’t changed and on the other hand it’s great because I can still fit into the same exact clothes that I wore twenty years ago [laughs].
Me: Can you give any details on what fans can expect with Hatchet 3?
AG: I hate the word “trilogy” because it’s not necessarily a trilogy but if you think of it as one giant movie, because if people saw the second one I start them on the same exact frame as the other one ended and they just keep going, which is something I think makes it a little unique and fun to watch, because eventually you’ll be able to sit and watch them all back to back and it’ll just be one long movie. In this one, we’re not going to do anymore flashbacks—If I have to watch another Hatchet flashback, I will stab myself. Now we know what the curse is but how do you really get rid of the curse…There’s a lot of anger and gore and blood and honestly, sometimes I’m worried that I put BJ [McDonnell] into a corner….
Me: Are you ever planning on making another Chillerama movie?
AG: At this time, not really. The first one, as fun as it was, was for me one of the worse experiences of my life. My segment was an absolute joy and one of the reasons I think I’m still directing because Hatchet 2 was very hard to make and it wasn’t supposed to be. Hatchet 2 was supposed to be the victory lap which I had put off for like five years so I could make other movies. And then it was like, ‘Now we’re getting the band back together’ and we’re going to do this for the fans, and then I think it was so ambitious for the budget, it was so hard to make. We got hit with the swine flu, everyone got sick and was throwing up on set…it was misery. So coming off of that, I was like ‘I need a long break from this’. And then Chillerama came around and it totally reminded me of how fun this is and how much I love it but unfortunately, the process of dealing with four different directors and their schedules and when things are actually going to get done, that was really hard to do and just some of the personalities involved …it was just unbelievable. My shoot was four days and we only worked half days , everybody was having a blast. Some of the other ones were a disaster or a nightmare and ultimately, we did pull through and I’m happy with the fact that people like almost all of it—I think that’s great. I don’t know about doing a second one though. The idea was always that we’d get four new directors to do it and that would be the thing that does make it happen. It has been very successful, and I’m sure if we wanted to do another one we could but I don’t think anybody is necessarily jumping up and down, racing to do it. It really beat up all of us pretty bad. Remember too, with that movie, nobody got paid anything. That was completely a labor of love, for-fun project and I think that’s why we all got so beaten up over it because it was supposed to be just for fun but it dragged on for two years. If you’re going to do something for fun, it should be a couple of days, not two years.
Me: Can you give any details about Killer Pizza or explain how you got involved with the project?
AG: I had been developing different projects for 1492, which is Chris Colombus’ company, which was a huge deal for me because Chris was the reason why I became a screenwriter in the first place. When I first saw Gooniesand Gremlins I remember as a kid thinking ‘Oh my god, these kids actually talk like I do.’ Normally in movies it was never the case; it always felt like an adult writing how they think kids should speak. So that’s what made me start studying screenwriting. I’ve loved everything that Chris has ever done so when they first responded to my material–which I think was probably Hatchet–and liked it, I started meeting with them—that was exciting. Then they sent me this book called Killer Pizza which was apparently a very popular children’s book. It was written for 8 year olds so there wasn’t too too much going on but the idea and the heart was so massive and there were so many opportunities there, so I went back to them with my take on how I would do it as a big blockbuster movie and when they called back and said you got the job, I couldn’t believe it. The first time I turned in a first draft, I was so nervous because I was like ‘Chris Colombus is going to read this, oh my God, what’s he going to say, what if he likes it, what if he doesn’t like it’ and he called me personally the next day to say how happy he was with it, and that was one of those moments where you hang up the phone and call your mom right away to tell her. That was amazing. So I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. MGM bought the project so now I’m in the process of doing all the various studio rewrites, which sometimes can destroy a project but so far, so good. The people at MGM have been awesome and I think it really helps when you have a guy like Chris producing it because obviously he knows what hes doing and everybody’s really appreciative of that. So far so good. Then again, it’s a studio movie and they take forever to move.
Me: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
AG: Please watch Holliston and please watch it legally. I know not everyone has FearNet yet but they can call their cable provider. There’s a phone number, 877-FEAR-247, and you can demand it from your cable provider. If enough people demand it…if half the people who know about this show call Comcast or Time Warner or whoever and say they want to see it, they’ll get it. It’s not that hard to have them add the network but in the meantime if that doesn’t happen, we’re working on getting it to iTunes as fast as possible afterwards. There’s just something more fun about watching it on TV as it plays rather than watching it after the fact on a computer screen so hopefully, people can see it on TV and eventually of course there will be the DVD and blu ray set and all the other stuff, but that’s not going to be for a while.
Holliston premieres Tuesday, April 3 at 10:30 on FearNet. Read my review of the hilarious horror-comedy here. Make sure to keep an eye out for the third film in the Hatchet series which is currently filming and Green’s other project, Killer Pizza.