The horror film genre has been in something of a decline in recent years. It seems like haunted houses, possessed children, and jump scares make up most movies in this realm and that’s a shame because horror films used to smart, imaginative, and genuinely scary. Fortunately, with Clown, we get a strong dose of 80s slasher film style fun. Andy Powers (In Her Shoes, Untitled: A Love Story) stars as an unlucky dad who when puts on a mysterious clown suit he finds in the attic, it soon begins to change him… Powers is sensational in the lead role and in this interview, we had a little fun talking about making the film. Here’s how it went:
How did you originally get involved with the project?
I was brought in to audition by a casting director Billy Hopkins who has been a big fan of mine for a long time here in New York, and he thought I might be an interesting choice. I did a read, and he said, “Andy, that was really good. I want you to do it again, but find a place, I’m not going to tell you where, to be super evil.”
What was it like wearing that make-up and that suit?
Oh god, it was really thrilling. They built the suit over a diving suit, and even though it was winter in Ottawa, I was feeling like I was going to die of heat stroke, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. You know, it’s grueling. It’s four hours to get into the make-up most days and you know, sitting there in the chair while someone is poking at your face could be brutal. I kind of knew what to expect, but I was really caught off guard.
That’s crazy. Speaking to that, what were some of the challenges during filming?
Really, the amount of time we spent, you know. We didn’t have a lot of money as far as the film was concerned, and so we had to maximize our time. We shot in about seven weeks. To shoot that many pages in that short amount of time, you know, we would start our day at 7 AM on a Monday. By the time day 5 rolled around, we were starting our day at midnight Saturday morning, working 15 hours. So everyone went a little crazy, but after a while just not sleeping, not seeing the sun, it drives you crazy.
Oh my, wow. That’s crazy. What was it like working with Jon Watts?
You feel like you’re in good hands. The guy really knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. He knows when to crack the whip and when not to, and the great thing about when I got there is that he had already been working on pre-production for months. It was basically fitting into an engine that was already well-established.
Do you have a favorite scene from the film?
My favorite is the scene in the hotel room with the saw. One, it looks really cool, and it was really dark when we shot it. We were aware we were doing something really terrible, but the other side of it was that the kid that was in that scene was probably the sweetest kid you’ll ever meet in your life. In fact, that is how his character evolved. It was pretty – it was a little shameful but fun, you know?
Nice, nice. Are you afraid of clowns yourself?
(laughs) No, not at all. I’m terrified of horror films, like sometimes I feel like I’m going to die, but there was a guy on set who was. The night we shot that scene in the playpen, when I came out and was all covered in blood and crazy. There’s this teamster, and I jump on the windshield, and I swear, I made a grown man cry. I felt really bad about that, and I finally appreciated that, oh wow, that’s a real thing that people are scared of clowns. I should be careful.
What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
I hope they tell everybody, and I hope they appreciate the storytelling aspect of it. It’s not a movie that really tells you how to feel about it. It sort of leaves it to your imagination, but I hope they go away having experienced a really unique vision in today’s homogenized movie world.
Yeah, yeah, no, it definitely feels like an 80s slasher film, and it’s actually refreshing to see that because you don’t see it often. You see all these Paranormal Activities and Saw. These are very gross, disgusting jump scares, but Clown is sort of an old-school horror film. It’s nice to see that you guys went back to that.
It’s not really what jumps out at you. It’s sort of like, oh, he’s doing that, oh no, he did that!
Yeah, like within the first five minutes, you’re already in the suit, and it’s clinging to you. It’s disturbing.
It unfolds pretty fast, yeah.
It’s awesome, it just jumps right into it… What was it like working with Peter Stormare?
Oh god, he was my hero – one of my heroes. It was so nice to be – first of all, he’s one of the nicest people. He’s very sweet, enthusiastic, very thoughtful in person.
Unlike the usual characters he plays, right?
Right, right. He’s a really enthusiastic guy. The first night we did the scene where the car was wrecked, and he’s a little long in the tooth to be doing a lot of that physical stuff. He attacked it with 100 percent of his effort. He would amp himself up between – he never really stopped acting. Between takes, he kept having to fill his mouth with all this fake blood, and the make-up artist was like, “Can you take more?” and he’s taking huge cups of it. We actually ran out to do that because he really wanted to get a good take. When he slides under the car, I kept hearing something, and I finally realized he was laughing between takes, just really maniacal laughing, “Ha, ha, ha!” And I was like, okay, this is going to be fun.
That’s awesome. So the vibe on the set was loose and fun it seems. Did you guys hang out when the cameras weren’t rolling?
We didn’t have time, I’ll be honest. Like I said, we would show up and work 18 hours. Sometimes, we were staying at the same hotel, so we’d meet downstairs for a bite if the restaurant was still open. Usually, it was going back to your room and sleeping because it was just so grueling, but there were times when we cut loose and it was a lot of fun.
Do you think Clowns will become a modern-day horror classic?
I absolutely do. I think it’s going to be a cult classic. It’s one of those films that you can visit over and over again and get something new every time, but yeah, I think it’s destined to have a long life.
And I hope it does become a horror classic because it really creeped me out but in a good way.
Andy, thanks so much for your time. I hope to see you in more creepy, bizarre movies in the future.
Thanks man, I appreciate that.
Clown will be in theaters and on VOD on June 17th, 2016