Recently Dread Central scribe Heather Wixson caught up with actor Patrick Cavanaugh to get the scoop on Transylmania and to maybe nibble a bit on the other white meat.
Heather Wixson: What can you tell us about your character, Pete?
Patrick Cavanaugh: Well, I consider Pete a lovable loser. He is a typical college dude who would rather drink and get high than go to class. He loves to hang out with his buddy Wang and basically see how much trouble they can get into.
HW: What was it like working on the set of Transylmania? The trailers look hilarious so I was wondering if you had just as much fun making the movie as it looks like it was to shoot?
PC: We had an absolute BLAST making this movie. I mean, first of all, we got to spend seven weeks in a far off land, making a movie … There is nothing wrong with that! Romania was beautiful, VERY cold at points, but such a wonderful country. I can’t think of a better way to spend my life, getting paid to make movies in exotic locations!!
HW: Do you think it’s hard to balance between the world of horror (when you start to play with genre-type stereotypes like this) and the world of comedy, or do the two work hand in hand?
PC: I really do think they go hand in hand. I mean, you have to suspend your disbelief, whether as an actor or an audience member, to go on the journey of almost all comedies and horror movies. I don’t know about you, but I have never met a thousand-year-old vampire nor have I ever tried to reattach the head of my girlfriend to her dismembered body. They are both usually a heightened sense of reality.
HW: There were some great horror spoofs in the past like Young Frankenstein, Transylvania 6-5000 and Once Bitten. Did you watch any of those for inspiration before shooting Transylmania, and are/were you a fan of those types of films?
PC: I love, love, love Young Frankenstein. I think it’s the best movie of the horror spoof genre. Gene Wilder is a pure genius and Mel Brooks ain’t no slouch either. I have seen that movie many times over and absolutely used it for inspiration!
HW: You’ve been working on a critically acclaimed TV series now for a while. Is it hard to transition back and forth from “Mad Men” to doing feature film work?
PC: I wouldn’t say that it’s hard; it’s what I have dreamt about for many years. To be able to get to jump back and forth between something fun and over the top like TRANSYLMANIA and something so subtle and artistic as MAD MEN. I always gravitated towards comedy as a kid, but as I have gotten older and worked more, I really have grown to respect the nuances that the great dramatic actors bring to their work. It’s something I strive to get better at with each role.
HW: Would you consider yourself a horror fan? If so, are there horror films you really enjoy?
PC: I like horror, but I usually end up laughing at myself because I sit there scared shitless the entire time. I gravitate towards suspenseful thrillers such as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THE SIXTH SENSE, or SEVEN. I am curious to see the new Freddy movie. I think Jackie Earle Haley will be awesome!
HW: I saw that the character of Pete was also used in Dorm Daze. Is this a spinoff of Dorm Daze then, or is it a continuation?
PC: I guess you could call it a type of spinoff. Scott and David Hillenbrand really liked a few of the characters from the DORM DAZE series and decided to do a “bigger” movie with them. And also toss in some new people as well.
HW: Now, you also worked with the Hillenbrands for Dorm Daze. Was it just as much fun teaming up with them again for Transylmania?
PC: Oh, absolutely. This is actually the fourth film I have done with the Hillenbrands, and I think it gets better each time. There’s a trust and comfort that develops from that. We have a great working relationship, and I know I can trust them to guide me in the right direction each time. They are also open to suggestions, which as an actor gives you the freedom to try things a different way.
HW: What is coming up next for you?
PC: I just wrapped an indie comedy called BRAND DEAD, so I am waiting to see what happens with that. Also I have recorded voices for two different Disney pilots, so hopefully one, if not both, of them gets picked up for series in 2010.
Big thanks to Patrick for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview and to Cynthia Raza for her assistance in setting it up.
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