Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More

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Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and MoreActor Frank Grillo is relishing these past few years of his career. Not only did he recently star opposite Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte in the critically acclaimed flick Warrior, but he’s already earning rave reviews for his star-turning performance opposite Liam Neeson in Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, which hits theaters this Friday, January 27th.

Dread Central recently caught up with Grillo on the phone and heard more about how the actor came on board The Grey, his insights into his complicated character, what it was like to eat wolf meat alongside his cast mates and what’s up next for him in 2012.

Grillo, whom some of you may recognize from his previous genre efforts including iMurders, Minority Report, My Soul to Take or Mother’s Day, discussed how he came on board The Grey for a role that the actor saw as both an incredible challenge and an opportunity. “It was a gift to get to play a character like Diaz, who feels so rooted in reality; that usually doesn’t happen a lot these days. I usually get offered roles that are a complete 180 from me so it was great to play a fictional character and incorporate elements of myself into him. I’ve been friends with Joe and I’ve wanted to work with him for a long time now because I really love his style of filmmaking. Thankfully, after Joe saw a cut of Warrior and saw what I did in that film, he asked if I wanted to come on board The Grey to play Diaz.”

“I live in New York right now and I’m not an LA-type actor so I’m always up for a challenge like The Grey, especially since Joe wanted to get all of us out in the middle of nowhere to make it,” added Grillo. “Most directors would have shot on a soundstage and faked everything in post, but it was important to Joe to do this right, and I was completely on board for anything this shoot was going to throw at us over the six weeks we shot. One thing I will say is that it certainly wasn’t hard to ‘act’ cold since most days it was around 36 degrees below zero. In fact, the hardest challenge for me really was being able to dive into this character and serve him justice- the cold didn’t really bother me because I knew in six weeks we’d be wrapped and I’d get warm eventually.”

In The Grey Grillo portrays sociopathic ex-con John Diaz, who is forced to deal with his own inner demons in order to survive the unimaginable when the plane carrying him and a group of his fellow roughnecks goes down in the middle of nowhere in the Arctic. His character acts as the abrasive foil to Neeson’s level-headed character Ottway throughout the film, and while Grillo was happy to be on board the flick in any capacity, he discussed his initial concerns over playing a one-dimensional character that is only around to act as a hearty meal for some bloodthirsty wolves.

Grillo explained, “When I first started reading the script for The Grey, my first thought about Diaz was ‘Here we go again- another tough guy jerk-off character that’s only there to make Liam look better and to get eaten by wolves.’ I mean, to be honest, I’m a working actor so I would have been good with Diaz being just that kind of character, but thankfully, as I kept reading through the script, Joe makes him into so much more and gives him a real arc and I just fell in love with the role. It was so great to be given a real arc for a change- usually these guys are the ones you want to see die, but by the third act you’re rooting for Diaz to make it through this ordeal, too, and that’s something special.”

“John’s definitely the kind of guy who has spent a lot of time in prison so I thought, in order to really get into this guy’s mind, I need to spend a night in jail; so I did. I stayed at Riker’s and it was a pretty intense experience. While I was in there, I talked with quite a few of the inmates and saw how a lot of them managed to just slip through the cracks. Some of them were even really funny and charismatic guys and that made me realize they were far more than just inmates; they weren’t one-dimensional so I worked a lot on making sure Diaz wasn’t one-dimensional either. I think the most telling thing I could say about Diaz is that he’s the kind of guy that believes in God but knows that God doesn’t have any belief in him at all,” added Grillo.

Even though Grillo was able to prepare himself for the bitter cold shooting conditions on The Grey, the one thing he didn’t prepare for was having to consume actual wolf meat while filming Carnahan’s harrowing tale of survival.

“All of us that were on set are huge animal advocates so handling the ‘wolf’ aspect of the story while respecting them was definitely a concern for everyone on The Grey,” said Grillo. “and since our characters have to eat wolf meat at one point in the movie, Joe thought that we should all experience it in real-life so we actually drove about an hour away from set to eat wolf meat. I guess the wolf we ate had gotten too close to a camp and was threatening the residents so he had to be taken out- I don’t think we would have agreed had the wolf been killed for sport. But the one thing I can tell everyone is never eat wolf meat because it is just awful. So gamey and gristly – just a godawful taste – but the experience did bring us all together so that was good, I suppose.”

With The Grey coming out this week, recent rave reviews for his work as Frank Campana in Warrior, which was released this past September, and four features slated to come out this year, we asked Grillo his thoughts on all his recent cinematic success.

“You know, having Warrior and The Grey both come out within a few months of each other has been a great ‘one-two punch’ for my career since I was blessed to get to create two amazing characters in two very wonderful films. I’ve been at this for a while know so I still keep pinching myself over all this- it’s pretty amazing,” expressed Grillo.

Open Road Films will release the highly anticipated, action-packed survival thriller The Grey (review here) in theaters nationwide on January 27th, 2012.

Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More

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POLL: Who Should Direct Wan and King’s TOMMYKNOCKERS?

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It was just last month that we learned James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) is going to be producing a new big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers.

While I’m sad that it seems Wan will not be directing the film, I think it’s a great time to bring up the question: Well, then who the hell SHOULD?

You can find my top 3 choices below and then make sure to let us know who you think should direct James Wan’s upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky: “It is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption.”

Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers will be produced by James Wan (The Conjuring), Roy Lee (Stephen King’s IT) and the ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky.

Synopsis:

A town in Maine that falls under the influence of a dangerous gas from an unearthed spacecraft. The gas begins to transform the people, giving them enhanced abilities, but also making them violent and subject to an alien hive mentality. One man, thanks to a steel plate in his head, is immune to the effects and tries to stop the townspeople.

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Guess Who Just Snagged Wan and King’s New TOMMYKNOCKERS

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Earlier this month we passed along the exciting news that that none other than James Wan plans to bring Stephen King’s novel The Tommyknockers back to the screen.

Wan will be producing (but not at this time, directing) the film along with Roy Lee (IT) and the original ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky.

And today Deadline reports Universal won the bidding war over the new adaptation, barely beating out fellow heavyweights Sony and Netflix. And thus Universal, home of the classic movie monsters, will be bringing us Wan and King’s first (and hopefully not last) collaboration.

Are you excited by this news? Do you think Universal is the right fit for this new film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Synopsis:

A town in Maine that falls under the influence of a dangerous gas from an unearthed spacecraft. The gas begins to transform the people, giving them enhanced abilities, but also making them violent and subject to an alien hive mentality. One man, thanks to a steel plate in his head, is immune to the effects and tries to stop the townspeople.

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PUPPET MASTER Reboot Gets Theatrical Release Date!

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Puppet Master: Littlest Reich

The upcoming reboot of Full Moon’s classic Puppet Master just premiered at the Overlook Film Festival and is said to “maintain all of the brutally inventive puppet-kills infused with the comedic tendencies that made the original franchise so popular with fans while expanding upon Toulon’s backstory and developing richer dialogue, characters, and narratives.”

I’m looking forward to the film and if you’re like me then you’ll be excited to hear Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich looks like it will be heading it’s tiny way into theaters this summer via RLJE Films! More specifically the film will be hitting in August of this year.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to bring the first film under the new Fangoria brand to audiences this summer,” RLJE Films’ Chief Acquisitions Officer Mark Ward said in a statement. “With an amazing script from S. Craig Zahler and performances from horror legends Barbara Crampton and Udo Kier, we know Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will thrill fans of the original films and new audiences alike.

Are you excited to check out Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich in theaters this August? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The reimagining is directed by Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund from a script written by S. Craig Zahler and stars Thomas Lennon, Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin, Charlyne Yi, Michael Pare, Udo Kier, and Barbara Crampton. The film is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian.

RLJE Films plans to release the movie in theaters in August 2018.

Synopsis:

In Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, recently divorced and reeling, Edgar (Lennon) returns to his childhood home to regroup his life. When Edgar finds a nefarious looking puppet in his deceased brother’s room, he decides to sell the doll for some quick cash at a small-town convention celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. Girl-next-door Ashley (Pellicer) and his comic book shop boss, Markowitz (Franklin), join Edgar for the doomed road trip. All hell breaks loose when a strange force animates the puppets at the convention, setting them on a bloody killing spree that’s motivated by an evil as old as time.

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