Killer Joe Roundtable Interview with Stars Gina Gershon and Juno Temple - Dread Central
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Killer Joe Roundtable Interview with Stars Gina Gershon and Juno Temple



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Opening this weekend in limited release is iconic filmmaker William Friedkin’s latest, Killer Joe, a controversial thriller based on the stage play by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Tracy Letts which will have most fans seeing fried chicken in a whole new light.

Kind of like how he forever changed pea soup with The Exorcist.

In anticipation of Killer Joe‘s release on July 27th, Dread Central recently had the opportunity to catch up with two of the film’s lovelier co-stars, veteran actress Gina Gershon and newcomer Juno Temple, who discussed with us their thoughts on the controversial material as well as gave us some insight into their characters and the challenges and advantages to working with Friedkin’s ‘one-take’ approach on set.

Check out our roundtable interview with Gershon and Temple below, and look for Killer Joe in limited theaters this weekend courtesy of LD Entertainment.

Killer Joe Roundtable Interview with Stars Gina Gershon and Juno Temple

Question: So what was your reaction when you first read the script?

Juno Temple: I wanted to be part of it the moment I read it. As a young actress, being sent a role like Dottie, for that specific age group, is so rare and so extraordinary. She’s got so many levels of emotions. There is so much she is not saying, and I think that is so interesting.

Then you add on top of that that this is a Tracy Letts play and he is a master of his craft. Then you’ve got William Friedkin directing, and he is a genius and a man who has been doing this a really long time and really knows what he is doing. Then there is a fantastic cast to go along with that. For me, it was a challenge I really wanted to be a part of. There was something very daring about it. I want to be part of things that are really making a difference and I think this film will, in some way, make a difference.

Gina Gershon: I thought it was time I did a nice family movie [Laughs]. You watch this movie, and they are so dysfunctional, you can feel good about your own family. As Juno said, Tracy is such an amazing writer. He writes incredibly complex, yet complete characters. Their motivations are very clear, but nothing is obvious. If Joe Schmoe were directing this, I probably would have been worried about some of the scenes, but with William Friedkin directing, and this cast, it was really a no-brainer.

Question: Juno, how did you prepare to get into Dottie’s mind?

Juno Temple: Originally, the way I thought about it was that there is something completely childish about her. People might say she is simple, but I don’t think she is simple; I think she is holding on to her childhood desperately, because she is living in her fantasy world, with the fairies and her dolls. She doesn’t want to be in the living room of that trailer.

When I sent in my video from London, I got my 10-year-old brother to read my sides with me. It is a very interesting thing to watch, especially where she gives that speech about her mother trying to suffocate her. He said it like it was a fairy tale; there was no judgment there and I think that is such an important thing. Actually, with all the characters, there is a lack of judgment going on. You can’t judge those people and they can’t judge each other.

But then I also spent a lot of time talking with Billy about this rage that she’s been developing her whole life. She is bottling up an extreme amount of rage, and she is hiding it. So before every take, he would tell me, “Remember the rage.” It was always there, but it had to be hidden – it was just something to be aware of. Then you have the level of innocence and an angelic quality that she should have in this trailer full of madness and toxins and whatever.

But she is more aware than all of them because she is listening to everything. She is digesting it, she is swallowing it, and she is bottling it up. You get a sense of that at the beginning, when she is listening to their conversation [about killing her mother] and she comes out and says, “I think it’s a great idea.” So she is aware, but it is her choice as to when she is going to tap into that. They treat her like a child, then Killer Joe comes along, and for the first time, she is treated like a woman. And it’s magical. The way he looks at her, the way he speaks to her, the way he respects her… to her, he is her Prince Charming.

Question: Do you think that is why she falls for Joe?

Juno Temple: Completely.

Question: Gina, in that scene where Joe is, for a lack of a better word, abusing you, do you need a few hours to get yourself together, or can you just slap on some fake blood and say, “Let’s do this?”

Gina Gershon: I wish it were so simple. Sharla is so in control – secretly – of everything that is going on. As an actress, I am a preparation junkie. But for that particular scene, I didn’t want to over-analyze it and, frankly, I didn’t want to think about it. It is the one time when she is really out of control, so I just said, “I don’t want to rehearse it, I don’t want to talk about it, just tell me where you want me and what the movement is, and let’s just do it.” Because if I thought about it too much… I don’t know. As it was happening, I just wanted it to happen, how it all just plays out.

Question: Too much contemplation might make you balk?

Gina Gershon: Well, it did. This was presented to me years before, as a play. As much as I loved it, how well-written it was, the characters… when I got to that last scene I thought, “Oh my god. There is no way I am going to do this scene eight shows a week for six months straight.” These characters… you have to play them so truthfully, and they are so layered. The psychology behind them is deep. At that moment, I just couldn’t go for it for that many days in a row.

Question: Did you carry a lot of the characters with you off set then? Did they resonate with you?

Gina Gershon: It was a very intense shoot – we shot for 28 or 29 days. It was very short. But since we didn’t have a lot of takes or a lot of time, you kind of have to “stay there.” I’m a big believer in, at the end of the day, “wiping your feet,” have a drink, eat something, then go to bed to get ready for the next day. Especially after certain scenes. It was difficult – it definitely gets under your skin.

Question: Did you need to shower after that one scene?

Gina Gershon: I took the longest bath ever after that day. I can’t say I was sad to let Sharla go at the end of the movie.

Question: Since these are already established characters within the theater world, did William let you bring your own touches to the characters, or is everything we see pretty much what is in the script?

Gina Gershon: I never went to see the play.

Juno Temple: Yeah, I’ve never seen it either. I thought it was better to approach it like that. It needs to be your own take.

Gina Gershon: Yeah. I was so happy I hadn’t seen the play. I believe Amanda Plummer played my part originally, and she is a terrific actress. Then I didn’t have to spend any time erasing what I had seen because you want it to be–

Juno Temple: –fresh, and yours.

Gina Gershon: These are fantastic characters. When you do Chekov plays or Shakespeare plays, everyone has their own take on it. For me, it’s better not to have seen someone else’s performance.

Juno Temple: Yeah, definitely for me too. I wanted it to be fresh. But also, working with Billy, he told us not to change the dialogue. And why would you? It’s flawless. So I really stuck to the dialogue, but I totally got to say it and use it in the way I wanted to.

Gina Gershon: It was so refreshing to be on a movie set and not be thinking, “This isn’t working, what should we do? Should we change this?” There was one day where someone wanted to say something like “oh” instead of “ah” – something very simple like that. Billy would say, “Hey, he’s just a Pulitzer Prize-winner, but go ahead and change it.” Just being very sarcastic, but he was right: you didn’t need to change a word.

Question: Did you find it easier to let yourself go, knowing that you only had one or two takes to do it in?

Juno Temple: I think you are torn between that. What an incredible experience to work with a director who has that much trust in you as an actor that you can get it in one take. [Billy] didn’t move on unless he was happy with a take, but he had such belief in you, if you did do it in one take, he’d say, “Well, it’s not going to get better than that.” But then sometimes you would question yourself. Honestly, when it came down to it for me, I had such trust in him that if he said it was time to move on, then I was ready to move on.

Gina Gershon: Sometimes when you don’t have such a talented and competent director and DP – Caleb Deschanel is no slouch, it is nice to kind of warm into a scene and you are finding it as you are going in, so you get a couple takes here and there, and maybe it is the fifth take before everyone is on the same page. But Billy was so clear with what he wanted, Caleb is so talented, you had to come ready and prepared that you were getting just that one take. We were all super-prepared before we actually shot.

Juno Temple: It becomes life-like. You’ve only got one take of something, so you have to be so prepared for it that it becomes a second part of you.

Killer Joe Roundtable Interview with Stars Gina Gershon and Juno Temple

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The Shape of Water Scores 7 Nominations at This Year’s Golden Globes



Earlier today we let you know Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller Get Out scored nods at this year’s Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor – both in the Comedy category.


That said, another film from our beloved genre is getting some love in the form of writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s new creature feature The Shape of Water.

The film was given nominations in a staggering 7 categories including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Sally Hawkins, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Octavia Spencer, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Richard Jenkins.

Del Toro also scored nods for his work as director and co-screenwriter for the film.

You can check out the full list of nominations right HERE.

The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by Vanessa Taylor and del Toro, and stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, and Doug Jones.

The Shape of Water is currently playing in theaters.

In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

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Get Out Scores Golden Globe Nominations… as a Comedy



It was a few weeks back now when we let you guys in on the rather puzzling news that the Golden Globes was considering Jordan Peele horror-thriller Get Out as a nominee…

As a comedy.

As strange as that news was, it seems it wasn’t a joke in its own right as Jordan Peele’s Get Out has scored a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The news broke this morning with the full release of this year’s nominations via EW.

You can check out the full list HERE.

One cool thing is that actor Daniel Kaluuya also scored a nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – again, Musical or Comedy. Sad and borderline ridiculous that Peele didn’t score nods as director OR screenwriter. For shame, Golden Globes.

What do you think of this news? Are you just glad Get Out got SOME love from this year’s Gloden Globes, or could you care less about awards season? Let us know below!

Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship; but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.

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Exclusive: Scream 2’s Jerry O’Connell and Kevin Williamson Talk Leaked Scripts and Different Killers!



Twenty years ago, Wes Craven’s Scream 2 managed to break box office records, opening with a domestic total of $39.2 million. Despite heavy competition against Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies, the film went on to gross over $172 million worldwideDue to the runaway success of the original film, anticipation for its sequel was high and come December 12th, 1997, audiences flocked to the theatre to follow the continued exploits of traumatized survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell); Woodsboro’s sheepish deputy Dewey (David Arquette); and his media-obsessed flame Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).

While few would argue that any of the Scream sequels could top the original, Scream 2 comes pretty close; the series only consists of four films, so there’s not much room for competition (with each having their own strengths) — but Scream 2 has consistently rated as a fan favorite. The film takes the self-referential commentary to the next level with its dissection of horror sequels, as well as the introduction of the film-within-a-film Stab (based on the events of Scream).

Aside from its pop culture references, part of the appeal of the Scream franchise is that it isn’t your typical slasher series. Rather groundbreaking at the time, the films incorporate elements from all genres — horror, comedy, action, drama — all wrapped within an Agatha Christie-esque ‘whodunit?’ mystery thriller. The guessing game as to who is behind the Ghostface mask is what makes these films all the more enjoyable.

One of the more notorious killers of the series is Scream 2‘s Debbie Salt. Initially thought to be a pesky reporter looking to ride on Gale Weathers’ coattails… In a Friday the 13th-inspired(?) twist, it is revealed that Debbie Salt is none other than Mrs. Loomis — the mother of the previous film’s killer — seeking revenge on Sidney and Gale for the murder of her son. While Mrs. Loomis was always set to orchestrate the events at Windsor College… rather than “freaky Tarantino film student” Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), one particular draft implies the enraged mother was intended to have a different set of accomplices…

In response to the hype for Scream 2, major precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the film’s ending. Despite this, it is well known that a draft of the script was leaked onto the internet before production began. In the 2011 documentary Still Screaming, the late Wes Craven remarked, “[Writer] Kevin [Williamson] sent us, I think, something like thirty pages by email. We read it, it was fabulous — it was on the internet, in its entirety, that night.” 

“One of the endings was definitely posted on the internet,” added producer Marianne Magdalena. Indeed! There is an online version of the script which features none other than Sidney’s boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) as the killers.

On whether he was aware of this, Jerry O’Connell tells us, “I didn’t know about that until after — like years after. Somebody told me — I think at a comic con or something… because we never got the ending. When we first got the script, I got everything but the last twenty pages. I think they rewrote the ending — I’m not sure if it got leaked or what, but the script had a weird non-copyable pattern on it that you couldn’t make xerox copies of it.

It’s funny. Revisiting the film, I guess I could see that but Timothy Olyphant was so good in that — in that turn — it was sort of fun to see him do that.”

Initially believing this script to be real — with the change in killers an effort to combat the script’s leak — we caught up with writer Kevin Williamson to discuss this purported draft. As he revealed, this script (which has been circulating the web since 1997) isn’t real at all — but it’s not entirely fake either. “The Hallie and Derek ending was a dummy draft. At the time the script was written, the studio was determined to keep the plot details under wraps.

They were worried the killer’s identity would be leaked, so we wrote several endings. Three in all, if memory serves, and when actors and potential crew members asked to read the script, we would send the script with the dummy ending.”  

As it turns out, Mickey was always intended to be Mrs. Loomis’ accomplice… but one can’t help but ponder the idea of different killers. “There was even a fake ending where Dewey was the killer. They existed as a decoy and nothing more. Extreme measures, but we really wanted to keep the killer’s identity a secret!”

The details of this particular script are rather interesting — it reads fairly similar to the final film, but contains a few extra scenes and reversed character roles. As in the film, Sidney is taken into protective custody after Randy’s death — but in this version, Hallie does not accompany her; she and Joel had to Windsor’s film department to retrieve footage for her film class. After watching Mickey fall prey during an attack with Ghostface, Sidney heads for the campus theatre, closely followed by Gale — who has just survived her own encounter with the killer; Dewey, on the other hand, not so much…

Inside the theatre, Sidney finds the bodies of Joel, Hallie, and Dewey — all strung up in the same manner as Derek in the film. Terrified, she tries to escape but comes across Cotton Weary — his arms and legs bound by tape. She attempts to help before Derek enters, revealing himself to be the killer.

This would have been an odd choice to consider — the Derek we know in the film is a genuinely likable character. Considering her poor taste in previous boyfriends, Derek as an innocent adds warmth to Sidney’s story (she would carry his gifted fraternity letters in Scream 3). But in this script, he’s totally whacked in the head…

The revelation scene follows closely to the final version. Derek begins taunting Sidney as she contemplates whether or not to unbind Cotton. Knowing that her boyfriend couldn’t have acted alone, Sidney fears Cotton might be his accomplice… until one of the nearby bodies springs to life. Hallie emerges from behind, grabs Sidney, and cackles.

Personally, I would’ve loved to have seen Elise Neal as the Ghostface killer… In the final film, when Dewey considers this, he notes, “Serial killers are typically white males,” to which Randy retorts, “But that’s why it’s perfect! It’s sort of against the rules, but not really!”

According to this script, Derek and Hallie had met on a horror movie chat board. Both serial killer fanatics, the two had forged a relationship and initiated themselves into Sidney’s life. O’Connell’s response? “That’s hilarious. My own relationship with Elise is still great. It’s super fun to see her career — everyone’s career — do well after that. I’ve really stayed in touch with Elise over the years and that would’ve been a lot of fun. She’s a great actress.”

The motive isn’t particularly fleshed out. Like Mickey, neither were preoccupied with being apprehended for the crimes. The only goal was to reap the rewards(?) of a high-profile media trial. Soon after, Mrs. Loomis arrives with Gale at gunpoint. She proceeds to shoot her helpful but worthless sidekicks, revealing she intends to frame Cotton Weary for the murders — the same man who was erroneously charged with the murder of Sidney’s mother.

Unbeknownst to Mrs. Loomis, Cotton has managed to free himself from his ties and lunges at the crazed woman, knife in hand. He repeatedly stabs her until the madness ceases. But Cotton has truly considered Mrs. Loomis’ words; he stabs Gale and tosses her body into the theatre’s orchestra pit. And with that, we now have Scream 2‘s pseudo-fourth(!) killer…

If we were to consider this version, having Sidney’s boyfriend serve as the killer again might’ve proved repetitive… but in turn, might’ve also served as a greater red herring — one wouldn’t have expected Kevin Williamson to tread down that road again. McConnell is equally dismissive of the possibility:

“No, I mean, I love that final ending. It’s a little disturbing — spoiler alert, everybody — to see a hole get blown through my chest. It was thrilling, sort of like an iconic ending — and a lot of people argue that the sequel was just as good as the first one. So it’s sort of fun to be a part of that whole crucifixtion ending… It’s fun to be a part of an iconic death scene. Between that and Piranha, I’m doing pretty well in the horror world.

But yeah, I would’ve had fun playing the killer! But I’m not here to tell Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven what they should be doing with their stories… If they felt I was dying at the end, then that was it, I was dying at the end!”

In any case, had this draft come to fruition, it would’ve been notable for featuring not two… not three… but four(!) killers, as well as the first (and so far only) African-American killer. Diversity? I don’t know… but I still say Elise Neal would’ve killed in that role — literally.

In honor of the 20th anniversary, O’Connell also reminisced on the film’s success, saying, “I think it was the first film that really set the tone — so a lot of praise has to go to that first film — and it was a combination of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. Wes — God rest his soul — was just such a cool cat. And one of the most confident, kind, nice – one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. Literally, every time I walk on a set, I really say a small prayer for him because he was the best. The best. And I think it was just him and Williamson getting together – it just made for a great team.

Also, it was a really fun, young cast. We had a lot of fun off set, we had a lot of fun on set… Liev Schreiber (Cotton Weary) was there to goof around with everyone as well. It was just… everything fell into place.

Big props have to also go to a guy named Richard Potter, who’s sort of an unsung hero of it. He worked at Dimension at the time and he had a lot to do with the story — I believe he was the Dimension executive on the project. He had a lot to do with everything as well, so Richard Potter was a dude that was really elementary. And also Julie Plec [Wes Craven’s assistant].

I know Richard had a lot to do with Scream and the decisions — the first film, the second film, the third film — he and Julie Plec were the real sort of advocates for the whole Scream world.

I love Scream 2 and anytime anybody wants to talk about it? It’s a real favorite of mine. I’m really proud of the film.” 

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