On Friday director Adam Wingard’s You’re Next arrives in theaters nationwide courtesy of Lionsgate, and during a recent press day for the film, Dread Central was thrilled to catch up with one of our all-time favorite actresses and You’re Next co-star, Barbara Crampton.
During our interview Crampton discussed her recent return to acting and how You’re Next was a catalyst in this new phase of her career, her experiences collaborating with Wingard and her onscreen family, and much more.
Check out our exclusive chat with Crampton below, and look for You’re Next in theaters this weekend!
Dread Central: How did you get involved with the project?
Barbara Crampton: I found myself in semi-retirement where I hadn’t done a movie in a while; I’ve been mainly focused on my family over the last few years since I stepped away from the industry. But then I got a call from my agent while I was away for a weekend and he said I had been offered a movie that was shooting in Missouri in 10 days and they wanted me for the mom role.
I couldn’t figure it out at first; I hadn’t acted in a while so I wasn’t sure just who these ‘people’ were but then he told me the filmmakers were huge fans of my classic horror movies, like Re-Animator, and so then I decided to read the entire script, right then and there. And I read it all on my iPhone, too, but that didn’t make it any less effective reading it that way. It was just funny, had a totally unexpected dynamic to it, and I think all the stuff about the family relationships really spoke to me. I just thought it would be a lot of fun.
Dread Central: So did you have any idea that first day on the set of You’re Next how awesome the movie you were about to make was going to turn out in the end (laughs)?
Barbara Crampton: Well, you always hope (laughs). No, I knew; I could tell from the first shot I saw that what Adam and Simon and all these guys were making was going to be something special. There was just this really special energy on that set, and I think the only other time I felt that kind of energy was when I was working on Re-Animator. Everyone on You’re Next was really on the top of their game, and seeing all these amazing performances two years after our premiere just feels like the cherry on top of everything else.
I really think Adam, Simon, Keith (Calder) and Jessica (Wu) were always so focused on creating a movie that felt bigger than our resources and they really succeeded. I know things got pretty intense after I wrapped just because they were under the gun to get the movie finished, but I think that only fueled them all more to really knock it out of the park. This is just one of those movies that you think will have this kind of momentum, and when it turns out that it does, it’s such a testament to all the talent involved. Sometimes movies really are magic and making You’re Next was definitely magical to me.
Dread Central: Part of what makes You’re Next work so well for me as a fan was the family relationships in this; how closely did you guys work together before shooting to establish that rapport?
Barbara Crampton: You know, all of that was really organic; most of the cast already knew each other or had worked together previously so Sharni, Wendy and I were the ‘newbies’ to the group. The camaraderie was immediately infused between all of us though, whether we were newbies or not; everyone was really so warm and engaging to be around that I think you see a lot of that in the family scenes, even if our family isn’t ‘perfect.’
A lot of that was also due to AJ; he made all of us feel like we were home when we were making You’re Next and that didn’t stop on set either. We’ve all kept up with each other and I think that really makes us all feel like we’ve been through something incredible together. I really love all these people; they’re all so creative and they inspire me.
Dread Central: And how was it collaborating with Adam?
Barbara Crampton: He was so great; one of Adam’s greatest gifts as a storyteller is that he is really great at setting a scene and just letting us go. I’m not really sure how he does it because things were always moving so quickly while we were shooting, but he always found time to make it work.
There was this time when the crew was setting up the lighting for a particularly gruesome and deeply sad scene in the entryway of our mansion set; the actors, myself included, were all working ourselves up for the mood and I was crying and trying to sustain my feeling until he said, ‘Action.’ It was taking a bit longer than anticipated so Adam grabbed the camera from our wonderful DP Andrew Droz Palermo and said, ‘This is too good to waste!’ and he began to get a few kamikaze close-ups from everyone. It seemed he was always watching us fervently and often shooting us from interesting angles at moments we didn’t expect; we had to be ‘always at the ready’ in case he saw something he liked.
Dread Central: Has doing films like You’re Next and The Lords of Salem revitalized your career then? And whatever happened to your scenes in Lords? I know the rest of the cast seemed almost as mystified as the rest of us were when we finally saw the final film.
Barbara Crampton: You know, I don’t know; I hope you’ll get to see some of it on the DVD release soon. I just don’t know though. But yes, I definitely feel like this is an entirely new chapter in my career, and I can only hope that You’re Next will continue to open doors for me and for the rest of the cast as well because they were all phenomenal and deserve it.
And I’ve done about four projects in the last two years and there are few more in development that will hopefully be happening soon. Everything in the last few years has just been wonderful and certainly not what I had anticipated at all when I was approached to do this movie several years ago. It’s been really incredible.
The Adam Wingard-directed You’re Next stars Nick Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Calvin Reeder, Larry Fessenden, Kate Lyn Sheil, Barbara Crampton, Rob Moran, and Sharni Vinson.
Read our You’re Next review here!
Look for it in theaters on August 23rd.
The Davison family comes under attack from a terrifying group of sadistic murderers during a family reunion getaway. Barricaded in their secluded vacation home, they fight off a barrage of axes, crossbows, and machetes from both inside and outside the house. However, the masked killers didn’t count on Erin (Vinson), the young girlfriend of the eldest Davison son whose mysterious past has made her very difficult to kill.
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