The always hilarious Rob Corddry has had one helluva year so far; he’s appeared in a ton of films like Warm Bodies, Pain & Gain and Rapture-Palooza, all while continuing work on his popular Adult Swim series “Children’s Hospital” and filming the just wrapped Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
His latest feature, the horror-themed comedy Hell Baby, finds the comedic actor in a new role = leading man – and during a recent press day, Dread Central chatted with Corddry about his experiences working on the film with co-writers/co-directors Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (both known best for “Reno 911!” and “The State”). Corddry also discussed the humor of Hell Baby, the challenges of working with a demon baby puppet as a co-star and much more.
Read on for the highlights from our exclusive interview with Corddry below, and look for more on Hell Baby all this week.
Dread Central: Great to speak with you again; you’ve had a great year and I really enjoyed Hell Baby. I enjoyed the fact that you guys weren’t making fun of anything either; the humor was all inherent to the situations.
Rob Corddry: Thanks so much for saying that; Hell Baby definitely isn’t a parody; we’re not making a Scary Movie type of movie at all. We wanted the humor to originate from the different mechanisms within the horror genre that fans inherently already think are funny. Our goal was never to make fun of horror movies but to hit some comedic beats that felt funny and did so in a fresh way that maybe you aren’t used to seeing these days. I appreciate you saying that because we never want fans thinking we set out to make fun of anything; we just wanted to have fun with it.
Dread Central: I know you’ve played roles like this before. but this time it seemed different because you were also the lead; can you talk a bit about your approach to playing up the humor while still trying to keep a straight face?
Rob Corddry: I’ve definitely played more of the ‘straight man’ before but this was different because my role acts more like a plot device than anything; I’m the voice of the audience in Hell Baby too so we kept that in mind while we were developing the character. My role was to call out the absurdity of the situation. When I’m watching horror movies, I can get easily distracted, especially when there’s a character who should have the common sense to leave a dangerous situation and they don’t. But that’s exactly what my character does in Hell Baby (laughs) so I had to figure out a way for the audience to understand just why I would stay, especially with all the weird crap happening around us in the house.
I also realized that there were going to be times where I was going to have to wink at the audience too – like the line about me being tired of being startled – where it would relax them a bit. I had to figure out a way to make that work, though, where it wouldn’t take them wholly out of the movie, but I think we found a good balance.
Dread Central: I also thought the absurdity of Leslie’s performance was really fun here; how was it working with her on Hell Baby?
Rob Corddry: I loved working with Leslie; most people don’t realize she’s a Esper-trained actress so she’s like completely way more legit than any of us (laughs). But yeah, she gets us I think- it’s almost like playing with the idiots for her probably (laughs). I had met her once before but that was about it; I was just really lucky in that she was so great to work with so we had really fantastic chemistry playing off of each other in Hell Baby.
Dread Central: Can you talk about collaborating with your directors too, Tom and Ben?
Rob Corddry: It was awesome; I’ve known both of those guys for a long time and I’ve been a fan of theirs for even longer. I think the only real difference between them is that Tom acts more so his directorial approach is a little different than Ben’s- it’s more actor focused. But “The State” was the only show I watched in college so to call them friends and colleagues is really thrilling for me. Then when they asked me to be the lead in Hell Baby, that was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment; I wish I had a time machine so I could tell myself in college just how awesomely everything worked out (laughs).
Dread Central: I would have to say that my favorite scene had to be the birth scene because it was so crazy and weird but also seemed really intricate; the demon baby puppet was also awesome too.
Rob Corddry: Oh, that thing was ridiculous (laughs).
Dread Central: Well of course it was, but I like the fact that it feels like a retro approach to a scene where a lot of people would have tried to go with a CGI demon baby and it would have looked ridiculous and terrible. Plus, I’m sure it made it easier to do that scene having an actual demon baby to play against.
Rob Corddry: Yeah, I’d say it is definitely easier to kill a practical baby than a cartoon baby- that’s for sure (laughs). I think having a practical demon baby for us to fight against gave us more of a technical approach to our performances in that scene, which was great. We used something like maybe six different babies, I think, and the one that didn’t have any mechanics to it was the one we’d throw around the room.
We all became puppeteers in a way because we’d have to help it do some of the work and make it all look somewhat realistic- as real as it can be when a demon baby is trying to rip out your throat (laughs). Even though it was a really challenging scene to shoot just because of all that blood and how hard it was to set up everything, it was still my favorite to make. They were really long days but everyone just kept each other going. We HAD to beat the demon baby (laughs).
Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Paul Scheer, and Rob Huebel star.
Millennium Entertainment will release Hell Baby (review) on Ultra VOD July 25th and in theaters and on premium VOD September 6th.
Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) are an expectant couple that moves into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans — a house with a deadly demonic curse. Things soon spiral out of control for Jack and Vanessa, as well as their-not-so-helpful neighbor F’Resnel (Keegan-Michael Key), Vanessa’s friendly psychiatrist (Michael Ian Black), Vanessa’s Wiccan sister, Marjorie (Riki Lindhome), and the detectives assigned to look into the rising body count (Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer). Only the Vatican’s elite exorcism team (Garant and Lennon) can save them — or can they?
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