Gillian Jacobs might not have the spotlight in Jacob Vaughan’s rectum horror opus Bad Milo, but that doesn’t mean she just fades into the background as a stereotypical wife.
In fact, she actually adds a much needed dimension as a woman who worries too much, a quality that only exacerbates her poor husband’s (Ken Marino) demonic indigestion. We spoke recently about her role in the film and how rewarding it was to work with some of the best comedic actors of this generation.
Click here for our two Bad Milo reviews and more.
DC: You’re not really a stranger to genre movies, but this is your first hybrid horror comedy, is that right?
GJ: Yeah, I would say so. Certainly my first movie with an anal demon.
DC: So, are you tired of all the comparisons to films like Gremlins and Ghoulies yet?
GJ: No! I feel like that’s exactly what we wanted to evoke, so any time it’s making you think of that, it means we’re doing our job correctly.
DC: I just think Bad Milo is kind of its own thing and it’s a little more current maybe in its themes about the everyday stresses of life and I think we could just let it stand on its own, can’t we?
GJ: Completely, but if we get people in the theater by saying the word Gremlins, then I’m happy about that. I’m not gonna turn down a viewer.
DC: Obviously, everyone expects this film to be full of toilet humor, but there’s an adult relationship and the stresses of marriage kind of make it more digestible to a more mature crowd. If this was just a stoner comedy, it wouldn’t have been as appealing to you I imagine.
GJ: Yes, completely, and I think that that was what was exciting about the fact that they had cast Ken Marino because I felt like he could do this grounded straight man performance at the center of a crazy movie in a way that was going to always be funny because he’s a deeply funny person. But also he is a great actor so he could pull that off, and it was very exciting to me that Jacob [Vaughan], the director, wanted to walk that line between the comedy of it and the grounded, you know, very, as you said, adult movie about coming to terms with your parents and your past and your own stresses and moving on with your life.
DC: What audience do you imagine is going to respond the most to Milo because of that kind of humor? Do you think it will appeal more to teens at first?
GJ: I hope that our beloved stoners find it and enjoy it as a midnight movie and I hope that they tell their friends, ‘Oh my god, it was actually, like, a good movie and it wasn’t so bad it’s good, it was good good.’ And then other people will give it a chance and hopefully word of mouth will spread from there and people who might be surprised by the fact that they enjoyed a movie about an anal demon will find themselves watching it.
DC: I like how you say ‘anal demon’; it seems a lot more politically correct.
GJ: (laughs) Rather than butt monster?
DC: So, are you ready for the horror fanbase and the diehard fans of “Community” to unite? It could be a perfect storm of geekdom.
GJ: Yeah, I definitely feel like if I can just slowly expand my bases, you know… I need to do a real sci-fi movie next and just completely take over the internet. That would be awesome.
DC: Well, The Box is pretty sci-fi…
GJ: The Box is pretty sci-fi! But do people remember that I was in The Box?
DC: I didn’t but it does say that on IMDB.
GJ: Well, yeah, maybe we need to feature that in this interview so that we can remind people that I also have a sci-fi background. I also was in an episode of “Fringe” in Season One and kidnapped a child.
DC: That’s great to have on your resume. So, there’s really this new comedy collective I feel like. A lot of the guys like Ken [Marino], obviously, have been around for a long time, but do you feel like you’re part of a movement of actors that are striving to do more with independent films or is it just the role that attracts you to something?
GJ: Well, obviously, I’ve been wanting to work with all of these people for a long time because they’re the people who make me laugh. The first time I ever met Ken actually I did a reading of Wet Hot American Summer up at the San Francisco Sketchfest and I read Elizabeth Banks’ part. It was Ken and Paul Rudd and Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black and Amy Poehler… a lot of people from the movie. So I sort of felt like I was stepping into one of my favorite movies, which is a truly surreal experience. To look back and realize that I’m now getting to work with a lot of these people that I’ve admired a long time is really gratifying. And I feel like they all have an interest in doing things that are very funny but also grounded, and that’s sort of what I like as well. So the fact that I’m getting to work with Rob Corddry and Ken and I just did a short film with Rob Huebel and a web series with people like Thomas Lennon and Nick Kroll and all these people. It’s not bad company to be in.
DC: Not at all. Were you maybe a little disappointed to not have more opportunities to participate in some of the horror scenes and action beats in Bad Milo or is this kind of project and size role perfect for you and what your schedule permitted? Obviously, you get in on the action a little bit at the end at least.
GJ: You know, it’s fun to get to play the different kinds of roles and I knew what this role was going in. But I felt like she had enough of a personality and character on her own that I didn’t feel like it was just a cardboard cutout wife character. And I knew that it would be so amazing to get a chance to work with Ken and sometimes you just want to be a part of a movie you think is going to be great even if it’s not necessarily the showiest role. So I feel like I do a pretty good job of understanding my piece in the puzzle of each project that I’m in and I was happy to play this part.
DC: Was it incredibly stressful to balance the TV show schedule and a film career simultaneously and has your training at Juilliard and that experience helped you be able to manage that stress so you don’t wind up having a Mrs. Milo on your hands?
GJ: (laughs) Sometimes it’s difficult because if there’s certain opportunities you’re not able to pursue because of the TV schedule. But then there are other things you really try to make work, like I did this short film called It’s Not You, It’s Me and we shot it on two weekends while I was shooting “Community”. So, you hopefully find a way to pack in the kind of projects that you want to do in addition to the TV schedule. But I’m so grateful for my job on “Community” that I’m never going to be resentful of the fact that it takes up a lot of my time because I feel like I’m lucky to be on such a good show. We shot thirteen episodes last season and we’re going to shoot thirteen this year, so it does leave a lot of time. I did five movies and a web series during our hiatus so I feel like I’ve gotten to do a lot of film recently.
DC: That sounds exhausting!
GJ: (laughs) I did not take a vacation this summer.
DC: Seriously. So, speaking of schedules, did you come on later in the shooting schedule on Bad Milo to film the majority of your scenes? Did it feel like a boys’ club at all if you did come in late?
GJ: I was not late, I may have finished a little early because I feel like “Community” started right as Milo was ending, so I think I may have been there more towards the beginning. But no, I felt like it was just a really fun set and Ken was making me laugh so hard and Kumail [Nanjiani] and Mary Kay [Place] were making me laugh so hard. I did not feel like I was excluded out of some kind of boys’ club.
DC: Maybe it was the Indian food that spurred everything on at the beginning, that’s a definite possibility. So, would you be up for having an anal gremlin of your own for the sequel if there is a sequel? I know Jacob Vaughan is interested in a possible follow-up. It would be a more ladylike ass monster, of course.
GJ: Ladylike sounds boring, I’d like a full-on butt demon just like Ken got to have. Maybe it’ll have like a bow or something as a concession to the fact that it’s a girl.
DC: Kind of like Mrs. Pacman!
GJ: (laughs) That’s exactly what I want.
Bad Milo is now available On Demand with a limited theatrical run beginning on October 4.
Keep your eyes on the Bad Milo Facebook page for updates.
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