Exclusive: Ken Marino Talks Bad Milo and More
For his first starring role, I’m not sure if Ken Marino (“Party Down”, “The State”) necessarily wanted to be front and center in a film that requires him to crap out a vengeful ass demon, but sometimes fate intervenes and great pairings come to pass.
Known mostly for his smaller roles as the best friend or brother who’s always saying the worst thing imaginable, Marino is an actor who is revered among his fans, and at this point in his career, he’s gone mainstream enough to be just barely recognizable to the masses. With Bad Milo Marino manages to showcase his abilities as an actor, and it’s clear that the full range of his talent has not been fully mined as of yet. Who knew that this ridiculous, strangely cathartic movie would be the vehicle for him to finally branch out a little more? Dread Central caught up with the actor recently to talk about his first performance as a leading man.
Click here for our two Bad Milo reviews and more.
DC: We’ve split the atom, we’ve built skyscrapers, we’ve gone to the moon, we’ve done incredible things as a species. So with that in mind, what made you want to star in a movie about a shit monster?
KM: Well, I think you’ve answered your own question. We’ve done all these things to get us to this point. Now that we’ve achieved this goal, what happens next is beyond me. But if I can just do my small part in changing the world for the better, then so be it.
DC: Maybe Milo can go to the moon at some point.
KM: Maybe a Milo Number Two. That’s what I’m calling it, Bad Milo Number Two. Thank you.
DC: What audience do you imagine is going to respond the most to Milo? Because of the toilet humor, do you think it will appeal more to teens or maybe adults that are more stressed out in life?
KM: My feeling is if we can grab, say, 65-70% of the people in this world who take a shit, we’ve done our job.
DC: I thought you were going to say 65- to 70-year-olds for a second.
KM: Well, originally this was geared to 65- to 70-year-olds, but we changed the story from having to pee and pissing out a demon every ten minutes at night to just shitting out a demon.
DC: So this is obviously an amazing ensemble cast but you’re taking the lead here and the spotlight is firmly on you. Do you feel a new level of responsibility to the film in that respect? Do you hold Bad Milo in a higher regard because of that? Is it more special?
KM: Well, the joke answer is there’s Hollywood before my leading role in Bad Milo and then there’s how people will regard Hollywood after my leading role in Bad Milo - and there will be a difference. It’s like when James Dean came along. Just changed the game. It’s a game changer, let’s be honest.
Now, the real answer is I haven’t had the opportunity to be the main guy in a movie and I’m just excited to have this opportunity. When Mark Duplass called me and said, ‘Hey, I have this movie I think you would be great for,’ I got really excited because I love their movies and I was like, ‘Oh, this is really cool. It’s gonna be like this really kind of subtle, beautiful exploration of these characters and it’s going to be nuanced.’ And he said, ‘It’s an ass demon movie. It’s slightly different than our other movies,’ and I realized right away that actually that’s exactly the movie I should be doing. That’s exactly the type of movie I should be doing where I’m the lead of it.
DC: You do carry the film. Was it a lot more exhausting day-to-day? Obviously, you’re used to having a smaller part. Did you feel like you were working a lot harder every day?
KM: No, because most of the things I work on, TV shows and stuff like that, I’m on set whether I’m on camera or not because I’m producing it or I might be directing some of the episodes or I might be a writer on it. I’m on sets day-to-day a lot, and I like that; I enjoy that. But being in front of the camera, it was more exhausting because of the type of part it was. There was a lot of sitting on a toilet and straining and screaming and running and fighting a puppet. A lot of yelling and a lot of anguish and stuff like that. So that was more exhausting than I expected. I would go home and wake up the next day and I had aches all over my body and I was like, ‘What? What did I do? Oh right, I just sat on a toilet for four hours straining and kicking and convulsing my body.’
DC: Obviously, you’ve been on a lot of sets and you’ve had a long comedy career up to this point, but would you say that this is some of the most fun you’ve had on a set thus far? Was there any practical joke pulling? Do you do that kind of stuff? Any antics on the set?
KM: There weren’t a lot of practical jokes but it was a lot of fun to be on the set. Jacob Vaughan, who directed the movie, set a really great tone; and then they filled up the movie with just really wonderful, great comedic, and also just great, actors. So I got to work with Stephen Root, who I’ve always wanted to do stuff with, and Peter Stormare, and I knew Kumail [Nanjiani] so just being in scenes with him... it was very hard to keep a straight face with him because he’s super funny. And then Toby Huss, who’s one of the funniest improv guys in the world. So it was just everyday was like a treat and I got to act with all these awesome people.
DC: Yeah, I liked seeing Stephen Root as a hippie and you’re kind of playing the Milton character a little bit in this one.
KM: Yeah! Absolutely.
DC: So, Clark Kent has the phone booth to turn into Superman but Duncan has the outhouse.
KM: That’s right. This was the origin story so let’s hope that in Bad Milo Number Two now power corrupts and maybe Duncan starts using Milo in terrible, evil ways.
DC: But who is the sidekick, though? You or Milo?
KM: We’d have to work that out with contract negotiations and such. I have to believe I’d get top billing, but I don’t know; he’s very good. I applaud him for what he does and there wouldn’t be a Bad Milo without bad Milo so I recognize what he beings to the project, and if it has to be a two-hander and we’re both credited, that’s fine.
DC: For the horror fans out there that love to collect memorabilia, do you know if the puppet Milo is for sale and where he is now?
KM: No, but I will be selling piles of my own shit if anybody’s interested. (laughs)
DC: (laughing) So, did you ever get a chance to puppet Milo yourself in any of the scenes or behind the scenes? Did you ever get to mess around with the puppet?
KM: (laughing) Sorry. No, no, I didn’t. I mean, I got to play with him and there were times when the guys weren’t working him, because we were in the outhouse and stuff, where I was just kind of fighting him and manipulating his arms and his legs myself, so I got to do a little bit of that. It was really cool watching those guys. I don’t think I’m misrepresenting this but I might be... I don’t think they called it a puppet; they called it a character, and rightly so. They were very interested in making sure it emotionally reacted to anything that was going on in the scene in a real way. It was really impressive to watch these guys. Because when you start acting with it - there’s one guy working the facial expressions and there’s one guy working the arms and legs with these sticks and he’s in a black suit - they really were committed to making it as real as possible, making the reactions very organic, and it was fun doing scenes with Milo.
DC: Was Steve Zissis on the set with you doing the voice, or was that all done in post?
KM: I think the voice was done in post. Jacob Vaughan, he couldn’t help himself, he loved doing Milo’s voice so he would jump in and do Milo’s voice sometimes.
DC: You’ve been mentioning a sequel. So, you’d be up for a sequel and where do you think it could go? Up someone else’s ass the next time?
KM: You know, that would be cool. That would be really cool. If there’s a sequel, it could be the Son of Bad Milo. It could be, like I was saying, an origin story where now he’s going out and kind of being a vigilante. That’d be cool, like a Death Wish.
DC: I see that. Well, I talked with Gillian [Jacobs] earlier and she was up for kind of a Ms. Pacman-looking Mrs. Milo with a bow on her head.
KM: That’s right. So maybe there are two of them. Maybe she loses control a little bit? Honestly, it can go anywhere. I see this as a real big series for the Duplass brothers. They’re going to make ten to twenties of dollars on this.
DC: Well, good luck with the film, and I’ll definitely be looking for your own shit on eBay. I’ll be bidding on that.
KM: (laughs) I’ll give you a good deal, man!
Bad Milo is available now on VOD and squirms its way into theaters October 4. Keep your eyes on the Bad Milo Facebook page for updates.
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