Exclusive: Fran Kranz Talks Cabin in the Woods and More
This week Lionsgate released Drew Goddard’s genre-bending horror comedy The Cabin in the Woods (review) on both DVD and Blu-ray, and to mark the occasion, Dread Central checked in with the flick’s lovable stoner Marty, played by Fran Kranz.
Kranz is no stranger to the world of both co-writers on the project, Goddard and Joss Whedon, as he was a regular player on the short-lived series “Dollhouse” and also stars as Claudio in Whedon’s upcoming film adaptation of the classic William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing.
During our interview with Kranz, we spoke to him about his experiences working on Cabin in the Woods, how much fun it was for him to play such an unlikely hero and much more.
SPOILER ALERT: The “much more” referred to above involves heading into spoiler territory; for those of you who haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods yet, rectify that immediately, and THEN come back and check out our interview with Kranz.
Dread Central: So how incredible was it reading the script for The Cabin in the Woods for the very first time; I know how it all plays out onscreen, but I would imagine that would be a pretty wild script to read through if you knew nothing about it going in.
Fran Kranz: I honestly could not even believe it when I read it- it just blew my mind being a horror fan myself. I knew nothing about the story or anything at all going into it, and I just thought it was one of the best scripts I had ever read. It transcended the genre.
The thing was, I still didn’t have the part at the time so it was excruciating for me because I knew how good this movie was going to be and I had to be a part of it; if I didn’t get a part, I would have been heartbroken. Thankfully, I landed Marty and just loved that character so much. I think what Drew managed to do with my character – and all the characters really – is completely genius and so refreshing.
Dread Central: Let’s talk about Marty then and how he fits into the Cabin in the Woods universe; he’s such a great and unexpected hero in this movie, which I totally loved because he’s the guy you expect to get picked off first because he’s the “typical stoner.” Was everything for the character written in the script, or did you and Drew work on him together after you came on board?
Fran Kranz: Marty was all in the script; I didn’t have to do anything to him but bring him to life. A role like that is a gift that doesn’t come around very often. Even if he would have ended up being the kind of guy you expect him to be, I still would have been sold on that guy regardless. Everything else was a bonus. I loved being able to indulge in all the comedic stuff and play this decoy of sorts because it really throws people off.
I also loved that I got to switch things up in Cabin and play the action hero once everything began to happen to our group; that was pretty cool because I don’t usually get those types of roles. Marty was just a perfect character to me all-around, and the fact that he gets to have this classic heroic story arc is amazing. It’s still hard for me to believe.
Dread Central: I thought you guys all had amazing chemistry together; a lot of times you see a group of kids in a horror movie and you just don’t buy that they’re friends. Did you all get together to rehearse before shooting Cabin in the Woods? How did you guys come together as a cast and find that group chemistry to make these characters believable and engaging?
Fran Kranz: I think it was because we all came at these roles with a natural approach; it was all we could really do because if we had gone with the campy route and spent most of our time winking into the camera, Cabin in the Woods would have been a spoof then, and that’s not what this movie is at all. Drew told us from the very start, ‘I’ll take care of the funny stuff and leave the rest up to you.’ But our whole group really got along well, which only elevated things, and it was a wonderful experience to be a part of.
All the credit, though, is really due to Drew and Joss; they say that 90 percent of directing is casting, and that’s so true for Cabin in the Woods.
Dread Central: The third act of Cabin in the Woods was such a trip to watch- can you talk about your experiences filming those scenes? Was it as chaotic to film as it appeared in the movie?
Fran Kranz: You know, it was so ambitious- so ambitious of Drew to do what he does in this movie. Plus that kind of action wasn’t anything I was used to so I had to come prepared, serious and ready for the challenge at hand because I knew that those scenes were going to push us all so hard.
Drew was really great, too; he was so prepared and really just let loose with the blood and the carnage- it’s just so great. I love that he actually delivers an Army of Nightmares in this movie. Has anyone ever done that before? No way. Plus that whole sequence is unforgettable. I really think that the last 20 minutes of Cabin really feels like it takes place on the Death Star or something- it’s that epic (laughs). But speaking as a fan, I really think that the elevator bay scene will be one of those scenes that will have horror fans talking for a very long time. Or at least I hope so (laughs).
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