After a solid response for Ted Geoghegan’s directorial debut, We Are Still Here (review), the cast was in a great mood as we sat down with them at the historic (that means haunted) Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin during SXSW.
Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Lisa Marie, Monte Markham and Andrew Sensenig all joined in for a fun discussion about the film and the possibility of delving even further into its dense story in the future.
DC: Did everyone have fun at the premiere last night? I know it was a little weird with Fast & Furious 7 playing next door. I’m glad that there weren’t explosions rattling the walls.
Larry Fessenden: That would’ve been a big problem. It was fine. In fact, it got our indie ire up.
DC: Why are you going to wait in line to see that when it’s about to come out?
Lisa Marie: Why would you go see it anyway? I wouldn’t.
LF: Yeah when there are all these undiscovered gems potentially hiding in every crevice of the city and instead you’re going to that.
DC: Barbara, have you been enjoying your return to genre in recent years. You’re really a part of this new family of filmmakers that grew up with you and they’re wanting you to be in their films.
Barbara Crampton: It’s been a shockingly wonderful experience that I never thought I’d have. I moved up to San Francisco with my husband a number of years ago and had two kids back to back. I left L.A. and I thought I would have to live in L.A. to make movies and to get jobs and audition for things. One day I got a call from my agent and I said I was surprised he still had my number because he hadn’t called me and I hadn’t phoned him in 6 or 7 years. He said you’ve just been offered a part in a film called You’re Next and I said, ‘Who are these people? Do they want me to come in and audition?’ He’s like, ‘No, they just want to offer you the part. It’s a horror movie and they need a Mom.’ I read the script and I thought it was great and I said yes so I have Simon Barrett to blame and thank for having be back in this new horror renaissance that we seem to be having. And, yes, since that movie came out people have been calling me who grew up watching some of these movies I was in with Stuart Gordon, so it’s really wonderful to now come back and work with some of these young filmmakers.
Ted [Geoghegan] I actually met on You’re Next because he was the publicist and now he’s making movies. So, it’s been really fun to coming back and working with this new crop of horror directors.
Technically, you and Larry were in You’re Next together but now you get to appear on screen together. How was it working with each other? Have you heard anything so far from fans that are excited to see you together?
BC: We haven’t really seen too many people because the movie played last night at midnight and we were so tired we went back to our hotels and then got up this morning to meet you!
Andrew Sensenig: There’s been a lot on Twitter, lots and lots of tweets like ‘Fessenden and Crampton on screen together, my dream come true!’
DC: It is a bizarre dream, admittedly.
AS: Someone who needs to get help.
DC: Has it been rewarding to see Ted being this vision to the screen after knowing him awhile in different circumstances.
LF: It was startling when he said, ‘Do you want to be in my film?’ and that MPI was behind it and behind the financing. I just thought that’s great because they do actually write a check and a movie gets made. I know he worked for them as a publicist and when I heard Travis [Stevens] was involved I was excited because he’s got his own cred going on. It happened really fast. I know Barbara was talking to him for a much longer time about the ramp up into the film but with me it was like, ‘Do you want to do this in a month?’ I’ve known Ted socially and semi-professionally all these years and he produced my segment of ABC’s of Death 2 along with Mark Walkow.
DC: Is it ever hard to take off your directing hat and just act? I’m sure you gave a lot of advice.
LF: I gave advice. To anyone who will listen! My whole time doing movies, I love the Chekhov idea that one day you’re the lead and the next day you’re carrying the spear. It’s an old tradition from theatre that we’re really all in this group together and we’ve got to pitch in wherever’s appropriate. Of course you make suggestions but you know your place, you’re there to support the vision and you’re there to support the guy who’s got the vision. I feel this very strongly, it’s how I run my company. Sometimes I’m editing special effects for Ti West when he made a movie back in the old days. I was happy to cut in the bat shots and he was a young kid and telling me what to do and that was the role at that time.
DC: Sure, for The Roost.
LF: Then, of course, other times (with German accent) I expect people to listen to me! Ted, Travis Stevens and the DP formed this great group of very smart, enthusiastic, efficient creators and then we were able to fill in from there.
Andrew Sensenig: The three of those always seemed to have each other’s back which was very refreshing to see on the set. They shared ideas, they would get to a point where they might have different visions but they’d say well two out of three wins. When Ted said he really wanted to go one direction they all backed him.
DC: Monte, I know you’ve returned to acting again too. Why did you decide to come back after being in the documentary world for so long?
Monte Markham: Well, I’ve done it.
DC: You’ve been around the world enough at this point.
MM: I can’t even begin to describe to you. People say to write a book but I don’t want to spend the next ten years of my life reliving what I’ve just done in the last five. A&E was a good time but it devolved into Dog the Bounty Hunter and just crap. It’s cable. I had a great time. But then, I called my agent and he said, ‘You’re alive!’ It’s a whole different world, everyone I know now is either dead or out of the business or running it. This is a thrill for me, last night was great.
DC: Well, I know, Lisa, it’s kind of fun for you I would think in this role to let out your hippie side and do a look that people aren’t accustomed to seeing you in.
Lisa Marie: Yeah, I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I mean, I still, I’m loving it now.
DC: Was it maybe the most blood you’ve been around in a while?
LM: Oh, I’ve been around blood. It’s so much about this cast and crew and it was really fun from the beginning and it continues to be. It’s like this gift because it doesn’t always happen when things just come together in a magical way. On this project I really felt that.
DC: I could see a prequel possibly happening. Could does you see yourselves involved playing different roles perhaps like in “American Horror Story”?
LF: That’s a crazy good idea, throw that at the producers. That would be fun to do so that there would be a connection especially if this movie does continue to inspire.
AS: There were many conversations about what really went on thirty years ago. There’s a story about how things started but we still don’t really know what happened.
DC: I want to see the credits sequence again.
LF: Maybe this is revealing too much but that was originally at the beginning of the film as you can well imagine. It sets something up with these evocative, old-timey images. I think to Ted’s credit he wanted there to be a lot of questions in play and the audience is really trying to catch up. Of course, the people don’t really know what’s going on either. Ted insists that you could write a detailed account of what happened if you watch the movie a couple of times.
In the cold, winter fields of New England, there sits a house that wakes up every 30 years and demands a sacrifice.