Adam Green (INTERVIEW)
A chilling yet sunny August morning in London and after an early start due to a train journey from Birmingham to London and into the second day of a certain festival called Frightfest, I’m welcomed at the doors of the Hampshire Hotel in awe that the Adam Green will be answering my questions in 20 minutes time.
Director of both Hatchet and its sequel as well as the not so Disney, Frozen, he’s here to support the third instalment of the Hatchet franchise which Adam’s taken a back seat to producing while also promoting his hit sitcom, Holliston, a show which is still to grow from the underground here in the UK.
So you’re down here with Hatchet 3 and Holliston and before we move onto those, how did Hatchet all begin?
I was 8 years old at summer camp and it was the worst experience ever. It was like a concentration camp because they had us cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors and I thought camp was gonna be like touching boobs and playing sports. They told us to stay away from this one cabin or else Hatchet face would get us and all the kids were scarred and I was totally into this shit so I was like “that’s awesome” wanting to know who is he? What’s he going to do and they didn’t have anything else to this story. So that night when we were going to sleep, all the kids in my cabin were like “Do you think Hatchet face will get us?” And I launched into this whole story about Victor Crowley and how he was this disfigured boy in this house with a fire and his Dad killed him by accident with a Hatchet and all the kids started crying and the councillors were going to send me home from camp. Then for years I kept saying I was going to make this film, the Victor Crowley movie, telling all the teachers and counsellors but they were saying “that’s not ever going to happen, why don’t you look at this.”
Then eventually it happened and made its premiered at the Tribeca film festival in New York and as much as the reviews were amazing, that’s not a horror festival. So when Alan Jones reached out to me and asked about playing it here that was my first time out of the country, I’d never even been on a plane that long, I was terrified. It played back in 2006 right at the Odeon next door, right after Pans Labyrinth and halfway through (the film) I started to shit my pants because I was like “How the fuck do you follow this?” But sure enough, it played like a concert, fans were screaming and yelling, it kind of felt like the screaming felt round the world because every festival round the world came calling for it after that. So for me, Frightfest has always been the home of Hatchet, which is no disrespect to Tribeca who’d broke it first but Hatchet 2 had it written in the contract to have its premiere here which is really hard to do to an American distributor.
Now Hatchet has played everywhere but this has been my only appearance because this is where he was born and today this is where he …. SPOILER ALERT
So there are kids in America thinking Victor Crowley is real (not that we’re saying he isn’t)?
I guess, which makes this really weird, I get some of the weirdest and craziest fan mail including paintings and little sculptures and I save all of it. (In 2009) this one guy had sent me a letter that said that Victor Crowley’s real and that I had fucked it all up and that I didn’t tell the story right. He (said) he had proof and photographs of a swamp and all this stuff and I was saying to my business partners, why don’t we get a camera and let’s go and have him prove it. Let’s follow this guy around, as obviously he can’t prove it but wouldn’t it be a funny short film. And they said, “or he’s going to get you out in the woods and rape you and murder you or something so don’t do that” so I didn’t but years later Alex Pardy who’s my favourite living artist had an art show called ‘Digging Up the Marrow’ and it was all about how this police detective had contacted him claiming that monsters were real and he knows where to find them and he had hired Alex to paint all these monsters. Obviously it was all made up but it got me thinking and for three years I’ve been filming this documentary called ‘Digging Up the Marrow’ about a crazy guy who sends me proof that monsters are real. So it’s this really weird movie as it is a real documentary and then it’s not, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not found footage, it’s not a mockumentary, I’m not even sure if it’s been done before but I just started editing that two weeks ago so hopefully next year I will be back with that. So it all started with a fan claiming Victor Crowley was real.
Origins of films can certainly come from anywhere. So, the third instalment despite still writing you’ve passed to BJ McDonnell, how do you feel he’s carried on Victor’s legacy?
Well, the great thing about BJ and the whole reason I picked him was that he shot the first two. You’ll even notice in ‘Hatchet 2’ I gave him his camera operating credit upfront on the opening titles which you never do but that’s how important he was to the whole team because every single thing that you saw in the first two movies, he was the one shooting behind the camera. When I had ‘Killer Pizza’ going (with Chris Columbus), I had ‘Holliston’ and I had already directed two ‘Hatchet’ movies which was enough but I also didn’t want to give up the greater control. Part of my deal with (the studio) Dark Sky was that if I was willing to put my name above the title, then I could pick the director.
I picked BJ because the cast and crew already knew him and he definitely knew how to do one of these. It wasn’t like a new director wasn’t going to come in and argue with me about stuff or “I’m going to make this my own.” Yet he did make it his own visually and he bought his own ideas to it but as I wrote the script literally every 30 pages I wrote I’d bring him in and let him know and talk about how it was going to be shot so he was so open to that collaboration. It worked really well and wasn’t like a sequel where I’m a producer with my name on the title, I was there every single day, editing every day and retained final cut of the movie. He did such a great job. We try and make these bigger and better than the last and as this was the third and final act, the scope is so much bigger. Fire and explosions, it’s much more action packed than the other ones and BJ’s an action guy so it all just makes sense and he did a really great job.
I really look forward to seeing it this afternoon
Forget what I said before when I may have spoiled it
Moving from that, we all know Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees is Victor Crowley dead?
For me, he’s dead. Even though I planned it, we filmed it, we shot it, it wasn’t until the first time I watched the movie, the first time from beginning to end, and then I realised in the last three minutes I was crying. Everyone around me is watching me and it was funny because they all felt like it was a personal moment cuz it’s like a child and they were like “just give him a moment”. I’m sat there watching it, happy as anything but at the same time it’s hard to say goodbye, for 30 years now, and the movie that launched my whole career which was another reason why I didn’t just want to pass the torch and make sure I saw it through to the end. But of course, you can always find a way to bring him back and I know as the movie is doing so well in America, there’s already phone calls askig, “I know you said but what about…” However, at this point I would probably stay out of it and let somebody else go for it. But I love the fact that the movies have consistently gotten better and you don’t usually see that and I think it’s because I always had an end game and everything was planned from the get go whereas with other movies, they’ll make the first one and have no fucking idea where they are going. So we’ll see but if somebody had the right idea and had the right team, it’s not just me, we have an entire crew that I don’t think they would come back again for another one as we feel like we should go out on a high note.
That’s pretty cool. You say that ‘Hatchet’ is your baby, you’ve come down (to Frightfest) with some sibling rivalry with your second baby, ‘Holliston’. Finally we get to see it in the UK and I don’t need to keep borrowing multi region DVD players to watch the season again. How’s that going, I know it’s doing pretty well in the states, are there any plans to distribute the series in the UK?
It’s hard to say. The first season was only six episodes and now we have 22 so now all we’re waiting for is the third season green light and then we’re going to start closing the deals. If you were a UK television network or even just a digital distributor if you don’t know it’s going to continue why do you really want it. We’ve had lots of interest, we’ve had some offers from the UK already which is great so I would imagine by early next year we should know. It’s been killing me, especially as this is my favourite place ever but I’m still happy that we get to show three episodes.
Well, I can say that I have seen the first season and in homage I’d just like to give you something… A copy of our movie, Shin Pads (a mirror to Adam and Joe’s fan affliction with John Landis in episode 6)
Brilliant! Well, the second season really blows the first season away and I really love the first season but with any sitcom you have to set up all the characters and relationships and have to get it going. One of my favourite shows of all time was Seinfeld and my dad was into it first and I would sit there and watch it with him while he’s laughing and I’m just like, “I don’t get it.” Yet once I had seen six or eight episodes it was then I knew the characters I found it really funny. The thing with ‘Holliston is when we do screens like this and we show three episodes we’ll mix up the order every time. So when you show them (in order) the first gets a good reception then the second a little bit more and by the third you get to speak to people and they are like, “you can tell that by the third one, you guys had really started to…” so that’s why we mixed the order, so you can get a feel for the characters.
So you build up your characters but the real question is, how long does it take for you to get into your role? Is it just Adam Green playing Adam Green?
That’s it! All of us, Joe, Corri, Laura and I, even Oderus. The only person who is actually acting is Dee which is funny because that’s what people think he is like but he’s nothing like that. People know the image of Twisted Sister and he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he never did and has always been a family man, and what he likes about that character is he gets to make fun. He knew a million of those guys when he was coming up. Meeting the lead singers of tribute bands telling him they were going to make it big and he’s like “you’re in a fuckin’ cover band dude.” So he’s having a lot of fun making fun of that whole image but he was a little on the fence at first. He was (telling me) “You’re a close personal friend, you know I’m nothing like this but there’s other people who think this is what I’m like. I’ve spent 20 years reinventing myself and now I’m going to do something that will make everybody think…” and I said “It wouldn’t be like that”. The first day of shooting, they were filming ‘Underworld 4’ next door and as Dee walked through someone shouted “Hey Dee, still rockin’ the make up” and he’s still so fuckin’ funny. But he’s the only one who plays someone who’s nothing like him. That’s why we kept all the same first names as all the characters are based on them. In real life Laura, Corri and Joe are my best friends and if this thing could go forever I would be so happy.
And the fact we can still continue making movies is great. I know fans were worried when we were making the second season does that mean this is it? No and the only reason we are holding on the third season is because Joe’s out in Serbia filming ‘Everly’, I’m just picking up ‘Digging Up the Marrow’, Dee has a broadway show and Corri has just had a baby. We’ve always got time for the movies. The movies come first.
Well there is certainly a great balance and before I leave there are just a few quickfire question I’m going to throw you way.
Victor Crowley or Mr Crowley?
Hatchet 2 or Wrong Turn 2?
Real Blood or Prop Blood?
Screamfest or Frightfest?
Adam or Joe?
GWAR or Twisted Sister?
Dreams or Nightmares?
Landis or Lando?
Shock and gore or Hide and peek?
Shock and gore
Directing or Acting?
Well, Adam, I can say you’ve passed with flying colours, it’s been a pleasure and look forward to both Holliston and Hatchet 3.