Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods is, I’m sure you’ve heard by now, a remarkable film. It’s fun, witty, gory, surprising and downright inspiring. Best of all, it doesn’t have to trade in its bona fides as a horror film to accomplish all of this. It’s 100% horror and 50% everything else.
Franz Kranz (also of “Dollhouse”) plays Marty in the film. At first Marty may seem like your typical stoner, but the characters in Goddard’s film stretch out far beyond their archetypal beginnings into something much deeper. They are everything that they seem, but they’re also very, very human.
I spoke with Fran earlier this week and we talked about his approach to the character, Cabin‘s delayed emergence into theaters – and the insane amount of blood in the film.
Head inside to check it out. The Cabin In The Woods opens April 13th.
You guys wrapped on this some time ago. It’s a great movie that just happened to get caught up in MGM’s financial situation. What’s it like knowing you’ve done something really special and then having to sit on it?
The key word is that I did know it was very special. I didn’t lose faith in it. The post-production of movies takes quite a while and I’ve done a lot of movies that haven’t seen the light of day, period. But I thought The Cabin In The Woods was the best movie I had ever been involved in. So I was confident that something had to work out for it. Even though maybe not everyone else was confident, I was. I thought everyone had done a really great job on set and I really thought it was just a matter of time, even if other people thought I was crazy. And because the movie has been kept so secret, people keep asking me “what’s so good about it?”
And the thing is that it’s not just a horror film. It goes so many places we haven’t seen before. It’s really original and kind of crazy and exciting. It’s insanely entertaining. And I think it did work out for the best because we [eventually] had Lionsgate and Lionsgate gets it. They’ve really been marketing it and they really brought it back to life. And now it’s coming out in a really wonderful way. It’s been worth the wait. But I’ve thought about it every day. I love this movie so much and I was really proud of my work. So I feel like it’s just this project that I’ve been involved with for three years that I really love.
And you’re sort of the audience’s access point to the film. While the movie doesn’t have its victims giving meta commentary like Scream does, your character seems to know that something’s up. You’re asking questions but you also have to play stoned the whole time.
It’s such a fun role, it’s such a gift of a role. I have to thank Joss and Drew because it’s in the writing. I got the tone very quickly. The script goes to places that even exceeded my highest expectations for those guys. It’s a balancing act, it’s tricky to navigate but more so for the writers than the actors. They made my job easy. I had a lot of fun with the stoner/slacker element of Marty. Any time you play inebriated or high you’re allowed to do some silly things and make some crazy choices, but he has the cutting commentary and he is very smart and very witty. Marty is sort of the only character who fits into that Scream meta commentary world. The other characters are very much in the horror movie. Of course, so is Marty but he does have those moments. And a lot of his philosophizing ends up being true.
But in terms of performance, I have to thank those guys. Joss and Drew. I really had a very quick instinct about who this guy was and it never strayed very far from that in the filming or rehearsal process. And I think Joss and Drew were happy with it and that was that. I feel lucky to have been given the role.
Can you relate to Marty’s worldview?
I don’t worry about the world as much as Marty does. But I get where the commentary is coming from. And I think a lot of it comes from Joss and Drew’s frustration with horror films and the conformity they were seeing there. I think there’s this idea that popular culture conforms and creates a cutout of what a person should be like. What their film and music and cultural tastes should be. And as much access to this stuff as there is, I think that young people are susceptible to a lot of marketing. Stuff they want to conform to, the stuff that marketing wants them to wear and buy. So I do understand that worldview, but I think there’s plenty of room in the world for people to be their own person.
I think Joss and Drew can speak to this better than I can. I see the movie as being a lot of fun, and I do understand that horror films were not as interesting as they could be. And we made an interesting horror film. The golden days of the original Evil Dead and Friday The 13th had kind of [waned]. I did like the first Saw but by the 4th or 5th, the genius had waned. I understand where Joss and Drew were coming from. And I think they speak through Marty. He is that kind of Whedon character where you hear the author’s voice.
The film can be violent and brutal, but it remains entertaining throughout. You care about the characters and what happens to them, but you’re still cheering. It’s a difficult tonal balance.
I’ve found it easy to sell the movie to people who are squeamish or faint of hear or who don’t normally go to horror films. And I don’t feel like I’m lying when I say, “yeah, but it’s also really funny.” But I do think it’s scary. And there’s also a lot of blood. We were second to The Shining in using the most blood. That’s what I was told. 200,000 gallons, that’s what I was told. It’s insane. There’s a lot of blood. So I do think the hardcore horror fans will be able to get a lot out of it and so will the faint of heart, because it’s also hilarious. And we were playing the terror, the horror and fear and exhaustion for real. And the subversion can be done for us by Drew and Joss.