“Holliston” returns for its expanded second season on FEARnet tomorrow night (June 4th) at 10PM. As I did last year, I headed up to the Ariescope offices for an extended chat with writer/creator Adam Green and star Joe Lynch about the show.
Being that these guys also have plenty of other projects in the works in addition to “Holliston”, we naturally touch on a few of them including Hatchet III, Everly, Knights Of Badassdom and Digging Up The Marrow.
Season two will feature 10 episodes. Genre guest stars joining this year include Bill Moseley(Texas Chainsaw), Kane Hodder (Hatchet III), Sid Haig (The Lords of Salem), David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London), Danielle Harris (Halloween IV and V), Bailee Madison (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) and James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy).
So what would you say set this season apart from the last one? Are they still making Shinpads?
Lynch: We’ve gone from making a trailer to Shinpads to full blown, “we’re making Shinpads.”
Green: Well, we’re making a short film. The trailer was a bust after John Landis’ reaction. So now we need to make a short film. The first two episodes of the season you actually see us trying to make it, but what’s interesting is that the rest of the season isn’t so much about watching us on set trying to make it. It’s more about what the process is doing to the characters personally, and how it’s affecting their personal lives.
I think the biggest difference between Season 1 and Season 2 is that now we’re at a typical half hour length. Season 1, because it was 6 episodes we just made them however long. And Season 1 has been re-cut to make those 6 episodes into 10 episodes now, but frankly they play better the way they were. Now they’re broken up into “to be continuers” and they weren’t designed that way.
There’s a confidence level this season that we didn’t have last season. Because what we were doing was so unique and outside of the box we were nervous.
Lynch: It was uncharted territory for everybody. Not so much for the girls, but it was the four of us together, it was the first show on FearNet, there was so much at stake on both creative and business levels. And when we stepped on the set for Season 2 the nervousness was gone. Any time that you’re confident you feel much more creative. The onscreen difference is absolutely there. Even behind the scenes, everyone moved more quickly. We all knew what needed to be done from the shoot structure to the business structure to the chemistry and all of the beats we needed to hit for the actors. All of the guesswork was taken out, and it was so freeing.
If they’re making the short of Shinpads throughout the season does that put their relationship to the test? Because movies can destroy relationships.
Green: There’s definitely some things our characters disagree on and at one point we veer off course. It’s definitely our commentary on Hollywood. At one point Joe gets the idea, “why don’t we just do a found footage movie? Anyone can do it and they make a ton of money.” I think that’s actually Episode 3, and we shot that on location.
Lynch: In Holliston, yeah. We didn’t do LA for Holliston which I’d say is practically impossible unless you went to Barstow or something.
Green: From a writing standpoint it was different too. In Season 1 we didn’t know if people were going to accept the show. We knew that the front line was going to be horror fans, would they watch a sitcom? Especially the emotional stuff, which is the core of the show. You can have all kinds of horror references but unless you have characters people care about you don’t have a series. And Season 1 we struggled a lot, we’d have an emotional moment and be unsure of it. But then the Season aired and instantly the feedback was so positive, and it was mainly about the emotional stuff. That’s what people wrote to us about. And we were getting anywhere from 4-10 page personal letters from people who were sharing what their dreams are. And either they gave up, or weren’t going to give up, or had given up but were now going to go back at it. We got a ton of relationship stuff. That’s what touched people. A lot of them felt like thank you letters, not fan letters. They were “thank you’s” for portraying horror fans as real people.
With the Christmas special especially, that was very sentimental. It was a tearjerker for most people. We’d start showing people that, and they’d cry. And we went back and forth with the network on that, “this isn’t what we expected.” But that’s far and away everyone’s favorite episode thus far, and that gave us the confidence to go ahead. And Season 2 has some heartfelt, sweet moments and the finale definitely builds to a boil. From a writing standpoint and acting standpoint we were just so much more confident because we knew we had an audience and we knew what they liked.
Lynch: The best thing I’ve ever learned about acting or directing is to just find the truth. Now, when you’re in a sitcom situation it’s kind of a heightened truth, especially with the rhythms that his show has, but we all wanted to make sure we had the heart of the show intact so if there was any kind of allowance for emotional moments, we had it. As long as the characters have those few real moments peppered throughout the season, and there’s a lot of them in a good way, I think the audience will just relate to us more.
Green: The show can become what it’s supposed to be now and go for as long as it can possibly go. If the show became all about, “okay, what horror references are we going to make. How could we put a gore gag in here?” That’s not a show, that’s just references. I mean how many movies have you seen where you’re thinking, “I’m supposed to like this because they’re referencing something I like?” I see that all the time, like with Comic-Con. Everyone’s after the Comic-Con crowd thinking, “if we reference these 5 things, they’ll like it.” It’s not true.
This is a personal show for me, so a lot of times when people say they don’t like the show it feels like they’re saying, “I don’t like your life.” But Kane Hodder has an episode this season [that's very personal]. Corri lets it slip that Kane Hodder is in her hospital and apparently after the Rock and Shock convention at the end of Season 1, he tried to kill himself.
That’s pretty dark.
Lynch: Just you wait.
Green: We ask why he tried to kill himself and it was because a fan brought him a copy of Freddy Vs. Jason to sign and he’s been in delusional denial that that movie never happened. He’s convinced that they’re going to call any day now asking for him to do it.
Lynch: He’s waiting for his phone call.
Green: When I pitched this to him I thought he would never say yes. Because this is some personal sh*t. He’s been very vocal that he still doesn’t know why he was replaced, I’d be f*cking gutted too. “You brought Robert Englund back, what am I?” But the fact that he was willing to do it, he movies in with us and we have to make Shin-Pads and keep him from killing himself, he plays this pathetic broken guy who needs to sleep in bed and cuddle with me at night. He’s making fun of a very real situation, but he’s taking it back and owning it.
With Hatchet 3 how was it handing over directing duties to BJ McDonnell?
Green: It’s so different than the typical situation. If you look at the 80′s franchises where whoever started it passed the torch and moved on, I didn’t go anywhere. I wrote it, I cast it, I was there in Louisiana the whole time and there were only 1 and 1/2 nights where I wasn’t on set. I was there during editing and had final cut, it wasn’t like I had to step way and watched what happened.
Lynch: Kind of like a showrunner.
Green: And that’s not to discredit BJ at all, it was the same crew and it was the same people. It’s not as cut and dry as watching someone else do it. I’m really proud of the movie, it’s by far the biggest of the three. Just the scope of it is [huge]. We don’t need to explain Victor Crowley this time, we don’t need to tell the real story about where he came from. It’s all there so now it just sort of goes. There’s awesome sh*t in it.
In terms of directing your next feature, where are you on that?
Green: I’m in the middle of Digging Up The Marrow, which started as a documentary.
It was still a documentary last time we spoke about it, I think.
Green: Yeah, I met Alex Pardee the artist and I loved his stuff. And I’d never seen that before where people talk about the monsters they’ve created and where these things come from. Somehow, it just started going towards fans and the weird sh*t some of them send. And Alex told me this story about a guy who waited in line at a signing. Typically Alex draws something for each fan instead of just signing something and, as he’s drawing the guy is like, “I want to give you something too.” And the guy lifts up his shirt and just slices his chest open with a straight razor. There’s f*cking blood squirting everywhere and the ambulance had to come. The guy just thought he would like that.
And I had a guy write to me once, telling me that monsters were real and he knows where they are, and if I just go with him he’ll show me. So [all this stuff fed into it] and it started to become a fictional movie in a way. It’s become much more of a traditional movie.
And Joe, now that I’ve seen Knights Of Badassdom…
Lynch: You saw something.
Have you heard anything since that screening?
Lynch: Nothing. I’ve heard nothing. Ever since that screening it’s been silence except I think the company sent out an investor update saying “everything’s going great.” I would hope at the end of the day the right version gets out there.
Do you have your own cut ready to go?
Lynch: It hasn’t been screened ever, except for a couple of friends and family.
And you’re shooting Everly in a couple of months?
Lynch: I should be out of the country by mid June because we have to start shooting this summer, which I love. I love that it’s “Go! Go! Go!” In beautiful Belgrade, Serbia.
And it’s just in one room, right? So you’re headed there for a longer schedule?
Lynch: Absolutely. Of course I’d love to shoot it here and go home every night, but when it comes down to the money it’s right. I could shoot it in LA for 12 days, in Vancouver for 24 days, Bangkok for 26 days or Serbia for 30 days.
I know how to make the movie, I have it shot in my head. It’s so ambitious, I need to be able to create that sense of atmosphere. I’ve been watching so many different ways of shooting a room, everything from 1408 to The Disappearance Of Alice Creed. Rio Bravo, The Assault On Precint 13, anything Michael Mann’s done. There’s just a sense of space that you have to take into account and I love the 235:1 anamorphic frame. It just screams “cinema” to me.
The room has a huge arc too, it starts out looking one way and by the end of it it looks completely different. It’s going to be a pure cinema experience.
And the fact that we have Salma Hayek, we’re truly blessed. She’s obviously very exotic, she’s not the girl next door. And it makes it more of a global experience because the film is set in a Japanese Yakuza culture and you have this Latina woman who is in this relationship with this Japanese man, and it’s a different dynamic. I’ve done a lot of research on Yakuza culture and the sh*t that could go down because of that, interracial relationships are not really accepted in that culture, it’s exciting to see all of the possibilities.