The Cabin In The Woods - Drew Goddard interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
DREW Goddard talks about making The Cabin in the Woods with long-term collaborator Joss Whedon and why it’s a love letter to the horror genre.
He also talks about the enthusiasm of the fans’ response so far and why working with Steven Spielberg has been a dream come true.
Q. I read a quote from Ridley Scott recently, while promoting Prometheus, that it’s getting harder to scare people and it’s also getting harder to be totally original. You seem to have achieved both, so how easy was that for you?
Drew Goddard: Thank you! Well, it was not easy at all. It was really hard but it was really fun because we just love this movie and we love the genre. Cabin in the Woods is just a love letter to the genre. It certainly took effort but it was of the fun guide.
Q. How did you go about keeping the movie’s many secrets under wraps?
Drew Goddard: Well, it’s been interesting and this is the only time it’s happened in my career but I’ve noticed that people who watch the movie don’t want to spoil it for people. And I think that’s because they had so much fun [watching it] that they want to protect that experience for other people, which is nice. You can feel there’s a real social aspect to this of people not wanting to ruin it for other people. You hear a lot of ‘trust me, go see it’. And that’s nice because once I give it to the public, they’re free to do whatever they want. I can’t control people not spoiling it.
Q. Given the delay in getting the film released, following MGM’s financial woes, were you ever worried that the film might not see the light of day for all of its brilliance?
Drew Goddard: I never was. We got caught up in this bankruptcy that also delayed The Hobbit and James Bond so we were like: “OK, we’re all going to come out. They’re getting delayed too, so it’s fine.” This was just a red tape thing and we just had to untangle that. Once other studios started seeing our movie and bidding for it and flipping out, we knew it was going to work out.
Q. You’ve said you see the film as a way of putting the horror genre back on track after it went a little wayward amid all the torture porn?
Drew Goddard: Look, we love this genre and if we get other people to start making more horror films, that’s great for me. Certainly, there have been some bad films but there’s also been some great horror films in the last 10 years. I’m not sure. I do feel there’s certainly some films where you can feel that the directors don’t care about the genre and they don’t care about their characters. It’s almost like a cattle call… let’s put these kids out there and then slaughter them. You can feel that when it’s happening. So, we certainly wanted to explore that and do something different.
Q. How much did you collaborate with your cast? Was there room for improvisation within the moment?
Drew Goddard: Tone was so important to us in this movie that you need everyone on board and to feel the tone. It’s not necessarily about the words, it’s about what it is we‘re trying to do. And that’s sometimes the hardest part of the job because our tone is so different, it is not your average, every day tone, so it was crucial for me to make not just the actors but every crew member collaborators in every way because if you don’t, the tone gets totally skewed. So, you need everyone to feel invested and feel as though they are part of this thing so that we’re all on the same page.
Q. How has your relationship with Joss evolved over the years? Who’s harder on who?
Drew Goddard: We’re both hard on each other but so much of our relationship is about making the other person laugh and making the other person… we’re just really trying to surprise the other person. Usually, if I can surprise him or he can surprise me we know it’s good because we’ve both done this a long time and we’re our toughest critics. So, if we can get it past each other we know we’re onto something.
Q. How do you put out a casting call for a Merman and a Japanese Frog Girl?
Drew Goddard: [Laughs] Well, I don’t want to spoil anything but we definitely did not put out casting calls for those ones! We had to be much more subtle. Have you ever crawled around on your belly on the floor before? Let me see under your shirt…
Q. You’re now working with Steven Spielberg on Robopocalypse, so how are you enjoying that experience?
Drew Goddard: It’s definitely one of those dreams come true. It’s so rare that you meet your idols and they outdo your expectations but he is even better than I knew he could be. You realise why he’s the greatest filmmaker of all time. His passion and his enthusiasm and his genius come through with every word he says. It’s really been fun.
Q. Will you direct again? You’re working on Cloverfield 2 as well, aren’t you?
Drew Goddard: We haven’t announced anything official on that yet but it’s certainly something, in terms of directing, that I would love to do again.
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