A/V Room









House of Wax - Chad Michael Murray interview

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. House of Wax is a very scary film. What scares you in real life?
Spiders! I can’t help it. They’re not very pretty creatures. I’ve been bitten a couple of times and once I had my arm swell up like a baseball bat, which was cool because I could hit people with it.

Q. There’s a lot of screaming in the film too. What makes you scream?
I’m not much of a screamer! [Laughs.] Now people are going to think I’m talking about sex! Seriously, I’ll jump when I see a spider but I don’t think I’ll scream.

Q. Any scary experiences while you were filming?
Well, other than a bunch of spiders in Australia, our set burned down. That was pretty creepy and scary! And this was a whole different genre, a different type of film making than I’m used to and a character who’s a real departure for me from what I’m used to playing on my TV shows, One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls. This was my first horror film but I love them. And to work with Joel Silver, who is such an icon of a producer, was a real pleasure.

Q. What’s your favourite ever horror film?
Night of the Living Dead.

Q. And did you see the original House of Wax?
Yes, I love that eerie vibe it has with Vincent Price. Ours is very different. We took lots of liberties and were very creative. It’s a totally different film, very contemporary film and still very creepy. There’s just something scary about wax. And, of course, we capitalised on the gore.

Q. Did you use anyone real as inspiration for your character?
No, but I had to kind of come up him myself two months prior to filming. That creative time is my favorite part of the process. I love having time to do research and come up with a specific character and all the layers who make this guy who he is. He is quite insecure and I wanted to use that to show how conflicted he is.

Q. What was it like working with Paris Hilton?
Well, we sure had a good time in Australia. I didn’t start out with any expectations about her because I like to be my own judge, but she is a really sweet girl. And she was perfect for the role and very involved as an actress.
It was funny, though, to see how crazy people were about her in Australia. Even when she was kind of incognito in a dark wig and sunglasses, people would recognize her and it would suddenly turn into a frantic circus with people yelling and the paparazzi showing up. It was insane.
I think there was even a contest on the radio where you phoned in if you’d spotted Paris so everyone was chasing her all the time. She was so nice to people she met too, signing autographs for everyone.

Q. What do you do to get into the moment just before you start filming each day?
. I like to isolate myself a little bit and stay focused. So I spend most of my off-time listening to cool music on my Ipod. By nature, I’m a little bit of a loner and I don’t open up myself to people that easily when I meet them for the first time. I like my solitude, like my character in the film. I’ve been that way since I was young. I think it’s like a defensive device for me.

Q. The film is about mad guys turning real people into wax figures. Anyone you’d like to wax alive?
To be honest with you, the idea of being waxed creeps me out big time! I went to a wax museum before I went to Australia and it really scared me! So I never want to be waxed for sure and I certainly wouldn’t want to do it to anybody else.

Q. Lots of actors in horror films actually want to die because they think it’s cool to have a death scene. What about you?
Well I don’t want to give anything anyway. Either was fine with me - die or live to tell! I definitely get my arse kicked that’s for sure and I try to act in a believable way. In some of these films you’ll see a character get shot, then walk around smiling in the next scene. I tried to stay in character, even when I had a knife lodged in my leg.

Q. You’re a big teen idol. How do you deal with all your young female fans?
Oh, God. Well, I don’t think about it, that’s how I deal. I have a great group of family and friends who keep me grounded so I’m not jaded by all the attention around me. But I’m grateful for my success and to my fans. Between my wife and my family, I really keep my feet on the ground.

Q. Are you going to tell us you couldn’t get a girl when you were at school?
How did you know?!

Q. Oh, come on...
No, seriously, when I was young I couldn’t get a single date at school. I was not a popular kid when I was young. I think actually that the reason was that I grew up in a very wealthy community but my family wasn’t wealthy.
It was just my dad raising me and my four siblings. And so I would go to school with just a white T-shirt and jeans because that’s all we could afford. People wouldn’t really pay attention to me because they all were wearing the latest trendy outfit.
Also, my car was so old the bumper was tied on with a bungee cord. So I’m telling you, I really didn’t have any luck with girls or anybody. I didn’t fit in and was really treated like an outsider.

Q. So what’s it like now that you’re earning a very good living from acting?
Oh, I sure enjoy having more money but I spend it all on sports memorabilia and cars! I love cars; probably I didn’t have a cool one when I was growing up. But I don’t really care about money. I just love my job and I’m really blessed to have it.

Q. Did you learn anything acting-wise while you were making House of Wax?
I learn every day and I get a wrinkle every day. I’ve really learnt a lot from TV because you film so many more pages of script in TV than you do in film, so you learn about being focused and prepared all the time.
On movies it’s more about pacing and patience. You have to be in focus all the time for a very long time. We were in Australia for three months, which is quite some time, and you need to be all in shape, mentally and physically, for that whole time.

Q. How do you see your career going in the future?
Well, I don’t expect anything to be handed to me. I just work hard and focus on one project at a time. I just want to progress and be honest, and I don’t want to be a teen idol. I want to grow and do all kind of different roles. But I don’t have a specific master plan.
I want to show different sides of me and try challenging roles. In my next film I’m playing a really intense character and I’m nervous. It’s a film called Stealing Car which is kind of like ‘Good Will Hunting in prison’.

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