I recently got the chance to talk to Matt Drake about his role in ‘The Cabin In The Woods’. Here, Matt talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Matt. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Cabin In The Woods’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The film revolves around five college students who head up to a remote cabin for a weekend of partying. They uncover some secrets about the cabin they’re staying in and…well, let’s just say they unlock the wrath of the Buckners. Of course being a Joss Whedon film, there’s a whole lot more to it then that, but people will have to go see the movie themselves to find out all the twists that occur and what the real plot is.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Judah Buckner, the youngest brother of a family of five “redneck torture” zombies. We aren’t your usual family – we adhere to a religion that worships pain. Before we became zombies, we would often brutally torture each other.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Since they were shooting in Vancouver, they cast the majority of the movie up here. My agent called and I remember her telling me she had a rather strange audition for me; there would be no lines, but since I was a zombie, they wanted me to prepare different types or “characters” of zombies. It was actually a lot of fun sauntering around the room as a zombie as Drew called out different traits to embody. Certainly not your usual audition, but a lot of fun.
I remember being called back and sitting down in front of Drew and being warned that the part would require a lot of prosthetics work and special effects makeup, potentially sitting still for up to 6 hours straight just having makeup done. Since I had never done anything that makeup-heavy before, they wanted to make sure I wasn’t claustrophobic or anything. I was all for it and thought it would be an awesome experience and a chance to play a character that could only really express himself through body language.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s different in that it starts out seemingly like one kind of movie, but by the end it’s a completely different kind of movie. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and even is a bit satirical of its own genre at times, but by the end you are fully engaged with the characters and privy to a number of significant twists which you have no idea are coming. For all the blood and gore, it’s also got some great lines and is certainly a comedy.
The film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams and Richard Jenkins – with Drew Goddard onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Working with both Drew and Joss was an awesome experience. Drew’s direction was always very organic – he allowed us (the Buckners) to really find the feel for the zombie’s movement during takes. He was always very clear about what motivated Judah to move the way he did. Working with Kristen, Chris, Anna, Fran, and Jesse was a great experience as well. They are all great people and it was a lot of fun working together and I look forward to being able to work with some of them again.
Let’s talk a bit about you Matt. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I was brought up working in theatre. By the age of 6, I had started to act in pantomimes and plays put on by a local theatre company my family was involved with. This went on for a few years until one day I remember asking my mom how other kids got to be on TV, and that I wanted to be in commercials. Within a few weeks I was sitting in front of an agent…and I guess the rest is history. I have always enjoyed the freedom of being able to embody and play characters that are completely different from myself. There’s something really therapeutic and grounding about it, and as I got older, I realized what a rush this was. Acting also helped me uncover my love for story-telling, which is why I have become passionate about directing as well.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Be yourself. Actors also usually hear “no” on the majority of their auditions rather than a “yes”. This means you must be able to take rejection well.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination is anywhere in the world I haven’t yet been to (I love travelling). But out of the countries I’ve traveled to… Spain or Greece comes to mind. They are both beautiful countries with some of the friendliest people I have ever met.
What is your favourite word?
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
2012 has been an awesome year for me so far. On top of acting, I have been directing for a number of years as well, and continue to do that. I am planning to move to LA in the summer to open up further opportunities for myself on both the directing and acting side. I also co-founded a software company called Setkick – (http://www.setkick.com) – earlier this year, which provides online and mobile-based production scheduling and management tools. If you’re an AD, producer or filmmaker, you can get started for free and must check it out on your next production. This is where the future is headed for production scheduling.
Thanks for the interview!