EXCL: Children of the Corn’s Malachai Speaks

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Newman on the 2009 remake

When actor Daniel Newman was first exposed to the Fritz Kiersch-directed Children of the Corn, he, like many of us upon our initial viewing of the ’84 Stephen King adaptation, was appropriately very young. “It was on TV, I didn’t see the whole thing then and I don’t remember much now other than my mom turning it off. That’s all it takes to get a kid infatuated with something, their parents telling them, No,” laughs Newman, calling in to Shock and “surrounded by corn” on the set of Donald Borchers’ remake.

Written by Borchers – a producer on the original film – this update also stars David Anders (Heroes), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) and Preston Bailey (Dexter) playing the influential boy preacher Isaac. Newman has taken the role of Isaac’s right-hand man Malachai and the Georgia native tells us he expressed an immediate interest in a playing part from the forbidden cinematic fruit of his youth when he heard a remake was being fired up.

“I just got really excited about getting into Malachai’s head,” he says. “Knowing this movie was going to be closer to King’s vision, I knew it was going to be a bit of task. I went into the audition in character. I covered myself in blood, rolled around in dirt, didn’t wash my hair for days. I was driving around in L.A., windows up in the heat with no air conditioning and sweating my balls off. When I walked into the audition, I was a terrifying sight.”

Already accustomed to divulging as little info about the new version as possible, Newman assures us the redux is scarier and more serious than its predecessor, not to mention the string of pathetic sequels that followed. “The first one was scary, but this takes away any campy elements that fell into it.” Does that include the final act’s treatment of He Who Walks Behind the Rows? Newman howls as the question knowing full well no one was too thrilled about Kiersch’s interpretation of the film’s hyped and worshipped evil entity. “Our film has a different ending, I like this ending much better. It’s more of an adult conclusion and more satisfying.”

And what changes are in store for Malachai? For starters, Newman is pleased to report, “he’s much more developed in this film. The original is more about the sadistic glances he gave, and there will be plenty of those, but here it’s a much more fleshed-out role.” The same could be said about the character’s dynamic with Isaac. “The whole challenge between Isaac and Malachai is a lot stronger in this one. You didn’t really see that until the end of the original. I mean, pretty much Malachai is worshipping Isaac through the whole thing, but in this one, he’s got more of a leadership role and has a gang of…well, I shouldn’t say much more.”

Of his co-star, eight-year-old Preston Bailey, Newman says, “That kid is terrifying. He’s so young and to see him handle such a big part is amazing. He’s really on top of it.”

“I think the hardcore fans are going to love it,” he continues. “I’m not worried about the changes a bit. Donald is definitely not censoring [the violence], but he’s doing it in a very stylized way. Psychological, not just gory. There’s plenty of blood and guts, but he’s handling it with a cool approach. It’s the best of both worlds and he’s not throwing anything away.”

Before he wraps our chat, he teases one scene he’s looking forward to shooting that’s not in the original and features “an intense crazy scene with fireballs and stuff.” Until then, it’s all about taking it “day by day,” getting lost in the corn rows at night (shooting is taking place in Iowa) and awaiting a call from original Malachai actor Courtney Gains. “We’ve been playing phone tag. I just want to pick his brain, ask him some deep questions about the character.”

Perhaps Newman can inquire him about a cameo possibility? “It’s very possible but fans should look out for a lot of other interesting moments.”

Children of the Corn is locked for a theatrical release internationally. It will debut domestically on the Sci-Fi Channel sometime in 2009.

Source: Ryan Rotten