CS Interview: Alan Ruck talks horror-comedy Freaky, plus exclusive clip!
To celebrate the film’s forthcoming arrival on Blu-ray and DVD, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with star Alan Ruck to discuss his first proper exploration of big-screen horror with Christopher Landon’s Freaky, as well as given an exclusive clip exploring his character, which can be viewed in the player below!
ComingSoon.net: Freaky is such a fun ride from start to finish, I truly had a blast with it, but what about the project really drew you to want to be a part of it?
Alan Ruck: I truly want to try to do every genre before I take the dirt nap, I just want to do every sort of picture. I have done a Western many years ago. I would do that again maybe one more time. I’ve always wanted to do horror movies. I love them. When they’re great, they’re great. Another thing too is that this was offered to me and I tend to take offers very seriously. You know, when you don’t have to chase something down or jump through hoops to get it, it’s pretty sweet. So this just came my way and Mr. Landon just kind of reached out and said, “Would you like to do this?” I was like, “Vince Vaughn is going to play a 16 year old girl? Yeah, I’m in.” That was pretty much it. I mean, it didn’t take too much convincing, you know? But I really do sort of want to try to do every sort of genre of motion picture that there is before I hang up my spurs, you know?
CS: So then, what was it like then for you getting to finally dip your toes in the horror genre?
AR: I got sawed in half, man, it was great [laughs]. I mean, that was another selling point. It was like, you play this asshole shop teacher and you get sawed in half with a giant circular saw. I was like, I’m down. It was great fun. I think that Chris did a really impressive juggling act balancing the horror and the comedy. I really enjoyed it and I mean, Vince is so talented and everybody involve was just terrific. I was very pleased with the way it came out. I really enjoyed it.
CS: What was it also like for you, getting to the heart of your character, since he is really just a super unsympathetic character?
AR: Well, we all know people like that, don’t we? So it’s many, many years ago that I was in high school, but I had a certain high school teacher who was just, you know, he was a sphincter. He was a genuine – well, my late father would’ve called him a horse’s ass. That’s what he was. He was a horse’s ass. And he was this kind of guy, you know, who’s not very macho, but thinks he really is super macho and is just a fool. He’s just mean, a mean spirited person. So, I kind of drew on the memories of that guy and hopefully that worked out.
CS: Did you and Kathryn get to sort of practice some of your scenes together off camera before they started rolling?
AR: Not too much. I mean, really it depends on what I’m shooting, but unless I have like a huge monologue or something, and if that’s the case, then I know that thing backwards and forwards before I ever go to work. You know, I can do it in my sleep. But I actually don’t prefer to rehearse too much because I think if everybody knows their lines and then the director, you adjust the blocking and the director says, “What if you do this? What if you come over here?” And then you rehearse a little bit to just get the mechanics of it, I like to try to capture it when we’re shooting it because I personally feel that you can lose it pretty quickly if you do it too many times. I mean, I know there’s a lot of actors out there that love to do lots of takes and they kind of rehearse on film. I’m not one of them. So no, we didn’t rehearse, we just you know, rehearsed with Chris just right before we would shoot it and set up the lights and then you know, we’d go in about an hour later and knock it out.
CS: Did you get the chance to improvise little moments here and there at all?
AR: Not too much on this one, it was pretty clear cut. I’m working on Succession right now for HBO and we improvise a fair bit on that and I enjoy working that way, but working on Freaky was pretty clear. It was just like, this is what it is. Come in, be this guy, say these words, be mean to the poor girl and get cut in two. [Laughs]
CS: What was it like getting to see the practical effect done on set?
AR: I mean, you know, I had to go in for a face cast and the special effects guy and I are about the same size, so almost exactly, so he used a body cast of himself for my body and I mean, we’re like twins, really. I wasn’t there the night that they sawed the dummy in half, but I was sent some video, which I enjoyed very much. It’s great. I mean, you know, when somebody like that, when some horrible, sort of despicable person meets an unsavory end, everybody kind of rejoices a little bit, don’t they? I mean, every audience member is just kind of like, yes, another asshole has left the planet. You know, so it was pretty satisfying.
CS: What was it also like for you learning about it coming to Beyond Fest, where they were doing it at the drive-in up at the Mission Tiki here in LA?
AR: I actually didn’t know anything about that. I’ve been in New York here since October, so I don’t know when they did that. Maybe someone would say something about it once, but I’ve just been kind of off in my own little world here and I didn’t know. So they did it at the drive-in, right?
CS: Yeah, in October.
AR: Yeah, I mean, I think that happened right as I was getting to New Jersey here to work on Succession so that kind of fell under my radar. But I think it’s great, I mean, I love drive-in movies. I went to them when I was a teenager and in college and I kind of wish they’d make a comeback, and maybe they will because of COVID, I don’t know. But I think that must’ve been a really fun way to watch this movie.
CS: I was there for it and yeah, it was quite the awesome experience. What was it then like for you upon the film’s wide release to see all the praise coming from both critics and audiences for it?
AR: I was really pleased and I thought it was well deserved because again, I mean, I think that Jason Blum is a really smart guy, the way he makes movies, and I think Chris is a real talent. And like I said, he threaded the needle on this thing. He really pulled off quite the magic trick, I feel. So I just think, you know, we go to the movies for all different kinds of reasons and there’s all different kinds of movies that fit every particular need. And just sometimes, you need some escapist stuff and you need something that’s going to scare the crap out of you and hand you a real good laugh. And when you have somebody like Vince Vaughn, who has the ability to make you believe that he’s a 16-year-old girl trapped in this giant serial murderer’s body, that’s pretty special. So I think all the praise is well deserved and I’m always happy to see it.
CS: So now that you’ve sort of explored the horror genre with slashers, what subgenre would you like to explore next in the world of horror?
AR: I’ll go anywhere. I’ll be the guy that turns into a demon. I’ll be the guy that just gets brutally murdered. I don’t care. It’s just a lot of fun. I don’t really know off the top of my head where I would go, but if there was a vampire movie or a werewolf movie or anything, ghosts, I mean, my poor wife, she can’t handle this stuff at all. A few years ago I worked on a television version of The Exorcist and I came home and I said, “Honey, I got this job on the TV version of The Exorcist.” And she said, “You can’t do it. You are not allowed to bring that energy into this house.” I said, “Well, Geena Davis is going to star in it,” and she said, “Oh hell, you’ve got to do it now.” But my wife doesn’t handle the devil, ghosts, any of that stuff. She doesn’t do too well, but I would do any of that stuff in a heartbeat. I just really dig it. I mean, The Exorcist is one of my favorite movies, obviously. There’s a movie years and years ago with George C. Scott. It’s probably the late 70s called The Changeling, not to be confused with the Angelina Jolie movie Changeling, but it was George C. Scott and he lives in this house that’s haunted by the ghost of a little boy. I mean, that movie made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, you know? I love stuff like that. I’d really be thrilled to be involved in anything classy like that.
CS: Would you say that The Changeling is your favorite horror movie? Or would you give that to a different movie?
AR: I think The Exorcist and The Changeling together, those two, I mean, it’s apples and oranges for me. They’re both spectacular movies.
CS: Even though your character met his demise in this movie, there have been talks about possibly doing a sequel or continuing Millie’s story. What would you like to see, if the story were to continue on from this movie?
AR: Well, whatever they throw at her, I’m sure she’ll come out on top, you know? She’s our plucky heroine. I don’t know. I’m not a writer per se, so right off the top of my head, I couldn’t tell you which way they should go with it. But that’s interesting, that’d be fun for her, for Kathryn. That would be a fun thing to do, to revisit that character. And all her friends, like her best buddies, they were really funny and good. You just never doubted them for a minute, you know? You just believed that they were those kids. So I hope they do it. I hope they bring all those kids back.
BONUS FEATURES on BLU-RAY, DVD and Digital:
- Deleted Scenes
- The Butcher Lends a Hand
- Charlene Hears a Rumor
- Late for the Party
- Split Personalities: Millie vs. The Butcher – Two opposing characters. One killer chemistry! Go behind-the-scenes to see how Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton worked together to bring these two very different characters to life and how they created distinct personal traits for both. This piece will focus on the magnetism between Vaughn and Newton, and how that chemistry raised the stakes for two characters stuck in such a strange situation.
- Crafting the Kills – This feature will take viewers into the “Wood Shop” set to see how all of the various elements and departments come together to create an extraordinary kill that fans will talk about for years to come. We will also discuss the inspiration behind this bilateral bisection, what makes it both fun and horrifying, and how it is different from anything else you have seen in other horror films.
- Christopher Landon’s Brand of Horror – Blending horror and comedy is a difficult task that not many can achieve, but Christopher Landon has proven time and time again that he is uniquely skilled at it. Freaky is no different. Learn how Christopher’s vision brought new energy to the concept and elevated the story, all while creating a fun and proficient working environment. This behind-the-scenes look at how he weaves humor and gore together will give fans an intimate understanding of why a Christopher Landon film is a genre of its own.
- Final Girl Reframed – The concept of a “Final Girl” is nothing new in the horror genre. However, Millie isn’t your typical Final Girl. We take a closer look at all the ways Freaky takes your genre expectations and smashes them
- Feature Commentary with Co-writer/Director Christopher Landon
From the deliciously debased mind of writer-director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, the Paranormal Activity franchise) comes a pitch-black horror-comedy about a slasher, a senior, and the brutal truth about high school.
In Freaky (formerly titled as Body Swap), Seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler is just trying to survive the bloodthirsty halls of Blissfield High and the cruelty of the popular crowd. But when she becomes the newest target of The Butcher, her town’s infamous serial killer, her senior year becomes the least of her worries. When The Butcher’s mystical ancient dagger causes him and Millie to wake up in each other’s bodies, Millie learns that she has just 24 hours to get her body back before the switch becomes permanent and she’s trapped in the form of a middle-aged maniac forever. The only problem is she now looks like a towering psychopath who’s the target of a city-wide manhunt while The Butcher looks like her and has brought his appetite for carnage to Homecoming. With some help from her friends—ultra-woke Nyla, ultra-fabulous Joshua and her crush Booker —Millie races against the clock to reverse the curse while The Butcher discovers that having a female teen body is the perfect cover for a little Homecoming killing spree.
Freaky is led by Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies, The Society, Blockers) and Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, True Detective). It will also feature Celeste O’Connor (Selah and the Spades), Misha Osherovich (The Goldfinch), Uriah Shelton (Enter the Warriors Gate) Alan Ruck (Succession), Katie Finneran (Why Women Kill), and Dana Drori (High Fidelity series).
The film is directed by Christopher Landon, who co-wrote the script with Michael Kennedy. It is produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum with Couper Samuelson and Jeanette Volturno set as executive producers.
The horror-comedy is available on digital platforms now and hits shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on February 9!