Staff member, Larry Dwyer had the chance to catch up with Adam Green and talk about Holliston Season 2 and Hatchet 3.
Larry Dwyer: Hey Adam. I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing Holliston season one and I instantly fell in love with it. How did the series come about?
Adam Green: Thanks Larry! Well, it started about 13 years ago. I was working at a low budget cable station in Boston making really bad commercials and trying to break out of there and do my own thing. I would steal their equipment to make my own stuff; it’s pretty much exactly like what goes on in the show with Adam and Joe making horrible commercials for Lance Rockett and using his equipment on the side to do their own thing. With that equipment, I made Coffee & Donuts for about $400. We never thought that it would actually come out that well or that anyone would even want it, we just wanted to see if we could make a movie and next thing we knew, Disney/Touchstone bought it and turned it into a sitcom for the UPN network. Next thing I knew, UPN became the WB Network and all of the development was lost and they held the rights for five years. That happens a lot in this business but that, in particular, was really painful because it was the rights to my life and I couldn’t touch it. Well, over the course of the next five years, I made a name for myself with Hatchet, Spiral and Frozen and eventually the rights reverted back to me.
Larry: So once you got the rights back?
Adam: Around that same time Peter Block who produced Frozen was telling me that he’d just been made the president of FEARnet. Like everyone else, I asked him why he’s going to run a website…haha. He told me that it’s a TV network and he told me his vision for the network and that he had to figure out what his first original show was going to be. He said he did not want to do what everybody expected which was a cheap Tales from the Crypt knock-off. He wanted to do something that was going to make everyone say, “What?” So I said how about a sitcom? So I basically pitched him the general idea for Coffee & Donuts except I made it much closer to real life. In the movie, the guys wanted to be radio DJ’s but for the show I said what if they wanted to make horror films? I told him who the cast was and that we had been preparing for years for this and he just said yes. Then came the wait to see how people were gonna react because it’s really never been done before.
Larry: One thing I love about the show is that you can really tell that you guys are friends in real-life; the chemistry is fantastic. How do you know them?
Adam: I met Joe [Lynch] when I first made Hatchet and he made Wrong Turn 2. The horror world is pretty small so you end up crossing paths with everyone at festivals and conventions and he and I became friends very quickly. We have the exact same manic work ethic, same sense of humor and same family values. We don’t really hang out with the rest of the industry which has kind of ticked off some people over the years because they look at it like we think we’re too cool for everybody but actually we don’t feel like we’re cool enough. We don’t go to a lot of red carpet events and stuff but it’s not like we’re reclusive, we’d just rather be with our families and friends that we grew up with than get involved in that “Hollywood” thing. Laura [Ortiz] auditioned for me for a romantic comedy that I was making that wound up falling apart and we hit it off and she was actually a bridesmaid in my wedding. And Corri [English] and I first met when we worked together on a clay-mation series I did called Winter Tales back in 2007 and we became really good friends. Everybody is slightly exaggerated on the show but it’s still really who everyone is. That’s why I think the chemistry seems so real. The comfort level that everyone has with each other is really extraordinary and the fact that we’re all playing ourselves there really wasn’t that learning curve where we were all trying to figure out our characters. It’s funny; we really expected to be slaughtered in the reviews because Joe and I aren’t supposed to be actors. I kept telling everyone, “You realize that no matter how good we are, everyone’s going to say we suck and should just keep directing, right?”, but it didn’t happen. So we’re really just playing ourselves which is where I’m really comfortable as an actor. I don’t think that Gary Oldman has to start looking over his shoulder like I’m gonna start taking parts from him or anything. We have to be really comfortable with each other; especially this season because there’s so much sex and nudity!
Adam: I mean nudity for us, it’s a sitcom on TV so obviously the audience doesn’t see it but we have to be naked in front of each other all the time doing some pretty gross things so it helps when you’re already great friends.
Larry: Not everyone can sit naked in a bathtub with their best friend for three or four hours…
Adam: Try three or four DAYS!
Adam: That bathtub scene we had to shoot over the course of three or four days because Oderus [Urungus] was in it and he could only be there one day and Derek [Mears] was in it and he could only be there on a different day. It was torture! The water was fucking freezing and the AC was on and you had to stand up naked in front of everyone. It was awful!
Larry: Yeah but how awesome is it to get to work with your friends all day though?
Adam: I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to do that my whole life. Hatchet was such a success and to have your first movie do that well, I’ve really been able to just work at my own production company kind of outside of the Hollywood machine. I do a lot of writing and re-writes for movies and TV pilots and that’s really where you make money. On indie films, you try to take as small a salary as you can so that you can keep the money on the screen. I’ve been very lucky to have had some success in a very short period of time and I’ve always gotten to work with pretty much the same crew.
Larry: One of my favorite things to do while watching Holliston is to pause and look at all of the swag that you have on set; the toys, posters shirts, etc. Is it all your stuff?
Adam: Yeah. The toys and all of the stuff you see on set are what I call my “B team” of toys; the stuff that isn’t that important to me. My “A team” stuff is in my house and my offices but all of the other stuff that I didn’t really care about that was just sitting in storage is what we used on the set. It’s hard because if you focus on an item for too long, then you need to purchase the rights to use it. If it’s just in the background, you can get away with it. A big issue with season one is that we needed movie posters and t-shirts and stuff but whoever we went to wanted money for it because they didn’t know what the show was or who the network was. So that’s why we ended up using Hatchet and Chillerama because it was all my stuff. We actually hated that about the show because it was everywhere you looked. In season two there’s a lot less of my stuff because now people are coming to us asking if we can put their stuff in the apartment!
Larry: How would you describe the show to someone who’s never seen it?
Adam: We tried to make a Friends for horror fans. I had no idea if people were gonna accept it or not but they did. And not only did they accept it but they really embraced it. A lot of people think they have horror fans figured out; they think that all we like are blood, guts and disturbing imagery. They forget that we’re real people and we get our hearts broken and we get our dreams crushed maybe even more than other people. I felt that horror fans would like this and relate to it and so did Peter Block, but I think we all kind of expected only horror fans to love it. The fan mail was like 70% on the Adam/Corri relationship and people weighing in on it with their own personal stories. It’s been very unique from anything else I’ve ever done. We get full-on thank you letters and very personal stories and it’s really been a joy to all of us. We read every single letter that we get; every cast member does.
Larry: What’s in store for season two?
Adam: Season two is so fucking fun! Adam and Joe come to the reality that their trailer for Shinpads is probably not going to work out so they have to come up with a scheme for how to get the movie made. There’s a ton of awesome guest stars: Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, David Naughton, Sid Haig, etc. Bailee Madison from Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is in an episode and you just have to watch it to find out how this 12 year old fits in. There’s an animated episode, a found-footage episode. There are ten episodes this season not counting the Christmas Special which airs on 12/18. The Christmas Special is pretty emotional and I don’t want to spoil anything but the last ten minutes was pretty rough for the audiences that we tested it on but I think that’s good. It’s good to challenge the audience once in a while so they don’t always have you figured out.
Larry: Besides Holliston season two, Hatchet 3 is coming out soon.
Adam: From what I’m hearing it will be complete in January and will be released this spring. They’re trying to coordinate with all of the other major companies so that they all release it at around the same time in an effort to combat the piracy that goes on when you release a movie at different times in different countries.
Larry: Kane Hodder and Derek Mears; two Jason Voorhees’ in the same movie! That’s a first, right?
Adam: Yeah it is! Derek was actually almost in Hatchet 2 but his schedule for Predators left him unable to do it. I was really glad we could get him this time. As a fanboy and a geek myself, I think that seeing the two of them actually square off is great and being on set to see it the first time was so awesome! I think it was cool for Derek too since he’s a huge fan of Kane’s.
Larry: What made you decide to hand your director’s hat to BJ McDonnell for part three?
Adam: Well, I’d already done it twice and I felt like it was enough. I was very happy to pass the torch but I wanted it to be someone from within “the family”. I didn’t want some new guy stepping in who hasn’t been there trying to put their spin on Victor Crowley. Hatchet has a very loyal, hardcore audience and we wanted to give them what they want which is not a watered down version or new spin on the series. So they let me pick who I wanted and I picked BJ who was the camera operator on the first two and a bunch of my other films. As the camera operator he’s right next to me for every single thing so he knows my rhythms, he knows the cast, he knows the crew and everybody was excited about giving him this opportunity to do it.
Larry: You’re also working on something called Killer Pizza right now. What’s that?
Adam: It’s a project for 1492 Pictures which is Chris Columbus’ company. They picked me to write the script which is an adaptation of a children’s book called Killer Pizza. It’s a little bit like Monster Squad meets The Goonies meets Ghostbusters. It’s about these kids working together in a pizza place fighting monsters. Man, what amazing people to work for! Chris Columbus has been an idol of mine as a screenwriter since I was a kid based on Gremlins and Goonies. When you’re getting notes from someone who is remarkably better than you at your craft it’s so different than the usual thing which is having some suit who’s never made a movie in their life telling you what they think you need to do. It’s been such an enjoyable process. I absolutely adore the script and I’m praying to God that this happens because I think that we can use a new Monster Squad-type movie.
Larry: Sounds cool. You just mentioned some pretty classic movies, what are some of your favorites?
Adam: ET is the one that really got to me and made everything really start happening for me. The original Star Wars trilogy was a big one. John Carpenter’s Halloween is a huge favorite. That one is sort of like chicken soup to me; when I’m sick it’s what I want to lay down and watch; I know every word. To me, it’s the most perfect slasher film ever made. There was a review of Hatchet in the UK which said it was the “holy grail of slasher films” and they used it on their posters and I was so offended by it! I was like, but it’s not, Halloween is! Jurassic Park is definitely on that list; everything Spielberg has ever done; he’s such a hero of mine. Gremlins and Home Alone are on that list. It’s a pretty eclectic list; it’s not just all about horror movies.
Larry: Absolutely not. Most people think of me as the “horror guy” with my horror tattoos and the shirts I wear but my favorite movie of all-time is probably The Breakfast Club.
Adam: It’s a perfect movie!
Larry: It really is, right?
Adam: The dialogue cannot be better, the characters are perfect. It’s funny how some people think that if you like horror movies, you only like horror movies. And sadly, there are fans that are like that. If you bring up anything that isn’t horror, they shudder and it’s like, “dude, you’re missing out”. You can’t just have Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast every day, well, that’s a bad analogy because I do have Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast every day but you need to be able to appreciate other things. Circling back to why I didn’t direct Hatchet 3, it all goes back to the first Hatchet. When I made it, I didn’t know what would happen with the film but I knew what might happen with me. That’s why I worked so hard to do Spiral at the same time. It was very hard to make two completely different movies at the same time but I was very scared of just becoming “the slasher guy”; I love them but I don’t want to make them forever; I need to do other stuff.
Larry: Well put. If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Adam: It would be Steven Spielberg and I’ve almost had the opportunity a few times but it was in a group situation and I don’t want it to be like that. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with him, one-on-one as a film maker, to explain to him that everything I do is because of him. Before him it was Steven Tyler from Aerosmith who I finally got to meet a few months ago and I totally fucked it up.
Larry: Haha…How? What happened?
Adam: Steven was just on Robot Chicken and Seth Green, who is a very good friend of mine, brought me backstage to meet him at a concert since he knows I’m such a huge fan. I’m dying and can’t believe I’m going to meet him and I’d just seen Aerosmith for the 29th time and I got my chance to speak with him. He’s nice, warm and totally gives me his full attention; Seth tells him that it’s my 29th time seeing them and he’s like, “wow, that’s great! How did tonight compare to the rest?” Man, all I managed to say to him was, “I have a cat”. He was just like, “okay, great! Let’s get a picture”. He was totally trying to make me feel not embarrassed. I think I was trying to tell him that two of my cats are named Tyler and Perry but all I managed to get out was that I have a cat. So hopefully, if I ever get to meet Steven Spielberg, I don’t tell him that I have a cat.
Larry: Oh, man…that’s great and terrible all at the same time. Adam, thanks so much for your time today. Is there anything you’d like to add for our readers?
Adam: For anybody who has supported Holliston, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This show means the world to all of us who work on it. Our fans are so loyal and so passionate and that’s why we got a second season. The longer the show goes on, the better it’s going to get. I guarantee to everyone that the first three minutes of season two trumps all of season one. The Christmas Special is different; we listened to the fan’s feedback and this is what they want. I don’t want to spoil anything but some shit goes down with some relationships and there is a turn. Whether the turn is for good or for bad is yet to be decided but then once the actual season starts in June, it gets crazy. If you haven’t seen it, please give it a shot, I really think you’ll like it. Holliston is a lifelong process and it is my real life and my real friends on the screen and it means a ton when anyone tunes in, so thank you for that.