What attracted you to the film? It’s quite a wild story line.
“Yes it is and I think that’s part of what attracted me to it. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now and I have to stay interested and find scripts that challenge me or give me an opportunity to try something different. So when I read the script to Mom and Dad I felt that the story was totally taboo. That everything about it was all wrong. That it was irreverent. That it was shocking. That no-one would really make the movie and if it did get made it could be a hit; a successful movie, because it’s the kind of storyline that combines menace, or horror, and comedy. I knew that for as horrible as what was going on in the film was that there would be some ability to have some comedy about it because it is so wrong and so shocking.”
In your mind what is the reason behind the parents turning on the kids?
“I just love that it was never explained. I like that which is enigmatic. I like that which raises more questions than answers and I like to keep it that way!”
You get to do an amazing scene where you get to smash up the pool table. How do you psych yourself up for scenes like that?
“I do find things whether in my own life history or in current events that get me to a place where I don’t have to act. When I did Joe (2013) I had to do a bar brawl scene and do something that would get me to that level of anger. I just read in the paper that day that a toddler had just fallen into a pit of wild dogs in a zoo and was eaten and mauled to death. I found that heart-breaking and angering.”
When it comes to your own personal taste as a consumer are you a horror movie fan?
“Yes, but not a horror movie fan like so many of them have become today in terms of gratuitous slash or violence. I don’t watch movies like that, they nauseate me. I don’t enjoy seeing women being tortured in cinema or young people being stabbed or any of that. I find it off-putting and rather nauseating. But I do like the charm of earlier horror films like the Hammer horror films that I grew up with. I do think there have been a couple of very creative horror films recently; Babadook, It Follows, The Witch. I do think you see a lot of imagination and a lot of talent in the construction of those films. And certainly the Japanese have always had a great style with ghost stories. I thought that the Ringu movie was far and away one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen. Certainly better than the American movie.”
What do you think is the scariest moment in cinema history?
“There have been many but I think that The Exorcist really took it to a whole new level. I think the final exorcism scene in that movie I would say would be the scariest film in cinema history.”
Why do you keep yourself so busy? Do you ever just want to put your feet up?
“I have multiple reasons for wanting to work. One of them is, to be blatantly honest, I can be a little self- destructive if I’m not focused on my job. I like the structure of work. It’s the difference between maybe having one bottle of wine versus two bottles of wine. So there is a routine and a structure to it. Also I have had to deal with mistakes of the past and I have had to dig myself up and out of a rabbit hole financially, but had to find movies that work for me in terms of performance but also like anybody else pay the bills. It is a job after all. And third, I enjoy it. I like to make movies. I enjoy performing. I like the power of film and performance and I like practicing. It’s kept me in touch with my craft and I feel I’m better now than I have ever been. I’ve got my emotions at my fingertips and I’ve got my process down.”
There’s a scene in Mom and Dad where you’re wearing a Misfits shirt? Are you a fan of that band?
“I wasn’t really familiar with the Misfits. It was something Brian (Taylor, director) wanted me to wear. A friend of mine Vince Neil of Motley Crew he saw the movie with me and he loved the movie. He was telling me that when he saw the Misfits shirt he said they were really scary when they were performing. of course that intrigued me and I am going to have to go and get the music and listen to it. I’m very eclectic. Primarily my base is classical music. I love Debussy and I love obviously Beethoven and the and Brahms. I love jazz. I’m a big Miles Davis fan. Prince was one of my heroes. I enjoy the music that Axel [Rose] has written. But in terms of more contemporary music, I’m not that up-to-date. I’m more old school. I like old R’n’B like The Spinners. It’s very eclectic.”
We are interviewing Miss Piggy and Kermit of the Muppets soon and I wondered if you had a question for them?
“Well, I always had a crush on Miss Piggy but I never knew why. Could you ask her why I had a crush on her?”
Shall I ask her on a date for you maybe?
“Er, possibly. That’d be fun.”