John Dies at the End will be released to theaters on Friday and we're wrapping up our series of interviews today with the stars of the film, Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes. Continue reading to learn about the casting process, working with Paul Giamatti, and their interest in returning to the John Dies universe.
How did you both get involved with John Dies at the End? Chase, with this being your first film, were you just at the right place at the right time?
Chase: I went to USC theater school and was ready to grind away, maybe move to Chicago, and do theater forever. Before that, I ended up going on a couple of the auditions. This was one of them and I just fell in love with it, and all my dreams came true. I got the job and it's the happiest I've ever been in my life.
The first time I went in to audition, I didn't think I was going to get a call back because the other guys looked more like slackers than me. I was pretty nervous, but Don [Coscarelli] was such a warm, nice guy and my nerves went away. I was able to really give it a shot and he had me come in a few more times. I knew I had the role after he had me put on a big huge jacket, stared at me for a while, and asked me if this was something I would want to do. I said, "I would literally murder someone to do it." [laughs]
A couple of weeks later, my manager called me while I was driving and told me I got the job. I had to pull over because I was shaking so much.
Rob: He gave Chase a jacket to wear, but he actually had me take my pants off and gave me another pair of pants. That was my audition experience... but I've been taking soy sauce for years, so I was excited to get into this....
Rob, were you familiar with the book before signing on?
Rob: No, not at all actually. It was funny, because I heard about this audition really late in the evening the night before and went in not prepared at all. I kind of just made some weird, whacky choices that resonated with Don and now we're sitting here talking to you about it.
Did you two have a have a lot of creative input when it came to developing your characters? Was there much improv on set or was it pretty close to the script?
Chase: The script is so close to the book that we felt it would be doing a disservice to go off and do our own thing. The dialogue is so amazing and our characters are super defined in the book. I used the book as a bible pretty much, because it was all there for us. There was a backstory which wasn't in the movie, but we still got to play with it.
Chase, you got to spend quite a bit of screen time with Paul Giamatti. Could you tell me about your experience working with him on the set?
Chase: It was a dream come true. It was something I never thought would happen to me in my life and it was amazing. He is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. I thought about this a few days ago... he is the first adult I've acted with that wasn't a kid playing an adult. That in itself is cool and the fact that it was Paul was crazy. I took a lot away from watching him work, the way he handles himself on set, and the way he treats people. He's just a super down-to-Earth and conscientious guy.
There are a lot of single shots on us, and he could have easily left during my scenes, but he stayed with me to do my lines. That's kind of rare and amazing, and I have a huge soft spot for that man.
With this movie, you've had festival screenings, plenty of press coverage, interviews, and interacting with fans. Has this whole experience been a little surreal? How does it compare to some of your previous work?
Rob: It's been really wild. I really fell in love with the script and wanted this role because it was so different and so cool. You'll do a movie and many of them never come out. Doing this movie and now traveling to film festivals, I thought we had something that people will want to watch again and again. That's really cool to have a movie that you believe in.
After our readers watch the movie, I'm sure they're going to ask right away... when are we going to see a sequel? Is that something you're interested in?
Chase: We both want that, so hopefully people will see it and we won't have a choice...
John Dies At The End stars Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Paul Giamatti, and Daniel Roebuck. You can catch up on our recent coverage with the following links: