John Dies at the End will be released to theaters on January 25th and I recently had the opportunity to interview a number of people involved with the movie. I've already published my article with Don Coscarelli and next up is my interview with Paul Giamatti. Not only did we talk about his involvement in John Dies at the End as an actor and executive producer, but I also learned about his love of classic horror movies.
I recently watched John Dies at the End and loved how much it felt like a movie out of the 80's. So many horror movies from that decade had a great mix of horror and comedy.
Paul Giamatti: I'm a fan of that kind of stuff too. This has a nice old school thing to it which is really good.
Many of our readers may not be aware that, on top of appearing in the film, you are also an executive producer. Why did you feel this was a movie you should get involved with as a producer?
Paul Giamatti: I was really eager to work with Don [Coscarelli] because of the kinds of movies he makes. I was all for acting in it, but I also have a small production company. Don chooses to make his movies off the grid and it's not easy to get them done. I felt that if I could make it any easier for Don to make movies, I would.
As a producer, was there any concern that it would be difficult to pull off what was in the script? I think Don did a great job with it, but on the page, it must have seemed challenging with a limited budget.
Paul Giamatti: When he first gave me the script, we had been shopping around Bubba Nosferatu. I thought that was a movie with some complicated stuff in it, but then Don sent me John Dies at the End. I read it and thought that the script was really crazy. He said it would actually be easier to do than Bubba and I still have no idea what he meant by that, because John Dies was one of the most complicated things I've read in my life.
He was so confident that he could do it, that I just said ok. It wasn't like any of it was easy, but it's amazing that he really did know exactly how he was going to do it. He knew someone who could make a meat monster and he knew how to pull off the ending. I was amazed, because I thought it was going to be ten times harder than Bubba Nosferatu. It really was an insanely ambitious movie.
John Dies at the End includes a number of young actors who were doing their first feature work on this film. What was your experience working with Chase Williamson on the set?
Paul Giamatti: Chase was great. I met him before we started, because I wanted to rehearse. There was a lot of talking, and I like to rehearse, but you don't usually get to do it much. I remember sitting with him and immediately thought that there's no way he's never done anything like this before. He seemed completely comfortable. He's a really nice guy, with a great sense of humor. He's at ease with what he was doing, and it was a pure pleasure working with him.
You're not in the movie for the entire time, but did you spend extra time on set due to your producing role?
Paul Giamatti: I would occasionally go and see Don at the set. I don't live in LA, so I wasn't there all the time, but he had other serious producers. I would hang out just because I wanted to see what he was doing. I wanted to see how this guy pulls together such an incredibly tightly made movie and it was fun to watch him work.
What were your thoughts upon seeing the final film at its Sundance Premiere?
Paul Giamatti: I was incredibly happy with it. I had seen it as it was being edited, but I watched it projected on a big screen for the first time at Sundance. We've produced a few movies and I've been to Sundance before, but I think it was the happiest I've ever been at that place. I was really proud to watch the completed version and see how well it had been done.
You've mentioned that you're a fan of Don's work, so I was curious about your interest in horror movies. What kind of movies did you watch growing up? What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Paul Giamatti: In the early 70s, all of those Universal Horror movies were showing up on TV. I grew up watching Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and every permutation of those monsters. Also, I was watching all of the AIP movies, which were great.
Have you ever seen The Indestructible Man with Lon Chaney, Jr.? It's a terrible movie if you were to watch it now, but I watched it growing up.
The earliest horror movie I can remember seeing was Carnival of Souls. I watched it with a babysitter, because my parents would have never let me see it. It's great. Talk about a completely off-the-grid, handmade movie. It's funny because right from the beginning, I liked movies that were more handmade than anything else. I also love the Val Lewton movies, The Seventh Victim, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man. Then of course, you can go decade by decade with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and lots of Don's things.
I love a movie called The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price. Have you ever seen that one?
That's one of my favorites.
Paul Giamatti: That's one of my favorite horror movies that I saw as a kid and I still really love that one.
I always suggest it to people, because not a lot of younger horror fans have seen it. It really is a precursor to Night of the Living Dead.
Paul Giamatti: It totally is and it's a really great movie. It's really odd, eerie, and they shot in Rome. Physically, it's so odd looking and it's a really great movie.
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. The movie will be released to theaters starting on January 25th and is now available on-demand. Interested in learning more? Check back soon for our exclusive interview with Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes. You can catch up on our recent coverage with the following links: