Some of the biggest days on the calendar are viewed through a dark lens in the new horror anthology Holidays. Featuring a plethora of intriguing characters, one of the film's standouts is Andrew Bowen's performance as Reggie: an unconventional serial killer looking for his next victim on New Year's Eve. Following Holidays’ world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival (and VOD debut) and ahead of its April 22nd theatrical release, we caught up with Bowen for our latest Q&A feature.
Andrew, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, and congratulations on your excellent work in Holidays. What attracted you to this film and the role of Reggie in the “New Year’s Eve” segment?
Andrew Bowen: Thank you so much! It was such a cool project to work on. I got involved after my friend and producer Gabriella Lugo (who produced [the] “Christmas” [segment]) called me inquiring my interest in being a part of it. We'd worked together earlier that year on a film for Relativity/Maker (Summer Forever) and she thought I might be great for "NYE."
It’s funny, ’cause I was this wholesome dad in Summer Forever, so Gabby wasn't sure how I would respond to the material because it is pretty dark. The script (written by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer) is awesome. It had this dark comic undertone, great twist, and Reggie is just a great character. I had seen director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Some Kind of Hate (which I highly recommend), thought working with Lorenza [Izzo] would be a blast, and so I jumped at the opportunity. Just got very lucky on this one.
You made Reggie a really fun person to watch. He has a slapstick comedy element to his character that contrasts nicely with his dark side. How did you approach playing Reggie?
Andrew Bowen: Such a great character to play and so much fun. Reggie is this repulsive, evil man, but at the same point, I knew he had to have a likability to him. I don’t think it would have worked without that. Some sliver of humanity you could see—if only in glimpses—that would make him human, that came from his own trauma. Adam and I spent a lot of time talking backstory before we started shooting. What was Reggie’s upbringing? What was his relationship with his mother? We fleshed out Reggie’s twisted view of love and relationships. His actions had to come from something real, some kind of buried pain, so I worked on making sure you could see that vulnerability.
In his mind, what he does isn't creepy or violent—that’s just Reggie’s “normal.” It was really a cool process—Adam is so collaborative and smart. We really had a fun time finding his look, too. For Adam the “worse he looked the better,” which I just loved (the teeth were my idea), and Aoife Baker (our awesome costume designer) did this fantastic job finding this look that was horrible without being cartoony. We just added all those pieces together and Reggie came to life. The physical comedy just happened during the process. Comedy is a part of me, always will be. It’s in my DNA. I found this awkward way Reggie moved and that just found its way into the performance.
Reggie has a quirky, intriguing chemistry with Lorenza Izzo’s character, Jean. What was it like working with Izzo to bring out the humor throughout those first date scenes?
Andrew Bowen: Well, aside from being a really good actor, Lorenza is totally a goofball like me, so we hit it off instantly. We both had fallen in love with these characters. We had done all the prep work and knew the script backwards and forwards, so when we got on set, we had the freedom to just let the scenes happen. We found this cool pocket and rhythm together and just rolled with it. It was a lot of fun. It's safe to say we’ll definitely be working together again.
Adam Egypt Mortimer, who is now on a lot of horror fans’ radars following his feature film directorial debut, Some Kind of Hate, helmed the “New Year’s Eve” story in Holidays. What was your experience working with Mortimer?
Andrew Bowen: It was terrific. As I said before, Adam is super smart, really collaborative and has a great sense of humor. He really respects the acting process, too—loves to dig deep and flesh things out, so when you're on set you can just let the characters come alive. Very talented man. Can’t wait to work with him again.
There was a lot of physicality to your role in “New Year’s Eve”, with one of the film’s most violent and epic moments occurring during the Times Square countdown. Can you talk about shooting that intense action scene?
Andrew Bowen: Thank God for ibuprofen. It was pretty intense. Lorenza and I had some solid bruises when we wrapped. It’s not like anything was unsafe—all the shots were blocked out and specific. John Nania, our stunt supervisor (and my double) was frickin’ awesome, so we were in great hands. We all just trusted each other and were committed to making an awesome movie, so when that scene came around, we just went for it. It was a blast and worth every bruise.
Do you have a funny or memorable moment from your time on set that you can share?
Andrew Bowen: The first night that I came home, I forgot that I still had my teeth on. I went in for a kiss with my wife and she was like, “Oh my God, what is that!? No, no, no... you need to take that off like now.”
Do you have any favorite horror films that you like to revisit?
Andrew Bowen: The Alien franchise. I’ve probably watched the first two about a hundred times. Two of the best films ever made in my opinion.
With Holidays now out on VOD and hitting theaters on April 22nd, what projects do you have on deck that you can tease for our readers, and where can they find you on social media?
Andrew Bowen: I have two more movies coming out this year. The first is this powerful autism drama from director John Asher called Po, that just won “Best Feature” at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Incredible film, so moving and I play five completely differently incarnations of the same character. It is amazing. I also have a black comedy called All for Nikki in the pipeline that is kind of a modern-day True Romance. I play a paramedic in it who makes one bad decision and gets sucked into a night from hell with two drugged up lovers and a psychotic rockstar. Should be a fun year.
"HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time. The film challenges our folklore, traditions and assumptions, making HOLIDAYS a celebration of the horror on those same special days’ year after year. A collaboration of some of Hollywood’s most distinct voices, the directors include Kevin Smith (Tusk), Gary Shore (Dracula Untold), Scott Stewart (Dark Skies), Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), Sarah Adina Smith (The Midnight Swim), Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate) and Anthony Scott Burns (Darknet)."
Holidays is now out on VOD and will be released in theaters on April 22nd.