JourneyQuest is a fan-funded fantasy comedy web series that stars Fran Kranz and we were recently offered the opportunity to interview him. Not only did we discuss his work on JourneyQuest, but we also talked about The Cabin in the Woods, his love of zombies, and upcoming projects:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. The Cabin in the Woods is one of only a few recent horror movies I can say became an instant classic. After it took so long for the movie to get released, how did it feel to see it so well received by horror fans?
Fran Kranz: It feels wonderful. It's especially validating because people truly believed it wasn't going to come out at all. Even friends and family. There were times when I felt like the crazy friend or family member who repeats stories that never really happened or only have some semblance of the actual truth. It certainly tested my faith but I always believed in the project. It was one of the best scripts I'd ever read and I really felt we executed it as best we could. That's rare. That combination made me confident it just had to be seen. When the reviews started coming in and the fan response was so positive it was a great feeling. As a horror fan myself I really feel we accomplished something great. It's awesome to be a part of the history of a genre that's inspired me so much.
Looking back at your work on The Cabin in the Woods, what are some of your favorite on-set memories?
Fran Kranz: I had such a great time with the cast. The five of us became very close. It was important to Drew that you cared about the kids. Too often he felt in horror films the young characters seemed thrown together and are not a believable group of friends. We had a good amount of time to rehearse and live together in Vancouver before we actually started shooting. That time can be so helpful to creating a tight ensemble. The scenes in the RV were genuinely fun because the chemistry was there. If anything playing terrified was the real challenge because we all laughed at each other so easily. When Chris got the role of Thor half way through shooting, we were constantly cracking Thor jokes. Actually, that was a particularly fond memory. We were all having brunch one day and he walked away to take a phone call and came back a god.
For me personally, filming the scene in the blood drenched lobby was a dream come true. It's hard to explain or I should say express, but, as a kid, I constantly was drawing bloody pictures and scenes of violence. Particularly missing limbs in shark attacks and war. My elementary school art teacher was particularly disturbed, according to my parents. Later in middle school and high school, I spent a lot of free time making home videos of gory war films or blood splattering mafia movies, starring me in at least five or six roles. My friends and I got inventive with fake blood and no amount was too much. So to come to that set of the elevator lobby completely covered in blood was a real revelatory moment. One of those "I've arrived" moments. I never left. Between takes and set ups I walked around admiring the limbs and intestines like I was in some macabre botanical garden. I'm pretty sure I thanked Drew and Joss profusely.
You've had roles in Dollhouse, and a number of other projects including JourneyQuest. Can you tell our readers more about your work on JourneyQuest?
Fran Kranz: It came about really because I was a fan. I was approached before the first season for another role but couldn't do it because of another commitment. Obviously when it was released I was excited to see it and accordingly, because it's so awesome, jealous I was not able to be in it. I told them I'll do whatever they want for the second season. And the same goes for the third. I play a rakish bard named Silver Tom. No spoilers, but I'm assigned to steal an epic back from another less worthy bard. The epic in question is essentially the driving plot of the entire series. My hope is to be able to interact with all the characters/actors on the series. Though the bards are supposed to avoid interacting with their principals I hope Tom is allowed a few missteps in this case. It's a very fun character to play.
This is a fan funded project. How has your experience on JourneyQuest differed from a studio-produced project?
Fran Kranz: Well there's large and small, but quite honestly I approach it all the same. You try and block out all the noise on set. You pay attention to the story, your fellow actors and the camera. Maybe some other stuff but certainly not the quality of craft service or catering or your trailer (if there is one) or your salary or the release date (if there is one) or how famous the names are on the call sheet (if there is one... call sheet not famous name) etc. etc. I think the best way to approach a job is to save disappointment for the last possible second. Treat them all like they may be your big break or defining role. Not in the sense that they could be but in the sense that that is the importance and dedication you must give the story your telling and problems you are solving that day or week or month. In other words do your best work web series or 200 million dollar feature. Though I have never done the latter and if I do you'll have to pay me for this time in virgin blood.
Aside from JourneyQuest, where can our readers see you next? Do you have any upcoming horror projects?
Fran Kranz: Right now, I am filming a movie called Murder of a Cat. That's horrific right? It's actually being produced by Sam Raimi so there's a god of horror behind the camera. Is that good? It's a very funny script. Dark, weird, romantic and hilarious. A kind of suburban noir about a man trying to find the killer of his cat. We just started and I have a lot of work ahead of me but I feel good about it. Otherwise I'm excited to get back on stage soon. I've done a couple of plays in the last few years and it reminded me that I should be doing that a lot more often.
I understand you're a pretty big zombie movie fan. What do you think of the popularity of The Walking Dead over the last few years? Is that something you're watching regularly?
Fran Kranz: I have it DVR'd. I've been staying in the dark as best I can. It sounds like it was made for me so one day I am in for a treat. I fall very far behind on TV and movies though. But yeah zombies are a good thing. The original Dawn of the Dead may be my favorite, but the very first death scene of the original Night of the Living Dead is kind of incredible. Nothing else about that movie really scares me except that opening scene. I think it's very honest. Death is just walking up behind you in a wide open field for a very long time without you realizing and you have so much time to escape or do something but you just don't because I guess you can't. Was that a run on? Well so is that scene.
What are some of your favorite zombie movies? Do you tend to stick to the classics, or did movies like 28 Days Later and the new Dawn of the Dead win you over?
Fran Kranz: 28 Days Later. All the way. I don't know what was actually made first or if there was some shared information but I'm pretty sure 28 Days came out first so I give the sprinting zombies GENIUS to Danny Boyle. He's an incredible director and that tiny tweek to an ancient genre was mind blowing. Maybe it was done before but I hadn't seen it. It was terrifying and so simple. Amazing acting too. I can watch that movie over and over.
To learn more about JourneyQuest, visit: http://www.journey-quest.com/
To keep up with Frank Kranz, follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frankranz