This Friday, Psych’s James Roday is seeing the release of his first feature film, Gravy, presented by the fine folks over at Scream Factory. The cannibal comedy follows a group of restaurant employees taken hostage on Halloween, their captors set on eating them as part of a twisted annual cannibalistic ritual. Gravy stars Michael Weston, Jimmi Simpson, Sutton Foster, Lily Cole, Molly Ephraim, Paul Rodriguez, Gabriel Luna, with Gabourey Sidibe and Sarah Silverman also onboard.

Daily Dead recently chatted with Gravy co-star Rodriguez about his experiences working on the horror comedy alongside the other talented members of the cast, as well as with director Roday. Rodriguez also discussed how the film stands out amongst other cannibal fare and much more.

Thanks for speaking with me today, Paul. Gravy was so unexpected and different. I laughed from start to finish, it was really great.  

Paul Rodriguez: Oh, thank you so much. It was a lot of fun for me, too. I liked the fact that it doesn't start off as a typical horror movie. There is a lot of craziness in this movie because the director gave us a lot of opportunities for ad-libbing. The young people I was working with were really surprising, all of them had great timing and were very talented. It was hard keeping up with them but I'm looking forward to working with them again—if that ever happens [laughs].

But what made it interesting for me is that the villains here don't look like the typical villain; they don’t have a wart on their nose or look terrifying, but that's what makes their intentions scary. It's like being attacked by some unexpected yuppies, which was kind of weird [laughs]. But overall, I felt lucky to be there.

What I thought was really great about your character was the fact that so many times we've seen the unlikeable bosses in movies like this, where they tend to always be this sort of stereotypical character, but Chuy was really nice and genuine and you felt bad for him when he’s forced to essentially sacrifice himself for his staff. Did that sort of stand out to you as well?

Paul Rodriguez: Yeah, there is not a lot of work for a 60-year-old Latino, but Chuy was a really good character and that’s due to James. He just kept all of us focused. We were having a lot of fun; there was a lot of laughter, a lot of jokes on the set. Before he would shoot, he would have to calm us down and just tell us to focus on what we were doing because we were always having that much fun together.

I really had an easy job; it's like one of those jobs that I dream about. And the idea behind the script—cannibals—really relays itself a lot to the world of comedy. You wouldn't think so, but it does. The whole experience was great and I finally got to do a horror movie so I can cross that off my bucket list.

Because there were so many different comedic talents working on this, everyone’s timing really clicked in Gravy. Did James give you guys the freedom to ad-lib in the scenes or did you end up following the script closely?

Paul Rodriguez: James did great in that respect. There was one thing that I really liked, that he made this movie in the casting process. He more or less knew who we were, so he didn't ever try to stifle us and he was always good about if he thought you had a better line, then he would go on it. Just do what you came for and do your thing.

It was surprising to me because most of the time the laughs would come out of left field and I didn't see a lot of those moments in the original script. It makes for a better movie when you are allowed to do what you do.

I can image it probably makes for a better experience too as a comedian, to be able to have that kind of freedom as opposed to being reined in.

Paul Rodriguez: Oh yeah, for sure. I've worked with some directors who think they’re writing Shakespeare; they want every word there, so it's a lot nicer when you feel relaxed during a shoot. The director trusts you to know what will work because he knows he will get what he wants. James truly did that and I do hope Gravy gets some attention because of everything James put into this. [What] everyone did, really.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.