If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
A.J. Bowen has been one of the coolest additions to the genre in recent years. Equipped with serious chops, the actor has left lasting impressions in striking new horror like THE SIGNAL, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE. Re-teaming with his HORRIBLE WAY director and writer, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett respectively, Bowen hits Austin and Fantastic Fest this week in the much talked about YOU'RE NEXT. He briefly spoke with Fango about what fans can expect from the masked intruders film, and what he's off to next.
FANGORIA: Firstly, what is YOU'RE NEXT and who do you play in it?
A.J. BOWEN: YOU'RE NEXT is (hopefully) a new take on the home invasion
subgenre. A fractured family in a very tense and awkward reunion that is broken
up by an attack from masked intruders. I play Crispian, eldest son (BARBARA
CRAMPTON'S SON!), who is a college professor bringing his girlfriend home to
meet the family. Unfortunately for the assailants, my girlfriend (unbeknownst
to me) was raised as a survivalist. Fit hits the shan.
FANG: Aside from your previous work with Adam and Simon, what
attracted you to the project? A lot is being made of the cleverness of the
film? What, if anything, did you find so smart and gripping about it?
BOWEN: I agreed to do the movie sight unseen without having read
the script. Having worked together recently, and knowing Joe Swanberg and Amy Seimetz
and I would play siblings, that's all the motivation I needed. I find those
guys clever and I think our previous collaboration made it possible for us to
understand what we all wanted. I tend to hide in a corner with Simon and build
a tactical assault prior to each scene. I can tell you that the actors convened
frequently and made a company choice to try and play it like a slasher version
of CLUE. I’ve no idea if that worked, but we tried very much to plug into the
world of comedy to balance the absurdity of the situation these characters
found themselves in. we felt to play it any other way would have been
incredibly maudlin, and that the events occurring were already dour enough. Case
in point, that is exactly what Simon and Adam wanted from us, so I hope we did
right by them.
FANG: Is it surreal that women like Mary Woronov and Barbara
Crampton are acting beside you and playing your mother?
BOWEN: What do you think? You know my love of genre, and
especially 80's genre, so to have strong women that I idolized (and still do)
play my mother is intimidating, and astonishing to me. I don't deserve to be in
their company, but there's a sucker born every day, and I’m lucky to be reaping
the creative rewards. They’re amazing performers, and I learned a lot from
their guidance and approach to the material.
FANG: There's almost something theatre company-esque to the way
you and a lot of the cast and crew on this film remain in each other's work and
lives. What do you find rewarding about this way of working, aside from the
obviously good company?
BOWEN: Life on a film set is stressful. It's a pressure cooker.
Having good people around you that you trust creatively allows you to
circumvent a lot of the bullshit you end up often dealing with on a set and get
to the business of trying to accomplish a unified story. also, it breeds a
healthy competitive environment. If i can make those guys laugh, or satisfy
their expectations, i feel pretty confident I will have done my job.
FANG: What will audiences find scary about You're Next? What do
you find scary about You're Next?
BOWEN: Honestly, I’ve not yet seen the movie, so I’m not sure. Hopefully
they won't find it scary someone gave us money and resources to make another
movie together. I have a unique working relationship with those guys, and on
the last one, they were open enough to allow me the freedom to bring a
different angle to the character i played than they'd initially envisioned. On YOU’RE
NEXT, I felt like I understood Simon’s writing and what he was looking for, as
well as what the story required of my character. To that end, I wanted to make
sure I was getting Simon’s ideas across. Before every scene, the AD would find Simon
and I huddled in a corner discussing what the goals were. Again, I trust Simon,
and I trust Adam, so it was important that I fulfill the expectations for both
the story and tone they were trying to accomplish.
FANG: On a separate note, if you can say anything, what can
you tell us about Danielle Harris' AMONG FRIENDS, and anything else you've got coming on up?
BOWEN: Danielle is family to me, so it was a blessing and
privilege she'd ask me to be involved with her movie. It's a horror comedy
about a group of friends who go to an 80's prom themed mystery dinner. Things
get messy from there.
I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have the good fortune
to get to make movies for a living and especially lucky that they usually tend
to be genre pictures. I grew up
watching them, and the community has always been home for me. I just shot a
movie with my signal family, which is a dystopian love story about time travel,
and am going to be directing a comedy later this fall that's (hopefully) along
the lines of an 80's Carl Reiner film-SUMMER RENTAL/SUMMER SCHOOL. My good
friend Drew Daywalt [who we just spoke to regarding his work on DEATH VALLEY right here] and I, are getting close to doing a supernatural ghost story
he wrote, which is my favorite script I’ve gotten to read in this industry, so I
am very excited to collaborate with him. He’s ridiculously talented. There’s a
few other things cooking, and as these things go, I’m not privy to divulge any
details on those until they let me. Thanks so much for the time and support.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment