In part two of my exclusive talk with actor Fran Kranz of The Cabin in the Woods (check out part one here), I ask the actor about how his character Marty, the stoner pal of the group, gets to be the welcome voice of reason on the weekend party trip that devolves into a nightmare. Warning: Spoilers ahead!
As a big horror film fan, what's your least favorite horror trope?
I love the [group] splitting up thing. The fact that I got that line [in Cabin] is so wonderful and always kills audiences. Just questioning why on earth [splitting up] is ever a good idea makes me smile now. But that's a good [question] because there are so many.
Interestingly enough as Marty's smart friends all get played with so they turn into bad horror movie clichés, Marty is unaffected. He's actually the one trope character that's genuine from the start. How did you approach playing that?
Yeah, it's cool. It was a gift. It was almost too good to be true reading the script and watching how that character develops. I saw him as kind of a wild card. On the one hand I could play into the slacker/stoner antics and have a lot of fun with it. I felt allowed to go big and cartoonish because people did expect me to die. He's the fifth-wheel stoner guy! But I took the role really seriously in terms of really making him a real human being that loves his friends. I thought about how loyal he was and his dog-like fidelity to his friends. I thought that was important to ground him, make him funny but also make him somebody the audience loves and cares about. That came from Drew too because he really wanted us to be real friends because he thought horror films had gotten to a place where you don't believe the victims ever cared about each other. So as much as we played into our archetypes or stereotypes, as the case may be, we also wanted to play against them. Marty is such a wonderful blend of Shaggy and Scooby. He's silly but he is suspicious in his conspiracy theories and his paranoia is in fact correct.
Marty gets an amazing moment in the end of the film with Dana (Kristen Connolly) where they don't make the selfless choice to save humanity. They save their asses and smoke a joint at the end of the world. How did you feel when you first read it?
It blew me away! I couldn't stop thinking about that script for days after I finished it. I didn't have the part yet at the time so it was so painful. It was kind of torture not having the part yet. I think that moment is brilliant. I didn't think there was any other way the movie could end, yet at the same time you never saw it coming. That's part of the genius of Joss and Drew which is that it's completely surprising and original but in the context of the movie there's no other way it could go. It's got to go there. The movie has been one upping itself since the first minute so there's no place to go but boom! Destroy the world! I love it for that. It's ballsy and such an ambitious, crazy movie. I like when movies take chances and aren't afraid to break conventions and ask more from audiences. I'm very proud to be a part of something like that. Movies that take these kinds of risks aren't made often enough, and in this genre recently it feels like not at all. I think this will be refreshing and exciting. It blew my mind – smoking a joint at the end of the world? It's amazing! I've been telling people I think more people die in The Cabin in the Woods than any other movie because I think giants get all six and a half billion of us which is pretty impressive. Maybe Star Wars beats us? That blows up the Death Star and Alderaan. I don't what the population of Alderaan is but I bet there are some serious nerds out there that can tell me. Alderaan can be very sparsely populated! We don't know. [Laughs]