There's more cannibal-chomping fun in the backwoods of West Virginia in this third installment of the Wrong Turn franchise. But this film has the added bonus of escaped convicts trying to get to a safe house with millions of dollars in found money, all the while evading the bloodthirsty cannibal mutants who make the woods their home. We recently spoke with head bad-guy Tamer Hassan (who can soon be seen in the Clash of the Titans remake), who plays fearsome gang leader Chavez, and it turns out he's just a laid-back British lad.
Have you seen the movie yet?
Yeah, I just finished watching it for the first time. They sent a DVD over – it hasn't been released [in the UK] yet.
What did you think of it?
I loved it. Honestly, I really did. I have done some horror films that were really bad, but this one was really good.
Are you a fan of horror films?
Not really. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit of a pansy when it comes to horror movies. You can't believe that, can you?
No, you play such a bad-ass.
That's cause I'm teasing you. Of course I am a fan of horror films – I love them!
What's your favorite?
I like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. [Wrong Turn 3] has that feel to it, doesn't it?
So how did you get hooked up with Wrong Turn 3? Were you looking for a horror film or did it just fall into your lap?
It kind of just fell into my lap. I went and had a meeting for the movie, and I couldn't do it. For some reason, Fox waited, and I had no idea why. When I got on set, director Declan O'Brien told me I was the only one who was going to play Chavez. They did just check to make sure I could do an American accent, and once they saw I could, that was it. We went to Bulgaria and shot the movie.
Did you enjoy playing the anti-hero? How does it compare to playing the straightforward villain or straightforward hero?
It was a lot harder. Chavez actually drives the movie. It was a villain within a villain type of thing. Chavez's goal was to get the money. Playing a badass on top of a badass was quite fun. I enjoy playing the villain – I normally play villains, but more fun-loving villains. I've never played a character as nasty as Chavez. It was really enjoyable.
Do you actively seek out villain roles because they are more fun?
Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved the villains, because villains are really the only ones you remember in the movie. I always want my characters to be memorable, and as bad as they are, you always remember them. But also, look at the size of me – I'm never going to get the romantic lead!
I also love doing all the action. I love doing stunts. I did all my own stunts in this movie – I didn't have a stunt double at any time. There was a coordinator there to run me through the choreography, but I always refuse a stunt double.
Which character do you think the other characters in the film should have been more afraid of: you, or the cannibal mutant?
I don't know. Chavez drove the movie, and he was cutting people's legs off, shooting people point blank… I think they would be more frightened of Chavez. I mean, I was sitting there, watching it, and I completely forgot that was me, and I thought, "Fuck, he's a nasty bastard, isn't he?" The mutants didn't really frighten me at all, it was just, "What's Chavez going to do next?" In a movie like this, you kind of know what the mutants are going to do next, but you don't with a guy like Chavez. Like that fight when he goes to attack Floyd [played by Gil Kolirin] and Alex [played by Janet Montgomery] jumps in the way and he just throws her back and keeps wailing on Floyd… that was just a ruthless fight.
Was it uncomfortable for you to keep calling Alex "bitch" and "cunt"?
Did I call her a cunt? I don't think I called her that. It must have been Floyd. I did call her a "punta" – maybe that means the same thing in Spanish! Janet is a friend of mine, so it was a little weird at first, but you get in the moment. She was really cool though. I was throwing her all over the place, but she was a tough girl – she's a bit of a tomboy. There was this one scene where I pull her off of my shoulders and I throw her to the floor. She hit her spine on a stone. I have to give her credit for this – she was in so much pain but she didn't stop the scene. It was brilliant. As soon as they called cut she screamed out in pain, and I felt terrible! After that scene I was a little more gentle with her. I tend to forget the size of me compared to the size of her.
You get so into the character. One scene with Nate [played by Tom Frederic], I was pulling him from the raft and he told me he was genuinely scared – that I looked crazy! Even the producers came out and said, "I'm never going to fuck about with you!"
It sounds like you had a lot of fun shooting this movie. Is there any scene in particular that stands out to you?
It was a lot of fun, but it was 14 hour a day, six days a week, out in the forest in the middle of the night… it was probably the hardest job I‘ve ever done. Staying in that mood and being that character, keeping up the accent… it was tough. But enjoyable.
The most enjoyable scenes were the fight scene. I enjoyed that end fight scene with Three Fingers [the cannibal mutant, played by Borislav Iliev] and the one with Floyd.
In that bloody showdown between you and Three Fingers, did they do a lot of practical effects or was it largely done in post?
The only special effect they did was when he rips my fingers off. But at the end, where he takes my skull off, that was all done with props and makeup. That scene was tough because I had hurt my back, but they strapped me up with belts and stuff for protection. We were shooting nights, but for three or four days, in preparation for that scene, I had to get up early and do a few hours of stunt coordination. They saved a whole night for just that scene, so that was like 14 hours of work. It was a tough old scene.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the Clash of the Titans remake?
I get to play a god. Isn't that crazy? It was amazing. I looked like a young Oliver Reed – lots of hair and the beard. It was just brilliant. I was a big fan of the original. It was really one of the first special effects movies that has stuck in my mind. They kept a lot of the same story elements.