This interview was, perhaps, my greatest challenge. Interview an actor about a movie that no one knows anything about, no one is allowed to know anything (not even the actors), and the premiere date is sketchy at best. Canadian actor Patrick Gilmore has starred in Stargate, The Killing, and Dear Mr. Gacy. He also has a role in Joss Whedon's infamous Cabin in the Woods. Whedon promises the horror film will be a "game changer," but he won't allow a hint of plot to be revealed, even though the flick has been in the can for over two years now. So what exactly did Patrick and I talk about?
What can you tell us about your role in Cabin in the Woods?
[Laughs]. Well, it has been described as "werewolf wrangler," and I think that pretty much sums it up. This is going to be a tough interview because there is so much secrecy with this project. I am one of many colorful characters who have one of many colorful occupations in this Joss Whedon world. I wish I could say more, but I don't know what is out there, and what I can say. I guess all I can say is that I am someone who deals in werewolves.
How did this role come about?
At the time they were casting this, I was an audition reader. When an actor auditions for a role, they need another actor behind the camera to audition with them. I've been doing that for years - it's a great thing for actors starting out. I was a reader for several of the Cabin in the Woods auditions, so I got to know Joss and Drew. One of the other perks of the job is when they do a cast read-through, sometimes they need utility readers in case not all the actors can make it, or for minor roles, like "Man #2." So I got to sit in on that with the stars. We got a copy of this hush-hush, top-secret script. It had our names stenciled all over it for security, and we had to sign a ton of non-disclosures.
I would say that about 80% of the actors on that set - everyone except for the big stars - did not get to read any of the script. As an actor, I only got two pages of the script, with just my scenes. But I had the privilege of going in, having read the whole script. Everyone was excited to be in the movie, but if they knew what Joss and Drew had in store for the rest of the movie... they would be a lot more excited. It's... never been done like this before.
Well, that is the promise we have been hearing - for years now.
I hate to talk it up and add to that [mysterious] hype, especially when the movie keeps getting delayed. Whether it is transferring to 3D or problems with MGM, this shouldn't be a reflection on the movie itself. But you see that happening: a movie gets hyped and hyped and people are expecting a life-changing experience. It might not change your life, but Cabin in the Woods will be a movie you remember. Which is something you have come to expect from Joss Whedon. He breaks out of the paradigms of storytelling that we are accustomed to. He sees stuff in a completely different way.
Do you worry that because the film has been so hyped, and so shrouded in secrecy, that it can't live up to what it promises, and flops?
[Laughs]. Um... how do I answer that? I'm a newcomer to Joss Whedon. It was about a year before I came on to Cabin in the Woods that I finally "gave in" and watched Firefly. Nathan Fillion is from my home town, and I met him a few times before he became an actor. I loved [the show] and regretted that I had put off watching it for so long. What I am finding with Joss Whedon is that there is this... subterranean culture. He's huge.
Oh yeah. They call it the Whedonverse.
Yeah! Whether it is Firefly or Dollhouse... these things kind of blip onto the mainstream radar, and they go away kind of fast, but then the develop this cult-like status, and this fervor that just won't go away. It grows and grows, to the point where a show is canceled after two seasons, but the fan response is so huge they make a movie - and a damn good movie. So I am excited to see Cabin in the Woods. I think it is going to benefit from word-of-mouth. It is going to be one of those "don't ruin the ending" movies.
Secrecy around this project was insane. I know you got to read the whole script, but what about some of the other actors? Did any of the secondary actors get to read the whole script?
As far as I know, they all got just their individual scenes. While we were shooting, there were about eight or ten of us who all had similar roles. We would hang out at a bar and watch hockey while waiting to be called to set. Me and Heather [Doerksen] were the only two who had actually read the script. They kept asking us about it, but I didn't say a word. I risked friendships to keep that secret! The actors would get enough information on the day to satiate them and help them out with their roles. I'm sure the actors could put two-and-two together as far as the general plot, but the details and the ending....
Was it frustrating for them?
It was frustrating for me to not have a script to keep! The moment we finished that first read-through, I had to give the script back. They probably incinerated it in some kind of ritual. I would have loved to read it again and spend some time with it. Drew and the ADs were really good about giving us the necessary information. There is not just one secret to this movie - layers and layers keep unfolding.
I am excited for the movie to come out because I want to see it, but more so I can talk about it!
With his scripts, Joss is known for bringing humor into non-humorous situations. Is there a lot of humor in Cabin in the Woods?
The way you just described it is exactly what this movie is. It's gallows humor.
Have you heard anything about a release date?
It's funny - I was going to ask you that! As far as I know, I think it is this Halloween.
Why has it been delayed so long? Were there problems on set?
No. As far as I know it was for technical and legal reasons. I know they were talking about making it 3D, and that is a process if it wasn't filmed in 3D - and it wasn't. Plus, with MGM's [bankruptcy] woes, I know a lot of projects have had a hard time. I hope it doesn't get lumped in with "production hell" projects because, as far as I know, that was not the case. The script that I read is the movie I want to see.
So they are converting it to 3D?
When I was filming Stargate, one of the MGM execs came up to tour the set. He came up to me and said, "Hey! Saw Cabin in the Woods. Looks great. You were very funny. They are changing it to 3D." Now, this guy is no longer with MGM so I don't know where that left it off. I have never been a fan of 3D - it seems like a novelty to me. I have never met a person who said, "Yeah, that movie was good, but it would have been better in 3D."
Editor's Note: Cabin in the Woods is now in the hands of Lionsgate with a tentatively planned Oct 2011 release date.