A nice little surprise for our readers today, we got the chance to ask one of our favourite humans, Macon Blair some questions about acting, writing…and of course, his upcoming Toxic Avenger movie starring Peter Dinklage, Kevin Bacon and Elijah Wood
Murder Party was released in 2008 and we didn’t get Blue Ruin until 2013, what happened in those years in the run-up to bagging finance for Blue Ruin?
Murder Party was self-financed by Jeremy and Skei and Chris and after that everyone had to go back to their day jobs and save more money, which was in turn sunk into Blue Ruin. Jeremy shot commercials, Skei produced, Chris wrote a book, I was a TV librarian.
Blue Ruin was a properly fueled revenge movie with a protagonist that wasn’t very good at getting revenge. Why was Dwight approached like that and not your average badass that we usually see in in the revenge sub-genre?
Because Jeremy knew that I was going to be playing Dwight and would not have been credible as a traditional action movie “Tough Guy.”
Is it true Jeremy didn’t have a role for you in Green Room so you went shaved your head, got fake Nazi tats and made an audition tape and then bagged the role of Gabe?
How was sharing the screen with Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin (RIP)?
Exciting, humbling, surreal, an experience I’m very grateful for. Patrick’s an icon, of course, but he goes out of his way to put everyone at ease, telling stories about Royal Shakespeare Company, partying with Helen Mirren, he’s hilarious. So by the time we were going to actually film, he’d kind of naturally de-pressurized the environment. And Anton was just a truly special and lovely person. There’s a reason his loss affected so many people, everyone who met him loved him.
You wrote and directed IDFAHITWA for your debut, where did the idea come from for such a whacky piece of film?
I wanted to do a crime story that was also kind of a romance and kind of a comedy, so I kind of drew that out of when my own apartment got robbed, and a kind of What If scenario, were I to track down the thieves myself. (I was not.)
You introduced me to the awesome Melanie Lynskey in your directorial debut (thanks btw), she’s a fabulous actor, what’s she like to work with?
Melanie is a super pro and a sweetheart. I’d written the role with her in mind. She was the first actor I’d ever really gotten to direct… I’d made some short films but in a feature setting she was like my first partner and she taught me so much. I’ll always be grateful to her.
Was the ninja star throwing role of Tony specifically written for Elijah Wood? ( I would always hook people up with your movie and say to everyone, “if you ain’t down for a ninja star throwing Elijah Wood then they need their head checked”)
It totally was. And yes, they do need their head checked.
You starred in 3 episodes of DC’s Swamp Thing as the Phantom Stranger. What’s your take on the DCU and MCU…if they came knocking, would you be up for the task of directing/writing a blockbuster or would you like to adapt graphic novels if given the chance?
I enjoy the comic book movies as much as anyone else, some more than others, like anything. I do wish they weren’t so culturally dominant– if you’ve got the new Marvel movie on 5000 screens and something like Everything Everywhere All At Once on 5 screens or whatever it is, that feels pretty imbalanced, right? I mean as far as people having options of what to see, theatrically-speaking. And as for me making one, I doubt anyone wants that in the first place. Who knows. I always thought Werewolf By Night would be a fun one to do. Or US-1. Or Astro City. Or Roachmill. Or Marshall Law. Or Black Orchid.
What made you decide that your next film is going to be a remake of B-movie Tromaville classic, The Toxic Avenger?
I’d been wanting to make a noisy, dumb-on-purpose, gross-out comedy with monsters and shit but everything I wrote in that vein was original (meaning, not based on IP) and they were costly and they were R rated and they were not ‘4 quadrant’ and therefore they were unmakable. Some of them I reworked as comic books but mostly they just went back into the drawer. So when I was asked if I had a pitch for Toxie, I felt like that was an IP (and maybe the only IP?) that would work as a “noisy, dumb-on-purpose gross-out comedy with monsters and shit.” So that was basically what I pitched… Let’s retain the vibe of the original with just a tad more production value (but not too much, because that would spoil it.)
I have an Internet movie buddy who is a huge fan of all things Troma, what would you say to him and other hard-core Troma fans to put their minds at ease about your remake.
Well, Internet Movie Buddy, I would say to you that I approached this movie in the spirit of trying to please the Troma fans first. I know how beloved the character and franchise is and I want the fans to feel like we did them right, even as we try to score with the mainstream audience, too. I know it’s not gonna work for everyone, that’s life, but at the end of the day, even if you hate the new one, the original still exists, and it will always exist, and no fuckheaded remake can ever change that. I am available to be trashed on the internet at your convenience, should it come to that, though I hope it will not. Peace.
Peter Dinklage is our new Toxie, was he cast after you guys met on I Care A Lot or was it separate?
I met him at a festival a few years ago and we had been trying to find a thing to work on together and I felt like he’d be really compelling in this role. He can connect with the audience in a short amount of screentime, he’s got that instant empathy thing with his eyes and his voice carries through the creature’s makeup. Dinklage as Toxie? It just sounds right, doesn’t it?
Kevin Bacon and Elijah Wood play The villains, can you tell us a little of what to expect from their characters?
Are they truly villains or are they just misunderstood jackoff idiots? What to expect… “They go big,” let’s say. Kevin is doing a Ned Beatty in Network type thing and Elijah is doing a Peter Lorre type thing.
I see you fkn everywhere, man but only in small roles. Are we ever going to see you as a leading man again?
Only if Jeremy hires me, probably! I encourage everyone to flame him on social media demanding that he do so.
If you had to just pick one of your talents which would you prefer, writing, directing or acting?.
Writing feels most natural. Directing is most rewarding. Acting is most fun.
I would like to thank Macon for this awesome interview!. Such a pleasure to be able to get some insight into his work; his acting, writing and directing! We wish him every bit of success!