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Quint is Dragged To Hell by Sam Raimi and Alison Lohman!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This interview was my biggest treat from this year’s Comic-Con. I’m a Raimi fanboy and I make no bones about it. Sure, my SPIDER-MAN 3 Blu-Ray from the box set won’t get any spin, but other than that, the man’s turned in some of my favorite movies, from the awesome camp of the EVIL DEAD movies to the intimate character work of THE SIMPLE PLAN to the suspense, acting and boobs of THE GIFT to the sheer fun of DARKMAN. So, yeah. I jumped at the chance to finally sit down and chat with Sam Raimi about his return to genre DRAG ME TO HELL. As an added bonus we get Alison Lohman… Unfortunately, I was pulled out of the DRAG ME TO HELL panel just as the first clip started, so I didn’t get to see the big footage or hear Raimi drop the bomb that he may be starting to write EVIL DEAD 4 with his brother, Ivan, as early as this week, so I didn’t grill him on that. Damn it all! However, it is a really fun interview. Kraken took some nice pics and also took part at the beginning of the interview as we were waiting for Alison to come on over… oh, and so the beginning makes some kind of sense, we did the interview outside and there was trash on the table, a plastic plate with the remnants of chocolate chip cookies. Let’s get to it!

Sam Raimi: You have chocolate chip cookies!

Quint: No, I wish that was my mine, but it’s someone else’s trash. Kraken: I am such a huge Spider-Man fan, me and my buddy, Bo, saved up our money to fly out for the first SPIDER-MAN to be extras in the wrestling scene.

Sam Raimi: You are kidding!

Kraken: So then we snuck down to where they had the Central Casting and we saw two empty and were like “Is anybody sitting here” and they were like “They're for Central Casting.” We were like “We are Central Casting” and they were like “Oh sweet, well then come on in” and so we just wormed our way into the front row, so every time we see SPIDER-MAN…

Sam Raimi: [Slams fists on the table] You were the two guys!

Kraken: We were the two guys.

Sam Raimi: YOU SONS-A-BITCHES! I’LL KILL YOU ALL! No I’m joking.

Quint: You heckled Bruce [Campbell] didn’t you? Kraken: Yeah we did!

Sam Raimi: Good. It’s good to heckle Bruce! You need to hassle him back. He loves hassling the crowd. It was great having Bruce there, because I remember that sequence being shot and we needed to, as much as possible, keep the crowd entertained, because they were our actors. They were great. All of those extras really put their hearts into the screaming and shouting for Peter Parker or for his death or what have you… whatever the scene needed at the time.

Kraken: It was so much fun, because Randy Savage between takes, would sneak up on Tobey and we would all yell “Spidey Sense!” and he would quickly turn around… It was like being in a stage play almost.

Sam Raimi: It was fun! It was a lot of fun. Then we had those girls who were beating everybody up. I forget where they came from, the muscle girls.

[Alison Lohman walks up]

Quint: Hi, it’s good to meet you.

Alison Lohman: It’s nice to meet you. Sam Raimi: (Looking at my Roland recording device) Is this the newest in super stereo recording? It looks like that thing has four mics on there.

Quint: I love it. It does, it’s a really expensive thing, thank God Ain’t It Cool paid for it. I couldn’t afford it. People actually use it at concerts where they can set it to acoustically pick up different things, like classical music and stuff.

Sam Raimi: So you know it’s recording all of our voices very well right now, because of that meter right there, right?

Quint: Yeah, you can see the meter and if you do it too loud. [Snaps fingers, making a red light blink on the recorder] You see the peak?

Alison Lohman: Wow! Sam Raimi: Pretty cool. Alison Lohman: So, we can’t scream. (laughs)

Quint: Cool, so the flick… I was at the panel. I saw the trailer and I saw the first half of the scene, but they pulled me out for an interview, so how was the response to the scene?

Sam Raimi: Well, I was up on stage. It’s probably best to ask the crowd themselves, but I was really happy with the screams that I heard and the gasps and the laughs. Alison Lohman: Definitely!

Quint: And it was the parking garage scene, where the curse is put on Alison, right?

Alison Lohman: Yes, where I get attacked by this older woman.

Quint: I read an early draft of the script, so I should have a little basis to jump off from here. I think my favorite scene in the whole thing was the séance scene. Did that make the cut? Did guys shoot it?

Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text!

Sam Raimi: Yeah, we did and I think it’s going to be very effective. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for the audience. What I like is how Alison really becomes this more desperate, desperate character, starting out as this very sweet good person and right around the séance it’s starting to get tougher and tougher and tougher until she becomes pretty much a horror warrior… a warrioress, or whatever…

[Everyone Laughs]

Quint: That is almost a noir staple. I have been watching a lot of noir for a column that I run on the site and one of the things that I love so much about those films is it feels like such a cycle of desperation. It’s like being in quicksand; the more they try to get out of it the faster they sink, so is that kind of what happens with you in the movie?

Alison Lohman: Yeah, exactly. Definitely! One thing after another… It was relentless.

Quint: I take it working with Sam… I’m a huge fan of your horror stuff and of course way before SPIDER-MAN I was an EVIL DEAD fan and DARKMAN. I bought the photocopy book of all of these visual effect storyboards from DARMAN and stuff.

Sam Raimi: You did?
Quint: I did!

Sam Raimi: How weird.

[Everyone Laughs]

Sam Raimi: No, no, that it was for sale.

Quint: I got it off of eBay. So, was it a big draw for you, Alison, to jump onboard this movie to work with Sam?

Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text!

Alison Lohman: Oh definitely. I actually hadn’t seen EVIL DEAD until halfway through the movie, but I’d seen this…

Sam Raimi: It was too late by then.

[Everyone Laughs]

Alison Lohman: But I saw A SIMPLE PLAN and obviously the SPIDER-MAN movies and I knew of Sam and I knew he was obviously incredibly talented and then I remember we had our first discussion on the phone and it was like five hours and it’s like he is such a great storyteller. I really could envision all of the subtleties and the detail of what he was trying to get across with this film and I knew I could do it. I felt, with Sam, that I really wanted to go through this experience even though my character is dragged to hell, but I… yeah.

Quint: I hope so, otherwise people would be walking out feeling gypped.

Alison Lohman: Definitely and I have to say it is the best experience I have ever had working on a film. I had the best time. Sam Raimi: That’s great. Thanks for saying so. She’s great!

Quint: You don’t beat her up like you beat up Bruce?

Sam Raimi: No, I beat her up, too. Really intensely. Alison Lohman: He hit a tombstone on my head!

Sam Raimi: Basically she had to endure so much abuse during this picture, from just the physical endurance that is necessary to star in a movie where you have every single day, I think minus two days, but I’m not sure… It wasn’t more than that, I’m not exaggerating… where you are on camera in every single shot and in every single frame. The endurance it takes to work those fourteen hour days and sometimes six day weeks, because of the threatened actor’s strike, is exhausting and that alone had been a love story only or a drama would have been intense enough. Every moment rested upon her. “Oh, you are shooting a shot now from scene 64B. Okay, that’s right after I got slapped and right after I’m kind of angry, but not too angry…” Alison Lohman: True, true, true, because you have to find the tone and it was interesting, because I would come to set and Sam and I would look at each other and we would be like “Okay this is what we are doing, let’s do it!” and you would have to prep yourself to get there, at least I would, and then towards the end I would come to set and I would literally be dragging my feet after four hours of sleep and I’m like “Wait, why am I doing this?” pinching myself to stay awake and I would look at Sam and Sam at that point would kind of look away.

Sam Raimi: Because I was so embarrassed about how much we had been putting you through. Alison Lohman: Or he would wink or something, but it was almost like we were going through this experience together and that was really helpful.
Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text!
Sam Raimi: You were so good in this picture. She gave us a great performance. She is really consistent. She starts as this sweet Missouri farm girl who you don’t really know that she’s a farm girl too much, except when it sneaks out a little once and a while, she does a really good job of hiding her accent, except when she gets mad or upset you can hear a little bit and she helps people. She really goes out of her way the best she can to help people and she is very much in love with Justin Long’s character and they have got a lot of chemistry the two of them. They were funny together and sweet together. So that really worked and so when she learns that she doesn’t stand a chance with Justin, because Justin’s mother has expectations of who Justin should be with, expectations of an ambitious woman, a woman who can help Justin’s career and social life and his standing in the world. I feel really bad for [her] at that moment, because I feel like “Oh, but I really liked her and she does deserve to be with him and they are sweet together” and so when she does this sin in this very next scene proving to her boss she is worthy of promotion, she sins to be this tough person that the boss expects her to be, because the assistant manager of the job she wants, in the boss’s eyes demands somebody to make these tough decisions, so to prove it, she makes a sinful, but tough decision of throwing this old woman out of her house.

Quint: And she is doing it out of trying to grasp her own happiness now?

Click here to read along with the next bit in Amazing Sound-O-Text! Sam Raimi: She is and hopefully the audience will have been through that with her, because you are a really good actress, because you really made these scenes come alive, because they connected in the office scene and in the classroom. We have seen the two of them laughing and loving together in a short, but very realistic way. I hope the audience says “Just throw the old lady out of the house, just do it quick, Alison…”

Quint: Just one time!

Sam Raimi: “…and we can get you happy together with Justin again.” I think she did that, which is really… I guess in one way it’s very simple, but in another way it takes the best actress in the world to get the audience to be with you to do something that’s not quite moral and not quite right and I think she has done it 100,000 percent and it’s just a subtle performance she gives. She is always realistic. Alison Lohman: Oh, thank you! Sam Raimi: And anyways we are talking about the beatings, my favorite subject!

Quint: (laugh) Yeah, the beatings! The fun part!

Sam Raimi: Eventually this curse chases her, the one the old woman puts on her, and the things that happen to her become more and more intense and Alison is somebody who has great physicality and she is in great shape, but then she is willing to do anything to get it right and I don’t mean performance-wise, which I mean also, but I mean physically hurt herself or threaten to hurt herself or put herself in situations that threaten to hurt her, so that it looks real when her head bounces off of that cabinet. So that when she is buried alive in the mud, you really believe that she is under there and drowning and we buried her alive. We did so many unspeakable things to her that it’s no wonder that halfway through the picture she says to me “You know, I just saw the EVIL DEAD movie and I have a little more respect now for Bruce Campbell.”

[Everyone Laughs]

Alison Lohman: True!

Quint: Respect for Bruce.

Alison Lohman: My favorite actor, seriously, he is amazing.

Quint: Did you get to slip him in the movie?

Sam Raimi: No, he was working the whole time. I couldn’t put him in the picture. He’s got that BURN NOTICE show.

Quint: Bummer. I saw “the classic” before I left the auditorium, so we get one of the two regulars.

Sam Raimi: Yeah, “the classic” is in the picture. It’s the car of the old woman. It’s playing a role, too, because our character, Christine, will see that old woman get into that car at the bank, after she denies her the loan and later, when Alison is going to the parking lot to leave for the night, she not only sees her car parked there alone, there is also another car there, so “the classic” hopefully has an important, but small part to play.

Quint: So, “the classic” is like the barrels in JAWS, you see it and you know the shark is there.

Sam Raimi: That’s right. I am hoping it will get another part. Somebody will offer it another part I hope. Alison Lohman: I didn’t know that, interesting. Sam Raimi: Yeah, that car is in a lot of the pictures I make.

Quint: What about Ted [Raimi]? Is Ted in the movie?

Sam Raimi: He just has one line. He’s just seen briefly in it. Alison Lohman: My doctor. Sam Raimi: Yeah.

Quint: When I read it, the asshole competing bank teller… to me, that read as a total Ted part.

Sam Raimi: I was writing that with my brother, Ivan, for Ted, but then we cast as we had to cast and Reggie Lee was so great in that role. He is so funny and awful.

Quint: And he stole it from your brother?

Sam Raimi: He did actually, yeah.

Quint: So did you work with KNB for the effects?

Sam Raimi: Yeah, it was wonderful working with those guys again. Greg Nicotero was there everyday and his team of great puppeteers, who a lot of these guys I had worked with… Alison Lohman: They were amazing. Sam Raimi: Weren’t they good? Alison Lohmn: Yes, they were unbelievable.

Quint: They are great guys, like Shannon [Shea] and…

Sam Raimi: Shannon was there… He’s a great puppeteer. He played a lot of the parts, like the goat, the hands that drag you down to hell… He’s got such a nice personality, too.

Quint: Very soft spoken. Very nice guy.

Sam Raimi: Those guys are pleasures to have on the set. They are professionals. They are artists, great artists and then they are film craftsmen, too, so it’s a big combination of talents those guys have over there.

Quint: Now I think one of the reasons I like the séance scene so much on the page was that it was the one that felt like a direct nod to EVIL DEAD, because she was acting very much, at least on the page like a deadite. So visually did you want to separate the two worlds or does that visually come off as a nod?

Sam Raimi: I wasn’t thinking about the EVIL DEAD movie s much when I was writing or shooting that. There are similarities though, because it’s a person who is actually inhabited by a spirit and so I think KNB recognized that like you did more than I did and I think they actually did a nod to the makeup to the EVIL DEAD pictures, Tom Sullivan’s makeup and their own makeup, but I wasn’t really thinking about that, but yeah there are similarities, you are absolutely right.

Quint: So, when is the flick coming out?

Sam Raimi: I know I am supposed to know this. It might be May 29th next year.

Quint: Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. I really enjoyed that.

Sam Raimi: Thanks, nice to meet you finally. I enjoy your stuff very much.

Quint: Likewise, sir.

Alison Lohman: Good to meet you! Sam Raimi: Thanks guys!

Hope you guys dug the interview. My apologies for not grilling him on the future of the EVIL DEAD franchise… I was saving it for the end and didn’t get a wrap-up motion, just a “that’s it, time to go.” Oh well. Next time. I had a blast with this one and hope you did, too. Still tons more to come! Stay tuned! -Quint

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