‘Cabin in the Woods’ director Drew Goddard talks about his movie (without really talking about it)
'The Cabin in the Woods' director Drew Goddard (R) and producer Joss Whedon (Photo: Lionsgate Films)
A common complaint about movies today is that trailers give away too much of the plot. That's not been the case with this weekend's "The Cabin in the Woods." From outward appearances the film looks to be just another horror flick about five good-looking young people headed out to a remote location like lambs to the slaughter. But there is a lot more to this movie than just the simple setup, and to reveal anything else would ruin the fun.
That does, however, put co-writer and director Drew Goddard on the spot when it comes to promoting the film. A veteran of the acclaimed genre TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Lost," Goddard first made a splash in the movies with his screenplay for "Cloverfield." "Cabin" reunites Goddard with his "Buffy" boss Joss Whedon, who produced the film and co-wrote the script. The movie was shot in 2009, but the original studio's bankruptcy kept it on the shelf until now.
I spoke to Goddard on the phone about the difficulties of talking about his movie without really talking about it, how they found actor Chris Hemsworth before he picked up Thor's hammer, and if he feels responsible for all the found-footage copycats that followed in the monstrous footsteps of "Cloverfield."
Matt McDaniel: How hard has that been for you to get the word out about the movie without giving away too much information?
Drew Goddard: It's the challenge we struggle with everyday. How do you protect the fact that the less you know about "Cabin" the better? I mean, it's undeniable that the less you know about it, the more fun you're going to have watching it. And yet, you also want to tell an audience that this is worth their time, that they were not making the same old movie. We struggle with that every day, and I'm sure we will continue to struggle with that until the movie comes out.
MM: What I've been telling the people is that it doesn't have a twist ending, it has a twist beginning.
DG: That's good. I like that. I've always said I'm less interested in twists as I am about escalation. It's not about any one twist. It's more about a story that is unconventional and goes to places that you normally wouldn't expect.
MM: Was the conceit of the film what came first and then the script was built around it?
DG: Yes, definitely. The conceit came first. And it was Joss' original conceit. He just sort of pitched out that conceit to me and I just instantly sparked to it. As soon as I heard it, I went "Oh, yeah. That's phenomenal. Let's do that."
MM: You've been working with Joss Whedon for nearly a decade now, starting with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". How has your working relationship evolved over that time?
DG: It's funny. I guess it's been very similar. We just hit it off right away. Sometimes when you have a similar aesthetic, it's just easy. It was always easy for us. It was just fun. I think that was the main thing. We both love what we do and we both love the types of stories that we get to tell.
When you find other people like that, that have genuine enthusiasm for it, you just want to keep hanging out with them, because so much of Hollywood can dampen enthusiasm. It's the nature of the beast. So when you find like-minded souls, you'll want to hold them close.