Summer may be on it's way out, but there are still some great movies in theaters. If you're not into talking trees, comedic priests, or tearing a tendon trying a post-credits James Brown move, then "Cabin Fever: Patient Zero" may be up your alley. Actor Currie Graham sat down to talk about his role in the film as well as the challenges of making the long awaited flesh-eating prequel.
BILLY TATUM: Were you familiar with the "Cabin Fever" franchise?
CURRIE GRAHAM: I wasn't. They called me and offered me the role. My agent explained to me that it was a franchise. I read the script and felt like you didn't have to know the franchise to be a fan of the movie yourself. I felt like the movie could stand alone. Even if you aren't familiar with the "Cabin Fever" franchise, it's certainly something you can watch and go "I totally get it."
BILLY TATUM: How was it working with the crew?
CURRIE GRAHAM: Well, a lot of the crew was from the Dominican Republic. We shot in the D.R. Most of the stuff I shot was in an underground cave in the city of Santo Domingo. It was an incredible set, just in terms of what they were able to accomplish. Also, at the start of the film, we were hit with Hurricane Sandy.
BILLY TATUM: It must've been a struggle doing a film during a natural disaster.
CURRIE GRAHAM: It was crazy. It was the huge hurricane that wiped out New Jersey. We got the beginning of it in the Dominican Republic. It was like "Are we going to get this film going? Are we going to be able to shoot this?" The power was going out. The cables had water in it. It was really like the first week of shooting and it was touch and go, because the whole island was flooded. The people in the crew were going "My bedroom is full of water all the way up to the mattress." It was intense.
BILLY TATUM: Were they close to shutting production down?
CURRIE GRAHAM: There were some rumblings, but I give credit to the crew, the producers and the director. We found ways to go about shooting bits and pieces until things dried out. We were really able to get down in the caves and caves attract water. I mean it's like a giant f'n sponge. There's water everywhere, but the producers did a good job keeping everyone together and soldiering through it and getting it done. It was pretty amazing, because the actors were like "This is crazy." You show up at Base Camp and there's three feet of water and you're like "This is intense." It was an amazing experience as an actor.
BILLY TATUM: Is that the most extreme experience you've had as an actor?
CURRIE GRAHAM: Yes, I'm used to working on a studio lot for four months shooting a movie. Last summer, I did "Pompeii". I was thinking about shooting in the Dominican Republic in the middle of a hurricane. Then, I'm in Toronto shooting on studio lot on a $100 million feature and I'm thinking "This is easy. This is luxury." The crew worked really hard and soldiered on and it was a great experience. I still keep in touch with the actors and looking back on it, it was a really exciting, crazy, trying, great time. I still stay in touch with Sean (Astin) and some of the castmates. I still get emails from the director and the producer. I think that when you go through something like that, there's sort of a bond that's always there.
BILLY TATUM: This was Kaare Andrews first feature. Is the approach any different dealing with a first-time director?
CURRIE GRAHAM: He's got a good view. He knows how to build the scary into a horror film. I think he's certainly got that idea. With any new director, I think for him to step into shooting in a foreign country in the middle of a hurricane in an underground cave, is very ambitious. He did an admirable job, because it's so hard to do. I thought he really stepped up and was able to get everyone on the same page and get it done. I have a lot of respect for him and kudos to him, because it was an overwhelming task. Just the language barrier itself is tricky.
BILLY TATUM: Were any of the cast bilingual?
CURRIE GRAHAM: I think Sean knew a lot of Spanish, but for the most part the crew spoke way better English than I spoke Spanish (laughs). Good for them and shame on me. I know the director had a translator with him at all times to convey what we need to happen. I think, working down there, the film industry is new for them. Shooting at one speed for them is shooting slowly for us. I think for Kaare to go "No, this is how we do it."
BILLY TATUM: In regards to speed, do you find the shooting approaches to be greatly different from country to country?
CURRIE GRAHAM: I've shot in Sweden and it's a different feel. It's a little more laid back. Then, I come here and do a hundred million dollar feature and it's a whole different ballgame. I just wrapped a series there and we would shoot 8 to 12 pages a day. We were just knocking it out. In Europe, it's like "We got almost a whole page by lunch. Wow, that's pretty great." I'm like "Pretty great? Are you kidding me? We do that before snacks!" So, I think Kaare had to really up the ante for these guys and put the hammer down and he did. God bless him.
"Cabin Fever: Patient Zero" opens today in theaters and on Itunes. Our interview with Currie Graham concludes tomorrow when he discusses his role in "Murder in the First", his interactions with fans, and his upcoming projects.