One of the most popular genre of cult hit films are the fun cheesy monster flicks that usually make their way onto DVD or channels like SyFy. Thankfully there are a few that come along that deliver all the fun and cheese in a good way that keep fans wanting more. The latest Big Ass Spider! does just that while featuring a great cast including Ray Wise, Clare Kramer, Lombardo Boyar with Greg Grunberg leading the charge. While most fans know Grunberg mostly from shows like Heroes, Alias, and The Client List he will no doubt be capturing a whole new legion of fans with his heroic turn in this soon to be monster cult classic. I had the change to sit down with Greg to talk about bringing Big Ass Spider! to life.
Bobby: How did you get involved in Big Ass Spider?
Greg: I am a fan of the genre, but always leery of something with a low budget where the effects are so important to it, but it’s a movie about a big alien spider so you kind of know what you are going to get. With that part of the movie I trusted Mike Mendez to make it look as big budget as he could and he certainly achieved that. The effects are great, but I wanted to make sure that the other stuff that I could control and was able to have fun with it. I was able to bring in Lombardo and they allowed us to improve and make the characters richer and funnier. It really all worked and came together in a real collaborative effort. I am real proud of it.
Bobby: Some of the best moments of the film are between you and Lombardo and was going to ask how much of that you got to improve.
Greg: We improved about 90% of this movie. We knew where the scenes needed to go and obviously the script was well written and laid out story wise, but as far as the character moments, which is what you care about getting from point A to point B to make it as interesting as possible and make these characters as relatable. I have had a friendship with Lombardo for years so it wasn’t hard for us to get in there and have some fun together and trust each other. He is incredible. He steals scenes and will let you steal scenes and it really made the film so much better.
Bobby: You have done a lot of different types of projects from Heroes to the Client List and so much more. Do they give you something to act towards or anything? What is your process to go from such different genres?
Greg: It’s just from experience that I want to have as much control as I possibly can, but at the same time I want to be collaborative. In a role like this I have to kind of trust two people, one being Lombardo, but also director Mike Mendez. I had to trust him and his instincts all the way to catch me when something wasn’t working. From the moment we start until it’s done editing I have to know we are on the same page so that we don’t shoot something and then I am wondering where a certain moment is in the film only to find out they cut it and wasted my time on that. The entire film we were on the same page and the good thing about a low budget movie like this is you only get to do a few things. We decided on a variety to do and just try it and even though we are only able to do a few things we came up with some fun stuff that really worked.
Bobby: On the special effects side of a film like this did they give you something to act toward or do you just have to react to what they tell you is there and you just have to go at it?
Greg: Yeah it was basically that. I had to do the same thing on Hollow Man where Paul Verhoeven would yell “Here comes the invisible guy and he’s really mean and scary. Jump to the right, jump to the left!” You just have to trust that they will make it work and they can. It was trusting Mike and he had such a strong vision of what he wanted the film to be. I didn’t know what the spider was going to look like. I had no idea how scary it was, but we did get some stuff on certain levels where he would say “Ok, you are f@#ked and out of your mind scared, ok now you’re like a little worried, now it’s no big deal.” It was that kind of stuff, but once the spider grows bigger than a tomato is obviously going to be pretty scary. It’s something that my character Alex who’s a pro and has never seen anything like this, so I could get excited. Like when I first see the webbing in the air conditioning shaft it wasn’t written this way, but I was like “Oh this is so beautiful” because that’s what a guy like that would think, he wouldn’t be scared. He would think it was the most beautiful webbing he has ever seen because this spider is incredible. There was a lot of respect that he has for the whole world of spiders.
Bobby: Did you do any research to try to embellish on what was written in the script?
Greg: I did, I rode along with my exterminator that comes to my house to a couple of houses just to see where he puts his chemicals and how he treats them. There wasn’t that much to it, but I wanted to see how careful he was in his environment dealing with chemicals, respecting people’s properties, caring about his customers and all that stuff. It was overall easy for me to jump into.
Bobby: You mentioned you went along with your exterminator. How do you approach that conversation, where they just over there spraying and you ask to do a ride along?
Greg: (laughs) Yeah that is exactly what it was, I told him I am playing you in a movie essentially can I ride with you. He was like “I don’t know…” I said come on; I just did some on my street and just walked with him through some of the backyards and stuff. It was awesome, it was so great then we got back and I took him to lunch and got to get into his mind a little bit, but I had known him for years, so it was cool.
Bobby: So it wasn’t that awkward moment of just some random guy on Craigslist you asked to ride in his truck? (laughs)
Greg: Yeah and he was like “I don’t think so; we’ll talk to you later.” No it wasn’t like that at all.
Bobby: With a film like Big Ass Spider! you have the potential of creating a great cult following, is there any plans to possibly do more if this one does well?
Greg: Yeah for sure, we’ve talked about it. It’s just a matter of how well it does on DVD. We’re all ready, the production company wants to do it, Mike wants too, I want too, Lombardo does so it will be a yes from everybody and just a matter of budget.
Bobby: I have to ask you one more question, but it doesn’t have to do with Big Ass Spider, but my wife will kill me if I don’t get confirmation. Is the Client List officially done?
Greg: Yeah, it’s officially done.
Bobby: Do you have anything else coming up that you would like to promote that you can tell us about?
Greg: There is a few that I can’t say too much about yet, one is a pilot I did for USA that I hope gets picked up and I did a couple other films. I did one called Burning Dog that is really super cool that I produced too. It’s a first person shooter buddy cop feature and the main character is the camera. I also have my own app called Yowza that’s the number one mobile coupon app out there believe it or not. Mostly though Big Ass Spider! is out there in all the stores and I think people are going to really love it.
Bobby: I appreciate you taking the time to do this, the movie is a lot of fun and I hope to see more of them.
Greg: Thanks man, I really appreciate it.
For more information on his app Yowza, head over to http://getyowza.com/
Be sure to grab your copy of Big Ass Spider! on DVD in stores no