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Exclusive Set Report: Patrick Wilson Talks Insidious

Watchmen star enters haunted house territory

Assuming a role Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist), Oliver Reed (Burnt Offerings) and James Brolin (The Amityville Horror) have explored before him – that of a patriarch holding his family unit together in a haunted house – actor Patrick Wilson is taking a turn in his career with Insidious, a straight-up horror film. And he’s pretty thrilled with the change after defending his balls from Ellen Page in Hard Candy, defending his relationship from a racist Sam Jackson in Lakeview Terrace, steeping himself in infidelity in Little Children and suiting up for Watchmen.

Wilson co-stars in Insidious with Rose Byrne and his Little Children co-star Ty Simpkins. The three comprise a family that experiences a tragedy and subsequently find their home haunted. They move, hoping to put the haunting behind them, but quickly learn they are being followed by the supernatural force behind the bizarre occurrences.

Before the shooting day begins on the Los Angeles set, Wilson sits down with Shock Till You Drop to discuss his role. We also caught up to director James Wan who offered us a tour and interview which you can read about in this report.

Shock Till You Drop: In terms of scale, and certainly compared to something like Watchmen, this is a step backwards budget-wise. But as films like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project proved, budget doesn’t really matter when it comes to horror…as long as it’s good. In talking with some of the folks here, that seems to be the consensus: It’s a low budget, but a strong script

Patrick Wilson: Paranormal and Blair Witch and those kinds of things are, financially, similar to doing an inexpensive horror film. You do this and realize, wow, it’s script dependent. If you get a good script, then you’ll get people working for a low budget. The cool thing is, the people brought together here thought the script was awesome and it’s special to be a part of that rather then, ‘Eh, I’m doing a low budget horror movie.’ I’ve been offered this genre before on certainly much bigger budgets but it’s never been about that with me at all. It didn’t really matter to me.

Shock: How is this script strong?

Wilson: This played like a family drama turned on its head. The horror movies that I have enjoyed growing up were Poltergeist. From an early age that frightened me. And at the time my house got robbed when I saw the movie. The movie has nothing to do with the robbery, but I got home and it was like where were you? Oh, we were watching Poltergeist. So it wasn’t just scary, it was because of the aftermath of being traumatized because our house was broken into. It spoke volumes to me. I think with horror movies people like that shock hitting you. They like the gore, which this movie doesn’t have, or the psychology fear, which this film does have. That’s why it works.

Shock: And how does your character, Josh, fall into the film?

Wilson: This movie is an even keel between me and Rose. It’s heavy on her the first half of the movie, and heavy on me in the second half, and when you see it, you’ll know why. You’re not just following one person and his journey. You’re following this family and seeing how the dynamic shifts. It comes from an organic place. They get a new house, they don’t have a lot of money, they’re trying to figure out what to do. Who’s home with the kid? The son gets injured…what happened? All of that stuff would play into any movie. The fact that it gets into the horror element from there is something I thought was awesome. I was halfway through the script and I called my agent and was like, have you read it? Put it at the top of your pile, we need to figure this out.

Shock: Were you excited about the prospect of working with those behind the camera?

Wilson: Before I even opened the script, it says from the creators of Saw and the producers of Paranormal Activity. Regardless of how I feel about those movies, they’re very successful in their genre so these people clearly know what they’re doing. I really dug Saw when it came out because it was unlike anything I had seen. I’m not a huge horror fanatic, I saw that in the theater the first week, I saw Hostel the first week. If it looks different for the genre, I’m interested. I love movies. I knew coming into it, these guys were at the top of their game. Paranormal is sort of the Blair Witch thing, blending the reality is a different vibe for me.

Shock: I hear you get to face off with the film’s “demon,” a practical creation, something tangible for you to play against…

Wilson: I’m a Star Wars fan. I’ll take the cantina scene with people in real make-up over Jar Jar any day of the week. The fact that this is all practical, Justin [Raleigh] who did the make-up, did the suits for Watchmen. He made mine, Ozymandias’, the Comedian’s…and I think Moloch’s costume. So, I like things that are practical. James [Wan] takes that a step further. That’s the thing about James, in meeting him, the way he was approaching these characters, they were original. That was the most exciting thing as a filmmaker. We’re all trying to do things you haven’t seen and he knows exactly what he wants to shoot.

Shock: And having never done a horror movie, how is the dialogue with you and the director? The experience, overall?

Wilson: Right, I’ve never done a horror movie, the closest thing maybe being Hard Candy. James and David Slade are completely different people but I’ve worked with a lot of directors that have their individual strengths. It’s nice to work with James who knows how he’s going to shoot it, edit it and knows the look. That’s good for a low budget movie, and it helps, because you can cut corners to make your day, but you have to know how you want to shoot it. We’ve been great about that and not going over. There have been long hours but you know nothing is being wasted. Slade was the same way on Hard Candy. You have to be three steps ahead and that’s James. I try to do whatever was different from the last job. Just as different as the system will allow me, that’s the blessing and the curse in some way. Truthfully, nothing has been such a huge hit that’s identified me in one role. I haven’t been pigeon-holed into a type so I try to do as many different things as I can.


Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor