Marc Blucas' days as Riley Finn, the heart-broken ex of one vampire-slaying Buffy Summers, are long behind him. Since his turn on Joss Whedon's hit series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," however, the 36-year-old Pennsylvania native has been accumulating a sizable horror resume with titles such as They, Thr3e and The Killing Floor. Next, he stars in Animals, Doug Aarniokoski's screen adaptation of the 1993 novel by John Skipp and Craig Spector. The latter takes screenwriting credit.
"I play Syd Jarrett. Itâ€™s his story," Blucas tells Shock during a visit to the Salt Lake City, Utah set. His co-stars include Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2), Eva Amurri, Andy Comeau and Naveen Andrews ("Lost"). "It has a lot of things that I think are universally relatable to everyone. Itâ€™s about someone who has had a few things go wrong, and has had an identity crisis in their life. When that happens you shut down and just go into cruise control. Youâ€™re not taking a proactive stance on anything, and youâ€™re letting things happen to you, as opposed to you dictating your life. And heâ€™s in that place. Itâ€™s about a character crossing the threshold into adulthood, and meeting people that thrust him into a more active stance in life." People like Aycox's Nora - a young, sexual gal who introduces Jarrett to a sub-culture of shape-shifters led by Andrews' Vic.
"The ultimate theme of the movie is that we all have an inner strength, and we have to be brave enough to let that out. Tha's when weâ€™re at our strongest as human beings, when weâ€™re willing to accept who we are, what our beliefs are, have the strength to wear that on our sleeve, and say this is who I am. I think thatâ€™s an important message regardless of the genre youâ€™re telling it in."
"At the end of the day, the genre is horror erotic thriller," Blucas says categorizing the film. "If there is such a thing. Even so, every genre has to be rooted in character. Like the horror-esque movies that I grew up with, such as Jaws and Alien. If you can sympathize with the characters, root for them, and believe in them and their relationships right out of the gate, then you can take the leap of faith supernaturally. Hopefully, the same thing will happen in Animals and youâ€™ll see that these are very relatable characters."
Asked how physically demanding his role is, Blucas pokes fun at his co-star, answering, "Boy, Iâ€™ve had to carry Eva half the f**king movie! And you can tell her I said it! Physically, there are a lot of challenges on the movie, because itâ€™s so demanding. I really enjoy bringing physicality to every character. I had an athletic background growing up. Itâ€™s stuff I like to do and try. I trust my own physical capabilities, and the stunt people are great by letting me do my own stunts. The final fight scene was very demanding. I was on the harness, I was flying all over the place, tackling, landing, missing pads, and hitting concrete."
The bumps and bruises that come with said stunts are worth it. Especially if it means he's making director, and long-time friend, Aarniokoski happy. "I took this job because of Doug. Iâ€™m a big fan. Weâ€™re two people that have a lot of dreams, and things we want to do in the industry. Weâ€™ve always talked about directing our own thing, and now Iâ€™m a lead in his movie. Itâ€™s a really nice thing that itâ€™s happening now. Directing action is a very tricky thing, not many people can do it. Doug, boy, does he get how to direct an action sequence. And I think that itâ€™s going to be a fun, fast ride for the audience."
To see an early trailer for Animals, click here.