Feo Amante Has Lunch With Actor Chad Lindberg of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE - 2010
October 15, 16, and 17, 2010. In Los Angeles that means two separate fan conventions in two separate places. The Hollywood Xpo (mostly a general genre convention of Science Fiction, Horror, and Comics, and a lot of mid-range budget producers scouting for the next flick), and the Creation Weekend of Horror (for the fans!).
And in addition to everything else, I also have an interview with actor Chad Lindberg (Ash in SUPERNATURAL [TV]). But no sweat, I'm a professional and I can juggle it all!
I'm running late to my interview with Chad! I'm holding up this poor bastard who is actually doing ME the favor! Damn this LA traffic! Damn my poor economizing of time!
I get to Carney's Hot Dogs on Sunset and the dude is waiting for me. Hell he even buys my lunch! Whatta freaking great guy!
Actually, Chad Lindberg is a nice guy, slight build, with hound dawg eyes and an air about him that makes you think he's about to crack up laughing or tell a joke.
Why is such a nice guy playing a brutal rapist in a remake of the hardcore powerhouse movie, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE?
We talk about the oddness of Hollywood.
Chad Lindberg: At that point, I felt I was really going somewhere. I'd had steady acting work in television and small movie roles, for about two years, but that was the big one.
ECM: And then?
Chad: Then nothing. I actually went through a dry spell, then I had another solid role in The Fast and The Furious (as Jesse).
ECM: And then?
Chad: Nothing again. I made a few very low budget indie films (The Flats, The Failures), a small part in a Disney film (The Rookie), back to TV and other roles (The Last Samurai) but nothing was really moving my career to the next level.
Chad: I don't know. I've really looked at it. I tried out for lots of parts, got some good ones, but nothing that would be called a "break out" role. I did get to have Lena Heady kick my ass in TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. (laughs)
But in retrospect, I'm thinking that's good in a way. Back when I started, I was really too young for success. I think I would have burned out on it all if everything had just been handed to me.
ECM: Hollywood is full of those stories.
Chad: Yeah, and I've seen some of them in action. I've stood there in silence while some kid is dominating the set, dominating the director, who demeans himself, acts all deferential to the actor's whims just so they can finish the scene.
ECM: You think you could have become that?
Chad: I don't know. I don't know how I would have handled it all. The way this business throws everything at you when you're young and successful. I'd like to think it wouldn't have gone to my head, but in a way I'm glad that success came a bit later. Now I'm grounded, more sure of myself.
ECM: Tell me what got you started in acting. It was back in your home state of Washington.
Chad: My Mom got me into it. I found an agent, and started getting work.
ECM: You found an agent before you made anything?
Chad: They had this talent audition, and they were looking for kids, fresh faces. I was one of the ones they picked and I started working.
ECM: That's incredibly lucky!
Chad: Yeah, and it seems to happen more outside of Hollywood than for the folks who live here.
ECM: That's true. I know a lot of people in entertainment who were born and raised here, work here, got a few breaks, but mainly watch the constant import of fast risers from outside of the system.
Chad: It can be a frustrating business.
ECM: So tell me how you got your role in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.
Chad: Well you know the story with Zarchi, right?
ECM: I do, my audience may not.
Chad: Back in the 1970s, Zarchi was driving in New York with his daughter, when he saw this woman come stumbling out of some bushes all bloody and naked. He took her to the police, where they made fun of him and the woman. Zarchi was so horrified at their behavior that it inspired him to make I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.
ECM: So they sent you a script.
Chad: Originally, they wanted me to try out for the role of Andy, but that part didn't really work for me. I saw myself as Matthew and asked if I could do that.
ECM: And it works.
ECM: You are a very physical person. You don't just talk, you get your whole being involved in what you say, and you did that in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. The way Matthew would awkwardly move his hands and fingers as he talked.
Chad: Thanks for noticing. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE isn't a subtle movie, but I wanted to work in subtleties to Matthew's character. I was hoping to express in his move and motions what it has been like for Matthew to grow up in a restrictive place like that. Especially with someone who has Matthew's disabilities.
ECM: Matthew is one of those people that you feel is least guilty. You keep hoping that somehow, some way, he can find a way to redeem himself.
Chad: But he never makes that choice.
Chad: And he deserves what he gets.
ECM: Yep. So actors often say, when working on an emotionally intense movie, that there are times when they need to overcompensate with humor. Did you have that?
Chad: It all depended on the day. There were times when, between takes, we'd joke around or crack each other up, but there were also times when Sarah (Butler – Jennifer), had to get away from all of us for a bit.
ECM: People who don't understand the nature of acting often say, "What's the big deal? It's all just pretend."
Chad: Yeah, but you can't be a good actor unless you can make it look real to an audience. And while you are making it look real to the camera, you start looking real to your fellow actors. And all of that, being acted out by these different people, starts dredging up some bad memories, experienced or heard, and then it all gets real intense.
Then you do take after take after take and you are trying to make each take better, which means more horrific than the last. This is a real person here. How far can you, should you go to make it look real? Shit man. Pretend is pretend but there were times when we all had to take a break and just get the hell away from that set, go into town with our bloodstained clothes on and everything. We didn't care. We just had to get away and get our heads right.
At one point during the cabin scene, Jeff (Branson)'s character of Johnny is threatening Sarah with a baseball bat. He keeps threatening her, intimidating her with it, like he's going to hit her. In one take, he accidentally did smack her with it and we all kind of jumped! But Sarah soldiered on through and played the scene.
ECM: Were you aware of just how highly the original is regarded by Horror fans?
Chad: I didn't know a thing about it until later.
ECM: Revenge flicks, as a rule, aren't Horror movies, but I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE crossed the line and I'd say the same with the remake. This isn't Death Wish where the audience is given plenty of time to recover between the crimes. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is relentless, and I don't feel that Zarchi has ever been given the credit he is due, by the mainstream, for having said, "Hey! Rape is not a joke! A man CAN rape his own wife. Rape is Horror! Rape is not the victim's fault." Zarchi was there at the pivotal moment where America and other countries were just starting to consider this.
Chad: Yeah, and for that reason, I'm glad to see that this movie never faded away.
ECM: So between SUPERNATURAL, which isn't really Horror, but does frequently visit the Horror tropes, and now I SPIT, what do you think of the genre fans?
Chad: I'm stunned by how dedicated they are. Nobody throws themselves into their love of movies like Horror and SciFi fans.
ECM: Yeah, not a lot of RomCom conventions out there. I haven't noticed any popular Drama expos.
Chad: When I went to the San Diego Comic Con, I was just amazed by the fans. I had no idea they participated on such a huge level.
ECM: Some actors, when they witness this loyalty and adoration, turn their careers toward making more genre movies. Have you thought about that?
Chad: I'd be happy to make more Horror movies. Science Fiction movies too. But basically, I just want to be a solid working actor who gets to make all types of movies.
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