June 17, 2016 Interview – Andy Powers of Clown
Clowns have been a source of entertainment in culture for centuries. While their purpose is to be humorous and friendly, they also have ignited a fear in many due to the distorted nature of the makeup, thus leaving nightmarish imagery to dance through one’s mind. With that said, the clown has been explored in the realm of Horror through the years, and perhaps one of the most talked about Clown Horror films over the past decade is the Jon Watts directed Clown. Creating a folklore of its own, the film initial began as a trailer uploaded to YouTube back in 2010, baring Eli Roth’s name as producer. The funny thing about it was Roth had nothing to do with the project at the time. While one would think it would end up in a lawsuit, the opposite happened, Roth became involved; Clown grew legs and became one of the most sought-out Horror films in years. Now, after many years of waiting, it finally sees the light of day with a release in the USA as of June 17th in select theaters and on demand. A moment fans and the creators have been waiting for, Clown has the prospect of becoming a modern Horror favorite in no time. Gearing up for the release, we had a chance to sit down with film star Andy Powers about his role as Kent McCoy, getting in character as the evil clown, his time on set, and more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in film , television, and theater for over fifteen years now. First, briefly tell us what inspired you to pursue acting?
Andy Powers – I always loved performing. I played music when I was young and I started doing theater for the most noble of reasons, which was to meet girls. I felt like I had some talent and I wanted to give it a shot. I also came to New York when I was 13 for violin. I sort of fell in love with the city so I tried to figure out a way/reason to move to the city. I felt like acting was the best way. I love movies. There are some great films from my childhood which inspired me to give it a shot.
CrypticRock.com – It seems to have worked out pretty well. You have had a lot of roles in film and television including reoccurring roles on HBO’s hit series OZ, as well as ER, among others. Just a few years ago, you took a lead role in Eli Roth’s Clown. How did you become involved with this film?
Andy Powers – The first I heard of it was from the casting director who thought I might be interested. Besides that, the scenes that they sent for the audition were really unique and extreme. There was one scene with the all-loving father and the next was really nasty. In fact, I probably will get in trouble for saying this, but it is funny. The casting director, Billy Hopkins, who has been around for ever, when I did a take in the audition, he said, “Ok, Andy that is really good, but I want you to do it again, and this time, find a place to be super evil.” I said, “Super evil?” He said, “Super evil.” I never received a note like that in my life. I felt, ok this might be something.
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) That is pretty funny. Interestingly, Clown as a trailer that bared Eli Roth’s name before he even became involved. It soon developed into a full-blown project and has built quite a buzz around it in the years to follow. Are you surprised to see the steam this film picked on its own?
Andy Powers – I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but no, I knew it was a good movie. I knew it was a unique story for the genre and I knew it was a lot of fun. It was one of those things where, if you ever meet Jon Watts, you will know he is just such a fan of this kind of story telling. He really knows how to make something like this enticing. It has had a long journey to finally have a release. I think it will even grow further from here. Once people see it, I think it will become one of the cult classics. It is a good movie.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed completely. It really should pick up even more steam among Horror fans. There are a lot of people who have a fear of clowns. There have been few Horror films which capitalize on this topic, one such that comes to mind is Stephen King’s It. What was your experience like playing the dark and evil character?
Andy Powers – I had a lot of fun. Once you are filming something, you are so much into the technical aspects of it. If you have not done the work of minding who that person is before that, you are setting yourself up for failure. I made sure I was really prepared before I ever got to the set. You mentioned the fear of clowns, there was an incident with one of the drivers on set. He was notoriously afraid of clowns, but he also liked to talk a lot of shit. I had finished that scene in the Chucky Cheese play pen and it was really late at night when I walked out into the street dressed as a clown with blood all over me. He was sleeping in a van in front of the building and I ran up and jumped on the windshield to scare him. I felt really terrible because I almost made a grown man cry, it really scared the hell out of him. It is a scary movie (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) That would frighten anyone for sure. One of the most intriguing parts about your role is the transformation. What was your transformation like behind the scenes and how did that experience translate to the screen?
Andy Powers – Well, they say if something happens, as an actor, you use it. Before I ever got there, I knew the transformation is so subtle and gradual that I really had to block out every single moment of the script. I had a sketch book with around 50 pages of charts where I took a part each and every scene. I did this to decide what physical ailments he had at the time and how strong the instincts to do what he does. You had to sort of block that out because you don’t shoot a movie in order. The first scene you shoot, might be the last scene in a film. If that doesn’t work with everything you have planned out, you really had to know where you were at the moment.
The other side of it, you are in a makeup chair 4 hours a day. They had their own planning, Hugo Villasenor and those who do film the special effects makeup, I thought they were going to do maybe 4 or 5 looks initially. He had around 28-30 looks for the character as he developed and transformed. That was really taxing, because he had a lot of work to do. It drove me a little crazy because you start at 7 AM on one day and by the time you get to the fifth shooting day of the week you are starting the work day at midnight. It makes everyone a little crazy, you can kind of use that. You really are exhausted, you haven’t seen the sun in about a week, and you have the same guy poking your face for about 8 hours a day, non-stop. It was the perfect project to experience that because you got to turn it around and put it into the screen.
CrypticRock.com – Wow, it sounds like a very tedious process. It seems like something like that could help you in projecting a character.
Andy Powers – Yes, but do not get me wrong the guy who did it has the perfect temperament for someone who is a makeup artist. He is calm, but a really nice guy and really gets the job done well.
CrypticRock.com – The people you work with can make a world of difference in any field. It sounds like it was an overall blast making Clown. Now, the film is out as of June 17th in the USA, so it will be exciting to see fans reactions. Our last question is actually pertaining to Horror films. If you are a fan of the genre, do you have any favorites?
Andy Powers – (laughs) I am a reluctant fan of the genre. I am not someone who can suspend disbelief. I am one of those people who watch a Horror movie and I think I am going to die, I literally think I am going to die. Sometimes movies can be way too scary for comfort, but it has a good story, I will sit through it. I think a great Horror movie is almost the best kind of movie because it is not easy on you. If you have a compelling Horror movie that makes you sit there and dying to know what happens at the end, that is a great film because it makes you go through extreme emotions in order to get there. It takes a lot of talent, from the director to the actors, to the cinematography, to the sound editors. All those things have to be on fire to ring true and keep you in the seat to be interested. I am a fan though. When it’s bad a Horror movie, it is a bad movie. If it is a great Horror movie, it is an extreme nature of the genre itself.