December 5, 2016 Interview – Chase Williamson
Growing up, how many children say they want to be a Rockstar or a movie star? Chances are many, but only a few are fortunate enough to live out those dreams. Raised in Southlake, Texas, Chase Williamson had the hopes of acting in film, and in his early twenties, earned himself the lead in the popular 2012 film John Dies at the End. A tremendous break for the aspiring young talent, he has since been quite busy in various genres ranging from Horror to Sci-Fi and Comedy. Using his charming personality to his advantage, he recently starred as Jonah in the Horror film SiREN. A mix of Comedy, Romance, and Monsters, the Chiller Film’s release SiREN is a fun film, now available on VOD as of December 6th and premiering in theaters on the 2nd. Recently we caught up with Williamson to talk his start in film, looking at the work behind SiREN, his love for Horror films, and more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been acting professionally in film now for sometime now, having starred in a list of films and web series. First, tell us, what inspired your interest in acting?
Chase Williamson – I was always acting as a kid in school. I wanted to do it professionally, but my parents said, “No, you are not going to be a child actor.” I thank them for that now. Instead, I went out academically and went to USC for acting. I did a lot of theater and seeing what happened. My senior year, we had a showcase and I got signed with a really good manager. A couple of weeks later, I auditioned for John Dies at the End and I ended up getting it. Before that, I was thinking of maybe moving to Chicago and maybe getting in with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. I had the time of my life on John Dies at the End, felt really at home on set, and realized that is what I wanted to do.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. You mentioned 2012’s John Dies at the End. The film received a lot of positive praise. What was that first experience like for you?
Chase Williamson – It was really nuts. The experience of shooting it was amazing. Then a year went by and we had the Sundance premiere and it was just incredibly surreal. I was there with my whole family, my girlfriend at the time. There were a couple of moments during the premiere where I was in that world for the first time, and I was walking down doing the interviews, people were treating me like I was important. It was kind of weird, it freaks you out. I thought, “Ok, don’t turn into an asshole, this is a privilege, you don’t deserve any of this.” Just trying to figure it all out. It is fun for me to watch friends who experience that kind of thing for the first time and they are all tripped out about it. It is a trip.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it has to be crazy. Since, you have done a list of films including 2014’s The Guest, now, most recently, you take the lead again in the forthcoming movie SiREN. How did your become involved with this project?
Chase Williamson – I had met David Bruckner a couple of times and I am a huge fan. I think he saw Beyond the Gates, which is another movie I have coming out. He was getting a cast together for SiREN and it was just good timing for me. He saw it in the middle of the casting process and called me. I had no idea the process was happening and I was super excited they were making a feature out of that short. I put myself on tape and sent it in, Skyped with Gregg Bishop a few times, and I was really hoping I would get it. Then I got a call and I was off to Savannah, Georgia.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent that it worked out. SiREN is quite an interesting film with a mix of Comedy, Horror, and even some Romance. What was it like for you to bring Jonah to life?
Chase Williamson – It was super fun. I had never really played a super earnest, straightforward character. It was cool, it was kind of crunch time for me because I was hired maybe a week before I was on set. I prepped really quickly and hard, got in, and we had a few days of rehearsal. I got to meet Hannah Fierman, had a few days with her and the other guys from the movie. We really dived in and figured out the dynamics, and once we figured out the dynamics between me and Lily, me and the guys, me and the fiance, it all became really clear to me who this guy was. At that time, I got to really focus on where I was at in the story, a lot of horrible things happen to me in this movie, it is hard to keep track of everything just done to me. I wanted to make sure that I was consistent in what I was playing physically. It was a fun challenge, it was a lot different than anything I have ever played before.
CrypticRock.com – You did a fine job. The character is very likable. There is an interesting chemistry between Lily and Jonah in the film. Disregarding what and who she is, he seems to have a liking for her. What do you think compels Jonah’s interest in Lily?
Chase Williamson – I think the whole movie is just a metaphor of anxiety about commitment and growing up. I think Jonah sees in Lily an opportunity to make a good decision that makes him a good guy. When she is released, he sees she is a monster, but she has marked him. He is the only one that really gets a chance to see the other side of her, which is, she is just a sort of vulnerable creature that essentially loves him. He does not fear her as an animal, he sees her more as a person. He can see in her eyes she is not evil and she is not all bad. I think right before you get married it is a crazy vulnerable time and sometimes you just make the wrong decisions (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – That is an interesting perspective. We do not want to give away the end, but do you think it left room for a potential sequel?
Chase Williamson – Absolutely. I would like to see it. Hannah is great in that role and the character has so much potential. I think they can make a ton of movies with her at the center of it.
CrypticRock.com – That would be compelling to see happen. Watching the film, you think this could lead to something more. Jonah’s life as he knew it has changed.
Chase Williamson – Yes, I would like to see a sequel where I am pregnant with her child.
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) That would be very interesting to see. Well, the film is in theaters now and out on iTunes as well as DVD December 6th. You had said you have other projects in the works, what can you tell us about your other projects?
Chase Williamson – I have Beyond the Gates, which comes out a week after SiREN. It is about a haunted VHS board game. Jackson Stewart directed it, and stars Graham Skipper, Brea Grant, and Barbara Crampton. That was super fun. I had another movie which came out earlier this year called Lace Crater. Joe Swanberg produced it. It is a Horror Comedy twist, Lindsay Burdge is in incredible in it as the lead, it is on Amazon now. I had a pretty good year, I filmed a bunch of stuff that is being submitted to festivals. Waiting and see the way everything goes and hopefully I will get to be able travel around a bit next yet.
CrypticRock.com – Well it sounds like you have a lot coming up. It appears a lot of the films you are being cast in are Horror films. Are you a fan of the genre?
Chase Williamson – Oh yea, life long. When I got my first movie, John Dies at the End, it was just all in line with all my sensibilities that it seemed fake. It is crazy, anytime I am feeling bummed about anything, I just think of my 12 year old self and how stoked I would be about everything I have been able to do. It is weird how it works out. You are just drawn to things you grew up loving. Getting to be a part of it is nuts.
CrypticRock.com – There is nothing better than getting to live your dreams. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror/Sci-Fi films. Since you are a fan, what are some of your favorites?
Chase Williamson – Of course The Shining (1980). Recent ones I love, I loved It Follows (2014), Under the Skin (2013). I like a good cerebral Horror movie, I love Green Room (2016). I loved Under the Skin, it is not necessarily Horror, but it is haunting and eerie. I like movies that really stick with you and make you feel a certain way that you can’t really explain.