When it comes to a horror films these days, we are filled with reboots and reimaginings of our favorite films, but every so often there is a film that makes a dent in the genre. Clowns have been interpreted in this genre as the ultimate antagonist that will haunt your dreams and never let you go. This entity has been portrayed in the film industry for many decades and is one thing that almost everyone can agree upon, which is the sheer terror that coincides with Clowns. I am one of those people that has Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns). Director Jon Watts and Eli Roth put together a film that is not only extraordinary, but quite brilliant in it’s own sense. Clown is a film that focuses on the man I am interviewing today, Andy Powers, and the transition from a loving husband and father, to a possessed demon that feasts on young children. If that isn’t traumatizing, I don’t know what is. Today, I sat down with the veteran actor to talk about this film, the transition into this blood thirsty clown, and his upcoming work. You may recognize him from TV, film, or theatre, but this is a film that he should be recognized for the most and looked at for many years to come. It is my pleasure to introduce Andy Powers!
Cinephellas: Hello Andy, how are you doing today?
Andy Powers: Great, thanks for asking, how are you?
Cinephellas: I am doing well, thanks!
CP: First of all, how did you get involved with this project?
AP: I was brought in to audition by Michael Hopkins here in New York and has been a fan of mine for a long time. He thought I would be an interesting offbeat choice for the role. When he brought me in for the initial audition, he told me after my first reading, “that was really good, I want you to do it again, but I want you to be super evil.” Super evil? And the rest is history.
CP: Did you do any research before going into this role? Such as watching Stephen King’s IT or Killer Klowns from Outer Space?
AP: As I got more familiar with the script it had its own unique take on clowns, initially, I am a huge fan of Stephen King and love what Tim Curry did in that film. And I tried some of that maniacal laughter and as time went on, I realized that the clown had more bass compared to Pennywise that was savvy and charismatic.
CP: Are you a fan of the horror genre?
AP: I like any good movie, I don’t have a good suspension of disbelief, so I feel like I am going to die at times. My wife can watch anything and she laughs at me, because doesn’t get scared, but I am terrified. If anything that has a good story, I’ll sit through it. I don’t particular like horror for horror sake, I need an element of a decent story to stay interested. But if that is there, I’ll watch it, and some of the greatest films, are horror movies.
CP: What was it like transforming from a father into a full fledged killer in this film?
AP: Honestly, it was a lot of fun and reading the script, immediately I had to plan out and worked with a coach. What we did was take down every single scene down to it’s most nuance moments and settle transformation that you have to block out. You never shoot a movie in order, for instance, the last part of the movie is the first thing you shoot. It was a lot of planning and a sketchpad full of charts and knew exactly what was going on each part of the day.
CP: As an actor, what is your process going into a film like this?
AP: There’s definitely a process and an extraordinary amount of work to be ready for shooting. A lot of it was rendering to the makeup and the good thing is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. Honor that and let someone else feel it for you versus telling the audience how to feel. Deal with the moment and if you have a stomach ache and don’t feel like eating that kid, and that’s it. That’s as real as it gets.
CP: I love practical effects and there are a lot in this film. How long did it take in the makeup room to become the clown?
AP: Ughhhh, it depends on which day. It took anywhere from two to four and a half hours. Before I got to the set, I thought there would be four or five different looks with settle variations. But the makeup artist had twenty-eight to thirty different looks that he had designed before we got to set and it was grueling. I had to be at the makeup trailer at four or five in the morning and then you shoot fourteen to eighteen hours, then spend another hour and half taking the makeup off at the end of the day. We didn’t have a lot of time to shoot the film and had to maximize all of our shooting days. We started shooting on Monday at 7 am and you get to the fifth day of shooting which is midnight on Saturday morning. There was a layer of madness that overtook over the entire production and we didn’t see the sun much while you’re stuck in the woods in the dark for 90 hours that week. The director Jon Watts had so much energy and pushed us through the shoot, while he was there months before we were doing pre-production. It blows my mind that he could do that with so much energy and no sleep. Plus he wasn’t wearing a coat in Ottawa, Canada while the rest of us were wearing parkas.
CP: How was it working with director Jon Watts and Producer Eli Roth? Are there any funny or memorable stories from the set?
AP: John never stops working, but one night after shooting the hotel scene or the pizza playpen scene after a long day of carnage, blood, and body parts, John came up to my trailer while I was cleaning up. He put his hand on my shoulder with a look on his face like he won the Nobel Prize and said “this is why we made the movie” and was really proud of everything they filmed that day. I responded “Really? We just killed a bunch of little kids!”
CP: The horror genre takes on a lot of remakes/reboots these days, where Clown is an original premise that stands out on it’s own. Why do you think this film will succeed in modern day horror?
AP: It’s an original idea and all horror films that have been successful over the past few years have had an original premise. And who doesn’t have some sort of relationship with an idea of a clown? Everyone either loves or hates clowns. Also, it’s a film that doesn’t tell you how to feel about it. It’s not a film about fornicating teenagers in the woods, but this is the awful ghost that is stalking you. What makes this a scary movie is it’s a normal person who get’s horrified at what is happening to him and the people around him. It’s a psychological terror at a deeper level. Despite the fact that it’s original, it’s based on a really old story, like Krampus. The story lends itself to the fact that the clown is looking for kids and adds to the folklore. It’s ancient storytelling that we have lost in the last century and if you’re not good or do something wrong, there’s this evil entity that is waiting to take you out that terrifies kids, and in a way is like the boogey man.
CP: Do you have any other upcoming projects this year?
AP: One film particular film that is making its way through film festivals is called “Sasha” that is directed by Jonathan Chekroune. The film was just at Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival. My wife and I are making called “Atlas of The Soul” that were going into production later this year. We have two stars that will be in this film, but I cannot announce that until they sign the contract. I will be tweeting that information here in a few weeks and more information about that film.
Special thanks to Andy Powers for taking the time to sit down with Cinephellas. We’re really excited for Clown as well as all of his upcoming projects.
You can follow Andy Powers on Twitter @AndyPowersActor
CLOWN will be released in theaters and VOD on June 17th.