Kevin Bacon’s past and vacation home are haunting him and his family in the new horror movie You Should Have Left. The film will be available On Demand, June 19.
Recently iHorror got a chance to talk to the stars and director of the film and there were some interesting things discussed by everyone, including if Bacon would ever consider coming back in some capacity for a Friday the 13th sequel or reboot. Any fan of the original knows he dies in a memorable scene but how cool would it be if he returned as another character? His answer was surprising.
But first, we talked to Amanda Seyfried about her role in the film. She plays Susanna, an actress and mother struggling to keep afloat in her sinking marriage. Amanda drew some inspiration for her character in the movie from her real-life as an actress. “I get to explore that on screen as much as I do in my life, almost to a dangerous point…it was literally like blending into my life. My assistant at the time actually played my PA in the movie. It was awesome, it was fun.”
She also discussed working with the director and writer of the film David Koepp, describing him as whip-smart. “I just loved having discussions with him about marriage and parenting and stuff. It’s so therapeutic to me, in general, to be around people that are so insightful.”
Seyfried had some insight about being directed by the person who also wrote the screenplay. “When you have the director and writer on set, they are definitely very tight and sometimes work in tandem, but it’s like you have everything you need in one person. There is such a rich–vast amount of information coming from someone and they are able to articulate what it is they are trying to say.”
“Not to say that directors can’t take what’s written and create the world they want to create,” she said adding that having that kind of on-set dynamic means the intention of the scene is articulated directly to the actor, it can be very specific. “And I like that. Some people don’t like it, some actors want to have freedom. But God, put me in a box and design that box. Not to say that I don’t have my creative input sometimes, but I want to give what they want.”
That symbiosis was missing from Amanda’s 2009 Jennifer’s Body. Diablo Cody wrote the movie and Karyn Kusama directed it. We asked Amanda how they got along.
“They spoke the same language.,” Amanda recalls. “And Diablo trusted Karyn implicitly. I don’t remember— and it was a very long time ago—but I don’t remember them having any disagreements about anything to my knowledge. That’s just one of those rare experiences where she hit it on the head. Karyn made, I think, a flawless movie.”
Dialing the clock back much further to 1980, I asked Kevin Bacon about what it is he likes about horror movies, he’s been in some iconic roles from a camp counselor in Friday the 13th to a handyman-turned-monster hunter in Tremors, to now a man staying in a house with an amorphous floorplan.
“I’m really drawn to characters more than I am to the genre,” he said after I asked if he’d ever return for a Friday the 13th reboot in a cameo role. “If there’s a great character in a comedy or a romance or a horror movie or an action movie or a drama, you know that’s what I want to do—just be a character actor. So that’s kinda why I ended up in horror a few different times because it presents, you know, great kinds of acting challenges. There’s emotional stuff and there’s trying to modulate different levels of fear because you know you’re going to be scared for a horror movie if you’re a lead character so those are acting challenges that I really like.”
The 61-year-old actor says he prefers psychological and emotional horror over slasher movies and taking the role as the ill-fated Jack in the original Friday the 13th was done out of necessity.
“I was in Friday the 13th, not because I was like I love these kinds of movies, I was an out of work actor,” he recalls. “I was in theater and trying to pay the rent, I needed a gig you know. And then it turned out to be this kind of phenomenon of the genre. But the scary movies that I grew up on were The Shining and The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now—those kinds of movies are the ones I’m a little bit more drawn to.”
Just to be clear, I asked him again if he’d ever return to Camp Crystal Lake in some capacity if it were presented to him.
“Exactly the same thing as I said you know it would have to be a great character,” he reiterated. “I mean they asked me to be in the Footloose reboot and I was like ‘sure I’m open to it,’ but the part wasn’t that good so I didn’t do it.”
There’s no question about David Koepp’s ability to write great personas. He has adapted some of cinema’s most memorable characters through screenplays and made some of his own with original works. From Death Becomes Her to Panic Room, Koepp is a visionary. His screenplays also include Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise.
You Should Have Left is not his first collaboration with Kevin Bacon. The two also worked together on another supernatural thriller Stir of Echoes.
The movie is based on the novel by Daniel Kehlmann and follows a family who is vacationing in Wales who take up temporary residence in a secluded rental house that is literally not what it appears. That also could describe some of the characters.
Koepp says that when adapting a screenplay from a written work the events in the book won’t always transfer to film, the stories are told differently. “So much of a book is inside someone’s head and a movie is so much the things that they say and do. So you’re looking for characters that you can relate to, characters that you can understand and that are well-drawn. You’re looking for a premise that feeds your mind.”
In this case, Koepp thought You Should Have Left was a fabulous premise. He pretty much left the characters alone minus a few insignificant tweaks. “A movie’s structure is always going to be different from a book’s structure. I’m not so much looking for structure, I’m looking for characters and premise.”
With works such as Death Becomes Her and Jurassic Park, I asked if You Should Have Left could be considered a cautionary tale too.
“I think you could, it’s not necessarily the first thing that leaps to my mind, but you know there’s an old saying ‘you may be through with the past, but the past isn’t through with you,’ and I think that there’s danger in not knowing yourself as well as you should, or pretending not to know yourself as well as you should,” he said. “Both Kevin and Amanda’s characters have secrets and aspects of their personality that they want to hide and we’re not sure how we feel about them. There’s some question; is he guilty of something terrible, is she guilty of something terrible? Are they both? When people aren’t straight with each other, there’s trouble on the horizon.”
This movie is a high profile project with A-list talent from every perspective. Moreover, if you thought it should have been a theatrical release you’re right. However, coronavirus put everyone in quarentine almost immediately after it had wrapped.
“The movie was all done in February of this year and we were discussing release plans at the time,” he recalls. “We were dealing with the usual, how do we as a smaller movie fight these behemoths that stalk the multiplexes and carve out a tiny little space for us where people might have a chance to find us and then everything shut down. It was in a few weeks Jason Blum and I kinda at the same time said ‘Hey, this movie needs to come out now-ish.’ Everybody’s stuck at home; the movie’s about being in a house you can’t get out of.”
He acknowledges bigger budgeted movies are circling the runway, waiting for clearance to land at theaters after the pandemic has run its course. “You see them shuffle down the calender then they suck up all the oxygen and rather than sit around and wait to suffocate in their presence we thought why can’t we continue to watch movies at home? And I think Universal really led the way on this and I know they caused some hurt feelings with theater owners but I think it’s brilliant and necessary. Nobody wants to replace cinema-going, we all can’t wait to go back to the movies right? But why can’t we continue to find new ways to bring movies to people in a way that’s kinda exciting?”
Traditionally, theater-goers see a movie over the weekend and talk about it with friends on Monday.
Koepp says now, with On Demand, “That conversation feels like it can start again.”
You Should Have Left starring Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried will be available On Demand everywhere June 19.