If you like movies with a lot of dead teenagers in them, then it is imperative you see Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Eli Craig's film stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk as a loveable and gentle hillbilly duo who head out to a cabin in the woods, only to encounter a group of co-eds from the city staying near by. A few misunderstandings later and the teenagers think that Tucker and Dale have killed and kidnapped the most attractive girl from their group (Katrina Bowden). Lots of laughs and bloodshed ensue.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil has been making the rounds on the festival circuit for a good while now (it first premiered at Sundance back in February of 2010), but thanks to Magnet releasing, the film will open in theaters across the US today. And if happens to not be playing near you, don't worry, it's also available On Demand via your platform of choice. So in honor of the film's release, we chatted with star Tyler Labine about where the film's been, the reaction it's already getting, why he and Alan Tudyk have such chemistry together, and what exactly the crazy-sounding Rapturepalooza is about.
Movies.com: How does the long delay in release on a movie like Tucker & Dale affect you as an actor?
Tyler Labine: Well we've been touring with the movie for two years pretty much non-stop. We've been to every festival and even managed to pick up some awards along the way, and now that we're doing the sort of final press day for it, I'm realizing that I don't think I ever had a moment where it wasn't out of the immediate forefront of my mind. For me it's always been there, right in front of my face. This movie won't leave me alone.
Movies.com: I think enjoying such a long and wide-spread life on the festival circuit actually helped give it a must-see status.
Labine: That's the thing. This is a spectator movie, you know? People who have had the chance to see it in theaters are the ones who will be fans of it forever. They're the ones who will buy the special edition DVDs or the box set or the whatever the hell it is, because they're going to remember watching it with an audience. That's what makes it so much sweeter that we're actually getting released in cinemas, because it just plays so well with an audience.
That's not to say it won't play well at home with some friends in your apartment, but it's such a fun film with an audience. There's this infectious vibe that goes around. I've seen people shouting sh*t at the screen and I don't ever do that, but it's crazy that it already has this Saturday night, Rocky Horror screening vibe to it. It's rewarding to know that people who haven't had the chance to see it and have wanted to for so long will finally be able to go see it with like-minded people and have fun with it.
Movies.com: Did you guys anticipate how much the audience would get into it when you were making it?
Labine: Oh, f**k no, man. We had no idea! I read the script and thought, "Oh, that's really clever. That's funny." And I let my wife read it, which is always my second step. If she thinks it's funny, I'll read it again. And she was like, "You are an idiot, this is the funniest f**king thing ever." So I knew that we were going to try to make a funny movie, but when we shot it and even up to when we finished it, I thought, "Well, that's never going to see the light of day." I knew we had some funny moments and Alan and I had some chemistry, but it was hard to really guess that after we shot that it would come together to be such an awesome, coherent movie. Because we shot it so fast. A lot of times we shot just one take and Alan and I would be driving home going, "If we had just another shot at that one scene, or could do a reverse angle on that other scene."
So when it came out and got this huge response, it was a huge shock to even us. We were like, "Holy shit, he really did it." We went to a screening early on and Alan and I walked out of the theater going, "Whoa, we made that movie? That was a cool movie!" It was a shock, but when you see it all put together, it's a bit of an a-ha! Moment. It's just like, "Oh, Eli really knew what he was doing." He wrote it with Morgan [Jurgenson], he worked with us actors a lot on things we wanted to add here and there, as long as they fit into the movie he wanted to make.
Movies.com: How did you and Alan develop your chemistry? Did you do screen tests together to see if it worked? Were you cast independently and just found it on set?
Labine: We had another actor attached for about a week before we went in front of cameras. And he dropped out and Eli lost his sh*t, rightfully so, and had to go back to the drawing board. He was stressing over who to get for the part and I was helping him brainstorm when Alan came in and read for Eli, which he doesn't have to do. He's such a reputable actor, but he did, and it was getting do or die and he came to Calgary like two days before we started shooting and we had breakfast and immediately fell in love with each other. And then we did a table read of the movie and I couldn't really concentrate on what I was doing because I was already a big fan of Alan and his movies, so I was just watching him like, "F**k, this guy can act!" He's so good! We were squirting tears in the table read, everyone was laughing so hard, and I was just like, "F**k, I gotta step up my game."
We just had chemistry. You can't really force that and the movie really hinged on Tucker and Dale being likeable and having that life-long friends feel to them and Alan didn't really have to work at that, we just hit it off. When we were in Calgary, we were staying right next to a casino, so we just went out and had fun and got to know each other the way we would if we had known each other a lot longer. It was good.
Movies.com: I'm also a big fan of two of your other films this summer. Actually, it's been a pretty good summer for you.
Labine: Yeah. [Laughs]
Movies.com: In addition to Apes, I was a big fan of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.
Labine: Oh, you liked that, did you?
Movies.com: Oh, I loved it. It has this sort of vintage, adults-at-summer-camp vibe to it that we don't see in movies too often. And since you mentioned the natural chemistry with Alan on Tucker & Dale, was that something that came out on even a larger scale with the ensemble in Orgy?
Labine: It was such a long process with Orgy. We shot that movie so f**king long ago, now. [Laughs] It's hard to remember how it all went down, but, man, that cast... We have all maintained this really odd closeness that I don't think happens with an ensemble that large. It was hard to return to the real world after we shot that movie. We all really fell in love with each other and had a really great time. It's weird. We were shooting a fake orgy, but at the same time we all kind of got pretty intimate with each other, so we kind of went through this weird sort of game changer with each other. We've all kept the friendship, and the chemistry with Sudeikis and Nick and Mark and Lindsay and everybody, we were all-- talk about summer camp vibe, that's what it was. We were all shooting for like a month-and-a-half and just enjoying the sh*t out of each other.
Movies.com: That's what makes it so great. It has this unified spark where everyone is on the same page, which is something that can get lost in ensemble comedies that large.
Labine: Oh, well thank you.
Movies.com: Having loved all the genre blending with comedy and horror you've done in the past, I need to know what the hell is Rapturepalooza about, because that's the greatest title ever.
Labine: [Laughs] Yeah, I seem to be drawn to movies with weird titles, man. Tucker & Dale, Good Old Fashioned Orgy and now Rapturepalooza. It's like a full-on religious farce. It's basically Earth after the rapture and is about the people who were left behind after the rapture. It's got the Anti-Christ, played by Craig Robinson, who is lording over the land basically like a parody of Bush. And everybody else is just learning how to live with meteors falling out of the sky and with rivers of blood-- kids are learning how to do extreme kayaking in rivers of blood, you know?
It's basically what's going on on Earth after the rapture and it's got balls, man. I can't even believe some of the things in this movie. It's a small part, but me and Paul Scheer play security guards for the devil, but we're pothead wraiths, so we're these demons that smoke a lot of pot and guard the Anti-Christ. It's pretty funny.
Movies.com: It sounds like it. What else do you have going on in the immediate future?
Labine: I've got Lumpy coming out, which stars Justin Long, Jess Weixler and myself, which we shot last April or May in Minneapolis. Really, really good movie. It's a dramatic turn for me, so I'm really glad someone gave me that opportunity. I just sold a new pilot to Fox that Allan Loeb, Ryan Reynolds and myself are producing that I'm going to star in, and Tim Dowling is writing it. It's called Guidance and we're going to shoot in the new year. It's a single-camera show for Fox and it's really f**king good. Before then, I'm shooting a movie up in Toronto out in the cottage country called Cottage Country, so that'll be cool.
Movies.com: Are there any plans for the further adventures of Tucker and Dale? Or not even of Tucker and Dale, but of just you and Alan?
Labine: I know that on my end I'm constantly trying to find a project for Alan and I to do together. I haven't been able to find one, but we're big fans of each other and working with each other, so hopefully. But you know, he's so old. He's so old now, it's hard to put me, a young, hip guy, in a movie with a dude that old. [Laughs]
Movies.com: Makeup can do wonders.
Labine: [Laughs] Make up is magic. But no, as for Tucker & Dale, we had an unofficial Twitter suggestion thing where people threw out new titles for a Tucker & Dale sequel. I came up with Tucker & Dale Go To Yale. There was Tucker & Dale vs Nazis...and then someone came up with The Final Chapter: Tucker vs Dale. And I thought that was pretty cool, so who knows, maybe we'll battle to our death one of these days in the fourth installment of the Tucker & Dale franchise. Probably won't happen, but a guy can dream.