FEARnet’s original, off-beat, multi-camera horror-comedy sitcom Holliston returns for a 10-episode Season 2 in Spring 2013, but to tide fans over until then, there will be a one-hour holiday special airing on December 18th. Set in the small town of Holliston, Massachusetts, the show follows the lives of two friends (Adam Green and Joe Lynch), chasing their dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers, as they struggle with financial woes and the opposite sex. The show also stars Corri English, Laura Ortiz, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister and Oderus Urungus from GWAR.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Adam Green talked about doing a holiday episode to lessen the wait until Season 2 airs in the Spring, what fans can expect from the upcoming season, other themed episodes that will be coming up, already knowing what’s to come for Seasons 3 through 5, if he gets them, how unexpected the fan support was for Season 1, the special features that he put together for the DVD, the changes networks proposed for the show prior to the deal with FEARnet, and how much fun they have with their guest stars. He also talked about what fans can expect from the continuation of Victor Crowley’s story in Hatchet III, whether or not the family film Killer Pizza (which he wrote with the hopes of directing) might ever get made, and what Digging Up the Marrow, which started out as a documentary, has evolved into. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
ADAM GREEN: I always wanted to do themed episodes, and I always wanted to do a Halloween episode or a Christmas episode. The first season was done last May, and Season 2 is not going to air until this next May, and that’s way too long to make people wait. So, the idea was to do an hour-long special in December, that connects Season 1 and Season 2, so that it’s not just a stand-alone special. By the end of that episode, it sets up so many things for this next season. There’s at least an intermission type of thing for everybody, so they don’t have to wait a full year. The wait is hard. A lot of cable shows have that. It’s over before you know it, and then you’ve gotta wait forever. This way, they’ll have something before the end of the year.
What can fans expect from Season 2?
GREEN: I really had at least four or five seasons mapped out, with the broad strokes of where things were going to go. Even when I sat down to start figuring out which episodes to do in Season 1, I think I had 74 different storylines already laid out in front of me. With the first season of anything, especially because our first season was only going to be six episodes, you have to pick the storylines that really set everything up. The challenge of Season 1 is that you have to lay out all of the relationships, how the characters interact, what the tone of the show is, where everybody is and what their goals are, and we only had six episodes to do that in. Now, all of that stuff is set up and in motion, so for Season 2, we got to just start moving forward and going with it. We didn’t need to take up time introducing people or explaining what their relationships are because everybody knows, at this point.
Plus, we have so many more episodes this season that there’s just so much more that we can do. I don’t want to say that this season is better because it’s not like there’s anything wrong with Season 1, but now it’s off and running. Like with any sitcom, especially, if you look at the pilot episode of it, it’s never really anybody’s favorite episode, and that’s not because it wasn’t good, but it’s because you didn’t know it yet. When it came time for advertising this show last season, I had a lot of trepidations about doing a commercial that was just 30 seconds of clips from the show because it doesn’t mean anything to anybody. They didn’t know who anybody was, and it wasn’t going to seem that funny. A show like Seinfeld or All in the Family, which I grew up loving, I didn’t really think they were that great, at first, because I didn’t know them yet. I was like, “Okay, there’s a laugh track, so I’m supposed to think that’s funny? I don’t get it.” And then, as you go, you get more and more into it.
This season, we really just got to instantly be off and running. Just the cold open for the first episode of this season, in those three minutes, it’s crazier than anything we did last season. We earned that right to be able to do that know. Everyone knows who the characters are, so we don’t need to sit there and explain it. This season definitely blows away last season, and we’ve had more fun making it.
GREEN: We have an animated episode this coming season, which will have a live-action intro. And we have a found footage episode, that we actually shot in Holliston, Massachusetts.
Was it important for you to have a continuing storyline, since that’s not typical for most sitcoms?
GREEN: Yes, absolutely! Last season and this season, any of the episodes can stand alone. Whatever the episode is about and whatever the situation is that the comedy is coming from, it is wrapped up by the end of it. But, in terms of the characters, their relationships and their goals, that’s a very far-reaching thing. I think Friends did that really well, especially with the Ross and Rachel thing. When you step back and look at it, people liked the show because the writing was so good, the characters were so funny, and the dialogue was great, but there was a whole other level that people got invested in because there was this overlying, very long character arc and people wanted to know how it was going to work out while these people lived their lives.
With this, it was really just right. You’ve got two guys with this very lofty and super ambitious goal that they’re trying to accomplish and that gives you so much to go with, right there. But then, the relationships between me and Corri, and Joe and Laura, and even Lance Rockett (Dee Snider) and himself, there’s just so many places for it to go. When I first turned in the bible and the scripts for the season, I turned it in all at once. I literally turned in 500 pages to the network, the cast and the producers and said, “This is Season 2,” and everybody started reading. When it ended, there were some concerns where people were like, “I can’t believe how this ends. Where is it going to go, and what are you going to do?” I was like, “Don’t worry about that. I have it. Just wait.” I try to not tell anybody where it’s going because, especially for the actors, I think it’s a lot of fun to read something, and then have them be all worried and wonder what’s going to happen. They get more invested that way.
I just started telling people a little bit about Season 3, Season 4 and Season 5, and where this stuff is building, and they got really excited. On the negative side of that, it’s TV, so you never know when the plug is going to get pulled. The network we’re on could merge with another network and go away, or the executives could leave and new executives could come in and want their own shows and get rid of everything that’s already there. That’s really hard. I’m so invested in this. I can see 10 years ahead and, if it’s cut short, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. It will be like having a child die young. Maybe it won’t be that bad, but it will be bad. In my mind, this is supposed to go for a long, long time and I really, really hope that we get to keep doing it.
GREEN: The fact that people were so supportive last season was really unexpected. They were appealing to horror fans, at first, because it’s FEARnet and that was just the most obvious place to go. I was worried because I was like, “These are not people who watch sitcoms. They would never normally watch a show like this. I don’t know if they’re going to get it or if they’re going to appreciate it.” But, they did. That was a really good sign. A lot of the sitcoms on the major networks are exactly the same. There’s definitely nothing else quite like this.
What sort of special features are on the Season 1 DVD?
GREEN: The DVD has 90 or 120 minutes of extra stuff on it. I try to do that with all the movies that I do, as well. I try to be very involved with that stuff. A lot of the distributors don’t care about that stuff anymore and they’re not going to pay for any of that content because most people watch things On Demand, through Netflix or streaming. They don’t actually buy DVDs anymore with all that extra stuff on it. For the Season 1 DVD of Holliston, each episode has commentary with the four of us, there’s a half-hour preview special that FEARnet made, that aired the Sunday before the show launched and is really cool and really well done, and then there’s all these special features, on everything from the make-up to the wardrobe to the set design to the guest stars, and there’s the promos that we did.
Being on a brand-new, smaller network, they do let us be us and do our thing, but they’re also part of it and they’re making this show with us, rather than us having to make the show for them and just do what they say. It’s a really unique and special relationship. Once the show started to work and we got good reviews and people were watching it, our reps were saying, “Why don’t you take this somewhere else and make more money?,” but the way this is set up and how great the relationship is, we could never get somewhere else, right out of the gate like that. It took 13 years for this show to happen. It was set up at two other networks, but after it would go through development, they would neuter it, take the heart out of it and try to make it like everything else. It’s easy to say now that everything happens for a reason. I hate it when people tell me that, but it’s true. This show would not be anything like it is, if it had happened when it was set up at UPN, or one of those other networks. It wasn’t even the same show then. It’s something so much more unique now.
GREEN: Originally, I had made an independent movie called Coffee and Donuts, which is really where the inspiration for this came from. It was an autobiographical story of my life, especially with the relationship with the girl. A lot of Holliston carried over from that first movie that I made. There was one point where the network wanted the two main characters to be trying to become famous podcasters. Whenever I brought up the idea of anything horror-related, they instantly wanted that out. They were like, “America will not watch this. You can’t have somebody’s head explode on a sitcom and have the audience laughing because that’s disturbing.”
There’s some dark stuff in Season 2. Some of the storylines and the situations we get into are things you wouldn’t normally see on a sitcom, and yet the audience is laughing. When they said they wanted Adam and Joe to be podcasters, I was like, “Are you thinking about that cinematically? That would be two people sitting in front of a microphone and talking. And nobody cares about that. That’s not a dream that other people can relate to.” I’m sure there’s gotta be somebody out there who’s famous for having a podcast, and god bless them. That’s great! But, that was really, really weird.
And then, as soon as they got to the imaginary alien in the closet, that had to go. And Dee Snider’s character being a cross-dresser that’s stuck in the ‘80s had to go. The thing that’s funny about TV is that, a lot of times, the execs don’t watch television. They kept saying, “You can’t have a cross-dresser as a main character,” I was like, “Have you ever seen MASH?” I once pitched this show that was just like Quantum Leap, in terms of the set-up, and I got a pass because they said Quantum Leap didn’t work, even though it was on for six or seven seasons. You can’t say Quantum Leap didn’t work!
That’s definitely a challenge we don’t have to deal with at FEARnet. When the network president or the execs come to set, everybody is really excited when they’re there. And when they’re not there, everybody asks when they’re coming back. They laugh with us and they totally get it. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an experience like this again. It’s so great!
GREEN: I actually just went to therapy for the first time. It was much harder than I expected it to be. Everything about this show, emotionally, is real. It’s basically 100% autobiographical. The main four characters were specifically written for them and about them. That’s why their names are the same. When we made the choice, years ago, to keep our same names, there was a little bit of a risk with that because how much do you want to pull the curtain back for everybody to see and analyze and criticize. There’s also something really fun about that because the audience can’t tell where reality begins and ends, and that makes the show a lot more interesting, in terms of suspending disbelief. People know there is a lot of stuff based on truth, but they don’t know what.
How much fun has it been to have the guest stars that you’ve had?
GREEN: It’s unbelievable. The main cast is always together, even when we’re not shooting. We see each other all the time. And then, we have about two to four months of rehearsals, before we start shooting, where we get together every night and work through the material. But then, when the guest stars come, they’re usually there for only a day or two, so we only get them in short bursts. The dynamic doesn’t change because we have such a strong way of doing things, that they usually just merge into our fold, very quickly. A great example is Bailee Madison. She’s only 12 years old and she was with us for three days, and any one of us will say that we’ve never learned more from anybody as we did from her. She’s so good and so pro and she doesn’t have any baggage yet. She’s just wide-eyed, happy and excited, and she’s so pure that the way she performs and the way she carries herself on set is so different from anybody else I’ve ever seen. If I’m ever acting in something that isn’t my own thing, I want to be exactly like her. I want to say things the way she says them and do things the way she does them. I learned so much from her. Hers will be the fifth episode this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up being everybody’s favorite episode of the season. The storyline is just so wrong, on so many levels, and just really, really funny. She was so game for it, but she also understood it, which was really impressive. I never had to explain to her why something was funny or what we were doing.
GREEN: Oh, yeah! The main reason why they do it is because they don’t usually get to do stuff like this. And then, the fact that they’re playing really bad versions of themselves makes it extra fun for them. After people started seeing Season 1, there were so many people in the horror industry that started calling and asking how they could get in on it, and that’s been really cool for the fans to see. You’ve seen Kane Hodder kill people hundreds and hundreds of times, at this point, but you haven’t seen him do comedy like this. Tony Todd played such a horrible version of himself, doing drugs in our apartment and trying to have sex with my girlfriend and making us call him Candy Man. I think that was the horror fans’ favorite episode last season. We definitely paid attention to that and pushed it a little bit further this season, with other people. Danielle Harris is basically using me because I just had a root canal and I have pain medication that she’s trying to get from me. Because I’m such a fan of hers, I’ll do anything to keep her around, including going to get teeth pulled just to get more pain meds for her. The fact that they’re willing to play themselves and do these crazy, horrible things is really, really fun.
What can you say about Hatchet III? When you did the first Hatchet film, did you always know you’d be doing more of them?
GREEN: Back when we made Hatchet I, we had weapons that we showed on screen in the background because I knew it was going to be in the second film and I wanted people to be able to go back and see that we’d already set it up. We even purposely held back on the storyline for Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). In the first film, we only gave the bare minimum of information, so that you could understand the legend, as basic as possible. Kane knew what the real story was and our make-up effects people knew, but I didn’t tell anybody else. I just told them, “Trust me, in the sequel, this is what’s going to happen.” When we first screened the movie for producers, and there was this cut to black in the middle of the climax, they were like, “Did something break? What happened?” They were really worried about me ending the movie like that, but I told them that the second one would start right there and keep going. Thankfully, they went for it, but it was a huge gamble because it was an independent movie and we didn’t know if it would even get a release. Luckily, it did take off and we got to make a second one, and now a third one.
We knew what was going to happen in this one when we made the second one. After this one, I don’t have it mapped out. I don’t want to allude to anything more than that. If you think of the three movies as one movie, in my mind and in the cast and crew’s minds, this one is the big climax. This one is much more of an action movie than the other two were, but it also does have a really great emotional arc for Marybeth (Danielle Harris) and Victor Crowley. I don’t want to spoil anything more than that. It doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be more or that there won’t be more, but as of right now, I’m not thinking about doing another one, at least not next year. Right now, I’m only looking at Hatchet III.
Where does the family film Killer Pizza fit into your schedule?
GREEN: I’m trying to work on that ‘cause I might die soon. I only sleep about an hour and a half a night. There was actually a moment, during the first week of shooting, where I feel asleep in the middle of a take. While we were rolling, I was out. The good thing is that it’s not because it’s so stressful. It’s because it’s so fun that I don’t want to stop. Every day is like Halloween or Christmas eve, for me. I go to bed and I’m so excited to get back to work. I’m very lucky that I have a career like that ‘cause not many people do. But, my doctor was looking at my blood work and my heart rate and the condition that my body is in, and he was like, “You could really be at risk for a stroke in another few years, if you don’t stop,” so I’m trying to slow down and I do plan to soon.
But, Killer Pizza is a project that Chris Columbus and his company, 1492, brought to me to write. It’s a children’s book, and they felt like there was an idea for a movie there. The idea I pitched them, aside from the title and maybe some of the characters, was very different from the book, but they went for it. So, I wrote the script, and then MGM bought the movie to make. At this point, I have no idea what happens from here. I have no idea if it’s going to get made, or if I’m going to direct it. I don’t know anything. The studio side of things takes so long, it’s so slow and anything can happen. At this point, at least for now, I’m done with it. I’ve done all the rewrites and notes, and it’s turned in and in their hands. I’d love to direct it, if that happens. It’s so different from everything else I’ve done. It’s a big summer movie, and it’s very much in the vein of something like Ghostbusters or Monster Squad. I think both kids and adults will really enjoy it, but we’ll see what happens. There’s no way to even speculate, unfortunately.
GREEN: This artist, Alex Pardee, who’s one of my all-time favorite artists, ever, is amazing. He and I started talking about where the ideas come from for monsters, and we thought it would be cool to interview people who worked in this industry about where the ideas come from and whether monsters are real or not. And then, it started going on this whole other path. The fans that the genre has are not like romantic comedy fans or action movie fans, who just go to see whatever is out. They’re very, very unique people. So, I was showing him some of the fan mail that I get and the crazy things that people will send me, and he said he had the same thing. He once had somebody come up to him and cut their chest upon in front of him because they thought he’d like that. There are crazy people out there. These artists all geared toward that, but we don’t even know what it is anymore, and that’s what’s been really exciting about it. Just making it ourselves, we can take as much time as we need to find it and figure it out, and make this cool thing.
It’s not a found footage movie and it’s not really going to even be a documentary anymore. I don’t know exactly where it’s going to end, and that’s what’s been so fun about it. Alex is extremely busy, and I’m extremely busy, so whenever we have the time, we get back together and keep going on that. That is one of my focuses for next year. I’d like to get that finished, put it together and get it out, mainly because I just like to keep doing different things. Aside from Hatchet II and Hatchet III, I’ve never repeated myself. I try to keep doing things that are totally different. We’ll see where Digging Up the Marrow ends up. It’s definitely going to be something that I don’t think people have seen before because I don’t even know what it is yet. I know I haven’t seen it before.
The hour-long Holliston Christmas Special airs on FEARnet on December 18th, and then hits FEARnet On-Demand and iTunes the following day. Season 2 of Holliston will air in Spring 2013.