Actors Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington became best friends after bonding during their experience on Superman Returns. Now, they’ve reunited for a very different film, this one based on the popular Italian comic book Dylan Dog. After being cast in the title role, Routh immediately thought of Huntington for the role of Dylan’s zombie sidekick Marcus, having no idea that Huntington had already auditioned for the role and had impressed director Kevin Munroe. What results is a film that is both fun and funny, with equal ports gore and laughs.
Sitting down to chat with Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington for this exclusive interview for Collider, it’s easy to see the strength of their friendship, and their rapport is often hilarious. During the interview, they talked about why they enjoyed these characters so much, how much their friendship added to their on screen relationship, how great it was to have the added bonus of people in practical make-up for the creatures in the film, and how they would love to work together again. Huntington also shared some insight about what he’d like to see from Season 2 of his hit SyFy series Being Human, which starts filming in July. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) is the world’s only private investigator of the undead, with a business card that features his slogan, “No pulse? No problem.” Having left the world of the supernatural behind after the death of his wife, Dylan is pulled back into action to solve the murder of a mysterious woman’s (Anita Briem) father. Along with his zombie assistant Marcus (Sam Huntington), he finds himself drawn into the middle of a battle between the clans of vampire, werewolf and zombie for possession of a rare artifact to control both the mortal and monster world. Dylan must go where the living dare not, in order to solve the case, save mankind and keep his partner from losing any more body parts.
Question: Are you guys happy this is finally getting to theaters and that audiences will finally get to see it?
SAM HUNTINGTON: Personally, yeah. I think it’s a fun movie. It’s one of those movies where you go and eat some popcorn and candy, and expect to laugh and get spooked.
BRANDON ROUTH: I think it’s great that people will get to see how fun Sam is in the movie. I like that aspect of it. Most of the creature effects are practical, which is cool. I like the use of that.
HUNTINGTON: I don’t want people to think it’s like Blade. It’s funny. It’s a funny movie. I want people to go into it thinking that they’re going to laugh and it’s going to be a throwback, which is exactly what it was meant to be. It’s very Beetlejuice, in that regard.
ROUTH: I liked that Dylan was so much different from any other character that I had played, and specifically the one that most people know me from. It was the anti-hero versus the boy scout. He is dark and sarcastic, and that appealed to me. And then, the buddy relationship and the potential for the comedy in that was something that I was really excited about. That’s something that I really love to do. As much as I can do of that, I applaud.
HUNTINGTON: I like Brandon when he’s funny. For me, personally, it was a totally original character. It was something I had never seen before. It was written so hilariously, and I knew that I was going to have a lot of fun doing it. The idea that this guy is just this real type-A, organized, very health-conscious guy, who gets inflicted with this horrible disease, and then is just rotting for the rest of the film, was pretty interesting for me.
This was a very obscure comic book. Had you ever heard of it?
ROUTH: I had a little bit of knowledge. I had a friend who’d spent seven years in Italy, in his teenage years, so he grew up reading them and he’d mentioned them to me before. So, when the script came to me, I recognized the name and I called him up and said, “Is this the comic book you used to read?” He was like, “Yeah, that’s so awesome. If you did that, it would be cooler for me than you playing Superman.” He grew up reading Dylan Dog.
ROUTH: We got to be on screen together, a lot more. We have many more scenes in this movie than we did in Returns. Also, we were both pretty nervous on that movie, being my biggest film, so we couldn’t relax as much on set. We were able to bring our own relationship, as friends, to these characters, which brought all kinds of little magic, here and there. It was fun.
HUNTINGTON: I would say it was more important that we were friends than if we had been working together for the past four years, which is what it had been, at that time. That really, really helped the on screen relationship. The most important thing for these two characters was that they had that chemistry.
Did you have to make sure that you weren’t too friendly with each other, at times?
ROUTH: I definitely did. I had to pull it back. Where it seems like Dylan can’t stand or is annoyed by Marcus, it’s mostly because he is afraid to let him in. When he lets people get close to him, bad things happen. That running theme is present in the movie. So, he’s just trying to compartmentalize Marcus a little bit and keep him as an outside person. But, as the movie progresses, he comes in, more and more, which is great ‘cause it helps Dylan come out of his shell a little bit. So, I had to do that a little bit and avoid finding him as amusing as I actually do.
HUNTINGTON: And, my job was to try to break down those walls. For me, I had to go one step even more eager than I am, just in life, which is very fucking eager. So, it was just a really heightened version of myself with Brandon. My job was basically to try really hard to make him laugh. My job, for this whole movie, was to try to break that wall down while, at the same time, coping with my own stuff.
HUNTINGTON: She kicks a lot of ass. She was really physical. I remember thinking, “This girl is really waif like. She’s tiny.” And, as little as she is on screen, she’s very thin in person, but sinewy, lean and strong. She’s very feminine, and then she throws a punch and you’re like, “Holy shit, you knwo how to throw a punch and fight.” It was incredible. I thought she was really, really great.
ROUTH: As characters, we were working around her being around. She was fearless, and we had to deal with this new person when he already didn’t want more people. He can barely deal with the one person that’s in his life, but now he has to manage two and keep her safe. It puts him in a more agitated state and adds more fuel to the fire.
HUNTINGTON: It really worked that we didn’t know her ‘cause she was the new guy in the film, too.
How did it change your performance, as actors, to have actual people in practical make-up for the creatures?
ROUTH: It was great. It’s always great to have something real. It’s better to be staring at somebody than an X on the camera’s matte box, for any kind of scene. It’s great to have a living, breathing beast lunging for me and swinging at me. It made it one less thing that I had to pull out of thin air and create. It was right there in front of me. I really appreciated it.
HUNTINGTON: Yeah, it was awesome. Plus, the make-up effects were terrifying. As scary as they are in the movie, they’re really imposing when you see them in person. The make-up guys were really, really talented. It was really nice. The fear was genuine, for me. I’m a scaredy cat.
Sam, what was your zombie make-up process like?
HUNTINGTON: Very minimal. It was every day for me, which would be the primary difference, but it was just airbrushed. They made me look real lean and scrawny. Obviously, it gets progressively worse through the film, but it was very minimal and easy. I actually liked it. It made me look skinny. I was psyched.
ROUTH: Yeah. I don’t really particularly care for horror movies, for the sake of horror. I always like the horror movie that is more suspenseful, like 28 Days Later, and based more in reality, or like Shaun of the Dead, which is comedic. What appealed to me about this was that it was a balance of both. Even though horror is dealt with in a PG-13 way, without blood everywhere and where you’re seeing everything happen, the scares are there, but it’s not all about the scare. It’s about the laugh, as much or more as it is the scare, or both things happening at once, and then there’s the action. It’s three-pronged.
HUNTINGTON: We just wanted to have fun. That was the goal. We were like, “If it’s not one or the other, then let’s make it everything and make it fun, without confusing the audience.” I think it’s as much a comedy as anything else, and I think that’s how it should be viewed.
Brandon, was it fun to do the confrontations with both Peter Stormare and Taye Diggs?
ROUTH: Yeah. I was a big fan of Peter’s. He’s done a lot of amazing work, but one role that always stands out to me is when he played Lucifer in Constantine. It was an amazing, creepy performance where it just oozes out of him, but he doesn’t do too much. He did a similar thing in this movie and that was great. I had a lot of fun in the scene at the meat-packing plant. And, Taye is very calm and calculating, in his own way. You really have to match their energies, in different ways. They’re both great actors and were very cool to work with.
HUNTINGTON: For me, what sticks out for Stormare is Fargo. That’s when I was like, “This guy is a genius,” and the guy didn’t say anything in that movie. He didn’t have to say anything. He was just so powerful. With Taye, when I read the script, I pictured the Vargas role so differently. I pictured him as this wise, low-level mob guy, and Taye played it so slick and smooth. It was so much better than I could have imagined. I remember when Kevin [Munroe] said, “We got Taye to play Vargas,” I was like, “That’s an interesting choice.” And then, as soon as I saw him do it, I was like, “Oh, my god, this is so great. This is such an interesting choice for this role.” And, it’s very different than anything else that’s in the movie, so I’m glad that we locked that guy down. Plus, he’s the perfect man. He’s cut from marble. You like at he’s face, and he’s perfect. It’s weird.
ROUTH: There might be something going on underneath there with Dylan. I think there is some backstory that he may not be totally mortal. He’s a heroic anti-hero, which I really liked about it. That was fun. And, realistically, you’re going to get the crap beaten out of you by these monsters. He probably shouldn’t be getting up from some of the fights.
HUNTINGTON: By the end of the movie, he’s pretty worse for wear. He’s limping and gimpy, and is not feeling so great.
ROUTH: There are probably some broken ribs in there.
Did you get to spend any time hanging out in the city while you were shooting in New Orleans?
ROUTH: We did the culinary tour of New Orleans. We had this really amazing place that we stayed at, that was this rooftop apartment we had rented, and it had a pool, and big huge wrap-around deck.
HUNTINGTON: We had a couple of parties, towards the end, for all of the cast and crew. It was awesome. The place was incredible. It was this little greenhouse on top of Jax Brewery, right on the river. The only bad thing was the calliope on the riverboat, that would make noise every morning at 10 am. It was crazy! Or, they’d be trying to tune it, so it would just be random notes. It was fine until you had to work a night and then come in at 4 am, and at 10 am there would be this blaring calliope music. We were all in this glass box on top of this building, so it would just echo through the walls. It was insane.
ROUTH: I don’t know if anything creepy happened, like ghosts or anything paranormal, but we did shoot the scene that’s in the big power plant in a huge structure that was very eerie, decrepit, run down, and rusty all over with pools of water. They were like, “Don’t go in that pool of water because we don’t know what kind of sewage is in there.” Because it had been flooded really bad, we probably all got some kind of toxicity from being in it for several days. I actually got cut and had to get a tetanus shot. I got cut on one of the bars in a fight scene.
HUNTINGTON: Because of Katrina, there was a lot of damage done to the cemetery we shot in. All the cemeteries in New Orleans are above ground and that one had been hit pretty hard. I think it was in the 9th Ward, in a bad part of town. A lot of their crypts were open, so you would see stuff in them. And then, I had to crawl on top of one. It was so awful and gross. That was creepy.
This film seems set up for a sequel. Is that something you’d like to do?
ROUTH: I think we’d all love to work together again. We had a great time. But, it’s all up to the moviegoers. I think the movie is fun, but we’ll see.
HUNTINGTON: I always learn something from every actor I’ve ever worked with. I always pick something from them. I’ve had the wonderful fortune to work with Brandon a lot, so I’ve picked a lot from him. That’s been awesome.
ROUTH: There are things that are inherent that I probably don’t even realize. He has a great way of stuttering lines that’s very natural, that I don’t know that I’ve picked up on, but may be something that I use, at some point. The style of humor that we have between us is similar to what’s in the movie, so it was very much like us talking. I learned to relax around him, in those comedic moments, so if I can take that with me and can use it with other actors, that’s something that you always want to strive for. Even in a stressful scene, the more relaxed you are, the more truthful you can be.
Bryan Singer has been talking recently about his thoughts on Superman Returns and what he could have done differently. How do you feel about it now, in retrospect? Is there anything that you would have done differently, or do you think it was a good moment that’s now over?
ROUTH: I loved the movie. I’ll stand by it. Did it do everything that every fanboy and fangirl wanted? No. Do I think there should have been fighting in it? Yes. It would have been great to have some fighting. Would I have liked to see more of Brandon, as Superman, flying versus CGI Superman flying? Yes. That just pulled me out of the film a little bit. They did an amazing job, but there were still some shots that were not as good as the real thing, honestly. And, I’m six years older now than I was then. I’m so much more mature. So, I feel like I could have brought even more reverence and more maturity to the character than was there when I was 25. But, other than that, I’m really happy with it.
HUNTINGTON: I actually feel the same way as Brandon. I would be hard-pressed to look back at anything that I have done in my career and not say, “I would have done that a little different” because hindsight is 20/20. But, that being said, we were committed to that film. I loved making that movie and I loved the way it turned out. Obviously, there are things that you’d change, but it is what it is. Honestly, I didn’t have the burden that Brandon did. I was playing an iconic character, but not the Man of Steel himself.
ROUTH: I did Missing William. That was shot in October and it’s finishing the post-production process. I trust that will be getting into the film festival circuit soon and find an audience. The story is a childhood love story. My wife, Courtney Ford, is the female lead in the movie, along with Reid Scott and Spencer Grammar, who are great. You see us as kids, and I have to go away. I’m moved away by my mother, and then I come back into her life 17 years later, and she’s the only person I ever really loved. Meanwhile, she’s engaged and gets married, then her husband has this tragic accident. He’s can’t speak, but he moves around, and I’m trying to help her cope with that.
Do you enjoy working with your wife?
ROUTH: We’ve done it before in a short, and another film called Fling. Because our characters knew each other, that worked to our advantage, in having a relationship. She’s an amazing actress and we work very well off each other. I can see where there might be problems, but for us, it’s actually a joy.
Sam, is Being Human on hiatus right now?
HUNTINGTON: Yeah. We’re about to start shooting again. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see what they come up with for Season 2. We start again in July, so I’m literally in the process of packing up my house and moving my family back to the East Coast, which is wild.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to with Season 2?
HUNTINGTON: I know that anything they think of, for us to do next season, is going to be so much vastly better than anything I could possibly think of. To be honest, I think there’s a lot of stuff that they could play with. There’s Nora’s (Kristen Hager) past, which is obviously sordid. And, Josh’s medical history could be interesting. He could go back to med school, even. He never finished, so that could be interesting and could open a whole new world up for me. For me, when I watch the show, the more interesting moments and the most fun to watch are the moments with the three of us together. That’s not to take away from any of our supporting cast because they’re amazing, but I love watching the three of us together. That’s what the show should be, at its core. It should be about these three people living together, so I hope that that’s what we focus on a lot. But, there is so much that could happen.