Now playing is The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. Based on a true story, the sort-of sequel is not a continuation of the Campbells’ story from the first film, but follows a new family, the Wyricks, as they confront the supernatural. Andy (Chad Michael Murray) and Lisa (Abigail Spencer) move their daughter (Emily Alyn Lind) to a historical Georgia home, joined by Lisa’s free-spirited sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) the Wyricks soon find themselves face to face with the ghosts of the Underground Railroad.
I recently landed an exclusive interview with Chad Michael Murray. We talked about what attracted him to the role, what it was like playing a father, his favorite horror films, and, meeting the Wyrick family. We also discussed the Sundance success of Fruitvale, what people can expect from Cavemen, and trying his hand at comedy. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY: I’m wonderful.
Excellent. Tell me a little bit about what attracted you to this role and how you got involved in the project.
MURRAY: I think the one thing that I really, really enjoy about the story is, obviously you have the fact that it’s based on true events which I enjoy, but the other side of that was the idea of playing a southern prison guard who has a wife and a daughter, I’ve never had the opportunity to play a father to that level before, with a grown daughter. I really embraced that opportunity, thought this could be fun just to grow a little bit and I enjoyed that.
What was that like for you stepping into that role as the father character?
MURRAY: Well, I kind of had the perfect match little Emily Lind is Barbara Alyn Woods’s daughter and Barbara Alyn Woods was on one Tree Hill with me and in season one Emily was born. So she was actually the first infant that I ever held. So sure enough eight years later, there we are shooting a movie and she’s playing my daughter and I just thought that was so surreal. She’s so sweet and so intelligent, and so professional at her age, and it’s just a tribute to her parenting and her parents and everything else. It was an awesome thing to play.
That’s a pretty cool story. This is not your first foray into the horror world, you did House of Wax before, do you consider yourself a fan of the horror genre?
MURRAY: Oh, yeah, absolutely I do. I’m not so much for the psychological ones, the ones in the vein of the exorcist with people being possessed and those, those ones get to me a little bit, but I do like the old slashers, you know, I like the Halloweens and the Friday the 13ths. I really enjoy that style of horror genre. Oh, and the Saws as well, I think they’re intelligent and well written, and I don’t know I like those aspects. So yeah, I would definitely say I’ve been a horror buff for years.
Did you have an opportunity to meet the Wyrick family before you started shooting the film, and how did playing a character that’s based on a real person affect the way you approached the role?
MURRAY: I never had the opportunity to meet Andy. Andy didn’t necessarily want to be as close to the project, I don’t think, as the rest of the family was. The rest of the family did show up probably midway through the shoot. So I did have an opportunity to meet the Wyricks and you would never second guess that there was anything unordinary about them. They were just very regular, everyday people who happened to live through an extraordinary circumstance. Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet Andy and he’s passed away now, so god rest his soul.
Did you take anything away from meeting the family that changed how you saw the character?
MURRAY: No, tom our director really had his finger on the family, he had met them previous to shooting, he hung out with them for about a week, he hung out with Andy and he kind of just gave me a little bit of tid bit on the way Andy was. He was just very kind of aloof and he lived his life just, “OK, it is what it is.”
I definitely want to talk to you about Fruitvale because that just made such a big premiere at Sundance; it won the Grand Jury Award, it won the Audience Award. How’s it been for you seeing that film get such a positive response?
MURRAY: I mean, I’m so happy for Ryan Cooper, Ryan’s just a great guy he directed Fruitvale and just the amount of work that he put in and his vision was so clear that he really deserved the opportunity for everyone to recognize it and see. So I’m very happy for him, I’m happy for Michael and Octavia [Spencer] and the whole cast. Everybody did such a great job and it was a total labor of love. Everybody got together and it wasn’t about anything other than telling a story about a tragic event. It was done so well, so congratulations to every one of those guys.
It’s obviously a fairly well known story, but the amount of people who actually get to see the films at Sundance is pretty limited, so for people who might not know can you tell them a little bit about what the movies about and what part you play?
MURRAY: Yeah, Fruitvale basically follows Oscar, who’s a young African American who had his run-ins with the law, was pretty much cleaning his life up and changing for his daughter and his mom and a tragic incident occurred at the BART train station, the BART is the Bay Area Rapid Transit. It’s the train station that runs through Oakland. Basically I play the officer who was responsible for…I don’t want to give the movie away, I know it was based on true events so obviously they could just look it up, but I do play the officer who’s responsible for taking this young man’s life. The way that this story is told is really what it’s about. It was a tragic event and you can actually watch the event on YouTube. It’s a true story, it’s pretty awful.
MURRAY: For me, it’s literally only five minutes of the film, but the opportunity came up and somebody called me and said, “Hey would you be willing to come up to Oakland and just do a small part on this feature? ” They sent me the script and I read it, I was just so moved by it, so I just immediately called back as soon as I finished the script and said, “Yeah, definitely, yeah. Don’t worry about anything, I’m there.” It will be a really cool experience with this young guy, an up and coming USC film student and just the opportunity to go up there and be a part of a story that I think is socially important and that people need to be aware of. So I just immediately said, “Absolutely” and I think maybe three, four days later I was on a plane headed up to Oakland and on set. The shooting experience was really bizarre because we shot at the actual location where the shooting occurred and it was an eerie, eerie feeling as we played out the sequence. We’re firing off blank rounds, here we are just a few years later and this occurred, it isn’t just a movie, its real life.
MURRAY: [Laughs] you know if I could sum up cavemen I would, but I think it’s just about four post-college guys who are trying to find their way in life pre-workforce and trying to find their way with love. I think each character has their different interpretation of what love is and where love exists and what relationships are. It’s just four guys living together in their mancave. It’s a comedy, its light-hearted, it’s fun. I think everyone’s going to dig it. I jumped on it because it was an opportunity to do something I haven’t done which a, was comedy, and b, a character who was so abrasive and I really thought it was funny.
Did you find it difficult to step into the comedy genre?
MURRAY: You know, I think it’s all about how much you prep yourself, how much you really understand the scenario that you’re walking into. For me, this one fit and I felt really comfortable. I just felt ready to go. We’ll see how everything plays out on the screen and if everyone likes it, you know, that’s the hope. It was a great cast, great ensemble, everyone from Hershel, our director, to the cast; it was a really great time. We did it on a small budget and I think we made a really cool movie.