One of the actors I had the privilege of interviewing during my visit to the set of Texas Chainsaw 3D last August is Louisana’s own Paul Rae. While his name may not immediately standout to those in the peanut gallery, Rae’s previous work includes turns in a number of films including Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s True Grit remake and Oliver Stone‘s W. just to name a few.
During the interview, the ultra down-to-earth Rae discussed a number of topics including his excitement in playing a character that “nobody will like very much”, how he expects fans of the franchise to react to this latest iteration, how one of the scenes is “the most disturbing thing” he’s ever seen, and more. Check out the full interview after the jump.
PAUL RAE: It’s a trip of a movie, I can tell you that much. It’s gory as hell and I’ve seen some pretty gory stuff in my life. Just seeing some of the dailies from this I’ve been like “Oh my God”. And it’s the most realistic gore I’ve ever seen in my life so people are going to flip when they see this. The relationships in it are really, really good. You have villains that you don’t realize are going to be villains which really turns the movie. Alex plays a great role and she’s doing a great job. Her character, Heather, walks into a pretty crazy situation and she handles that really well. Also, he (Dan Yeager) is doing an excellent job as Leatherface. He’s got his own thing he does and it’s twisted. But, sorry, you guys ask me the questions.
Question: Did you say he was twisted?
RAE: Yeah, he’s a twisted dude. Leatherface is a pretty simple guy to begin with. He’s got like what, an 8-year old’s education or something like that? He’s a pretty simple guy. To do the things he does, something’s not right up there, you know? Dan portrays that very well. He’s very good at what he does.
Where you a fan of the franchise before signing on?
RAE: I watched the original when I was a little kid and it scared the hell out of me. It took me a while to watch it again and then I understood it more. You know, the story kind of came out more to me. When I was a little kid all I thought was “this is the scariest thing ever” and I watched it through my fingers. So, I had seen it before but I didn’t remember any of the storyline because half of the movie I had my eyes closed.
What about any of the sequels?
RAE: I seen the first one and that was basically it for me. And I didn’t go and re-watch it before we started this movie because I didn’t wanna mimic or copy anybody else. I’ve made a few sequels in my life and I try to do the same thing with those. With True Grit I didn’t watch the old one right before we shot that and I didn’t watch other stuff too because I didn’t want to come across as trying to imitate someone else’s character. I wanted to know the least amount about this guy I was playing as I could so that I could try and make him my own, you know? But, he’s a pretty intense fella. I think he’s going to be very well liked by the community, let’s put it that way.
RAE: [Thinking] How did I get involved? My agent called me and told me they were making this movie and he knew the casting director well and said they had a role that he thought I would really, really like. I told him to send it over and I read it and then I went and met with John (director John Luessenhop) and just had a one-on-one meeting with him and talked through it and we just basically talked about what he wanted the character to do, the plot twists and stuff like that that were going to happen and, you know, how comfortable I would be with certain things. Just getting to know him, talking with him and seeing the passion he had for the project really drew my interest towards it because I thought it would be really, really fun. It’s a huge, famous franchise already and he had his own vision of where he wanted to go with this and it seemed like a fun ride and then I read the script and loved it. I’ve never read horror scripts that much and I read this and thought “Wow, this is something I want to be a part of”. I mean I loved it, all of the little angles they were going at and it’s got a couple of “Oh, wow” moments.
There was literally one moment that I couldn’t believe. When I read it, in my mind, the audience was literally going to stand up and cheer when this happened and I’m like “I want to be in this movie now” and that’s when it happened for me, that one page. I thought, “This is going to be a fun ride for whoever goes to see it”. But you’ll know when you see the movie you’ll think “I remember when Paul said that” and you’ll know exactly what part I was talking about. When I was talking with John about it he was like “I know! I was thinking the same thing!” and I told him in the room during our one-on-one meeting to decide whether I was going to do the movie or not, “After reading this, I don’t know of any other movie that should have ever been made in 3D, but this one definitely should be”. Just how visually they wrote the movie, I think, especially the gore and horror fans, they are going to freakin’ love it but I think the other people will like it too because it has a great storyline. The story moves really well and it has great pivot points and turns and things coming out of nowhere that you don’t see coming. It’s great and I think you guys are going to love it. And, I did another movie recently called Inside which was my first venture into the sci-fi/horror genre, and I did a few interviews about that and I just never knew how passionate that fan base was – 50 times more than any other movie genre.
RAE: Oh man, the Chainsaw traditionalists will love this movie. The way they’re going about it and the costumes are awesome. His costumes [looks towards Dan Yeager who is in full Leatherface attire] are ridiculous. I went to the special effects house before and saw a lot of the masks and stuff and I was like “Oh my God, these people are going to love it”. I mean, I’ve seen all of the Saw movies, I’ve seen those movies and I’ve enjoyed them like, you know, sit down, eat popcorn and watch a movie, but this one is America’s horror movie, you know? They (fans) get behind this one and I think they’re going to love it. I just love the relationships inside the movie too and you guys will see those come out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It definitely has some stuff you guys won’t see coming and it’ll be great.
How much of your part have you shot so far?
RAE: I shot some a month ago. We shot a little bit for a week and then I came back and I’ve done a little bit since I’ve been back but I’m just now, I know where I want to go with my character, I know what he’s doing and I know what’s in his mind, but he’s really starting to come to life the last few days I’ve been on set. I’m starting to have that little twinkle in my eye where I’m starting to see things and enjoy things that some people may not enjoy in their everyday life but my character does and I’m having fun with that. I’m having fun with creating a guy that people aren’t going to like very much. It’s fun for me to do that because I’m pretty much a big teddy bear of a person, I don’t mean to harm anybody, but it was fun to get out of that and be that guy who does every now and then and this guy will definitely be that guy. Nobody will like me very much. But everyday we shoot something and I walk by the monitors, Carl (producer Carl Mazzocone) will look over at me and say “Man, they’re just not going to like you very much” and I’m like “I know, they’re not going to like me at all” [laughs].
That means you’ve done your job well, though, right?
RAE: Well, I’m having a lot of fun with it and John is really good at picking something up in the middle of a scene that maybe wasn’t written in there or we didn’t have it a certain way and he’ll say “Wait a minute, why don’t we do this? Slow this down, have you bring more eye contact over there…” and then you do it again and you watch the tape again and it’s just like “Wow, that brings so much more power to that scene and it makes people hate me more so it works”. But it’s fun. We’re having a good time with it.
I understand that you’re from New Orleans?
RAE: I grew up in south Louisiana, yeah.
RAE: Well, I do. I’ve shot a couple of things here but the problem is that Shreveport is six hours from New Orleans and my family lives all down there and it’s, when we’re shooting, it’s hard for them to drive up and, even on my days off, if we shoot a night on Friday and then I’m off Saturday and Sunday, I sleep half the day Saturday and then I don’t have time to drive all the way down there and visit with them and then come back. I shot W. here, I shot two or three other movies here, but every time it’s pretty much just like shooting in another country because it’s that hard to get away from set. When you’re working you tend to try and stay at work and, as actors, we have months off so we can go visit our family whenever.
But I do like being here because like, right now we have muffulettas in the pen over here, that’s one of my favorite foods ever. We have a snowball stand right behind us that I can order right now. You can’t have that anywhere but here and Hawaii. So, yeah, I enjoy being here, it’s great. I’m a big New Orleans Saints fan. I played football for LSU for a bit so just being able to pick up a paper and read about local sports that I grew up around is really good for me. But it is hot, man. I forgot how hot it is. But the one thing I’m blessed with, and I don’t understand where they went, something must be happening in the universe, but there are no mosquitos here. They used to be everywhere. I don’t know what’s going on. I like packed “Off” in my bag. It was the most important thing I put in my suitcase. I guess the draught took them out maybe?
So have they let you guys on set at all to watch anything?
[Writers answer “Yes” in unison]
Have you seen him (looks at Yeager/Leatherface) in action yet? He looks pretty freaky doesn’t he? His first mask is my favorite. Man…we get to work with that next week and it’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Do you think this film will be as scary as the original?
RAE: I think this film…the original has the shock element with being the first which is always something that scares the crap out of people, you know? But, for a newer audience, definitely maybe even scarier. We have the ability to do things now that they didn’t have the ability to do back then. Special effects wise and making things look really, really just as gory as possible and real as possible. They’re definitely doing that with this movie. These cameras are insane and the special effects crew they’re insane and they way the props guys do everything, I mean it’s pretty freakin’ intense. I watched a couple takes last night and I just could not believe that was, you know, made up stuff. It was the most disturbing thing I’d ever seen in my life. [Laughs] And you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see this thing too.
RAE: I’ve seen some pretty gory movies in my life. All of the Rob Zombie movies, you know, I watch all of that stuff. This thing is, they’re doing a great job of making a gory, bloody, scary ass movie that actually has a good story behind it. Because not all of them do. Sometimes they just go for chopping people up and then whatever and this is not…this one has, you definitely care about characters in this movie and they’re going to latch onto these characters more I think now at the end of this movie than they did in the first one. And they’re going to have different feelings for different characters. I’m telling you, they’re going to love this movie. The way the wrote it and the way they’re shooting it, it’s going to shock people because I don’t think they’re going to see this coming.
When it came out, the original obviously caused some backlash with being banned and kind of outlawed in certain arenas. Based upon what you’ve seen and the way you’ve talked about this film, do you foresee an R-rating being a tough achievement? Will certain things have to be cut?
RAE: I don’t know. I was in True Grit and I chopped off a guys fingers and put a knife through his chest and we got PG-13 somehow so we might be okay. I think as long as they stay where they are, I think an R-rating will be fine. You never know, though. I mean, that’s the great quality about having a really good editor is that, if he’s good at what he does, you can get that R and still have a lot of gore in there. They walk a fine line, believe me. It’s an artistic film that has gore in it and I don’t think there’s any reason they should, I’ve seen a lot more films with more crazy stuff happen, like heads flying everywhere and stuff, that get an R and if that can happen then we should be fine. Because ours definitely has a great story behind it and these kids that are in it are great young actors, they’re all really great looking kids and I people will like them. Trey Songz does a great job and it’s his first big movie ever. He was an absolutely joy to work with and be around. We would go to towns and we would have droves of little girls follow us around set, literally screaming and crying wanting to meet him, and Trey would take time on breaks to walk up, sit down, sign autographs and take pictures with every one of them. I mean, you would literally have to watch as heads would pop-out from behind trees because that’s how many little kids would be hanging out around set. But, he’s a big angel, man. He’s going to have a career that lasts forever.
For more from our Texas Chainsaw 3D set visit:
- 10 Things to Know About TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D from Our Set Visit; Plus a Filming Recap and Exclusive New Image
- Alexandra Daddario Talks About Starring in an Iconic Franchise, How This Film and the Original Differ and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Carl Mazzocone Talks His Role as Producer, Says the Goal Is to “Deliver the Best 3D Monster Movie of Modern Day” on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Director John Luessenhop Talks Shooting the Film in 3D, Picking His Favorite Scenes from the Original and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Dan Yeager Talks Landing the Role of Leatherface, the Power of the Mask, His Respect for Gunnar Hansen and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Scott Eastwood Talks His Character, Future Projects, and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D