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LFF talks to Jamie Kennedy about all things Tremors, Scream and Halloween Horror Nights

To celebrate the release of the fifth film in the Tremors franchise – Tremors 5: Bloodlines, I was lucky enough to get hooked up with time to chat with not just the star of all five films Michael Gross (Burt Gummer), but also the series’ newest addition: Jamie Kennedy.

In Tremors 5, Jamie plays Travis, paranoid survivalist Burt Gummer’s (Michael Gross) new cameraman on his reality show that is like Bear Grylls with guns. The pair are hired to go to South Africa to hunt down Graboid’s – the subterranean monsters that sense vibrations in the ground and swallow down anything unfortunate enough to be above them. Travis is the live wire to Burt’s straight man, and the two have a great dynamic, with this clash in personalities resulting in plenty of comedy and an unexpected revelation.


TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES is released on Blu-RayTM and DVD on 12th October, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK).

Jamie also played my favourite character in Scream 1 and 2, Randy, the film nerd know-it-all who survived the first film, only to unexpectedly bite it in the second. So I was psyched when he was happy to also chat about those movies, as well as the amazing Halloween Horror Nights event which is currently running at Universal Studios in Orlando and Hollywood.


LFF: Hi, Jamie!

Jamie Kennedy: Heh. How you doing, Alan?


I’m good, thank you.

Good to talk to you!


Yeah, you too, man! To begin with, can you tell me how you got involved with Tremors 5: Bloodlines? Were you already a Tremors fan?

I’m a fan of the original movie, yeah. I’m a fan of the first one, and I read the script, and heard that they were trying to reboot the franchise, and I liked it. I sat with the director an we had a really good meeting, and I went “Yeah, I”m in”. Pretty painless!


Cool. One of the reasons I liked Bloodlines so much was because it did a good job of capturing the spirit and energy of the first film. Is that what you liked about it too?

Yeahhhh. I felt that we could go back and… set the tone, and have some horror, and some comedy, and I thought if we could get in there… You know, Michael (Gross) is the anchor of this movie. I loved the tone of the first movie, you know? There’s this ridiculousness, but then it’s scary and so I was excited about it – I thought that I could show that the movie could go further, you know?


Totally. You mentioned working with your co-star, Michael Gross, what was that like? How did you guys get on?

He’s really… You know this is his baby. He’s done this movie like five times now.


He’s like “Daddy Tremors”, right?

Yeah [laughs] He IS “Daddy Tremors”. So I listened to him, I sat with him, I brought my own ideas in and he said what he thought of them, and it was really good. We had this really great dynamic onscreen and off too. I’m a little bit more rough around the edges, where he’s a bit more prepared. You know, we worked well of each other and it comes off on screen.


Right. How did you find working in South Africa?

To be honest, it was very hard. It was beautiful, and I loved it, but it was the hottest I have ever been in my life!

[both laugh]

There are wild animals everywhere. Bugs are the size of your hands, and I basically learned one thing about Africa… Anything can be eaten at any time. They will eat anything. They will cook anything. They respect everything, everything respects each other – but is also looked on as a potential meal.


As a Tremors fan, and now also a member of the cast, where would you like to see the series go next? Are there any particular countries, or environments that you think would be cool to set a Tremors movie in?

I think… Tremors is all about the Graboids and the Ass Blasters, so you could take them around the world and discover them, like they did in South Africa, but I also think you could explore a lot of cypto-zoology. I think there’s other myths, and creatures, and such that… It could be Bigfoot, it could be anything. If those two guys go into the world that you hear about in folklore and explore it, it could be pretty cool. That’s where I think the franchise could need to go.


That sounds cool. While we were watching this one, I was saying that I thought it would be fun to see Graboids in the snow maybe?

[laughs] That’s a good idea! Like an Icelandic adventure?!


[laughing] Yeah, like “Tremors on Ice”!

[laughs] I hadn’t thought of that! Yeah, that’d be good!


So, if there is a part 6 are you already signed up, and would it be the adventures of your character and Burt hunting different kinds of monsters?

That’s real precarious to say that to Tremors fans. They like the Graboids, and the Ass Blasters. I had one guy the other week say to me “One of the Graboids had teeth. Is that a new kind of Graboid?” So people are real on it. As long as you make sure you respect their monsters, I think you can add in new ones to the mix. You still have to keep to the rules of the Tremors world, but, yeah, I definitely think that more monsters would be interesting.


Yeah. Well you don’t want to take out the element that made people fan of the movies in the first place, right?

Yeah! Monster movies are serious.


Why do you think that they [monster movies] continue to have such an enduring appeal?

Um. They tap into our fear. I think people go to movies to laugh – that’s an emotion you can tap into. I think people go to movies to cry – that needs to be let out. And I think people need to be scared, they want to be scared, and I think monster movies… We’re all kind of afraid of the dark, we’re afraid of the Boogeyman, we’re afraid of what’s in the closet, and monster movies kinda put that question in your head of “What if?” Like in an adventurous way.


While we’re talking about horror in a more general way – I’m a big Scream fan – do you mind talking about those movies a little bit?

Yeah, go for it!


Awesome. What was it like working with Wes Craven, and did you have any idea at the time that you were making such a game-changing film?

We thought… I read the script and said “This is gonna be really awesome”. We thought we were making a really cool movie, and we thought if we came out and made our budget back, twelve million bucks, we’d be a hit. Then we’d grow on DVD. Did we know we were making something that was going to attack the lexicon of pop culture? No. We didn’t think we were going to make something that would last… It’s been twenty years, you know?



It’s still as popular as ever, and they just made a TV series about it! I honestly didn’t think it would be that big. I thought it would be cool and something special, but I think it was bigger than all of us realised.


Totally. As Randy was my favourite character, I was gutted when you died in Scream 2…


[both laugh]


How did you find out, and did you try and talk Wes (Craven) and Kevin (Williamson) out of it?

Well. Look. They made the first movie… I think there were ideas for more movies, but I don’t know if they had… I don’t know if they had the trilogy originally set up. They were writing the second movie, and at first my character was kinda small, and then they kept writing and adding him in and we got scripts the day before… It was such a hot thing – the internet was starting to come out – that we only got our pages the day before. You couldn’t have a full script. We did a reading of it up until the third act, and then no-one knew what happened. So we were literally doing this movie not knowing who the killer was, and then like two and a half weeks in, I get this script that says “Randy gets pulled in a van and killed” and I was like “NOOOOO. Why me?! There goes my pay check!”

[both laugh]

Then I talked to them and they were like “Dude, the whole movie’s about surprises and the unexpected. Killing you means that all bets are off”. And I was like “Yeahhhh, that makes sense”. But I can tell you, no-one liked it. Everyone hated it! I still thought, because of the voice of that character, it would have been interesting if he’d lived to see what he’d comment on.


Of course. That’s why it shocked the fans so much – Randy’s voice and opinion is so emblematic of Scream and what it’s about – that it’s a huge shock, and heart-breaking as well.

Yeah! At least one person a week comes up to me and says that “I hated it when you died”, “You shouldn’t have died”, they really relate to it… more than probably anything I’ve ever done.


Crazy. If you could be killed by any movie monster, which one would it be, and what would your last words be?

Oh, wow… Maaaan. I, er, God! If I could be killed by… any… movie… monster… I think it would have to be Jason.


Great choice!

And my last words would be “Not the face!”


I saw that you were at the opening of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios the other night, and we’re going at the end of the month, what did you think of it this year?

Man. It’s just getting bigger and crazier every year. They’ve got… I tell you what, I would do all the mazes. Insidious is really well done, and Halloween! Halloween is awesome!


Nice. That and Crimson Peak are the two that I’m most excited about.

Crimson Peak is very cool. Halloween is really well done. Also, The Purge! The Purge – the actors are so committed! You definitely feel on edge! They do a really great job. You’re not going into a park – you’re immersed in an experience. Do all eight mazes but also explore other parts of the park, there are like these little trolls that pop out at you – it’s really well done.


And David Arquette was there too. Was that a nice little Scream reunion for you?

Yeah! I hadn’t seen David in a while, but sometimes I’ll see him. He’s a great guy, and yeah, we’ll always have Scream so whenever I see him I will always give him a hug!


Hugging David Arquette should always be rule one.

[both laugh]


Thanks for your time, Jamie. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

Appreciate it, Alan. You too!




TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES is released on Blu-RayTM and DVD on 12th October, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK).


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