Was the Walken gag coming out of the coffin in the script, or was that something you guys did on set?
It was kind of a vague thing in the script but when I was storyboarding it I thought “That would be a good idea.” We didn’t tell Christopher about it until the night and I was kind of dreading it. We built the coffin and it was like one in the morning and I was hoping “God, I hope he thinks it’s okay.” We had the stuntman show him it was completely safe. “Chris, do you think you could do this?” “Yeah, cool!” We did it in one take. He had to come up, boom, and the squibs went off perfectly. It was one of the most joyful bits. We showed it to him back at the monitor and he just smiled when he saw the bloody heads and how cool he looked. It’s one of my favorite images from the film, I think.
On the subject of the cemetery shoot, and feel free to call me crazy, I could have just been seeing things, but did I see that it said “Rourke” on one of the gravestones?
[Laughs] Um, yeah, we just happened to be filming in a graveyard that happened to be filled with Rourkes.
So shall I press further about that situation?
You’re the first one that’s spotted it so…that’s your scoop!
With such eccentric characters, how much did the actual actors bring to their roles? Like with Woody eating strawberries for example. Was that something that was in the script or was that something that you guys kind of talked about beforehand?
That was Woody on the day, and the tattoo on his neck, that was Woody. He was trying to get some big funny teeth as well, but we thought that was going a little too far. He did, too, once he saw them. It kind of made it a little too comic. We all stuck exactly to the script, but they’re all great actors so they’re bringing all their brilliance to every part. If you mentioned any others I could tell you who brought what to each thing.
Tom Waits, his costume was kind of all of his idea. He felt that he had been home for years and this was like his job interview. He was dressed up quite nicely, but it just wasn’t quite fitting well enough. Sam and Colin and I drove out to Joshua Tree to just spend the weekend, to just get to know each other and read the script and bond a little bit. Colin was driving and he popped into a gas station and got bunch of crappy food and bought the hat the Sam wears, and he said he was kicking himself afterwards when he saw it in the film. Even the hat is a scene stealer.