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The world of writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die is one where the dead have come back to life, and while everyone’s cracking some of the driest humor know to humanity, no one in the town of Centerville, Pennsylvania seems to laugh. This deadpan humor is a Jarmuschian specialty, and it’s particularly effective when portrayed by the talents of cast members Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny.
But, as these two terrific actors are only human, there were bound to be moments that made even their professional exteriors crack. And as CinemaBlend spoke to both actors during The Dead Don’t Die’s recent press day, we got them to talk about some very specific moments where they just couldn’t help but slip into fits of, what Ms. Sevigny would call “the giggles”:
I think I lost it when we were shooting, we were on like one of the last few days in the cop car. We were on a soundstage, and it was when we were driving around, seeing all the zombies. And I can’t remember if it was some improv with [Adam Driver] and Bill [Murray], but I caught the giggles a few times. And it was very serious, because we were running out of time with Adam, he was going on to another picture. So it was very like, I just had to look at Jim [Jarmusch] and just, I don’t know, be respectful, trying to rein it in. When you get the giggles, what can you do? They take over.
Chloe Sevigny and Adam Driver got to spend a lot of time with each other in The Dead Don’t Die, alongside Bill Murray’s equally expert chops in deadpan comedy. And you wouldn’t be able to tell that this cast of hardened actors had moments such as the one detailed above, as the film maintains a very dry comedy about itself at all times.
Adam Driver in particular has some of the hardest gags to land in the film, as his character has a few moments where he drops some meta jokes into the otherwise self- contained universe of The Dead Don’t Die. Though, like any good fictional hero, it’s sometimes the material that we’re made of that is also our undoing.
And just as Chloe Sevigny admitted to that same practice, Adam Driver had some instances that he added to the pile of scenes to watch really carefully on the next go-around:
Adam Driver: There was, I feel like a couple times. I feel like the scene in the diner, when everyone was saying ‘wild animals’ … Danny Glover was so funny. There was moments like that. When you were screaming … at the hotel, when you were screaming, I thought that was really good.
Chloe Sevigny: Oh yeah. I think we got the giggles with Selena Gomez.
Oh, those damned giggles, they’re almost like Star Wars questions out of the blue. Just when you think you’re safe from catching them, a scene where several dead bodies get decapitated in a rural hotel happens and the laughter comes oh so naturally. Again, that may sound weird in any other circumstance, but the way The Dead Don’t Die presents its universe of death and occasional dismemberment, it’s played for the best comedic value possible.
Humor is a very subjective subject, as what one person may find funny, the other might not. Knowing that despite their stony facades of reserve, as well as their typically dramatic leaning role choices, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny found some choice moments to laugh it up while making The Dead Don’t Die is something that makes their performances in the film all the more entertaining, and definitely funnier to watch.