TR Interview: Jeffrey Combs is Rather Good

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:00 am

LYT: How do you think you would play if you, Jeffrey Combs the actor, were in a situation like that in real life?

JC: I would not survive! I would not survive. I don't know where in the pecking order I would go, but I don't think I could have handled it. I would have probably fallen apart a lot earlier than a lot of these people. They're all victims. They're all doomed from the get-go. They just don't know it.

LYT: At our website, we also cover toys a lot, and one of the great toys that never came out was that Re-Animator action figure of you that SOTA was going to do. Has there been any talk of doing another one by any other companies?

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No, the only thing that I know of in terms of action figures, there are a couple of Herbert West new ones out there, but they're not "action" figures. There's a resin kit that's very rare of Herbert West that's very good. You know, you have to paint it and all of that. It's not articulated, it doesn't move or anything. I don't know. That was going to happen, and then it didn't.

LYT: Has there ever been any more talk of doing more Re-Animator movies, or is that pretty much dead at this point?

JC: It rears up every once in a while, but the landscape with movies has really changed in the last 4 or 5 years. Delivery systems are different. This movie, Would You Rather, is video on demand. It had a small theatrical release, but it's a video on demand and that's just where it goes. I just don't know. There are also demographics. I'm sure that Brian Yuzna, who owns the rights to Re-Animator, would love to have another pass at a Re-Animator sequel, but someone's got to step up and fund it. And when you get into that, there's the crux of the problem - bean counters.

Here's what I think will happen. The name is so well-known, it's a cult classic, that someone at some point will give Brian a lot of money for the title, and they'll reboot it, thinking they can just tell the same story again, but with younger, fresher actors. Re-do it, update it, and we know what that will have to do.

LYT: It would be hard to find a cast that could beat the first one.

JC: Well, hubris and rational thinking - you know what I mean? They'll get past that and go "We can do it." And that will be a weird day for me.

LYT: It's sort of like reanimating the dead; just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should.

JC: That's right! And the weird thing about Re-Animator is it's like one of its corpses - it's the movie that doesn't die! It keeps coming out with different releases. I think Blu-ray just came out last year. It really holds up, because it's not beholden to aging CGI techniques, where you see an old movie with early CGI and you go "Wow! That was pretty cheesy!" It was all sort of hands-on effects, on the spot, and that's far more forgiving. It's just clever editing and camera tricks. No one's pulling out a big ol' cell phone that makes you say "Whoa!" So it fortunately has sort of a timeless quality to it, to a degree.

LYT: Have there been any talks of taking your Edgar Allan Poe performance into the realm of cinema as opposed to the stage?

JC: Actually, right now we're waiting for the screenplay version to be finished, so we could examine maybe a Kickstarter campaign, or finding some sort of a sponsor, as they used to back in the Renaissance; you always had a benefactor, someone who financed your project. So somebody who could step up; I don't think it would cost really a whole lot of money, in relative terms, to bring it to the cinema, expand it out a little bit.

Do you know much about the show? It's basically Poe at an imaginary recital, telling his poems and reading one of his stories, and getting drunker as the evening goes along. But our idea would be that once he starts a poem, we would actually (in the film version), we would go there, into that world that he's creating with his words, and have visuals to go along with it, then come back to the recital.

LYT: I'm sold.

JC: We're hoping that we can do it, but with the economic downturn, these things have proven to be more and more difficult to get going.


LYT: When you were doing Would You Rather, were you aware of the British game show of the same name?

JC: No, not at all. The only thing that I was aware of was the director saying that there was another project in development called Would You Rather, but it had a completely different take. We beat them to it, I would imagine.

LYT: When I saw the Saw movies, I immediately thought of the playground game "would you rather"; would you rather die or get your hand chopped off?

JC: Honestly, I haven't seen much of those Saw movies. Is that sort of what it is? A Sophie's choice where neither option is good?

LYT: It's part of it. It's basically, you get stuck in a trap, and if you don't act fast enough in a way that will mutilate yourself, or kill somebody else, you're going to die. You guys really got to the essence of the game. It was more of a subtext thing in Saw.

What are your next projects that you're excited about, other than the possible Poe Kickstarter?

JC: Well, actors never know. I've been doing a lot of voice-over animation stuff. I have a movie that's making the rounds right now, called Motivational Growth. I'm not really in the movie, my voice is. It's about a disturbed young man who hasn't left his filthy apartment in a year and a half, and the mold that's growing in the corner of his bathroom starts talking to him and giving him advice, so my career has now reached the point where I am portraying fungus! (laughs) I hope good things for Would You Rather.


Would You Rather opens tomorrow.

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