Yesterday we spoke with Robert Sheehan, star of the new film Bad Samaritan, opening this Friday. The movie is a new thriller about a small-time crook who runs afoul of a criminal mastermind. Today we speak to the man himself, David Tennant who leaves his good-guy persona and embraces the dark side as a devious murder Cale Erendreich.
Meeting at a posh hotel in West Hollywood, Tennant is busy signing posters as we enter the room. Bright-eyed, attentive, and eager to oblige any request, he crosses the room, hand extended and shakes hands. He is exactly what you would expect. Friendly, charming, and above all, polite. Meeting Tennant, it seems like a jarring change for him to play a sociopathic murder, but you’d be surprised.
Curious, we began the interview…
HorrorBuzz: What made you say yes to this project?
David Tennant: Well, I just read it and thought, “Oh I really like this!” I mean I don’t have more of a stance than that. I didn’t know what it was when it arrived. It arrived completely out of the blue, and I started reading it and I immediately got pulled into the story of the valets robbing houses. That felt like a story, Why have I not seen this sort of story before it seemed kind of obvious. Then it takes this extraordinary hand-brake turn about 20 minutes in that takes you down this wormhole of nightmare and I just couldn’t stop reading it. That first reading, that’s about as close as you can get to experience it as an audience member would for the first time. It’s the only time you don’t have any preconceptions, you don’t know what’s coming next. So I always think that first reading is really important in forming how you would feel about being involved in the project. Then I talked to Dean (Director Dean Devlin) on Skype and he seemed brilliant and enthusiastic and charming there really didn’t seem to be any reason not to do it after those things fell into place.
HB: Being that your character is a killer, which serial killer does he have the most in common with? Michael Myers, Hannibal Lecter, or Freddy Krueger?
DT: Oh! Hmmmm. Oh, not Freddy Krueger. Krueger is the nightmare guy. No, he’s not like him at all. Hannibal Lecter, he seems to have the fastidiousness of Hannibal Lecter. He seems to have something of the intellect. (Thinks) No, it has to be Hannibal Lecter because he comes from the establishment. He’s got that kind of poise, he exists quite comfortably in normal society.
HB: Looking back at Potter and Jessica Jones, now Bad Samaritan, you seem to like the dark roles.
DT: I think what’s interesting is extremes. As an actor, what’s fun to play are the extremes of human existence. whether that is someone that is in a situation that is very unique or whether it’s a psychology that’s not as other human beings. With someone like Cale, who is clearly damaged, that’s not the normal experience of most people. There’s something appealing about trying that out, seeing what that would feel like. Walking in those shoes for a while. There’s something exciting and challenging about that.
HB: Were there any scenes that you thought, “Oh my god, we are taking this too far?”
DT: I mean some of the things that he does are truly appalling, but if you are going to tell a story about someone like that you are almost looking for those extreme moments aren’t you? That’s what makes that character more appalling, more interesting, more terrifying if you get it right.
HB: I think my one thought on the Cale character is there was no humor. There was a great deal of levity from the character Sean, but I would have loved to have seen something from Cale. What type of a sense of humor does Cale have?
DT: I don’t think he has much of a sense of humor because I think he would see that as an unnecessary energy being expended.
HB: He certainly takes pleasure in what he does.
DT: Well there’s a need to do what he does. There’s a need to effect change. There’s a need to keep proving his dominion over everything that’s around him. That’s what drives him. So I don’t know if there is very much that he would find funny. That would indicate a certain level of surprise and joy in life. I think that’s the opposite of what he is. He finds himself reluctantly surprised by Sean because Sean proves a worthy opponent and that does tickle him eventually. But at first, the idea that anyone could be challenging his claw-like control over all that he surveys is appalling to him, then he develops a begrudging respect still confident that he will best him in the end. But, He doesn’t genuinely interact with anyone.
HB: So humor would not be an option.
DT: I just don’t know where it would fit in.
HB: What one word would you use to describe your costar, Robert Sheehan?
DT: Oh, talented. I think Robert’s brilliant. From Misfits on, I think he has a spontaneity. He’s brilliant at creating the appearance of spontaneity in his characters like it’s all happening at the moment. He has a freeness and an energy about him that makes him a really great actor. I remember the first time I saw him he really shines on the screen. There’s something really special going on there. I was so excited when I found out that he had gotten the part. We had never met but I was a huge admirer of his.
HB: Top 5 horror films. Do you have any?
DT: Top 5 horror films. Okay. Eh, in no particular order… Psycho, obviously. Blair Witch Project, probably. (Thinks) ehhhhh not The Exorcist, The Exorcist annoyed me. I mean I feel like I SHOULD say The Exorcist but I’m not going to. Everybody goes on about it so much. Marnie, can I say Marnie? Dows Marnie count as a horror film?
DT: Then Marnie. More than The Birds. The Birds is a silly film. There’s something unsatisfying that there is no explanation.
HB: No, the birds just attack.
DT: Yeah, it doesn’t feel worthy of Hitchcock I feel. Let’s criticize Hitchcock in this interview.
HB: Then you got two more.
DT: (Shrugs) this is tough though. You know what I will say Evil Dead.
HB: The remake or the original?
DT: The original. I saw it on a crappy VHS, I was too young to see it. I was sort of aware that it was a bit silly, and I was sort of laughing at it, but it also scared the shit out of me. When the zombie puts the pencil in someone’s leg?
DT: That stayed with me in my childhood dreams.
HB: We got one more.
DT: Can I say The Child Catcher from Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang?
DT: That bit where, I can’t remember which of the kids it is, where he’s stretched over the window and he’s down looking in and he does this whole sort of sweepy-sweepy thing with his nose and his hat. It’s the stuff of nightmares. and you have Dick Van Dyke singing Me Ol’ Bam-Boo as well so it wins on every level.
HB: What is it that scares you?
DT: You mean now?
HB: Yeah, in real life.
DT: In real life. I don’t like a rat. It’s something about that big flappy tale that makes me sort of freeze up a little bit. You know how your back sort of goes into involuntary spasm? I have that if I see a rat.
HB: I have a friend who’s afraid of fish.
DT: (surprised) OH! Fish?
DT: Huh? I mean Rat’s seem sort of plausible. My wife doesn’t like a fish.
Directed by Dean Devlin (writer of INDEPENDENCE DAY, executive producer of “The Librarians,” and so much more), BAD SAMARITAN gives you something new to be anxious about – what could happen when you valet your car with valet drivers who are less than honest? Featuring David Tennant who plays an amazing bad guy and new-comer Robert Sheehan (who also stars in Peter Jackson’s MORTAL ENGINES out later this year), The film comes out May 4th and we are eager to share our review with you on Friday. Unti then, check out the trailer below.
Norm(an) Gidney is a nearly lifelong horror fan. Beginning his love for the scare at the age of 5 by watching John Carpenter's Halloween, he set out on a quest to share his passion for all things spooky with the rest of the world.