Zachary Quinto talks horror movie 'Banshee Chapter'
The new horror movie Banshee Chapter is full of familiar faces, including Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow), Michael McMillian (True Blood), and the great Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs, Monk). But the biggest name attached to this tale of psychedelic drug use and threatening, extra-dimensional presences is its executive producer Zachary Quinto, whose production company Before the Door — which he cofounded with Corey Moosa and Neal Dodson — was responsible for overseeing the film.
Below, Quinto talks about his involvement with Banshee Chapter which is now available on VOD and will start a theatrical run in select cities on Jan. 10. And, below our chat with the Star Trek star, check out an exclusive making-of clip featuring interviews with Moosa, producer Stephanie Riggs, and writer-director Blair Erickson.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So far, your company Before the Door has been involved with the financial collapse drama Margin Call, the Robert Redford-starring survival-at-sea epic All is Lost, the found-footage romantic comedy Breakup at a Wedding, and now a horror movie. Are you picking genres out of a hat?
ZACHARY QUINTO: [Laughs] Almost. We respond to projects for different reasons. I thought Banshee Chapter was compelling and had a lot of different kinds of scares. There’s jump-in-your-seat scares but then there’s more anxiety-building scares. The way that Blair Erickson, who wrote and directed it, came to the table with some innovative ideas about utilizing 3-D technology and telling the story in that way, I thought was really interesting as well. So it really is on a project-by-project basis that we decide what we’re going to do. As long as there’s substance and then creative integrity in both the scripts and the people who bring them to us, then that’s a big jumping off point for us.
Banshee Chapter has a few laughs in among the scares. There’s a terrific line Ted Levine has, when he says, “Can we go already? It’s 2:45 in the morning and my eyes are bleeding!”
Totally. I love Ted. I’ve seen a lot of his work over the years, both on film obviously, but also on stage. He’s just an incredible actor, so we were thrilled that he joined the cast. Yeah, there’s levity and hopefully some misdirects and surprises for people as well.
You’re credited as executive producer — which is one of those titles that can mean anything, I think it’s fair to say.
[Laughs uproariously] I take the credit that I earn—so, “executive producer,” it’s my company. I started Before the Door with Neal and Corey and oversee all the projects that we do. But Corey was the one in this case that was on set every day and making sure that everything was in place and everything’s happening on a day-to-day production level. Depending on my availability and my involvement in the projects we produce, as an actor I go to varying degrees of that myself. But in this case I was working on other stuff and not able to be there every day. I was a part of deciding to do the movie and talking about the script and understanding how it was all going to go. But then they went off and made it while I was working on other things as an actor.
As a producer, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being well known as an actor?
It gives me an opportunity to meet people and to bring projects to people in a more serious way. Like, I have to work less to get in front of people. So that’s a certain advantage. The disadvantage is just knowing the ways in which movies come together. It can be very arduous and challenging and even demoralizing at times. The way actors are talked about, the way actors are valued — or nor valued — that side of things is always difficult for me, as an actor, to hear and know about, but it’s also an inevitability, so I just make my peace with it.
See, that’s the part that fascinates me: How an actor’s level of fame in, say, Bulgaria can affect how much they get paid to appear in a film.
Right, right. I can see how it fascinates you, and it’s an interesting concept and notion. But to hear financiers actually have those conversations, it can be pretty upsetting.
You can see interview footage with the creators of Banshee Chapter and the film’s trailer below.