Up in Smoke actor costars with Nicolas Cage in new horror film.

By Clark Collis
January 21, 2020 at 09:29 PM EST
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The Masked Singer

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In the horror movie Color Out of Space (out Jan. 24) a meteor lands in the front garden of the Gardner family, causing them to unhinge mentally and mutate physically. The Gardners are played by Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Julian Hilliard, Brendan Meyer, and Madeleine Arthur, and Elliot Knight portrays a hydrologist named Ward Phillips. Meanwhile, director Richard Stanley cast Up in Smoke star and all-around stoner icon Tommy Chong as a hippie named Ezra who’s squatting on the Gardners’ land. “My character’s an old hermit,” says Chong. “He’s been living by himself in his little man-shack in the woods. He serves this horrible coffee that everybody politely declines. But he’s also tuned in to what’s going on in the movie itself. He provides some [chuckles] not so welcome answers to a lot of questions that the movie asks. I love this character. It’s really an extension of who I am.”

Below, Chong talks more about Color Out of Space, his time on The Masked Singer, and his plan to save the world.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re known for appearing in comedies and this is very much a horror film. How did you get involved?
TOMMY CHONG:
The director. He thought I’d be a perfect old hermit. And he was right! Yeah, the comedy is my go-to thing, but this movie, it’s an extension of my real interest in life, you know. I’ve always been a seeker of the supernatural, you might say, and the spiritual. So, this fit in perfectly.

Are you a fan of horror movies?
Not necessarily. I mean, I’m a fan more of reading horror. Stephen King, you know. And the Bible itself is filled with a lot of horror. So, horror, it takes you to the brink and asks you to question existence. I like being scared but I also like knowing that I’ve got nothing to be scared of.

This is Richard Stanley’s first film in over 25 years and the first since he was fired from The Island of Dr. Moreau. What was he like to work with?
Richard is just an incredible guy. He’s the real deal, the real deal. I think that’s why we got along so well, because we’ve both been through a lot, and we’re still here, and we’re still anxious to do things.

The character was based on someone Richard knew. Did you talk about that?
Oh, yes. But those guys are around. I grew up with those guys. Back in the day, they never called them homeless, they called them hermits or hoboes. I grew up in Canada. Calgary, Alberta. There was one old guy, he made his own corrugated little sleeping area, and other kids would throw rocks at it, and then he’d chase the kids, and that would be the big fun thing to do that day.

You were on the first season of The Masked Singer. What was that experience like?
You know, visually, it was good for everybody, but as an actor, it was our worst nightmare, because we’re hidden and no one knows who we are! [Laughs]

What’s next for you?
Well, I’m working on an art project that I’m going to go public with very shortly. It’s how hemp can save the world. I’ve always said that hemp can save the world and because I’m kind of Mr. Hemp I’ve got to push it along a little bit. So that’s my next job, is really to kind of save the world!

Color Out of Space hits theaters Jan. 24. Special event screenings will be held Jan. 22, where audiences can get a sneak peek at the movie along with exclusive additional content after the credits. More information can be found on the film’s website.

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The Masked Singer

Celebs compete in this crazy reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?
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