Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto & Tony Dodd Interview For ‘Final Destination 5′
In ‘Final Destination 5,’ Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man’s premonition saves a group of coworkers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse. But this group of unsuspecting souls was never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated group frantically tries to discover a way to escape Death’s sinister agenda. Directed by Steven Quale, the film stars Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood, P.J. Byrne, Ellen Wroe, David Koechner, Courtney B. Vance and Tony Todd. ‘Final Destination 5′ is out in cinemas now. Check out what Emma Bell (Molly), Nicholas D’Agosto (Sam) and Tony Todd (Bludworth) had to say about the film below.
It seems like the more gruesome the scene, the harder audiences laugh. Can you comment on that?
Emma Bell: I think that whenever anything happens that’s very traumatic in our lives, we need a release. Sometimes it’s just too hard to handle or it’s too much. I know, in my personal life, I do that sometimes. I’ll be in a really shocking situation and I just giggle or something. It’s not even that I think it’s funny. It’s sort of a defense mechanism. I also think that we’re fascinated by these deaths and how horrible these people can die. But there’s also this element of, ‘Oh my God.’ We’re thankful that that’s not actually really going to ever happen to anybody, hopefully. So, that’s where that comes from, I think.
Tony Dodd: Yeah, it’s a very cathartic thing. I mean, having been fortunate to be involved in four out of the five films of this wonderful franchise and watching the audiences, it’s like a roller coaster ride—just a slow climb to the top and then all of a sudden you’re in this car and you can’t get out and it’s screaming thrills of joy. So, it sort of makes people feel childlike, I think. And, like Emma said, they hope it never happens. These movies are so extremely plotted that I doubt they ever will. (Laughs) But, you know, people want to be tickled. It’s like a tickling effect.
Nicholas D‘Agosto: And I think the other thing about the Final Destination franchise, which is great, is that is a bit fantastic. Sometimes the reality of some of the horror films that are out there, the sort of torturous ones, where it’s truly a human doing something nasty to another human is a bit much. I think that’s what’s genuinely different and nice about this franchise and this movie is that because it is this supernatural element, it allows the audience to go, ‘Okay, this is something that wouldn’t happen.’ So, you’re not relishing in the mistreatment of another person. You’re kind of laughing at crazy circumstances presented to you.
Tony Dodd: Like a funhouse.
How do you draw the line between parody and what you guys are doing? How do you find that line?
Nicholas D‘Agosto: The important thing is that you just have to have the cast. You have Tony, who really grounds the film in the reality and the setting of this world, which keeps the throughline throughout the films. Then you have a great, talented cast of people around, who really enjoy each other. And I think you just have to get behind the people. You have to believe in the arcs and throughlines of the relationships. And when you stop doing that, I think people will laugh and people will not take it seriously. But if you actually believe with the people who are going through this supernatural event, then I think you are willing to kind of suspend your disbelief.
Tony, how do you prepare for a role like Bludworth?
Tony Dodd: Well, as an actor, you’ve got to believe whatever the situation is. So, people ask me, ‘Well, who is this guy? Is he the grim reaper? Is he the angel of death?’ It’s none of those things. When I first got it, I made a choice. And maybe that one day will be revealed, but I just try to welcome people. And if they ask me, then obviously they are curious enough to know how to possibly escape it. So, that’s it. They call me Mr. Exposition. (Laughs)
Tony Dodd: Yeah, particularly in the first film. I mean, I was there to give this two-page synopsis of what’s going possibly with death. But I still have to make it human. So, I have to make human choices, but he comes off specter-like.
Do you believe that things just happen in the world, or there is some real list somewhere with a date and time?
Tony Dodd: What’s weird is, I travel a lot. And whenever they say, ‘Welcome to your final destination’ on the plane, having done this, I always have a little tinge. And strangers look at me. ‘No, we’re good.’ (Laughs)
Emma Bell: One of the great things about being in this business is the fact that we’re not playing ourselves. You don’t always have to go with what I personally, Emma, believe. I can suspend my reality and become somebody else. So, in these characters’ world, this is what’s going on. And it’s kind of fun to be able to put yourself in that head-space and see it from that side and that point-of-view. It’s all for the sake of entertainment. It’s all for fun and doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything more than that, really.
Part of the fun of a film like this is trying to guess who is going to get it. And who deserves to get it. Do you look at that when you first get the script and quickly check to see if you have a great death scene? Or, do you make it to the end?
Emma Bell: It was really fun to watch everyone do their death scenes because then afterwards, we’d be like, ‘Oh, man, your death scene was the best!’ ‘No, your death scene was the best.’ That’s what this film is about—dying in the most horrific way. You almost want that trophy of ‘I died the best.’
Nicholas D‘Agosto: It’s a game of ‘Top this.’
Emma Bell: It’s fun though.
Is it difficult to talk about the film without giving away any spoilers about who dies?
Nicholas D‘Agosto: It’s a challenge. This is a franchise in which people understand what they’re getting into. They understand what’s going to come. They understand how it’s going to be delivered, generally, but there are a couple of twists about this movie, which some are revealed in the trailer and some have been whispered about. I think there are some characters, some protagonists, that have lived. So, you want to try and keep them guessing.
How would you compare this movie to the others in the franchise?
Tony Dodd: It’s as good as the first one, I think. And I really loved the first one because it was groundbreaking. It was a new form. It’s why we’re here at number five. I like moving on so I’m really shocked that people are still coming to watch this whole wonderful game that we play. It’s like a game of death, kind of.
Emma, you were saying you were able to watch the other actors’ death scenes. Were you on set for most of them even if you weren’t in the scenes?
Emma Bell: Well, yeah, because we didn’t shoot in chronological order and we were working on these big sets. One of the major places that we worked was this big warehouse where there’d be like three or four different scenes going on. So, yeah, a lot of times we’d be working at one end and other scenes would be going on at the other end. We all were around. So when we’d have down time, like I would run over and look and watch.
What was it like working with Steven Quale, the director? He worked with James Cameron, right?
Nicholas D‘Agosto: Yeah, that’s right. He actually got started on The Abyss way back in the day, like straight out of college.
Emma Bell: Yeah, and he helped develop 3D for Avatar.
Nicholas D‘Agosto: I had a great experience working with Steve. He was great.
The thing that was most impressive was that he knew what he wanted. And that’s what you want in a director—somebody who knows what they want. And, in that way, he put us all where we needed to be and we did our job. In that way, that’s the greatest credit you can give him.
Emma Bell: He was the first one to say to us, ‘I have a lot of experience technically, but please keep the communication open with me as far as the acting goes.’ And he’s a wonderful, lovely person, just super sweet and, obviously, brilliant and knows exactly what he needs and wants to do. But, as far as direction for acting, I definitely felt very nurtured as an actress in the scenes where I needed to be more emotional. He was wonderful.
Tony Dodd: I’ve never worked under 3D cameras before, and I’ve got to say, as an actor, it was kind of intimidating at first because you have to take so long. It’s so meticulous. Then you realize, you see the finished product and there’s a reason for that. Everything has to be in place. So, you have to be really grounded in your particular craft to survive that and deal with the repetition and the pace.
After being engrossed in this horrific world, while you were shooting, do you go home and have nightmares? Are there effects from working on a film like this?
Emma Bell: There were definitely experiences. My senses were heightened to them. Actually, one of the first dinners that we had as a group was with the executives of New Line, who came and took us out to dinner. We actually hadn’t shot anything yet. The head of the company was sitting in this beautiful Italian restaurant, but there was this big wine rack behind him, like a huge floor-to-ceiling wine rack filled with bottles of red wine. All of the sudden, one of the bottles from the very, very top fell out and crashed on the floor, like literally maybe half a foot behind his head.
We’re all talking, engrossed in conversation, and we just hear this huge crash. We see him and he kind of makes this face and all of a sudden it looks like blood coming out from under his seat, because of the red wine. And we were just like, ‘What is going on?’ It’s like Final Destination starts now.
And if we got into an elevator and it would shudder, I’d be like, ‘Oh my God.’ So, yeah, there was a little bit of that definitely.
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