MoviePulse (MP): What attracted you to this project and what part do you play in Death Proof and “Thanksgiving”?
Jordan Ladd (JL): Well, there was obviously Mr. Tarantino – I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time and Eli is one of my closest friends. Thanksgiving is Eli Roth’s fake trailer and we shot it on the fly over in Prague. He had me come over to work on Hostel 2 and then we rolled right into doing the Thanksgiving trailer. In Death Proof I play a character named Shanna, who’s a wild, partying Texan. She is more of an extrovert than other characters I’ve played, and I really got to tap into all of that in myself and my inner feminism to be one of the hard drinking chicks — which was pretty fun. (Laughs). I’d really never gotten to do anything like that before, and in addition I had to work on an accent which was really fun and exciting for me to be able to try that out.
MP: What part of your character do you think audiences will enjoy the most, and what part did you enjoy the most?
JL: I think people really tend to like my air drumming. (Laughs). And I got a kick out of that, it was really fun to film. Quentin’s such a genius when it comes to choosing music, so we really got to indulge in that and my own air drumming.
MP: What did you enjoy most about filming in Austin, Texas?
JL: Everything. I loved the people, and they have a saying on bumper stickers there that says “Keep Austin Weird.” It is genuinely weird, but in the most inspiring way, and everybody is really laid back and I fantasize about putting roots down in Austin and getting a place there. I really enjoyed myself.
MP: What was the biggest difference between working with Eli and Quentin?
JL: The biggest difference as directors is that on Tarantino’s movie we didn’t watch any playback, we never saw ourselves on video after we shot. So we really just trusted what he saw. With Eli, he let me see the monitor afterwards, and if I was unhappy with it, sometimes he’d let me do another take and if I was just being a little insecure sometimes he talked me out of it. Eli has been one of my closest friends for a really long time so it’s like chilling out with my buddy, and Quentin’s a friend too, but he’s like our leader so you can let go and trust his leadership, which is wonderful. With Eli it feels very collaborative and I like that too.
MP: You’ve done Cabin Fever, Club Dread, and now Grindhouse. Do you have an affinity for campy, comical horror films?
JL: I enjoy doing comedies, but they’re all kind of different. Genre-wise they can be compared or put into a similar category, but all my roles in them are played completely different, and they’ve been completely different experiences. I think a lot of great roles for women are in comedies and I like to make people laugh.
MP: How do the faux movie trailers work within the film?
JL: Quentin and Robert each did their own movie, so you get two for the price of one, and within that experience you also get to see trailers for possible future exploitation movies in between the two features. To do them they’ve called upon some terrifically talented directors — Eli Roth, Edgar Wright, and Rob Zombie, and individually they’ve assembled two minute trailers for other films in the genre. Those play between the two movies but they’re actually like mini-movies and they’re pretty awesome.
MP: What is your favorite horror movie and why? Was there a particular one that inspired your performance in Grindhouse?
JL: One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shining. I don’t know what it is about that movie, but it is so disturbing, with all its imagery and the notion that one could get possessed and turn completely evil. It’s just absolutely terrifying and we all know crazy people. As for Grindhouse, we got to see an interesting movie called Macon County Line which crosses so many genres and starts off as one movie and ends as something else, and seeing that was really good preparation for this because it doesn’t follow all the traditional rules of making a film. And the acting isn’t necessarily genre acting either so it was a really great thing to see beforehand. And then just for fun I watched Vanishing Point, but that had nothing to do with my character. (Laughs).
– Joel Massie, MoviePulse