The following is an interview with actress Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), who will soon be portraying “The Mother” in the upcoming film The Chair. The creators behind the film recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for the film, with the hopes of bringing the graphic novel adaptation to the big screen. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Contributor Christina Brookman chats with Grossman about what initially intrigued her about the project, the challenges (and benefits) of working on a character that requires heavy prosthetic make-up, and why readers should support the Kickstarter campaign for The Chair!
Christina Brookman, Fanboy Comics Contributor: Your character in American Horror Story was known for the heavy prosthetics and make-up. Will your character in The Chair require the same, and how do you feel that prosthetics and make-up affect or enhance your performance?
Naomi Grossman: In the case of AHS, there was no way to create this “pinhead” character otherwise. Those prosthetics were, therefore, not only necessary, I believe they helped me to make my performance more believable. I’ve always loved big, over-the-top characters, like Pepper. And yet, so much of the acting in film/TV is really subtle . . . The prosthetics allowed me to be as big as I wanted to be! In fact, I had to be big in order to communicate the character, emotion, intention, etc. through all that makeup. In the case of The Chair, they’re taking away that crutch. I’m sure I’ll do fine without, though I will have to check myself, make sure I’m not going to my comfortable, cartoon-place.
CB: What drew you to sign on to this project?
NG: The writing. Always the writing. If the script’s bad, then so is the project. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter how many bazillion dollars you pour in, nor which stars you attach. We see that mistake made in Hollywood everyday.
CB: What is it about the Mother character that you find most interesting, and how is she different from other characters you have played in the past?
NG: She’s all drama, which is completely different from anything I’ve ever been cast in in the past. With the exception of AHS, most everything I’ve done has been comedic. And, even then, Pepper was pretty much the sole comic relief of the asylum! So, the entire tone is here different– that alone makes her interesting.
CB: Did the comic book on which The Chair was based influence your interpretation of your character?
NG: Not at all. Or at least not yet. I war with myself as to whether or not it’s a good idea to read the original first. You want to be as prepared as possible, but not bound by others’ interpretations. I’ll likely discuss this with the director as the start date grows nearer.
CB: Do you have a favorite scene in the film that you can share with our readers?
NG: Why, the Mother’s scenes, of course!
CB: What do you find most challenging about this role? The most fun?
NG: Like I said, being able to really use my acting chops I developed back in drama school. For so long I’ve been in this zany, sketch comedy world of big wigs and kooky characters. I imagine it’ll be challenging and fun to get back to my roots, and just be real for the first time in a while.
CB: What makes The Chair stand out from other horror movies coming out this year?
NG: I’m not necessarily up on what else is happening– but like I said before, the script is stellar. Which makes it a standout from most movies, horror or otherwise! Plus, the horror here is all psychological. It’s not reliant upon gimmicks like gore or a creepy soundtrack. It’s all in the writing, as good storytelling should be.
CB: Why do you want people to support this movie?
NG: Because it’s worthy and, frankly, won’t be made otherwise! Hollywood puts out so much junk– it makes me sad to see millions of dollars blown without something quality to show for it. The Chair is already quality– just the script alone– though it’s true potential can’t be fully realized without some financial support.