Danielle Harris talks about playing Marybeth one last time in Hatchet III, in theaters and on VOD now
While she doesn't work exclusively within the horror genre, Danielle Harris is primarily known as a genre icon. The actress played Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5 before she was even a teenager. She returned to the franchise as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie's remakes Halloween and Halloween II. However, she may be best known for her role as the tough-as-nails Marybeth in the gruesome Hatchet franchise, which closes out with Hatchet III, debuting on VOD formats and in theaters June 14. This time around, Marybeth teams up with a local cop (Zach Galligan) and his wife (Caroline Williams) to put an end to Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) and his reign of terror once and for all. I recently had the chance to speak with this talented actress over the phone, where we discussed working with Kane Hodder, her future as a director, and so much more. Here's what she had to say.
I've had such a blast with this franchise. For you, knowing this is the last movie, was it bittersweet going into this, knowing this is the last time you're going to tangle with Victor?
Danielle Harris: Yeah. I'm so close with Kane and with (writer-producer) Adam Green, and I know that I'll probably be working with them again, and seeing them on other things. I don't really have to say goodbye. Marybeth is definitely a really great character, and just a lot of fun. I think for me, in general, I'm transitioning into directing, so, if I'm going to go out of the franchise, as the lead of this franchise, I'm happy the way that it's ending, because it's such a great way to wrap it up. But, yeah, I didn't even think about that. Wow, that's the last time I'm going to get to tangle with Victor. It's a good time. With the Halloween franchise, I did four of them, and they're like, you can always come back for another one. There's no talk of that, but I think it's kind of done. This one seemed like a finale to me. It's like, 'Oh gosh, she's dying.' But is she dead? You don't really know. We shot it a bunch of different ways, and I kind of left it up to them. Everybody has their own opinion, without making it cliche. It's bittersweet.
They definitely don't leave any cards on the table in this one. They definitely go all-out. It's amazing, especially the opening sequence.
Danielle Harris: Yeah, that's so fun. And that street sweeper, while I'm handcuffed to a tree, that's hilarious.
Can you talk about having BJ McDonnell come in to direct? I believe Adam wrote the script and produced, but was there any difference between Adam's style and BJ's style, or was it fairly seamless?
Danielle Harris: It was seamless. He was really a part of everything, it was the same crew, and it's the same everybody. I'm so used to BJ being in my face, because he's been the main camera operator, we've done four movies together. It's usually BJ at the camera and Adam at the monitor. Half the time, BJ was at the camera, and Adam was always at the monitor. It felt like it didn't change much. The only thing is BJ is so cinematic, and the shots are really big, and he had all these ideas for stuff. A lot of it couldn't work or didn't work because of time restraints or weather changes. It was a very difficult shoot. I really didn't need to be directed. It was more of like, 'What's the set-up? How do we do this? Oh my gosh, how am I going on this street?' The only thing that I really asked BJ was for the editing. How do you want me to do this? Depending on how I'm gasping, or how I'm breathing, or how my eyes, are, that's really going to sell the end of the movie. He trusts me. We've done four films together, and he's seen everything. It was just, 'I trust you. Just go for it. I've got to worry about something else.'
There are a few new additions to the cast, in Zach Galligan and Caroline Williams. Is it always fun to bring new people into this world, after you've been working with the same family for so long?
Danielle Harris: Yeah, we're just adding to the family. Like I've been saying for a million years, whenever someone asks what my favorite movie is, I say Gremlins. I'm just a geek with Gremlins. For me, I had a geek-out when we were at the police station, and I said to Zach, 'Listen, I have to tell you, I'm totally star-struck and freaking out right now that I get to look at you and do a scene, because I'm a Gremlins dork.' I have a Gremlin in my house. Yeah, it's really great. It's different because there's such a specific style to the Hatchet movies. There was a little bit of me being able to help, because they were saying we're just saying the same stuff over and over again, but, yeah, that's the joke in there. The joke is that the shit gets repeated over, and over, and over again. He hammers it over your head. You actually have to say that five times. If you hadn't really been a fan or watched all the movies, then maybe you had to go back and watch to understand what needed to be done with the third one. So, it was a little bit of helping. Some just totally got it, and there's a lot more comedy in this one, at the same time, so that was very different from the second one, and a little bit more like the first one, maybe.
Is there anything about working with Kane in these movies, that will always stick out for you when you think back about this franchise?
Danielle Harris: You know, Kane has his chair, because it's covered in blood and guts. No one sits in Kane's chair. I was like, 'Oh Kane has his own chair?' I'm just busting his balls. He's covered in crap, all the time, because he's always killing people. I'll miss seeing Kane in that gear, because I know what's underneath that. He's like my big brother, so I'll miss the practical jokes he plays on everybody. He's coming to my wedding, we're going for dinner next week, we hang out, and talk all the time. I still am more connected to the man underneath all that, than I am of Crowley, whereas Adam is more attached to Crowley, because that's his monster. I haven't really connected with Crowley, as much as I've connected with the man inside, but I'm an actor, so I have to get inside there to play it. It's a different kind of thing for me.
I'm sure horror fans will love seeing Kane and Derek Mears in the same film.
Danielle Harris: Yeah, and they milked that. They're friends. They just milked that for the crowd. It was really funny. Derek is great, and he loves to give Kane shit. Derek is so funny. We're going to see Derek at the improv on Saturday. He just likes to dig, and Kane's like, 'Oh, here we go.' They just go at it, and it's really funny.
You talked about your transition to directing. Is there anything you're working on now that you can talk about?
Danielle Harris: My directorial debut is Among Friends. Lionsgate and Grindstone picked it up for the U.S., and Anchor Bay in Canada, and it comes out at the end of August. We actually released the first trailer yesterday. That's pretty great. It's my first time directing a film, and Lionsgate buys it, so that's pretty exciting. This is a good idea for me, that there's an audience and a market for me to make movies. I don't really have to sit around and wait to be hired anymore. I think it could happen. While it's bittersweet, ending movies, this was also something kind of nice for me, as an actor to go, 'OK I kind of just want to be in a baseball hat.' While everyone else is covered in blood and half-naked in a movie, I kind of want to be warm finally. I want to be in a baseball hat and not have makeup on, and not be covered in blood, and be able to wear sneakers, and be super comfy behind the monitor, and get to live with something that I have a say in the outcome of how the film looks like.
There is also another project that I've been curious about for awhile, Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D.
Danielle Harris: I have no idea what's going on with that.
I talked with (director) Zebediah DeSoto years ago for that.
Danielle Harris: We did that in 2007, maybe even 2008. I don't know what happened to it. The script was so great, but I have no clue. Everybody always asks about it, but I have no idea what's happening with that movie. Let me know if you hear anything.
There's also another project you have that looks really cool called The Farm. Have you started shooting that, or is it starting up soon?
Danielle Harris: No, Xavier Gens is directing that, and that was brought to me by Xavier and Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc, who became friends with Xavier from The Divide. That was about a year ago, and I said I was totally in. I'm friends with Xavier too, and I gave him a cameo in Among Friends, he plays the director. The script is great, and I really want to do it. I'm signed on to do it, but we don't have a date yet, because other projects have come up. Originally, it was April, then it got pushed to September. I'm not really sure what's going to happen, but, ideally, at the end of the year, I kind of told everyone that I'm getting married in January, then I'm going into pre-production on the new movie I'm directing. Once you're directing, you have to live with that movie for like a year and a half, so I'm going to be booked out, except for maybe a couple of days here or there. I'm not really going to be working as an actor too much, unless it's something really great. I've been telling everyone, 'If you want me to do something before I kind of retire for a couple of years, you better get on it.' So, hopefully that gets pushed up a little bit. We'll see what happens. I'd love to do it, I just don't know when.
Finally, what would you like to say to the Hatchet Army out there, who have supported these films throughout the years, and why they should check it out in theaters this Friday?
Danielle Harris: I would say that it's a f---ed up, fearless farewell to the Hatchet series. It's the finale. I'm so appreciative of the support, and it's given me and Kane sort of a reboot. I was done with Halloween and he was done with Friday the 13th, so it was nice for us to get back. Rarely do you get the opportunity to be in a franchise like this. I'm really glad to have been a part of it, and, because I'm kind of stopping for awhile, I think this is the best way. I'm going out with a bang, literally.
That's all I have. Thanks so much, Danielle. It was a real pleasure.
Danielle Harris: Thanks so much. Talk to you later.
You can Danielle Harris in her final turn as Marybeth in Hatchet III, debuting on VOD formats and in theaters June 14.