Cole Hauser Interview

The actor talks about his new sci-fi flick, The Cave

I saw Paparazzi. I actually liked it. But, for some reason, I thought Cole Hauser was a real prick. He has an evil edge that just eats itself off the screen and into your weary heart. I figured he was a mean, brooding jerk in person. But then, he walked into our conference room today, and proved himself to be one funny, honest guy. A breath of fresh air. It took me by surprise. I guess that's what you call "acting". Listening to him talk about The Cave (a new monster movie that is slightly reminiscent of Alien and Pitch Black) was actually fun. Right off the bat, you can tell that this guy knows how to spin a story. Usually, when some actor starts talking about his latest exploits in detail, it grows tiresome. But Cole kept my interest for an entire hour as he expressed his unhappiness with the cuts made to his latest project and his disdain for the French.

Have you been doing any Cave diving lately?

Cole: No, Sir. I've been mostly on land. Thank God. It's been nice. I'm more of a land animal myself.

How miserable did you feel while making this film?

Cole: I was wet to the bone the whole time. Towards the end of the film it was really nice, because it was about 98 degrees. So, getting in the water was like the best thing possible. We were in this tin-like shed, and it held in the heat. We'd have our wetsuits on, and we'd just be sweating. When we had to get in the water, it was like, "Oh, thank God."

Did anyone get hurt during this production?

Cole: I got a little messed up a couple times. It wasn't from doing underwater work. It was the wire stuff. I went through this trial by fire, three-day program on how to do wire work, and it takes a lot of understanding to do it. We had the guys that did the Matrix. And they were great. But when you're depending on someone else to make sure you fly over something, and they don't do it exactly when you do it…It's human nature that there's going to be some problems. I got flung into the wall a couple of times. I had the helmet on, and the pads. I didn't break any bones. Just bruises and bumps.

Did you get to work with any of the monster puppets, or was it all CGI work?

Cole: In Sci-Fi, there's a lot of pretending. I guess that goes for any of the movies I've done. The thing is, Morris, Lena, and Eddie got more of the full-on effect of working with an actual puppet, and being able to fight and struggle with it. Because they had that last scene where the creature tries to attack them, and they gang up on it and kill it. The only thing I did was the CGI jump at the end, where I tackle the monster. That was it. I didn't really get any other contact other than that.

What was the smell like on set?

Cole: Well, Romania has a very distinct smell of its own. Driving to set stunk. And then getting to set stunk even worse. Then, you're in confined places with guys, and Europeans aren't known for their hygiene. I don't think there's too much body deodorant in Romania, either. They were sweating, and that. And on top of that, the food…It was definitely an experience, especially with being in tight quarters and all that. With a lot of people. Grown men.

Was the set ever claustrophobic?

Cole: You know, I've been asked that a lot. A portion of it was kind of claustrophobic for me. When I was going through Scorpion Cave, I had to shimmy myself through this small space. When I looked at it, I said, "I'm not even going to be able to get my head through that." They were like, "No, no, you'll be able to do it. We measured it for you." I said, "Well, God, maybe I lost a coupe of pounds." I got up in it, and I got stuck. In the scene it actually works. Because you would get stuck. Then you have to get your elbows and arms through there. There's another part where I had to go underwater, and it's not in the movie. I don't know why. Its one of the freakiest things you could see. Its in the beginning of the film, when Tyler goes into The Cave to see where it goes, and I have to shut off my re-breather and go in and get him. Once again, I got stuck. But it was good, because they had rocks that I could pull away. It really gave to that "you're underwater, holy sh*t!" feeling. I thought it was a really interesting way to open the movie, because it gives way to how dangerous this job really is. And how you can die within thirty seconds. I don't know why it got cut; it really gave an understanding to the film. And it gave it that needed kick-start.

What attracted you to this script?

Cole: Probably the meatiest thing that jumped out at me was The Cave diving. I've never seen a film of this type. I didn't know people did this kind of stuff. That was a shock to me. Then I thought, what a cool idea for a sci-fi film. I've never seen monsters underwater. I've seen them in Alien, and in outer space, but I've never seen them on our own planet. I thought Jack was an interesting guy. He's a leader, and that's fun to play as an actor. He goes through an enormous change. From a guy you like and trust to a guy that is scary. The transition was difficult. Should I do prosthetics, should I just do the eyes, should I do nothing and just act? That was a whole journey in itself. I think we found a happy medium. There are things I think they could have done that would have been more of a transition and less on the nose, but that's just my feelings. When you're so involved in a film, and you see things get cut out, you just go, "Why?" You're missing the story, and the beats, and the character development. But I don't have any control over that.

Will they be doing anything special for the DVD?

Cole: There will be a Director's Cut, for sure. And all the things I'm talking about will be on there. I guarantee you.

What do you miss that is not in the film?

Cole: I think a lot of the story. I think the character development; I think the beginning, the middle, and the end. I'm one of those guys that will treat you straight. I think there was a great idea there. And I think in this day of science fiction and horror, people forget to just let it breath. It's in your face all the time. Cutting, and cutting, and cutting does not make for a great film. Story does. I don't care if it's a comedy, a drama, or a sci-fi. I don't care what it is. Story starts and stops everything.

Is there something in particular that you miss seeing?

Cole: I can't name them all for you. But there are a few things for other characters, too. It's in the story development.

Don't you think that if that stuff stayed in there, the movie would have been two and a half hours long?

Cole: No. It's just a matter of what story you go with, and what you decide to linger on. There's always so many different avenues you can go with something. It just depends on what you want.

Now that you're a lead actor, how do people treat you different?

Cole: I haven't really noticed too much difference. I have a little bit more of a say in things. Every actor wants that. You have a little bit more say in things. I've gone from 8 to 1 on the call sheet. I know what that's like. Now I can sit down with the director and the producers and say, "What are we going to make?" And, "What do you think about this character." It gives you an opportunity to look hard at what type of story you're trying to make.

You've tackled a lot of different genres in your career. Would you consider doing a Comic Book movie sometime in the future?

Cole: I don't know much about comic books. I don't even know what you're talking about. I know Spider-Man and Superman…I haven't really been approached…There was something. The Fantastic Four, I think. They approached me about that, but it didn't interest me. I don't remember what character it was, but they said, "You're going to be in a suit." I was like, "No." But then I went off and did The Cave. I put on a wetsuit instead.

Do you think there are places on Earth that people aren't meant to go?

Cole: No. Absolutely not.

In every one of your roles, there seems to be an air of menace. Where does that come from?

Cole: I think it's the characters that I play. The thing is, the most menacing people in the world are those people that look you in the eye and say, "I'm going to f*cking kill you." And there's no rage behind it. They're not even really angry about it. Growing up, I had a lot of friends that were bad asses. I use that.

It seems like you take pleasure in those kinds of roles.

Cole: Its fun. Playing a bad guy, there are no rules. You can do nothing wrong. No one can say, "That's not really right." Its great. Not a lot of people can do them, but when you do them right, its intense. But you have to find the humanity in the role. You can't consider yourself a bad guy. That doesn't work.

The film sets itself up for a sequel. Is that a possibility? You can't really come back.

Cole: I don't know. If it makes enough money, they'll find a way to bring me back. Maybe my brother can't leave without me, and he goes down and finds Jack, sitting there in The Cave with a beer in his hand. Who knows?

What's next for you?

Cole: The Break Up, with Vince Vaughn. It's a comedy. You'll see me making some jokes. Making some Ha Has. I play his younger brother. I'm a womanizer, but a fun womanizer. One of those guys that's just out of his mind. I had a blast. It was a great difference to anything I've done before. There were no boundaries. I had a great time. It was a big breath of fresh air.

Do you want to become a director?

Cole: I don't want to say I'm in love with the idea of being in charge. My favorite thing in the world is telling a story. And that's more the job of a director than an actor. But it has really started to cross over, because there are these megastars that are bigger than big. I might be a better director than an actor. We'll see. It is something I'm passionate about. I'm hoping to go direct a few episodes of the show Over There. It's a hard task. But in a few years, if I think I can direct a film, I will do it.

-The End-