Mary McCormack talks about dropping dirty bombs on Los Angeles
After multiple dirty bombs are detonated, spreading deadly toxic ash across Los Angeles, Brad (Rory Cochrane) inadvertently quarantines his wife, Lexi (Mary McCormack) outside their new home in Silver Lake, California, by safely sealing himself inside. With the city under siege and Martial Law in affect, Brad and Lexi struggle to survive with little supply, limited time and no information-all the while separated by thin doors and thinner sheets of plastic. When "help" finally does arrive, it appears to be anything but.
The film is Right at Your Door!
Chris Gorak's latest thriller is ripped straight from the headlines of today. While it might seem like a horror movie on the surface, it only takes an instant to realize that what you are watching could literally happen at any time, anywhere in America. It's a very scary film that will leave you with an upset stomach.
While attending Comic Con, I got the chance to sit down with both Chris Gorak and the star of Right at Your Door Mary McCormack.
This is the conversation I had with the beautiful and very talented Mary McCormack:
(Warning: This interview is a little spoilerish!)
This is terrible. Essential, what it boils down to, is that the guy is right.
Mary McCormack: The guy is right not to let her in. That's what you mean?
Yeah, the point of the movie is, the guy is right for not letting her in.
Mary McCormack: You think? You've seen it, and even with the ending, you think that it says that?
Well, yeah. He doesn't let her in, and she's the one that survives in the end.
Mary McCormack: Oh, okay. I see your point. So he is right. But he didn't know he was right.
That's the point of the movie, isn't it?
Mary McCormack: But he wasn't trying to save her.
I know. He is so oblivious to what is going on. But there, in the end, even after he has done this horrible thing, his actions are justified.
Mary McCormack: Okay. I guess I can go along with that. Is your voice alright? You sound like you are losing your voice.
I've just been doing this for five days. I haven't stopped doing interviews for five days straight.
Mary McCormack: Five days! Have you really? Hmm, that's horrible. But, yeah. The guy is right. I guess I can agree with that. But it's hard for me to say that. I'm really upset that he didn't let me in the house.
This is a great discussion point after the film is over. If your husband, or your significant other, didn't let you in the house when something horrible like this happened, how would you feel about that?
Mary McCormack: That is what was challenging about this when I read it. I thought, of course my husband would let me in. He'd have to let me in the house. I would rather die with him than all alone. Something like that. That was sort of the challenge of the film for me. Trying to buy that. But then, I realized that if I did come home, and I was covered in toxic ash, and had just long enough to think about it, I wouldn't want to go in. See, she didn't know what was going on. She hadn't listened to the radio and all of that. So, her first reaction is, "Get me the fuck in the house. What are you doing?" But, after a little bit of time, I think she sees that there is no point in killing him. There is no point in both of them dying. She loves him. I only had to deal with the script from her perspective. His is a whole other challenge. As far as acting, and having to figure out not letting him in the house, I think that Rory did a good job with it.
What sort of research did you guys do as far as what would really happen if dirty bombs were dropped on Los Angeles?
Mary McCormack: Not a ton. Chris (Gorak, the director) gave us some images, and some things to look at. He gave us a disc of calls to listen to that came in during 9/11. These horrible audio recordings from that day. It was useful, but horrifying. I was in New York for 9/11, too. So I had a little sense of what that hour is like. I wasn't at Ground Zero, but I was in Mid-Town. When the report was that there were seven more planes in the air, we were definitely going to run for it. And we started panicking and packing a bag. We started to think about which shoes were best for that run. There were these crazy split-second decisions that your brain had to make. I'd never dealt with that before. It had a little of that pace to it, but certainly not on this scale.
Do you think this is a good warning for people? Do you think people should take what happens in the movie to heart, in case something like this ever does actually happens?
Mary McCormack: I think it's meant to be more visceral. I don't know how instructive it will be. I mean, I still wouldn't know what to do. I guess there are some websites you can go to, and stuff. I think there are some things you can do to prepare, but I actually don't know what they are.
Well, now I know to lock my girlfriend in the house and stay outside.
Mary McCormack: Ha! You've learned something. You are terrible. What's your relationship like?
I'm just joking. You know it's awesome. This is the kind of movie we would go see at the Drive-In.
Mary McCormack: Oh, that would be so cool. Does your girlfriend like movies, too?
No. In fact, I took her to see this and she hated it.
Mary McCormack: Ahh, that's sad.
She was like, "What the Hell are you brining me too? This is depressing. I don't want to watch this in the middle of the day!"
Mary McCormack: It is definitely a hard movie. How funny.
Yeah, I don't mean that it's a bad movie by that. I mean, it's just depressing and hard to stomach at times. It's really scary. Its almost like a horror movie.
Mary McCormack: Yeah. In fact, some people described it as Sci-Fi, and I don't really know how much fiction is involved. This is sort of how we live now. We live in Code Orange all the time. It's not that far from the truth. It is not that far off from something that is completely possible.
Do you think people have a hard time thinking the government could actually do something like this?
Mary McCormack: I don't know. I don't know what the government would actually do in a situation like this. It's scary. But you see other disasters, and the government isn't always ready. They aren't prepared. You look at something like New Orleans, and you realize that people should have been safer. At least, I think that. Maybe I am naive. But I truly think that. We always think of the government as this big daddy, and that we are all safe. We have a plan. We wish they had a plan. But, you know what, I'm not so sure that they actually do have a plan.
Speaking of New Orleans, and how the government handled that, do you think the director got some of his ideas for that?
Mary McCormack: Yeah. Chris (the director) was there when that happened. I actually think he had this written before that happened. But it was really hard for him. He's from New Orleans, and he was really shook up by it.
Now, you are the big name in this film...
Mary McCormack: What about Rory?
I'm sorry. Is he here?
Mary McCormack: Yeah, I think he's right over there, somewhere. He's a big name.
Whoops, sorry. I hope he didn't hear me.
Mary McCormack: I think you're okay.
For me, I am very familiar with your work. I mean, I've seen the Howard Stern movie a bunch of times, and I loved High Heels and Low Lifes. It was a movie I didn't necessarily want to see, saw it, loved it...
Mary McCormack: Oh, great! I love that.
But you are not in this movie for a big stretch right at the beginning.
Mary McCormack: I know.
I didn't think you were coming back. I'm sitting there, watching it, and I figured you were only in the film for five minutes. That you were doing this weird cameo.
Mary McCormack: You thought that, when I drove away during the opening credits, that was it. I've done parts that size. I've done some small roles. I did a one-line role in Chris Guest's last movie.
Was that For Your Consideration?
Mary McCormack: Mmm-hmm.
I actually listened to that from another room while I was working, but I didn't actually watch it.
Mary McCormack: Oh, you have to watch it. I'm a huge Chris Guest fan. I'm so easy when it comes to him.
I saw the part where Fred Willard is asking Parker Posey all those horrible questions.
Mary McCormack: Oh, my God. Isn't he brilliant. He is so brilliant.
I thought about writing those questions down and using them at all of the junkets.
Mary McCormack: You should do that and document it. That would make a great little documentary. It would be an excellent experiment.
Speaking of the Howard Stern movie, does he still promote your films?
Mary McCormack: He does. I am still really good friends with him. I'm lucky. He is so good to me. He really has been so good. He will promote just about anything I ask him to. Which is so kind. It's out of kindness, too. I am sure he wouldn't do it, otherwise. He is so nice to me, from promoting my movies to saying that my rack is beautiful on the air. I'll take it. I'm not above it.
Is there anything else you want to tell me about the film?
Mary McCormack: No, I think that is it. I think that is enough. I think you should go home and sleep. Go see your girlfriend.
Thanks for sitting down with me.
Mary McCormack: Thank you. Take care.
Right at Your Door opens August 24th in Los Angeles and New York.