Being bad is never fun when you're doing it alone which is what makes a medical/horror/thriller like Pathology so enjoyable. In this film, a group of med students hatch a scheme to see who can commit the perfect crime -- one that even a fellow pathologist couldn't unravel. Playing half of the med students are Michael Weston in the role of Jake, Dan Callahan in the role of Chip and Johnny Whitworth in the role of Griffin. During our visit to the set of Pathology, we had chance to sit down with these three actors and dissect this production.
Tell us about your characters in this film?
Michael Weston: We're a team of pathologists and we're sort of at the high end of that, most intense, academic group. We get involved in some crazy stuff.
Johnny Whitworth: It's very ego driven. To prove how cool we are.
Michael Weston: We develop a game. I didn't know this coming into this but I have since learned what pathology is. We took a trip down to the coroner's office and we saw all the dead bodies and stuff. They're basically the guys who get all the unknown deaths in the city. They have to determine exactly how these people died. They take fluid samples and tissue samples and they figure out how all these people died. Our team does that and we figured out this game... of sort of whodunit?
Johnny Whitworth:Pathology is actually the study of disease. How it effects the body. How it breaks down and by knowing how the body works, you can discover when something's f*cked up in the structure of it. That's what we're doing and in the game we try to commit murders that could confuse a fellow pathologist, or someone else who's got this ego to prove that it's not impossible to kill someone without knowing about it, I guess.
How is this film different from the other horror movies you've done?
Michael Weston: What I love about this film is that I feel it's both sort of a suspense thriller and a horror movie. I feel like this team of pathologists... these students are so highly intellectual that it's a game of wits as well as the more gruesome side of the actual murders. It's all set in the dungeon-like basement of these rooms where we're doing all the autopsies. The backdrop of it are all these corpses that we're constantly slicing and dicing. Some of the prosthetics and stuff that we've had in here have been insane. They're insane because of the fact that they're real. When we rip up a body it really is pretty gruesome.
Dan Callahan:Midnight Meat Train which I did is more straight up horror. People just getting f*cking wrecked by Vinnie Jones the whole movie. Which, I get worked bad. This movie it's more psychological. Where these guys all look really normal but what they're doing is so not normal, that's the scary part. This could be a kid in your class or your neighbor.
Michael Weston: They masquerade as your normal types but underneath, when you go down a couple of floors... and they get the bodies in that they have actually killed, everybody sort of looks around and goes, "How did this go down exactly?" Then Milo's character, he plays Ted, it sort of intensifies because, for my character, he becomes the most capable of playing the game. My character is sort of the best at the game and is looking for a worthy opponent.
Has playing around with all the guts and stuff given you a nice reminder of your own mortality?
Dan Callahan: Going to the coroner's office...
Michael Weston: The coroner's office is where that hit. That sh*t is real. You go in there and they've got bodies in the freezer, they've got fresh bodies that just came in and you see all their accouterments. Their shoes and their things. They just got hit by the car, and their sh*t is in a locker that's just been hosed down. The body is still warm. That was really intense. We saw gang bangers that had just been shot and all their tats that tell about their life story. All the scars they have from other stuff. Some guy that got axed by his wife.
Dan Callahan: Babies, kids.
Michael Weston: In little tiny, little bags. It's pretty f*cked up.
Johnny Whitworth: The last time I was there there was a murder, suicide where a woman killed her husband and then she killed herself. She shot her husband 3 times and then shot herself.
How do you think the effects are on this movie vs. what you saw in the coroner's office?
Michael Weston: So frickin real man, it's ridiculous. I got fit, they have these labs some place in the depths of the valley where you go and these guys are working overtime on these prosthetics and they're real. They're real and their filled with gelatin or whatever, and you get fit for a body cast and they fill it with gelatin. It's an exact remake of your chest. People that get split open, you see their insides. I have this scene where I cut open a skull and I pull out a brain. It's the real deal. It's exactly what they did, we watched them do that in a coroner's office.
What do they use for the brains?
Michael Weston: Actually, some of them are real...
Dan Callahan: Animal brains.
Michael Weston: An animal heart or something like that. Other stuff is just impeccably made, like remakes of a brain. Like the one I had was made out of gelatin but it's like perfect, you know? It's all sludged up with KY and whatnot.
Dan Callahan: The coroner's office, when you first go in there, it looks kind of like a movie set. It's so real, what you're seeing, there's just bodies stacked on top of bodies.
Michael Weston: They're so lifeless that they do feel like...
Dan Callahan: They're fake.
Michael Weston: They're not filled up with any life energy and they just sit there like a piece of plastic. After 20 minutes there, the smell sort of doesn't bother you anymore. Then you're just sort of hanging out and the guys are playing... The Police are playing in the background and they're dancing around, cutting skulls up. There's a morbid, ironic sense of humor...
Dan Callahan: Which is how this movie is. This morbid, f*cked up sense of humor which is how these guys are. That's how they get through the day because if they really start thinking about, "This is someone's brother or father..." that could really get to you. They have to desensitize themselves. That's what these characters do but they're so desensitized, to the point where you killed somebody and it doesn't effect us.
Michael Weston: These guys are sort of adrenaline junkies. Our group is sort of past the dead bodies, now they're looking for, "Where's my fix? How do we up the stakes here?"
In the script don't you do drugs?
Michael Weston: That's the way we up the stakes. We smoke some crack and then go kill people.
Dan Callahan: That's also a way to desensitize ourselves by doing the drugs. We can then do certain things that will force us to not think about what we're doing. We're sort of impaired so we can really hack away.
Michael Weston: We really sort of push the envelope.
Dan Callahan: It's like Jekyll and Hyde.
In the end do you think it's the drugs you guys are doing that makes everyone even more crazy?
Dan Callahan: Yeah.
Michael Weston: I think it's the drugs. It's a culmination of the drugs and in the battle between my character and Milo's character it's that egocentric mind that can't really handle defeat. The more you sort of push him past his delusions of grandeur, and he has to look at the reality of his life that becomes unacceptable, you know? That sort of weird arrogance gets challenged. I think that's what also starts to push stuff over the edge.
Who is the voice of reason in all this?
Michael Weston: Milo in a way is but he's not, you know what I mean? He loses that moral sort of standard he has in the beginning of the movie. He gets wrapped up and becomes just as bad as the rest of us. That's the one cool thing about this movie is there's not really someone who's like, "Guys, we shouldn't do this." At no point no one goes, "Lets just quit." There's nobody you can really look at like, "He's a redeemable character." Milo's sort of the closest thing and by the end of the movie you can't even look to him.
Dan Callahan: It's gonna f*ck people up because they're gonna walk out of there with, "There was nobody in there at the end of the movie..."
Michael Weston: Also, I think all the characters are pretty charming in their own ways. No one is pure evil. They're all very human and they all have their... it always feels like as crazy and as evil as some stuff is they're also balanced out by these very human sides. That despite what they do you might, kind of, like them.
What's it like working with Mark Schoelermann?
Michael Weston: Well, he's German so that's hard right off the bat (laughs). It's been great him and the DP (Ekkehart Pollack) they're so fast, and they execute stuff with such precision and I think because they've done so many jobs together they work like one person. They totally have a shorthand with each other, which we don't understand because it really is all in German.
Dan Callahan: Their shots are incredible. There's great colors in the movie.
Other then going to the coroner's office was there anything else you guys did?
Dan Callahan: Neveldine (Mark Nelveldine, the Producer of Pathology) gave us a bunch of stuff that we can look at. We got stuff from the coroner's office. We spoke with all those guys. There was a pathologist who was there one day.
Michael Weston: You sort of draw upon those people that you know. I have friends who have been through medical school and I think there's also a part of that that is driving them on, because the academia of it all is f*cking intense. These guys are up and they have 30 cups of coffee to get them through the day. That's sort of a driving force behind all this stuff. It sort of accelerates the craziness.
Pathology hits movie theaters April 18th from MGM.