With the sequel to Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan’s The Collector out this week entitled The Collection, we were lucky enough to talk to Josh Stewart, the star of both movies.
Among other things we quizzed him about playing the anti-hero Arkin and his experiences on both films. One of the nicest guys that we have ever spoken to, Josh also ran us through his insane physical training regime for the movie, the possibility of a third film and the secret fact that he is really a giant wuss when it comes to horror. Shhh don’t tell him we told you!
Love Horror: How did you get involved with The Collector?
Josh Stewart: The thing about The Collector was I auditioned on Wednesday, I got the job on Thursday and was on a plane Friday and shooting on Monday.
Love Horror: Wow, that quick?
Josh Stewart: I think I was the back up to the back up. I have done more jobs being the back up as any other way so I’ll take what I can get, you know.
Josh Stewart: I am not a guy who is very familiar with the horror genre, I’m not a big blood and guts guys so I don’t know that world very well. I think the bog misconception about those films is “well it’s just a horror movie, whatever you need to go, do just do it.” You don’t realise how physically demanding those films really are.
To keep your body in a constant state of tension from start of work to finish, to look scared and look tense you need to be scared and be tense. The tension in your body on top of all the physical, I have never been so physically exhausted after every day of work on anything. And then you throw in the sort of action and your constantly getting hit and all this, there really physically demanding films to do.
Love Horror: More demanding the action and sci-fi stuff you have done before?
Josh Stewart: Physically by far, there the most physically demanding things I have ever done.
Love Horror: Do you find it hard to act scared on set? Does it come easily to you or do you have to get yourself ‘in the zone’?
Josh Stewart: That was my one thing going into it, how do you act scared if your not scared, what does that look like because I didn’t know. But when you get scared your body tenses up and there is a very specific physicality that comes from that. Sp for me it was like if I can replicate that physicality and that tension then I can appear as if I am in a bad situation. Because if I was just walking around and doing the jumps and all that stuff you know, Arkin is not that kind of guy, he came from prison and grew up with bad guys he’s not the jumpy kind of hay I’m gonna get scared. Arkin is the kind of guy that if your about to scare him he’s gonna punch you in the face because that’s what he’s like. He’s not a guy who’s going to jump and scream and grab his mouth, he’s going to hit you three times and then access what the hell just happened.
Love Horror: Is Arkin a character you liked playing and that you were happy to return to?
Josh Stewart: Yeah man it was an interesting thing having a hero who is an anti-hero, who comes from the bad side of the tracks and is not the nicest of guys. He has good intentions, he has a heart but because he has this criminal element to him that allows you certain freedoms within the character to do things. That was really interesting for me, its like we don’t have to be the normal hero because the normal hero wouldn’t stab a guy because that’s not a very heroic thing to do but you have an anti-hero he can it.
Love Horror: In fact, in the first act of the first film (which is almost a heist movie) you think Arkin is the villain, until The Collector comes along that is.
Josh Stewart: Yeah you’ve got a bad guy and a worse guy, who’s gonna win?
Love Horror: How do you think Arkin has evolved between the two films?
Josh Stewart: I was talking about this with someone and I don’t think there was a big time gap between the first two films story wise. Arkin was captured a day or so maybe and then he was taken to this other place and he escaped and then a few more days goes by and he’s taken back in. So there’s not a lot of time for him to have any huge realisations or big changes life wise that we are supposed to in stories. I think the motivation was the big difference, the first film he thought I gotta get out and I have to save these people which turned into yeah this guy has his comeuppance coming to him and I’m gonna come back and punch him in the mouth. It was more now its time for him to pay. Even though Arkin had no real intention of going back in the house but once he was in there you could see that turn about half way through the movie where Arkin separates from them and is like you know what this guys gonna pay.
Love Horror: At times in the movie its almost like he is willing to die for his revenge, don’t you think?
Josh Stewart: Yeah right, and I think the feeling with Arkin was that this guy (The Collector) found me in the hospital, he knows me, he knows I have a wife and he knows I have a daughter so even if I get out of here there two easy targets that I can’t protect 24/7 unless there standing behind me in the corner of a room and I’m standing in front of them. The game is never going to stop so Arkin was definitely willing to fall on his sword for them for that reason.
Love Horror: As you have mentioned, there is a lot more of Arkin punching people in the mouth and a lot more action scenes in The Collection. What kind of preparation did you have to do for those scenes?
Josh Stewart: To be honest with you after doing the first film I knew Arkin inside and out so character wise I dint feel like there was much work to be done that I hadn’t already done yet. So the second time around was literally me in a boxing ring and lifting weights and just getting into the best physical shape that I could be because I knew how physically demanding the first one was and how much more physically demanding the second one was going to be as there was more fight scenes and more chase all from the script. So it was just lots of physical training and being beat on, I just had my trainer really beat on me with boxing gloves and then at the end of every work out season I would take my shirt off and he would pound me with a broomstick on my stomach and back and arms and chest for three minutes every day just to get ready for that constant physical altercation that was going to be happening.
Love Horror: Wow, that’s really suffering for your art. Did it help? Did you find the action easier?
Josh Stewart: Yeah you know for the first film I was in good shape but I wasn’t in that kind of shape and I got the job so late in the game that thee was really no time to prepare. Its like if someone calls and says they’re going to go play football to you and you haven’t ran in three weeks and now you have 90 minutes to play. You would be like I can tough it out but I’m going to be sucking wind in like 15 minutes.
Love Horror: You said before that you didn’t really know the horror genre before doing The Collector and The Collection. Is it a genre you have gotten into now?
Josh Stewart: The things that I really enjoy is when they start to get clever with things. The first Paranormal Activity I really enjoyed, I haven’t seen any of the sequels but the first one I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the Blair Witch and I like Steven King movies like Misery, those thriller types of things. I’m a big wuss when it comes to the gore and the blood and guts. I’m just the biggest puss in the world. Like in The Collection when my arm breaks, I was there when we shot it, I know how we shot it, I know the prosthetic that was used, I’ve seen it I know its coming but every time I still cover my eyes and grab my crouch.
Love Horror: Ha ha ha, so it’s quite hard to watch yourself in these 2 films then?
Josh Stewart: I can’t do it, I can’t you know. I just can’t do it.
Love Horror: So what scares you in real life (apart from blood and guts and gore)?
Josh Stewart: The idea that something can really happen. David Fincher said to me on numerous occasions about Jaws that when he saw Jaws he was terrified to get into the ocean and to me it’s that type of principle. When you see something like Jaws and you can’t go in the ocean because you can’t below your waist that becomes a terrifying thing. Same with Blair Witch, those types of movies freak me out they make you go okay I’m in a cabin right now, in the middle of nowhere, I’m glad I’ve got my gun with me.
Love Horror: Now that there has been two Collector films do you know of any plans for a third?
Josh Stewart: I know there is a story and there is a script. Now whether that comes to fruition or not I have no idea I am not privy to any information about that. The ball is in place to put that in motion if someone so chooses. The first movie really took off in the Video on Demand world worldwide after the fact which is just now starting to really happen.
Love Horror: Would you be back if there is a third film?
Josh Stewart: Look man, I definitely would be all for it. My only requirements would be that we honour what we have already done and then you can make it better. I am all for sequels and making multiple movies if we can make it better and we stay true to what it is. Once you take it off into crazy world or just do s smash and grab job of cashing in to make more money I’m not interested. With Marcus (Dunstan) and Patrick (Melton) backgrounds in the horror world I know that they would handle it properly.
Love Horror: So what’s next for you? Any other horror projects?
Josh Stewart: Yeah I just signed on to do a movie that I can’t really talk about now. I leave in about a month to go and do that for a couple of months, but that will be a big movie and you should hear about that in the next week or so. I am really super excited about it big movie its going to be really fun.
I’m actually in post right now on a movie I wrote and directed and acted in and produced – the whole bit. It’s a thriller mystery with a horror element to it that we are sound mixing as we speak. We are 97% done with this movie
Love Horror: Can you tell us more?
Josh Stewart: Yeah it’s called Hunted and it’s based on a true ghost story from West Virginia. We wanted to get it done and then show it to people because we think we have something really cool. You’ll hear some news on it very soon.
Love Horror: Well that sounds great. Thanks for talking to us Josh.
Josh Stewart: Thank you for taking the time brother, I really appreciate it.