Xavier Samuel of “The Loved Ones” Talks Horror and Comedy, Playlist, and Metallica
“Brent is just not prepared to give in,” Xavier Samuel says of his character in The Loved Ones. “Even though it’s under the guise of this crazy, blood-soaked theater experience, that’s great. You can persevere even during the most dark and terrifying moments of your life.”
Now, The Loved Ones certainly gets dark and terrifying. Lola [Robin McLeavy] asks Brent to the prom. He respectfully declines, and she kidnaps and tortures him, having their own “reception”, if you will. Amidst the bloodbath, it’s a brilliant black comedy that, as Samuel puts it, illuminates the fortitude of the human spirit. In that sense, it’s a new horror classic that you’ve got to see to believe.
You’ll get the chance to see it in six theaters this Friday June 1, 2012 as part of special Tugg midnight screenings. Cities include Austin, Chicago, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. You can buy tickets here! You can also request a screening in your town from that link.
For now, check out our exclusive interview with Xavier Samuel below. He opens up about the film, talks his playlist, and Metallicawith ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino!
Would you say the film’s levity and sense of humor makes it even more unsettling?
Yeah, that was one of the things we really focused on and wanted to make sure was still there. It’s got this real tongue-in-cheek perspective. The film’s level of humor makes it exciting. If it was too sincere, it wouldn’t work. We were always reminding ourselves to keep that element lurking somewhere in the background.
It’s a seamless mix of horror and comedy.
Those elements can sometimes collide in an unfavorable way. It’s not about making cheap jokes. It’s this really dark, “This is fucked up”, kind of humor [Laughs]. That’s always fun to play with.
What resonated with you personally about Brent?
There are a lot of interesting things about the guy. He’s an outsider, which a lot of people can identify with. There’s been a lot of pain in his life. He’s already tormented, and that makes him an interesting hero figure. Because of the pain he inflicts on himself, he’s strangely prepared for the pain he’s about to receive. It’s an intriguing dichotomy of an already tortured guy about to endure more torture.
What music were you listening to while making The Loved Ones?
It’s funny you asked that. The first thing director Sean Byrne gave me was an iPod full of heavy metal [Laughs]. He’s an avid metal fan, and it’s such a massive part of the character and how he uses it to escape. Music can have a really strong influence on how you build a performance. It’s a shortcut into that world. I’m always trying to find the music that synchronizes with the character.
Who was on the iPod?
Tool was on there! It was endless. It was everyone you could imagine. I channeled into that for sure.
Who’s typically on your playlist?
When I was growing up, I listened to a lot of Elliott Smith. I’ve had that guy on repeat for a while. He was one of the best singer songwriters to ever grace the Earth. He was really talented. I enjoy the melancholy of his music. As a kid, I’d record anything that came on the radio onto a little cassette tape. I had a wide array of music from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac. At the moment, I’m listening to Father John Misty and The National.
You’re wearing a Master of Puppets shirt in the film. Are you a Metallica fan?
How can you not be a Metallica fan? [Laughs] Elliott Smith to Metallica is quite a leap but I’d like to think I have a universal taste in music. I brought in that shirt myself!