CS Interview: Glenn Howerton on becoming a villain in Archenemy
Just in time for the arrival of the latest project from co-writer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real), ComingSoon.net got the chance to chat with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-developer/star Glenn Howerton to discuss his villainous role in the superhero thriller Archenemy. You can check out the interview below and click here to digitally purchase Archenemy!
ComingSoon.net: So of all the amazing aspects of this project, what was the biggest draw for you to star?
Glenn Howerton: Adam, the director, honestly, I really enjoyed the script a lot but I think moreso SpectreVision, who produced the movie, sent me a copy of Daniel Isn’t Real and I was just so, so incredibly blown away by it. Then, of course, the appeal of doing something totally different than what I’ve gotten to do in a very long time, which is that I got to do something completely dramatic and I’m also playing a bad guy as well.
CS: Yeah, I mean we’ve seen you occasionally dive into villainy with Dennis and other things, but this felt truly different for you, what was it like getting into that headspace?
GH: It was a little scary, quite honestly, because it has to feel to the audience that I’m a formidable foe to the 6-foot-2, 200-pound, musclebound beast that is Joe Manganiello [chuckles]. I knew that I hard to work a lot harder on this set than I have in other things because I need to know the character well enough to know exactly how he ticks and what pushes his buttons, because I want to be able to be nimble on the day. When I’m shooting, I’ve got to be able to hit the lines and I’ve got to be able to act and react in the moment in the way the character would, I didn’t want this guy to be like things I’ve done before. It was just a lot of talking to the director, a lot of what makes this guy tick and what his wants and needs are and understanding all of that and just working on the scenes over and over and over again so that I was ready on the day.
CS: So then what was it like working with Adam to have those moments of improvisation from scene to scene alongside his script?
GH: Adam was great, he’s the type of artist that I like working with in that he has a lot of confidence in his own abilities, but also puts a lot of trust in the artists that he hires to work with him and that he surrounds himself with and gives them a long leash to really kind of enjoy themselves in the universe he’s created. I felt so trusted, when you have a director who really trusts you and believes in you, it allows you to trust and believe in yourself and Adam really believed in me. I think mores than I did, I mean to me, I think I said to him at one point, “I really appreciate you taking a risk on me, you know, I’m mostly known for comedy and here I am playing the heavy in this and I’m going to kill it for you, but it’s interesting to me that you would trust me to do this.” He was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, man, you’re going to be great.” In a weird way, I felt like he was taking more of a risk by hiring me than he did, so Adam is just great and I would do anything with him.
CS: What was it like also building your rapport with Zolee Griggs, because the chemistry in your scenes together feels very authentic.
That was a lot of fun, actually, we rehearsed that scene a handful of times in the months and weeks leading up to the actual shooting so that Zolee and I got to know each other and understand each other’s rhythms. There’s supposed to be a history and a backstory between the two of us so it was important that we at least spent enough time together that it wasn’t like it was meeting this person for the first time. There’s nothing worse than meeting an actress for the first time and having it be like, “Okay, you’re playing my mother, you’re dying of cancer.” You can do it, but it’s like why do it that way, you know we spent the time talking about our characters, talking about our backstory, talking about their history together and then reading the scene together and just trying different things and playing around with it, so when we got there on the day we were very comfortable with each other and we understood each other’s rhythms, it was a lot of fun working with her.
CS: Though we got to see you in a few action scenes in The Hunt, it felt like we got to see you in more in this one, what was that like for you?
GH: It’s fun, I mean you get to live out that childhood fantasy of being in a Die Hard movie [chuckles], you know, I get to run around shooting a gun. It’s fun for any little boy at heart, so that aspect of it was fun, but I’ll tell you the fight scene at the end between me and Zolee, that was a little hairy. It was the end fight and they were like, “We have an hour to shoot this, that’s it,” but it was like, “We haven’t even choreographed the fight” [chuckles]. We choreographed the fight for ten minutes with the fight choreographer and shot it at absolute lightning speed and, quite frankly, I tweaked my back. Like a week after that, my back just completely went out because of that insane fight scene [laughs]. But at the same time, it was really fun to work with Zolee on that because she was really, really easy and not precious and willing to get rough.
CS: What was it like getting to see the film have its world premiere at the Beyond Fest at the Mission Tiki Drive In?
GH: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go, we got a rescue dog like a couple days or a week before that and it was something that had to do with the dog, so unfortunately I couldn’t go. I didn’t get to see it with everybody, which really sucked, because I was really excited about it and because of COVID and everything there won’t be any other kind of premiere or anything, so I’ll be watching it at home like everybody else. I have seen it, they sent me a cut of it, but I haven’t seen it in like full high definition, so you may have actually seen a better version of it than I have [laughs].
CS: How has it been seeing the early positive reception to the film?
I haven’t paid super close attention to reviews or feedback, Adam sent me a few really nice things and said, “Check this out,” and I usually read that stuff. I’m not one of those actors who never reads their reviews, I know you’re not supposed to, but I read them all, I don’t care. I like the good ones and the bad ones, I find some of the bad ones to be really fun to read in a certain way, I take some strange pleasure in the bad reviews. But the stuff that I have read has been good, it was really important for me to come through for Adam on this and to really give him something juicy to work with in the editing room for my character. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a big Gary Oldman fan, the way that guy dives into villains is just so juicy and fun to watch, it’s like I want this to be fun to watch.
Written and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real) from a story by Mortimer and Lucas Passmore (No Good Heroes), the film stars Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Skylan Brooks (Empire), Zolee Griggs (W-Tang: An American Saga), Paul Scheer (Black Monday), Amy Seimetz (Pet Semetary) and Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
In Archenemy, Max Fist (Manganiello) claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to Earth, where he has no powers. No one believes his stories except for a local teen named Hamster. Together, they take to the streets to wipe out the local drug syndicate and its vicious crime boss known as The Manager.
Archenemy was produced by SpectreVision’s Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen, and Elijah Wood along with Kim Sherman, Mortimer, Joe and Nick Manganiello.
Archenemy is now available in theaters, On Demand, and Digital!