Leave it to Diablo Cody, writer of Juno and Jennifer’s Body, to come up with a ’90s spin on a literary horror classic, complete with goth girls and reanimated corpses; if you caught the double meaning in the title, then you’ve probably already got an idea of what the movie is like.
The film stars Kathryn Newton as a lonely teenager named Lisa whose high school crush isn’t the star quarterback, but the young man from the Victorian era buried in the cemetery behind her family’s home. When an unexpected turn of events resurrects said young man (Cole Sprouse), it sets into motion an unlikely — and undead — romance with some collateral damage along the way.
Ahead of the film’s release, Newton, Sprouse, Cody, and director Zelda Williams (making her feature debut) sat down with RT correspondent Perri Nemiroff to talk about their fearless performances, the relationship between their characters, and a number of movie references that eagle-eyed audiences should look out for.
Perri Nemiroff for Rotten Tomatoes: Can you each give me an example of a time when the other was totally fearless with their performance, took something to an 11 and just really blew your mind with how far they went with it?
Cole Sprouse: You know, I don’t actually think it’s in the final cut of the movie, but there is a scene where we’re laying in bed — not to spoil too much — but we’re laying in bed and we’re drinking milk, which is already awesome, as one does. Some post-coital milk. But the original scene of the movie was us smoking weed and the vapors are coming through the holes in my chest. And [to Kathryn Newton] you gave a very different version of the scene than what ended up in [the film]. The scene that we have is a little bit lighter in tone, but you gave a really, really introspective and, like, a longing kind of take. And I really liked that take. Because of the limitations for the smoke and all that sort of stuff, it didn’t end up in the final cut, but I really liked that take.
Kathryn Newton: So the one that’s in is just terrible?
Sprouse: I mean, you’re good in every scene, but that one surprised me, because I didn’t read the scene like that, initially.
(Photo by Michele K. Short/©Focus Features)
Newton: Yeah, wow, I do love that scene. I wish it stayed in. I liked the version that we had, though. That scene was very difficult to get through; the scene right before, I just couldn’t stop laughing. We had a lot of days where we couldn’t stop laughing. But for me, the scene that stands out with Cole’s performance is the very first scene we shot with you, where you come in with the ax.
Sprouse: Oh, yeah, the big scene, yeah.
Newton: I think it was just, you know, so much of this movie relies on Cole and his bringing of this character to life, this larger-than-life character. And he came in with this physicality, and it was so quirky and lovable, and he does so many evil things in the movie. And after that day, it felt like we had a movie. I felt like, oh, we’re going to make something.
Watch the video for the full interview with Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Diablo Cody, and Zelda Williams.