View Full Version : Interview with "The Last Exorcism" Star Patrick Fabian

01-06-2011, 01:19 AM
Last month we asked you to send us questions for the star of THE LAST EXORCISM and now Patrick Fabian has answered. He was a very good sport, answering every question we threw at him, and with unfiltered insight and wit. Without further adieu

Last month we asked you to send us questions for the star of THE LAST EXORCISM and now Patrick Fabian has answered. He was a very good sport, answering every question we threw at him, and with unfiltered insight and wit. Without further adieu,

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/pictures/fabian_thumb.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/pictures/fabian.jpg)

Horror Digital: How did working in a pseudo-documentary style differ for you in terms of performance? Was it easier to get into (and stay in) character?

Patrick Fabian: It felt like we were "on" all day long, which really helped us live in our characters' shoes. Zoltán Honti, our cinematographer would have the camera running in between takes and capture a lot great behavior unbeknownst to us.

HD: So often actors are taught to ignore the camera when they perform…what was it like being able to play off the camera as another sort of character in the film? Did it help your performance or was it tough to do after so many years in the business?

PF: It was odd at first, but then it became very freeing, being able to use the lens directly, but what made it believable was that I had Zoltán and Iris Bahr (who plays the documentary filmmaker) right there as my scene partners. Although unseen for much of the film, Iris & Zoltán are my main confidants; I cannot thank them enough for their patience in listening to me take after take, and especially Iris for being a great acting partner; their presence is definitely felt in the film, although briefly seen. And after spending years being told to ignore the camera, it was fun to look right down the barrel.

HD: Do you believe in exorcisms or the devil?

PF: I believe that there are people who believe they're possessed and that having an exorcism will relieve them. I, myself have never seen an actual possession (although I've seen my share of crazy) and as to the Devil....I believe in Evil and that it exists in many forms in the world, so why not the Devil?

HD: Given the title of the film, the comparison to William Friedkin’s film is inevitable. How is this film different, and how is it a reflection of our times?

PF: We share the word "Exorcism" in the title, but the story of a man struggling with his faith and the nature of Good vs. Evil is as old as storytelling itself. What's great about Daniel Stamm's vision is the immediacy and intimacy his take on this brings to the audiences' experience. I think the film works because it allows the audience to come aboard and travel with Cotton, not just observe him. And this audience is one that has Twitter, YouTube and camera phones as their talismans these days; they can relate to wanting to document everything that happens.

HD: What kind of preparation did you do to get ready for the part of the pastor?

PF: Daniel gave me some books to do research ("Hostage to the Devil" being one) and I mined the territory of televangelists like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, & Ted Haggard, the modern day religious charlatans who were all too human. Watching "Elmer Gantry" with Burt Lancaster was also good because I thought Cotton had to be likable in order for this to work. And I went to churches in Los Angeles and New Orleans to witness first hand the preaching.

HD: Since the screening of the film, have you received any negative feedback from religious viewers in regards to your handling of your character or the fact that your character is debunking many age old religious principles?

PF: Actually, the exact opposite, religious people have commented favorably, I think because it sets out as a confession. Cotton is filming his Act Of Contrition, documenting his amends and trying to make it right, and the pursuit of redemption is a righteous act. Also, it pits God vs. The Devil and there's a strong argument in the film about the power of faith and of God.

HD: How were scenes shot in the film…was it still treated like a film set proper with the usual “rolling” and “action” calls, or was it treated more like a documentary?

PF: "Action" was called , but Daniel really loved doing multiple takes, like 20 & 30.
It was very daunting (and frustrating) at first because I would think I 'had it' a little bit sooner. However, by doing lots of takes, he was able to really get me outside of myself and helped put together a performance I wouldn't have achieved without him. I'm very grateful for that.
Now. :)

HD: You tend to gravitate more to television work, is that something you prefer, or would you rather be in films?

PF: I like to work, be it onstage, film or television.
It's a tough business and I've been very fortunate.

HD: This isn’t a traditional horror film. In many ways it tries to debunk a lot of horror facets with facts and thought. Was this a reason you chose the film? How did you first get involved? As a viewer do you like horror films?

PF: Getting to work with a new director, working with Eli Roth, being able to play a preacher and to be in a horror film; all great reasons to sign up!
Lauren Bass Casting brought me in to improv some auditions, I got the job, then we read the script, so it was a little ass-backwards.

HD: Could you name a few favorites or guilty pleasures?

PF: "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home", "The Sentinel", "Burnt Offerings", Hammer Films and of course, "The Exorcist", "Alien" & John Carpenter's "The Thing".

HD: What’s next for you?

PF: 180 degrees opposite of playing a preacher in a horror movie: I'm starring alongside Melissa Peterman & Ed Asner in a new sitcom for CMT called "Working Class" which premieres on January 28th. It's a comedy in the classic sitcom format and we're real excited about it.

HD: Would you like to work in horror films in the future?

PF: Sure, I've love to work in the horror genre again: I'm hoping for "The Really Last Exorcism: Exorcism in Tahiti" offer!

HD:In regards to the ending: The film takes a really secular approach to possession throughout the film, always offering up truths that could debunk any sort of supernatural read to the proceedings. Then, with your final scene where you walk towards this howling fire, it seems pretty indisputable that there’s something otherworldly or Satanic underway.

Do you think the film needed that to be scary? Could it have worked without it?

PF: I think ratcheting up the scare factor at the end totally works, although I've had people float the theory that the whole thing is actually Cotton's doing just to re-brand himself. I mean, who really edited this footage? Do you actually see Cotton enter the flames? Is the demon put on afterwards? Or is it just as it appears to be?

The ending has provoked discussion and that's a good thing. At the end of "Inception", does the top keep spinning or not? More importantly, does it ruin what came before it if you don't have a definitive answer?

HD: How involved was Eli Roth in the production of the film. Was he on set with you guys or more behind the scenes?

PF: Without Eli's enthusiasm from the get-go, we wouldn't be here. When he was in New Orleans, he was always ebbing us on to "make it scarier" and "keep it real". I can't say enough about how he championed the film from beginning to end. And yes, that is the sound of me sucking up to him for another job; I'd love to work with again.

HD: Straight up – what is scarier: Working on a film about the anti-Christ or working with Dustin Diamond?

PF: What was scarier was the studio audiences' reaction to all of the "Saved By The Bell" kids when they were introduced back then: it was like The Beatles & Justin Bieber combined; if I wanted to get torn apart by some out of their head teenagers, all I would've had to do was attempt to hurt any of the cast, Dustin included.

Thanks to Patrick for agreeing to speak with us all and thanks to Lionsgate for setting it all up. THE LAST EXORCISM is in stores now on DVD and Blu-ray and there's no PR mouth-piecing by me when I say it's one of the most interesting plays on the genre in a very long time. Very recommended!

01-07-2011, 01:54 AM
What a gentleman Patrick was, great interview and some great answers. Thanks for this.

01-07-2011, 02:26 AM
Yes I really enjoyed reading this interview as well - I need pick this movie up on blu this weekend.

01-07-2011, 06:03 AM
Great interview :fire:

I need to see this ASAP!

01-07-2011, 07:04 AM
Cool interview - congrats!

I knew it; they were planning a sequel (great title) :)

01-07-2011, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the nice interview!

Sinister Ash
01-09-2011, 08:22 AM
Great interview. Makes me want to revisit this movie again.

02-03-2011, 08:07 AM
LOved this movie, thought Patrick was great in this.

02-04-2011, 07:17 PM
Thanks for the interview. I watched the movie last week and really enjoyed it.