Exclusive: John C. McGinley & Janet Varney Talk ‘Stan Against Evil’, Staying Tough, And Getting Gory
John C. McGinley and Janet Varney discuss the horror/comedy balancing act for “Stan Against Evil!”
John C. McGinley is a man of many talents with a dominating personality that you will not forget. He brings that same personality to “Stan Against Evil” premiering on IFC November 2nd. Joined by co-star Janet Varney, this series explores the realm of horror with a touch of comedy. Over the weekend at New York Comic Con, we spoke with John and Janet about this horrifically intriguing series.
Having watched the first two episodes of “Stan Against Evil” I wanted to hear how the series would progress. Speaking with John and Janet, I inquired about their perspective on the show, what the intended tone would be, and what would be in store for later episodes.
John C. McGinley
”Well it’s a comedy hiding in a horror movie. When it’s really working, and it is, it kind of mimics the tone of ‘An American Werewolf in London’. And I know that’s ambitious because [John] Landis crushed that movie. And that’s where we set the bar and Dana [Gould] nailed it!”
”It’s the best thing in the world. I am a little biased but it is a fantastic IFC show that I have the pleasure of starring in opposite the amazing Johnny C. McGinley. I’ve been a fan of his forever so that was such a treat. And I’ve also been a huge fan of Dana Gould who’s a phenomenal stand up comedian, was a writer on ‘The Simpsons’. I got to know him through the comedy community because that’s kind of my background. And when he started working on this, there was this kind of fantasy for me to be part of it. And the fact that everything worked out, as we all know in this world sometimes doesn’t, you gotta roll with the punches to actually get to show up on that set and pin on that sheriff’s pin and put on that incredibly hot polyester and high-waisted trousers. It’s everyone’s dream.”
We’re used to seeing John C. McGinley in very intimidating roles. He has a certain physical prowess that demands your attention and his personality matches that physicality. In “Stan Against Evil” we see that intimidation flourish through his interaction with the paranormal and other cast members. While I referred to his character as a “Dr. Cox on steroid,” he countered with his other influences for the role.
John C. McGinley
”To me, I borrowed more liberally from some of my heroes like Lee J. Cobb and Sterling Hayden. And I saw Ed Asner; I borrowed from Ed. [Stan] is kind of an archetype, an amalgamation of a bunch of different guys who I really loved and I borrowed from a bunch of guys who really impacted me. I guess he’s ‘Coxian’, if that’s such a term, peripherally but not fundamentally.”
“Stan Against Evil” is Janet Varney’s first time working with John C. McGinley. Given that John’s strong persona was intimidating to me while interviewing him, I wondered if Janet felt that way as well. How was it to work with John C. McGinley?
”Uhh…the best! I would say that as you watch the series you will discover that he gets it back. I give as good as I get I think and it was a really great partnership. Off camera we have tremendous respect for each other. He put so much amazing work into his role and I tried to meet him there with mine. I really love playing opposite characters like that. Sometimes I play the most kind of sarcastic or the most kind of intense character and so having someone that sort of balances that out was really fun.”
Given this is a new type of horror film for John C. McGinley, I was curious how he handled the amount of goo and gore. Was the mess a bit too much at times or was it more fun to be involved in this way? I posed the same question to Janet Varney who is also a newcomer to this type of gory genre.
John C. McGinley
”No. I’m one of the producers on the show. I wanted to execute it in a really scary way. And unfortunately my wife can’t watch it. She saw that demon in the second [episode] when he’s peering through the window. And if you’re afraid of stalkers or a home invasion robbery, a goat demon on top of that puts that all on steroids and it’s horrifying. We wanted to make the monsters as scary as possible and the comedy as funny as possible. And marrying those two is freaking hard. You don’t want the comedy to invalidate the monsters. if you do you’re dead. And those two never trespassed.”
”Very messy! You can check this with the rest of the guys, I feel like I get the most. It’s a real privilege just to be dumped on with goo, some of it in vomit form. A lot of exploding, a lot of things hitting me in the face. It was really fun. I mean it’s that part of you that watched ‘You Can’t Do That On Television’ or some other Nickelodeon show where people get slimed where you’re like, ‘I know it’s gross but I kinda wish that would happen to me’. It kinda comes with the territory right? I would rather have that than to pretend like CG goo was on me. It’s like, ‘get the goo, let’s just do it’.”
“Stan Against Evil” officially premieres on November 2, 2016 on IFC. The first two episodes will be available on Halloween for early watchers.