HOH Exclusive Interview: Tom Malloy - The Attic
By Richard J. Schellbach
Dec 28, 2005, 23:55
Tom Malloy is a geek! Now before you go thinking that Iím cutting him down, I think Tom would agree with that assessment. Oh heís certainly a fine Writer, a class act Producer and a meticulous Actor but when he talks about horror movies and his love for them, he radiates. He gets that same little-kid-wanting-to-be-scared vibration in his voice that I, and most of you, get when discussing all things cinematically macabre. Fortunately, the actor, producer, writer and geek all showed up to talk about his new movie, The Attic, and I couldnít have been happier.
Richard J. Schellbach: How did you first get involved in the industry?
Tom Malloy: Acting has always been my thing. I had always said that as soon as I get done with my education and college, Iíd concentrate on acting. There was nothing ever more important than that. So we shot a film while I was still in college called Gravesend. We shot it on the streets of Brooklyn and all it cost was $5,000. It has always had a kind of cult following. And what was really cool about it was that we got Oliver Stone to produce it and we got it in theaters. There was an E Channel special and an MTV special and it kinda became a big thing. And like most people who have some initial success, I figured Iíd never have to work out of this industry again. (Chuckles) And thatís not quite how it worked out.
RJS: That happens a lot.
TM: Yeah, so I started to get skilled in just about every other aspect of movie making.
RJS: I noticed you wore quite a few hats on The Attic. You wrote the screenplay, produced and acted in it.
TM: It would have been impossible if not for Aimee Schoof and Russ Terlecki Ė my producing partners. I wrote the script, I kind of developed it from the start and I raised about 80% of the money. About a month before we started shooting, I was able to trust them enough to hand everything over so I could just concentrate on the acting. In order to do justice to the character I was playing in the film, I had to stop being the writer and producer and just be the actor; Tom Malloy. And all of that would have been impossible without Aimee and Russ.
RJS: The character you play is autistic. Tell me about the challenges unique to that kind of role.
TM: Well, the performance was really physical. As you mentioned, I play an autistic character. So I gained fifteen pounds and started meeting with autistic young men to help me get a base for my character. I needed to hold my body a certain way, especially my neck, and everything was going along fine. About five days into the shoot, Catherine Mary Stewart, who plays my mother and is one of the nicest people to work with, came up to me and said, ďHey, arenít you hurting your neck doing that?Ē And I told her that it didnít bother me at all. About a half hour after that, I started to feel it Ė like uh-oh Ė and I eventually had to go to see a massage therapist.
RJS: So youíre saying she cursed you.
TM: (Laughing) Well, thatís what I told her.
RJS: Where did the original nugget for The Attic come from?
TM: It started as a script I wrote called Delusions which eventually became The Attic. I wrote it in like 29 days or something like that. I chose to write a horror script because I feel I have a good grasp of what scares people. Iíve been a horror fan all of my life. My wife and I just love to be scared. So this script just poured out of me. There was an off, off Broadway play that I did in the nineties about a girl from England who refused to go out of the house. She eventually died of a brain tumor and her parents tried to cover it up. It was a family melodrama type of thing. I started thinking what it would be like if there was something haunting a girl just like that and it was something only she could see. And that was the first seed of the story for me. So, I tried to write a script where five minutes doesnít go buy without a scare in it. And I think I accomplished that.
RJS: You mentioned loving to be scared. Iím the same way. I constantly hear people about to go into a theater to see a horror film say, ďGee, I hope itís not too scary.Ē Yet youíll never hear anyone waiting to see a comedy say that they hope itís not too funny.
TM: You know thatís a great observation. I agree completely. I canít imagine anyone watching a horror film who doesnít love being shaken to their roots.
RJS: Getting back to the three hats you wore for a second, if someone came to you tomorrow and said that on the next film you could only do one of the three. Which would you pick?
TM: Oh, the acting for sure. No question.
RJS: You were fortunate enough to work with some really terrific actors, like John Savage, on this film. What was that like?
TM: John is a great guy. We shared a dressing room so weíd have these long talks about the craft. Iíve already shown him my next script because I really want to work with him again.
RJS: I call him a ďKarloff actor.Ē Karloff did some really great movies, some good movies, and a few stinkers. But he never turned in anything but a spot-on performance. Thatís exactly the same way I feel about John Savage. I watch him and I believe any part heís playing.
TM: Thatís a great description of John. Heís not a big script actor. He goes over his lines and then reinterprets the words to sound like they actually are coming out of the characterís mouth for the first time. Heís really great. But everyone in the movie was great. I really mean that. There isnít a bad performance in the bunch. Elizabeth (Moss of West Wing) is going to get all the buzz. She was just amazing.
RJS: Let me ask you about working with Mary Lambert.
TM: Mary liked the script immediately. The only potential problem she had was one that I had already answered for myself; Was I going to step away as producer and writer and really let her direct. So she flew out to New York and I must have convinced her because she signed on. She was great. Very respectful of the text and I loved the decisions she made.
RJS: Any surprises during the shoot?
TM: Well, the house. We found out that someone - the original owner, in fact - actually died in the house we used for the film. So I think that creeped everyone out a little. (laughing)
RJS: Where are you in post-production right now?
TM: By mid January, weíll have a rough cut to look at, which is great! Very exciting stuff. Iíd say weíll be down to the end, like the color correction, by March.
RJS: Up next is a movie called The Alphabet Killer. Is it a definite go?
TM: Well, itís as 100% as anything gets in this business. Itís based on a true story. Alphabetkiller.com is the official website. The real story is there along with info on the movie. Weíre all very excited about this project.
RJS: In closing, I have always felt that you can tell a lot about a person by certain things they like. So, in keeping with that: Whatís the last DVD you bought?
TM: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.
RJS: Name a film you can watch anytime. Something youíre almost always in the mood for.
TM: Can I give you two?
RJS: Well, when that happens we usually send someone to the personís house and beat them about the head and neck with a hunk of metal but, in this one case and one case only, Iíll allow it.
TM: Good. Then itís the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Color Of Money. I know that will piss off a lot of people but I think itís one of Scorseseís best. Thereís just something about that film that makes me want to watch it all the time.
RJS: No, actually, I think itíll piss off more people that you actually spent money on the TCM remake.
TM: (Laughing) Got me there.
RJS: Whatís your favorite movie poster?
TM: Pulp Fiction. That has everything you want in a poster.
RJS: Whatís your favorite trailer?
TM: Thatís interesting because a good trailer doesnít mean a good movie.
RJS: Yeah, you probably wonít be surprised to learn that most people I interview pick a favorite trailer for a movie that isnít even close to their favorite movie.
TM: I loved the trailer for The Boogeyman. I couldnít wait to see the movie and it was sooooo disappointing! But that happens a lot. The Boogeyman made a ton of money on its opening weekend and that was primarily due to the trailer.
RJS: Whatís your favorite movie score?
TM: Edward Scissorhands. Hands down.
RJS: No pun intended?
TM: Nothing comes close to that score.
RJS: And lastly, whatís your favorite movie quote?
TM: ďWe all go a little mad, sometimesĒ from Psycho. It may just be the perfect line.
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