Thanks to scene-stealing roles in Veep and Promising Young Woman, as well as the hilarious Detroiters TV series, which he starred in and co-created, Sam Richardson is understandably known for his comedic efforts. With his latest film, Werewolves Within, he not only had to embrace the sillier side of a town turning on each other in fear of a werewolf, but he also had to channel his action-movie chops to use weapons at his disposal to defend himself for the film's more horrifying elements. Despite this being somewhat new territory professionally, Richardson is a long-time fan of horror, which makes not only this new film but also him gracing the cover of Fangoria feeling like a dream come true. Werewolves Within hits theaters on June 25th and VOD on July 2nd.
In the film, after a proposed gas pipeline creates divisions within the small town of Beaverfield, and a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community.
ComicBook.com recently caught up with Richardson to talk his love of horror, his approach to this new film, and the fate of his Detroiters TV series.
ComicBook.com: First, something we do have to get out of the way just real quick since it's halfway through the year, and I'm sure other journalists have been asking you this, but still would really love to get your input. Who will be the baby of the year?
Sam Richardson: Oh, that's a good question. Let's see. Well, I hear that Bart Harley Jarvis is trying to re-submit and I just won't have it.
As you shouldn't.
It's not that I hate Bart Harley Jarvis. He's a bad boy and he's good for the competition, but the people just go nuts and it's dangerous for the other babies.
Well, we've still got six months of contenders, so I appreciate that expert insight. We'll see how the rest of the year pans out.
We don't even know, the baby couldn't even be born yet. We don't know.
That's true. We've got six months of babies that could be baby of the year.
This movie allowed you to be on the cover of Fangoria. What did that mean to you personally? Are you a horror fan that is familiar with the magazine or was it merely a cool opportunity to help support this movie you are proud of?
I am a superfan of Fangoria. I grew up getting Fangoria. To be on the cover of it is insane. If you told me as a kid, I'd be on the cover of Fangoria or like Wizard Magazine, I'd be like, "Shut up, no way." And here it is. And I'm so excited. And it's like the first-ever glow-in-the-dark issue. Just, oh man, so much fun. It's a subscriber-exclusive. So hopefully it becomes like a special, limited edition. One day in the future, people will be trading my Fangoria.
"Give me your Kane Hodder and your Robert Englund and I'll give you my Sam Richardson glow-in-the-dark, subscriber-exclusive."
Exactly. Oh, man, even the Robert Englund one, you said it and I saw the image of the cover right there in my head, boom.
This movie has humor and horror and feels like a big crowd-pleaser, then you have a built-in connection with fans of the original video game. What was the biggest draw for you with this project? What was it about it that made you realize you had to get involved with it?
Well, there's a few things. The idea of doing a horror movie was very exciting. Leading a horror ensemble movie that was a comedy sort of in the Knives Out, Clue, Hot Fuzz [spirit] but like a horror movie was very exciting and appealing to me. The cast wasn't developed yet when I first read it and there wasn't anybody attached at that point, just me, and I was very excited to get to lead a group like that. And I kept thinking, to lead a movie that I would like to watch, was very appealing to me.
And the script was very funny and, also, talking to [director] Josh Ruben, having seen Scare Me, I was excited for what he would do next. And I, mind you, I saw Scare Me because they approached me for [Werewolves] and I thought, "Oh, well, this guy is great. Let me talk to him about it," and then his vision for Werewolves, I was excited about it. This sounded like a movie that I would love to go see.
Given how funny you are in the movie early on and how each person in town that we meet, we recognize them from other hilarious projects they've done, I can only imagine your reaction when you found out who would be your co-stars.
Every person who signed onto the movie, I was just thinking, "Oh, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant." I knew them before working with them. I was thinking, "Oh, my God, you're a genius." Truly there was no weak link in this movie. Everybody was exactly what the movie needed. And I think it was a perfect, like, all the planets aligning eclipse.
I know you have an improvisational background but obviously didn't want to improvise too much, because you were drawn to the established dialogue, but I also know that your role in Veep as Richard Splett evolved because of what you specifically brought to the part. What do you feel you personally brought to Finn that might have evolved him from how he existed in the script?
That's a good question. Well with Richard, the character was developed as it went based on the things that I did. Even the rehearsal process, I would improvise lines that would end up in the script and I'm sure that helped. So I helped to form who that character was as the show would progress. But with a movie, the script is the script. And so there's not, like, an open-ended thing of, "Oh, what will this guy to become?"
But you know the beginning, you know the middle, you know the end. So reading that and interpreting it and playing with those things, it's like a different energy because ... I don't use the word "confines," because it's not, it's not "confines." It's like you're getting to play in the bowl of making this salad. It was like a fun scene to get to play with the energies ... because working in comedy, there's no way that you can ever put, truly put on a page what it's going to be like when you are in a room with Michaela Watkins and Michael Chernus and Milana Vayntrub and George Basil and Sarah Burns, you know what I mean? That will be different because of how everybody's interpreting their things, all these energies are just going to ... the word "volatile" has negative connotations but it's also exciting.
We have a second season of Tim Robinson's I Think You Should Leave coming out in a few weeks and you're involved with that, but is there still interest on your end in a third season of Detroiters? Since it was cancelled, have you all moved on and refocused your creative energy into new projects and you're happy to leave the series as two great seasons, or are you still hoping to return to that specific world somehow in the future?
A hundred percent we'd want to go back. I love Detroiters so much, and there was so much more that we want to do with it. So we've gotten ... I think it got clipped off the tree before it was fully, fully bare. I love and I am very proud of those first two seasons, but I'm also curious to what we would have done had we done more, and we still want to do more. We text each other, the creators, me, Tim, Joe [Kelly], and Zach [Kanin], we text each other plot points, pitches still. Even if it's just for us to laugh about, we'll like text out ... [I don't want to] give those away, because who knows if we do come back, I don't want to burn a hilarious thing. We'll send it back and then we'll just start to stockpile and it kind of just snowballs and we come up with these episodes. So if we got the chance to do it again, we a hundred percent would love it.
Werewolves Within hits theaters on June 25th and VOD on July 2nd.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.