Jamie Kennedy Talks 'Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell' And Enjoying Being A Little More Serious

Tremors, as a franchise, is built on actor Michael Gross, who has played Burt Gummer in five feature films and a TV series (plus one of Burt's ancestors in Tremors 4, which was set in the Old West), and features a revolving door of characters who can take the spotlight, or share it with Burt, but ultimately tend not to last more than a movie or two.

2015's Tremors: Bloodlines set up a change to the dynamic in the form of Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy), Burt's illegitimate child, who arrived on the scene wanting to learn more about Burt and help him build his brand as a monster-hunter.

Their second film together, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell, was released today, and Kennedy could not be more excited to take a role where he looks cool, has some badass action scenes, and gets to be a little different form the Jamie Kennedy fans expect to see onscreen.

Kennedy joined ComicBook.com to discuss the film, which hit DVD, Blu-ray, and digital today.

The first thing I've got to say is did they tell you up front or did you find it in the script that the phrase "milk a Graboid" was going to be all over the promotional material for this?

No, I had no idea, but that's funny. It's true, we do have to milk a Graboid. Always handy.

There's a lot of fusing the humor and the horror elements in the Tremors franchise. As an actor, is it difficult to sometimes find the balance? Because there's a lot of humor, but the stakes have to work?

Yeah. There's a lot of action. I would say this is an action-adventure, right? I would say an action with comedic elements. This one had more action, definitely. A little bit less jokes, and then there's more drama than I realized.

It felt like your character in particular got more action this time around, whereas when we first met you, obviously everybody in these movies does action sequences, but you weren't that guy. Now you kind of are.

Dude, I've really graduated. That's what I felt my character did. It started out in the last movie, the guy with the funny quips and the one-liners, and he comes in and he's loosey goosey. He's like, "let me show you how to work stuff on YouTube." And then in this one, Michael's character has a bit of a life change, and my character kind of steps up.

This is like an action-comedy, but there's definitely some dramatic elements. It's less horror=y than the last one. The last one was more horror-y.

Which is funny because as soon as you start with the blood on the snow and the unseen creature, I feel like you get a very The Thing vibe coming out of the beginning, and then you cut straight to the store. Did you feel like some of the best humor here was when they juxtaposed the comedy with the non-comic elements?

It's so true, dude. That's what they did, they got you there in the beginning with the horror of it, and then we go into Chang's market, where it's a little bit more loose. I think that really is, because you start people out going "what's going on?" And then it goes [music notes] and then you're back to Perfection Nevada, and you're seeing what's happening. I think that is good to keep people a little bit shocked, and then laugh.

There's a framing device at the start of this movie, that Burt hasn't paid his taxes in years, because he's ultra libertarian and doesn't believe in it, and it becomes a huge problem for him. Do you think your Travis will help moderate Burt a little?

Definitely. He's a survivalist, he's a paranoid person. He's off the grid. He's definitely a gun enthusiast. He's definitely a little bit eccentric, and my character definitely helps keep him grounded and get him out there, and definitely have these moments of letting him go, "come on man, get back to reality, bro."

It kind of feels like you start out this film, and the kind of antagonistic relationship between Travis and Burt is set up right away. Do you think it's fair to say that part of what Travis is going for right now is trying to kind of make that right without taking away what's interesting from either of the two characters?

Yeah, I would say that Travis got back into his life of his father who he never really known. Travis is kind of like a mistake of like a one-nighter. Then he's like oh, let me bring this guy to the game and be hip with him and show him social media and help the brand. And then his father shows him what its like to hunt these things, and Travis and him bond over that, and they get closer.

Then this one, they go in the Arctic. Burt has problems, and Travis realizes how much he loves his dad, and he has to be a man. And Travis, he has to take that role over, and that's what this movie was and happens subliminally.

It's also like with me and Michael's working relationship. We're very much like our characters. I'm more loose and off the cuff, and he's more together and very prepared, and I think that's what brings our chemistry together so well.

When they brought Travis in, the obvious thought that everybody had was, this is setting up a future for the franchise because Michael is in phenomenal shape, and he's still doing great work, but he's 70 years old, and it's an action franchise. Do you think if you can step forward into that kind of more action role going forward in the future, that its still a really important thing to have this dynamic between you and Burt?

Michael keeps going. First of all, he is in great shape and this is his baby. I mean, everyone says Kevin Bacon, but Michael's been in more movies than anybody. I mean he really is Tremors, and he is the rock of the franchise.

I think that adding my character along with him is a good mix, and I think it was a pleasant surprise in our chemistry. We had no idea how it was going to be in it, it worked really well, and I think that in this movie how I slowly have morphed into more of a leader ... like you said the action kind of comedy.

There was less comedy in this one. I mean its funny moments, but it was more like there was some dramatic moments in it this time. I think there was more surprises than people are going to realize, and I think that Michael's character is slowly aging and he doesn't want to give over the reins. But Travis is like, hey man, this is what's happening. It's evolution, and he's trying to become the next Gummer. Gummer 2.0 if he can. And Burt doesn't want to do that, but Burt sees the writing on the wall.

It's interesting that you were such a comedic presence in Bloodlines, but they both reduced the comedy and increased your presnce for A Cold Day in Hell.

Yeah, I totally agree. How I am as an actor, still I'm loosey goosey, and improv-ing, and I didn't know what the movie was going to be and the character didn't know what the adventure was going to be.

And then we get in there, and I started learning about the world, and Tremors, and stuff like that and Michael had to deal with me as a person and the character's like me. And it's like man, this guys like off the cuff and he's prepared like his character.

So now this movie, I've had to morph more into the action guy and it's okay not to be funny, and I think that's good. It's evolution, if you will.

When I first started my career my characters were kind of comedic. Obviously Scream is comedic, but it's like a horror movie. Three Kings was an awesome movie, but my character was funny. As Good as it Gets, he wasn't really funny. It was quick, on and off.

Enemy of the State, I was more serious. I wasn't really funny in that movie, but I was more of a plot driven character. And then I got into my own show, and then I did Malibu's Most Wanted, and that was comedy. Then I was doing the Ghost Whisperer, and that was a lot of dramatic moments and stuff. Then I did Criminal Minds.

This movie I'm really happy with it. Honestly dude, I've done a lot of stuff, and I don't know if I've ever looked cooler in a movie. I do look really cool in this movie, that's what I really believe. I saw it in the big screening room at Universal, I was like damn. It looks good, the movie looks good.


It was cool, trying to not be so much Jamie Kennedy. I am Jamie Kennedy, and I know what that means, but then I evolve in the movie to more of a serious guy, and there's moments. Its nice. So, I would like to evolve, and I would like to be able to be moments where I don't have to just be funny, and then go back to it.

Obviously the master of that was Tom Hanks. I always remember the Turner and Hooches of the world, now the guy doesn't do anything funny anymore. He does in his interviews, but his whole foundation was amazing comedy.