Jamie Kennedy has been around the block. Your block, your brother’s block, all the damn blocks. He’s earned his stripes in Scream, Romeo + Juliet, Three Kings and countless television and stand-up specials. He’s all about taking a shot, taking chances. Join us as we learn his secrets to scoring George Lucas for a booty video, hooking up on film sets in foreign lands, and hugging persnickety writers with poison pens.
HUSTLER: Man, what have you been up to?
JAMIE KENNEDY: Doing more dramatic stuff lately. I recently wrapped a movie with Guy Pearce and Pierce Brosnan called Spinning Man. I play Pearce’s best friend. It’s a great piece about a professor who sleeps with his students. Then I did a family movie with Jon Voight called Riley’s Peak. I just got a part in a Brad Pitt movie; I can’t really talk about it, but I’m so fucking jazzed. And I’m about to start Criminal Minds—I’ll be coming back to play this serial killer, which is crazy.
Sounds like that’s almost full-circle to your early thriller work. In Scream, you were part of the first self-referential horror franchise. What do you think of the state of horror these days?
I think it’s thriving. It’s upped its game. I have this idea for horror that I’ve always wanted to get made. It’s basically that horror needs a new monster, a new icon. That’s what I was raised on: Chucky, Freddy and Jason. Pinhead. But now, besides Jigsaw, the icons have become your mind. It’s psychological. Horror has gone to a new level. The Conjuring is intense. So that has made me wonder if my concept will work, because horror films these days need a psychological element. I mean, Get Out, Oculus, It Follows. The Witch? Fuck. Oh, dude, as a person who is a fan of horror and played a seminal role in that world, it’s fucking tops. It’s definitely a top-five horror film now. It goes beyond the genre and speaks to what we’re taught about religion. Twisted, man.
What were the skills you learned from working with Wes Craven on those films?
Oh, many things. That was the second movie I ever did. I felt that movies, in general, always had to be crazy when you’re making them. Because, ya know, art is painful and wild. A lot of movies I’ve done since then have been a mix of that. But that was a movie where we would start at nine and we were done by six. Wes always said stuff like, “Just because we’re making a movie about horror, it doesn’t have to be a horrendous experience.” It was a very calm set, very chill. He’s like Clint Eastwood that way; he knows what he wants. So if you want extra takes, you gotta ask because he knows when he has it. Like “The Rules” speech, I only did three times.
Only three times, and today it’s one of my biggest scenes on film. I’m like, “Hey, man, let’s just do it one more time.” I kept at him, and later he came back to me with, “I’m really happy you did it again.” I’m an actor who gets better as I go. There are other actors who like to get done early, but as the day goes, I get better and better. I hate mornings: You can’t be funny in the morning; you can’t remember lines in the morning; it’s awful.
“WE’RE IN THE LAND OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. WE ARE. IT DOESN’T ENCOURAGE YOU TO GROW UP. AND THAT’S WHY I WAS DRAWN TO THIS BUSINESS, THIS PLACE.”