Keeping Her Head in THE CRAZIES

It’s Friday—has your week driven you mad? Well, a friend of mine, actress Christie Lynn Smith, knows all about crazy. She’s here to discuss her latest movie, The Crazies, which opens today.

In the remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film, Christie plays Deardra Farnum, a farmer’s wife living in an idyllic town where people suddenly start going violently insane.

For more info on Christie, visit her website and check out her busload of credits here. Meanwhile, enjoy our nerd chat about her experience shooting the movie.

Pop Culture Nerd: Did you practice running around screaming in your underwear before you started production?

Christie Lynn Smith: Not in my underwear, but there were some heavy rehearsals on the day of shooting. I think I lost my voice…it sounded very deep and sexy afterwards—haha.

PCN: This isn’t your first horror movie…

CLS: I did a horror film in 2007 called The Cursed; it just aired on the SyFy Channel. I had a cameo role and open the film with a few intense scenes with my daughter. It doesn’t end very well. And a few years back I did a short film called The Last Stop Cafe where I played a serial killer on the run!

PCN: You are a freak! I’m not sitting next to you at Thanksgiving this year because you’ll have access to knives. After you’ve done a few scary movies, are you more likely to watch them?

CLS: I tend to not be able to go to sleep if I watch them too late! I have to be careful—my imagination can play tricks on me.

PCN: You shot this in an isolated town, away from your husband and baby. Ever get creeped out alone at night in your hotel room?

CLS: I flew out of town twice to shoot in Perry, Georgia and then once to an isolated town in Iowa. I never got spooked, just missed my honey and baby.

PCN: What was it like on set? Did people stay in character, or were there pranks to lighten things up?

CLS: It was awesome working on this film! I loved the director, Breck Eisner, and the producers. Breck knew what he wanted and was very clear and gave great direction. No pranks but the mood was fun for sure.

PCN: What was your favorite action scene/stunt?

CLS: There is this scene were I am standing in front of a combine and the blades were going full speed and the sound was deafening! That was cool and a little freaky. They were, like, “Be careful—if this grabs your robe, you will basically be slashed to death.” Yikes! And I had to run and run and run all night one night—that was exhausting but I am a warrior. Bring it on, baby!

PCN: Um, I hope they had good life insurance on the film. In an episode of Bones, your recurring character, Caroline Epps, was decapitated and you got to keep your fake head. Any interesting souvenirs from The Crazies?

CLS: For your readers, here’s me and my head that was found in the freezer on Bones. I have the plaster version in my backyard. We take it out at Halloween to scare kids. Just kidding! [Ed. note: Forget the kids. I almost choked on my hot dog when I saw her head lying in her backyard.]

No souvenirs from the film yet. I did get a hat that says “The Crazies—Let’s Do It in Iowa” because that’s where most of the film was shot. And I hope to get a poster!

PCN: I’m a scaredy cat. I get nightmares after watching Teletubbies. Can someone like me handle this movie?

CLS: Yes, you can handle it. It has a thriller quality to it but with a human element. I did scream and jump a few times but I laughed, too. And I did not have bad dreams [after seeing it]!

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    February 26, 2010 at 5:48 am

    PCN, you sound like me, “I get nightmares after watching Teletubbies.” Ha! I’m such a wuss when it comes to anything remotely connected to terror. Although…I get nightmares from nothing in particular too…hmmm

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

      It’s weird, then, that we read dark, violent books. Maybe that’s where the nightmares come from?

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    February 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I’ve seen a couple of different trailers for The Crazies. Never saw the original, but this version looks creepy enough on its own. The trailer where the intense guy comes walking across the baseball field holding a shotgun?! It has provided me with an ongoing waking nightmare.

    Thanks to Christie Lynn Smith and PCN for making the movie seem a bit more accessible. Reading the interview and getting to learning that Christie is fairly normal and won’t be jumping out of a dark alley at me on the way home from the theater helps alot.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

      You know what got me? Seeing a pitchfork. I’m scared of pitchforks!

  • Reply
    Eric Edwards
    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    As some of you may know, I contribute book reviews to this site on occasion. While that may make me sound like a guy who just reads all day and probably would not be caught dead at the movies watching a horror movie, I must confess: I love horror movies!! I will be attending The Crazies this weekend!!

    TO CHRISTIE LYNN SMITH: I WILL STAND UP AND CHEER WHEN YOUR NAME APPEARS ON SCREEN.

    Good times!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

      Yay! I’m sure Christie would be thrilled to hear about your cheering, but I hope the people behind won’t throw Twizzlers at your head when you stand up!

  • Reply
    Christine
    February 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Holy crap! Even knowing what was in the storage box, I think I’d still freak opening it up and seeing that head! Kudos to whatever artisan made that!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

      Christie told me to watch her on Bones without warning me what would happen to her character. I was home alone that night. When Booth and Bones opened the freezer, I yelped and jumped almost right off the couch. Husband came home to find me cowering on the couch with a throw over my head.

  • Reply
    Gina
    February 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    LOL…totally enjoyed the interview. I’m still not 100% sure I’ll see this film, but it definitely sounds like they had a blast filming it. And the frozen/plaster head bit….whoa, yeah, I bet they have more candy left on the lawn at the end of those trick-or-treat sessions. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 10:00 am

      I’d bet the kids who saw the head cried and are now in therapy.

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    February 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I think I saw the original ages ago. I’ve seen the trailer (which includes a between camera shot of the combine and the interviewee, I think), and it looks really good. I’m going to try and take it in this weekend. Fun interview, Elyse. Thanks for this.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

      Let me know what you think. I’m still being a baby about seeing it.

      • Reply
        le0pard13
        February 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm

        Brett Battles nailed it with his brief comment. The legendary filmmaker George Romeo (who did the original) also Executive Produced this, too. The cast did extraordinary work, as well. This was has to be one of the better films I’ve seen this young year, and has some of the most chilling scenes imaginable. I went to an early show, and there were only a half dozen of us there. But, we all clapped when the credits came up, PCN.

  • Reply
    Brett Battles
    February 26, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Never saw the original, but saw this new version this afternoon and loved it! It’s tight, riveting, and damn scary! Big recommendation from me…for what it’s worth.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

      Your opinion is worth a lot, Brett, but if YOU think it’s damn scary, I might have a heart attack. Maybe I’ll consult my physician before going.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    February 28, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Err, you know me and scary movies, PCN. Sorry, Christie ~ ain’t gonna happen. But I’m sure Christie is awesome in it, and I’m very sorry about the Bones decapitation!

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