Read our exclusive interview with Patrick Fabian, who portrays Reverend Cotton Marcus in the mockumentary horror film ‘The Last Exorcism.’ The hit movie, which was directed by Daniel Stamm, is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 4, 2011. Fabian discusses with us, among other things, what it was like to appear in the critically-acclaimed movie and what his future career plans are.
Shockya (SY): ‘The Last Exorcism’ made over $20 million alone over its opening weekend (August 27-29, 2010). What did it feel like knowing that so many people accepted it and went out to the theater to see it?
Patrick Fabian (PF): Well, it was a wonderful surprise. I think Lionsgate (the studio that released the movie) and Eli Roth (who produced the film), had a great viral campaign for it. For people to go out and see it, there was a great build-up of interest. We were hoping for maybe $9 million because it was a wide release. When it cracked over $20 million, we were neck-and-neck with another film. We were thrilled. We thought we had a good tale in the end, and that helped spread it out. I have to say, you just never know in this business. All the things can be in place, and you can have big movie stars, real Oscar contenders, and their movies can tank. You just never know what the public’s going to go for. We were thrilled, it was a real dream come true. Now it’s about $75 million worldwide, it’s just now opening in Australia. We’re up for a People’s Choice Award. I got a couple acting awards, up in Toronto. We were nominated for a Spirit Award. It’s the exorcism that keeps giving, no doubt about it!
Q: Like you said, you’re nominated for a couple of awards. What’s it like knowing the world embraced your performance as Reverend Marcus?
PF: Totally thrilling! I got the Best Actor award at the AfterDark Festival in Toronto, and that was voted by the audience. Then there’s a horror festival going on over in Europe, for 43 years now, the Sitges Awards, in a beach town in Spain. And I got an e-mail awhile ago, saying that I ended up winning the Best Actor award for it. So they asked me e-mail a speech, that they translated for me. Then a box came about four days later, and there’s a statue of the robot from ‘Metropolis.’ So it was like my mini-Oscar basically. It was totally fun. We’re still waiting to hear about the People’s Choice Awards. There will be a little gasp if that happens.
Q: When the movie comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on January 4th, right before the People’s Choice Awards, why should horror fans go out and buy it?
PF: It’s got all those great extras that you’ll want. There’s commentary from myself, Daniel Stamm, Ashley Bell (who portrayed Nell Sweetzer) and Louis Herthum (who played Nell’s father, Louis). Then there’s also commentary from Eli Roth and producers Eric Newman and Marc Abraham on another one. I’m curious to see, after doing the commentary myself, what Eli’s take on it is when he’s watching the film. There were parts when me and Ashley were like, “We really like this scene.” Then Eli might be like, “Yeah, I don’t really like it so much. Ashley and Patrick were really bad.” There’s also going to be behind-the-scenes footage, a whole making-of featurette that they put together. On the Blu-ray discs, they actually have Ashley and mine’s auditions. That, I’m very curious about. I remember the audition, but I’m curious to see if my memory actually stacks up to what’s there. That would be great to see. There are a lot of great features. It’s going to look great in Blu-ray machines. It’s also just in time for Valentine’s Day, so it will be a great gift for your loved ones!
Q: Do you know if there’s any chance if there will be a sequel to the movie?
PF: Well, the movie’s still out in different territories around the world, and we’re just concentrating on the DVD release as of right now. There hasn’t been any word of it. But it’s done so well, I can’t imagine that they’re not going to want to re-visit it at some point. As of right now, we’re just riding out the great first wave that we’ve had with the film so far. As my friends pointed out, they said “I don’t see your body, so that’s good news for you!” I agree. You don’t know what’s going on.
Q: After the movie’s released on Blu-ray and DVD, you’ll be starring in CMT’s first scripted comedy series, ‘Working Class.’ You’re be playing Rob Diamond, the boss of a grocery store. So what attracted you to this role?
PF: It couldn’t be 180 degrees opposite from playing an exorcist in a horror film. It’s a classic sitcom. It’s premiering January 28, and also stars Melissa Peterman. She was the blonde on Reba McEntire’s show for a few years. It also stars Ed Asner, a TV legend, who’s totally funny. I run a supermarket, and Melissa Peterman and I are sort of a love interest with one another. It’s totally fun, it’s a fun, funny show. We’re really excited about it, we shot 12 episodes. What I like about it, as you can see from my resume, I’ve worked on quite a few things for a long time. I’m a working actor, I like to work. This job came around, and it sounded like fun, and I like the people involved. So I took it. In the springtime, we won’t be in production, we won’t know if we’re picked up for a second season. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a couple of offers, things I’m waiting to see what I’m going to do for the spring with films. It’s a full plate, and I love doing it.
Q: How did you transition from playing Reverend Marcus in the movie to portraying Rob in the series?
PF: Being an actor who’s been around for a long time, it’s just two different points of view, really. The character of Cotton Marcus is someone who’s a religious man, fighting this and fighting that. In a sitcom format, the script is a little more filled with jokes. In terms of clothing, Cotton Marcus was wearing a crumpled suit that was getting dirtier and dirtier. It’s nice being on a TV show where I’m getting fresh Armani clothes everytime I work.
Q: The last time Shockya spoke with you (before ‘The Last Exorcism’ was released theatrically), we discussed how, up until the movie’s release, you were most well-known for guest-starring on television shows. Since the movie was released, you guest-starred on Teen Nick’s ‘Gigantic.’ What attracted you to that role?
PF: In ‘Gigantic,’ I got to play a movie star! I play a movie star and the father to Grace Gummer, who’s actually Meryl Streep’s daughter. Helen Slater, who was actually ‘Supergirl,’ played my wife. What was fun about that was playing a dad, and figuring that out, and playing a Hollywood movie star. What was really cool about that was that I’d drive to work in a Jeep Patriot, and then I’d get to drive a Maserati as a dad. I get to live in a house with vaulted ceilings. It was fun, it was a fun show to do. It was fun to work on the Nickelodeon for a bit. I don’t know if that’s going to be coming back or not, that’s still hanging up in the air. But then again, I like to take the work that’s in front of me, and see where that leads you. It never hurts to take a job, that’s how I look at it.
Q: The last time Shockya spoke with you, you also said you would be more than happy to appear in another horror film. Is that still true?
PF: Oh, absolutely! Get to make Cotton 2? That would be great! Although maybe they should call it ‘The Last Exorcism 2: Exorcism in Paris’! That’s what I would like! The whole location would be great. Maybe we could go to New Orleans, or the Carribean, or Europe. But in terms of doing genre films, absolutely. I’d be up for that, I had a great time doing it. It’s given me great expsoure. It’s been really fun, a great ride. I don’t think I’m in danger of getting type-cast from this feature. I don’t think anyone’s going to think of me as one thing.
Written by: Karen Benardello