In the spring of 2007, Drew Goddard — who’d gotten his start in Hollywood writing on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and moved on to write episodes of Angel, Alias, Lost, and the monster movie Cloverfield — was approached by Whedon with a crazy idea: Lock themselves in a hotel room for a weekend to write a horror movie. And not just any fright fest, but one that would work as a straightforward horror flick while also being somehow about the entire genre of horror flicks. Naturally, Goddard said yes.
Two years later, Goddard was directing, and Whedon producing, The Cabin in the Woods, but thanks to the MGM bankruptcy, it wasn’t until the film premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival that audiences got a chance to see it. It subsequently opened in theaters to rave reviews and an instant cult following, and in this exclusive clip from the Blu-ray (out Sept. 18), Whedon and Goddard talk about that lost weekend that got it all started. Check it out below, and then read on for Goddard’s further thoughts on working with Whedon, writing Steven Spielberg’s upcoming action spectacular Robopocalypse, as well as some seriously SPOILER-y talk about Cabin‘s much-discussed ending.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you and Joss discover in that marathon writing sprint that most surprised you?
DREW GODDARD: It was surprising that Joss Whedon is so scared of the dark. Every night he would just be flying into bed with me saying he was terrified and I had to keep the light on. “Joss, please just go to sleep.” Very childish, and I want that in print, please. [Laughs] I think the most surprising thing was how much fun it was. It’s definitely scary to say we’re locking ourselves in our hotel and we’re not allowed to leave until we have a script. That’s a little terrifying, and yet in the case of Cabin, it was just fun. It was just writing for the sake of writing and entertaining each other and all of the things you want the creative process to be but somehow never is because of other outside factors. And in this case, it was just pure.
You’ve touched on a question in jest that I was actually curious about. When you write something that’s scary, do you yourself get scared?
Yeah, you do. It’s funny. You start to fall in love with characters as you work with them, and anytime that you care about your characters and you realize that you’re gonna have to kill them, that fear creeps in. It’s sad. It’s scary, and it’s also sad. Because you like these people. So certainly as we were getting into some of these deaths, I started feeling, “Well maybe they should all live.” You definitely feel, “What am I doing? This is terrible. I love these characters,” but then you realize, “Nope. They gotta go.”
This isn’t a romantic comedy. This is a horror movie.
Exactly. Very strange romantic comedy.
I’m sure in that writing process you wrote things that didn’t make it into the film. Was there anything that you were sorry to cut out?
Not really. I have to say, everything we wanted to make into the film at the end of the day made it into the film. If anything, all the scenes were longer. That’s sort of what you do — you write them long, and then you see what works and what doesn’t. Try to trim it down. And certainly when you’re dealing with Captain Flowery Writing Joss, those things are about three times as long as they need to be. So a lot of trimming is what needed to happen.
Does Joss snore?
He just mostly screams. Just screams in horrible terror as he faces his own existential angst in his sleep. And it’s very high-pitched.
SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED, READ NO FURTHER. EVERYONE ELSE, CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED AND CLICK TO THE NEXT PAGE!