Clancy Brown has one of the most recognizable personas in our cultural zeitgeist. When in doubt, you know that Clancy Brown will be there. From Marvel to the world of Star Wars to giving us years of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants, he’s always dedicated to his craft.
His most recent film is a Goosebumps-feeling ride into the world of horror in short stories from the history of Montgomery Dark (Brown), in The Mortuary Collection. I spoke with Clancy Brown in preparation for the film’s release, and he had a lot of fun insights on the industry, his work in both voiceover acting as well as live-action, and The Mortuary Collection!
THE MARY SUE: I really liked this movie. It felt a lot like a Goosebumps story to me and I grew up in that generation, so it was really cool to see like an adult Goosebumps. And so I want to know what kind of drew you into this project?
CLANCY BROWN: I got sent the script, The Babysitter Murders and I started reading the script dutifully eventually, and it was very good from the get-go and it was sort of crazy, crazy good. The first segment was not the segment that they have in it right now, because this other kind of segment that was reminiscent of Glengarry Glen Ross. And it was just insane. I think finally what happened, the guy got killed by a shark in a phone booth or something. It was just like just nuts. I just love stuff like that. So, that just kept me reading. And as I kept reading, I kept sort of falling in love with this Montgomery Dark character, even though he seemed very cliché and everything’s dark. But he was, so sort of, elegant and fun and funny, and Sam was so disrespectful and horrible to him, but yet they obviously liked each other and she kept challenging him and he kept rising to the challenge and she would critique him and, you know, back and forth.
And then all the segments were pretty heartbreaking. The “Till Death Do You Part” was particularly heartbreaking, I thought. And then when it got to The Babysitter Murders, it didn’t have that written out and it just said The Babysitter Murders. And then it went into the last part of the script. So I read the script through, and now I had to go watch “Babysitter Murders” to find out what the story was. And then I find out, you know, the main joke of the story, which was terrific and also learned that Ryan knew how to direct. And every time I thought, “Oh yeah, I know what’s going to happen,” he lived up to my expectation and then exceeded it. He would be my perfect kind of fishermen. He would like throw the line out. I recognize that bait, I’ll take a bite of that worm.
And every single time he just went two or three steps beyond what your expectation was. And I love that about his script and his writing and his directing as well. So then I met him and he was a delightful guy, very humble, very frustrated that nobody wanted to make his movie. And the conventional wisdom was that nobody wants to make movies like this anymore. These movies can’t be made or should be made or whatever it was. So, you know, you have to go make it, that’s all that means. You just have to prove on all these gatekeepers wrong. So that’s what we did.
THE MARY SUE: Yeah, and it’s fun. And cause you have this energy about you. Like, I remember when the news broke that you were going to be in Dexter. Everyone I know was like, yeah, that checks out, that fits for Clancy Brown. Like that is the energy that he kind of carries and it works very well in this movie. It’s just that there are certain roles that I’m like, yeah, that fits, that is very much like a Clancy Brown role that I will dig. And I think that’s like, what makes you so interesting, but you kinda go back and forth. I’ll admit, I didn’t realize you were Mr. Krabs until like two weeks ago. I don’t know what I was doing, but-
CLANCY BROWN: Well, why would you? Obviously, you don’t read the credits.
THE MARY SUE: (Laughs) When I was a kid. I was like, all right, great. But you kind of go back and forth between a lot of voiceover work and then on-camera work obviously. What do you find to be more fulfilling as a performer?
CLANCY BROWN: The best stuff. I mean the best scripts, whatever they are, you know, I really enjoy doing SpongeBob. Not all the scripts are great. Cause you can’t do something for 20 years and have every script be terrific but most of them are terrific and most of them are a lot of fun and the guys, I do it with are a lot of fun. So, you know, we enjoy each other and the world is great, love doing the world. You know, animation these days is pretty great. I don’t know what you’ve been watching. I think The Invincibles is coming out. That’s a pretty good book that they decided to make into a series. I think it’s on Amazon, I think. Animation’s just really good these days. And can you even draw a line between animation and live-action with all these superhero movies? They’re almost all animated these days. So I, you know, I don’t think there’s a distinction to be made particularly. I really enjoyed doing Warcraft. That was a lot of fun.
THE MARY SUE: You have so many of those franchises kind of under your belt, cause like you’re on The Mandalorian, you were in the Marvel world and it’s like, is that something that just fell in your lap or is that kind of exciting for you?
CLANCY BROWN: That’s just the way the industry is. When I was a kid, I was right in the demographic when Star Wars was released. So I’ve been an established fan since the beginning. But you know, the industry has just gotten geekier and geekier over the years. So yeah, that’s fine with me. I’ll do that. Or The Irishman if they want me to do, The Irishman I’ll go do that too, but nobody’s calling me to do The Irishman. So I guess I’ll just do The Mortuary Collection.
THE MARY SUE: Yeah. But it’s very, like you said, it was a nice return to movies that I remember growing up watching, like obviously the child versions, but like, it was a return to that kind of horror movie and it was very fun to like go back.
CLANCY BROWN: Yeah, that’s what Ryan wanted to do. I think he wanted to sort of present something that was very familiar and comfortable for everybody in that, you know, just dial it up a bit and make it, you know, make it even more horrible, more, you know, it’s also very feminist this movie.
The Mortuary Collection is available on VOD, Digital, DVD and Blu-rau April 20.
(image: Trapdoor Pictures)
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