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Friday, September 24, 2021

Eric Lange & Jeff Ward Discuss Their Fates in Brand New Cherry Flavor

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Netflix’s latest horror series Brand New Cherry Flavor is out now and it’s incredibly unique with kittens, vampires, odd sex scenes, and much more. The series stars Rosa Salazar in the lead role as aspiring filmmaker Lisa Nova with Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, and Jeff Ward rounding out the main cast.

“Lisa Nova comes to LA dead set on directing her first movie,” reads the official synopsis. “But when she trusts the wrong person and gets stabbed in the back, everything goes sideways and a dream project turns into a nightmare.  This particular nightmare has zombies, hitmen, supernatural kittens, and a mysterious tattoo artist who likes to put curses on people. And Lisa’s going to have to figure out some secrets from her own past in order to get out alive.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Brand New Cherry Flavor stars Eric Lange and Jeff Ward about their character’s fates in the show, that awkward yet inventive sex scene, and much more in a spoiler-filled chat.

Tyler Treese: Eric, Lou’s character arc I thought was really interesting because he’s this total sleazebag producer, but even then, as a viewer, I started to have some sympathy for him. You see him truly care for his son, and there’s a very human element there. Were you glad that it wasn’t just a one-note character?

Eric Lange: Yeah, for sure. That’s credit to Nick [Antosca] and Lenore [Zion] too for shaping it that way. It’s really easy for that to become a caricature. I feel like when you look upon the mountain of famous people that are standing at the top of it, it’s easy to judge. It’s easy to sort of assume their lives are nothing but ease and parties, but I like seeing underneath the veneer and behind the facade as it were. Like I was saying a few moments ago, I feel like it is so easy to have him fall in that category that my job is to sort of the boxing match I’m in is to get the audience to be on my side of it.

Even though he was inappropriate, even though there was this snap of violence, like if I can win a little sympathy back, that would be an interesting challenge for me. He does have things he loves and he cares about, and he’s a human being. He experiences loss and he experiences this fading career that he’s grappling his way through. So, I do, I see Lou as sort of more pathetic than anything. I’m glad I got a little hook in your side there to not just hate the guy.

Jeff, you get to play this very interesting character. He is a self-destructive actor that’s really just looking for meaning in his life. He’s a more well-rounded character than in the novel. He has very much a lesser role there. How did that inform how you played that role?

Jeff Ward: Yeah, it’s interesting that you bring that up because when I looked at the novel, obviously he’s this kind of creepy, not creepy, but just like crazy obsessed, you know, kind of a psycho, not psycho, just crazy obsessed. Psycho is relative in this world. But he’s this crazy obsessed movie star and then goes and gets beheaded immediately. It’s so shocking in the book, but I think what Nick and Lenore did by taking that same arc and that same story and stretching it out over the whole season, I thought that was just so smart because I think in that way, by releasing this curse into the world, Lisa cost herself Roy, who would have been much more than the film and much more than anything else, her ultimate prize. It’s in a classic Pandora’s box scenario. It’s kind of like the thing that she didn’t even know yet was going to be the most precious thing is literally ripped away from her.

Eric, I would love to know what really grabbed you about the script and made you want to be about this project? Because it’s so unique. I’ve never watched anything quite like it.

Lange: Well, that’s your answer right there. I’m lucky I’ve gotten to work a lot in my career, but when you look back, it’s the kind of things that are made, especially these days, there’s lots of remakes. There’s lots of formulaic stuff and they do it because it works and it makes money. I understand that, but you don’t often get to really walk out on the edge of something on the edge of this expansive, what are people going to think about this? When we were doing it, sometimes I was like, this is kind of like watching a car crash in slow motion. These YouTube videos or whatever. Some people are fixated by them and love to watch and other people, it frightens them and they turn them off.

But, the arc of the curse and just the true weirdness that goes on in this thing, I was just more curious than anything. Like, how are we going to do this? It was just such a unique, singular challenge, unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. I like it for the viewing audience, because I feel like it’s, again, like you say, it’s just totally out of the ballpark of what we’re used to seeing. As an actor, I got to do a bunch of things I’ve never gotten to try and do in any other piece of work.

Jeff, this has one of the strangest sex scenes I’ve ever seen with the rib cage wound. Like, I’m sure that was like a prosthetic, but how odd was that to film?

Ward: Incredibly strange. I thought maybe, cause we were discussing it earlier, when I read the script, it was very shocking, but honestly it looked so real that it was horrifying. It’s really cool because I think the [way the] entire show is shot, there’s no handheld in the show and for that scene for all of the sudden, it breaks and becomes a handheld shot when she crawls across the bed and over to Roy. To me, it’s such an amazing directorial and cinematic, Matt Sobel, who directed it, and Nick, and the choice of that to kind of literally break out of the mold of how the show is being made. I think that by being handheld you’re so in that position with them and you’re so like, what is going on, this is so crazy that can’t believe this is real and kind of just sort of going with this crazy.

I mean, I guess if you walk in on someone throwing up kittens, a side whole that they’re sexually stimulated by maybe isn’t that weird, but it was really shocking to read, and then it was crazy to try and perform. I think Rosa is amazing in that scene. Then it was funny because there’s one take that ended up being in the show. That was the last take we did that. It felt very electric and real, and it was the one that you ended up seeing. So hopefully it translates in that way because it’s such a surreal set piece that is so different and interesting. The game is can you make it make sense and relevant and not just be a cheap set piece, be something that actually means something. I think it does both. It’s stunning you because you never seen anything like it, but also it feels like it weirdly fits in the show and in their dynamic and their story and it fits.

Lange: The level of commitment in that scene. I was saying earlier that you see the zombies and the blood and the guts and the kittens. But when I watched that, that’s the first time in my head I was like, “My parents, I don’t know if my parents can watch this show.” Part of it is to credit them, Rosa and Jeff, that the level of commitment that it feels so effing real. It’s disturbing in such a real way.

Eric, Lou is so passionate about films, but he’s left blind and he’s lost so much. But he’s one of the few characters that makes it out alive. How do you feel about his character’s fate? Do you feel like it’s almost more of a punishment for him to still be alive with the way he is?

Lange: Yeah. I think the line is something like, she turns on a movie and he’s like, “If I can’t see it, I don’t want to hear it.” It is kind of a purgatory he’s left in. To say to her good luck like this is what… Here’s, what you made. Here’s the cake. Here’s the bed you’ve made, now go off and lay in it. I don’t know. I think it’s sort of a pathetic ending.

Jeff, you mentioned you meet a pretty gnarly fate in the final episode. I’d love to get your thoughts on the death scene and how was it to film getting your head ripped off?

Ward: It was crazy. It was a lot of prosthetics and a ton of time. Those few shots took many hours to do. It’s funny that you ask, because I remember when we were filming it, everybody was in these kind of white hazmat-looking suits because there was so much blood everywhere that it was just like anybody that was going in and out had to be wearing these white suits. At a certain point, when we were filming the actual head getting ripped off, there was a moment where everyone was just like, “Oh, it’s so exciting. Can you believe that your head is getting ripped off? Well, come on, we’re going to watch!” I was like, why is everyone this excited? Everyone’s very, very pleased to crowd around and watch my head get ripped off.

But it was, it was incredible, and I think it looks incredible. I love it because it’s such a violent and horrific ending, especially because he’s a movie star. It feels very shocking and very, you know, but also I love it because it’s like, as Eric was just saying, this is your bed you made. It’s not just that he dies. He gets ripped apart and eaten and decapitated in a way that mirrors back to his fault with his sister in a way that I think was a self-fulfilling prophecy just by being around Lisa so much. I think deep down he was trying to get that. But, yeah, it was a crazy thing to film, so much blood and a lot of reverse shots, but we did it as practically as we could. I think it came out looking really cool if horrifying.

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