SANTA MONICA, California — He shows up at the MTV studios alone, eager to share "[movie id="369195"]Twilight[/movie]" gossip while we set up the cameras. Once the red light comes on, he peppers his answers with laughs, sarcasm and the revelation that he has all his fellow vampires in his cell phone — yup, even [movieperson id="365131"]RPattz[/movieperson].
[movieperson id="457212"]Edi Gathegi[/movieperson] may be a box-office star and one of the most suddenly in-demand character actors out there, but most importantly, he is every bit as nice a guy as you'd hope.
These days, Gathegi is playing one of several possible suspects in the fun-loving, bloody whodunit flick "My Bloody Valentine 3-D," which hit theaters Friday (January 16). We sat down with Edi to talk about waving things at the camera, the curse of being a black man in a horror movie and what to say to a naked woman you won't be having a sex scene with.
MTV: So Edi, tell us about the "[movie id="377190"]Bloody Valentine[/movie]" plot.
Edi Gathegi: It's a remake of the 1980s film "My Bloody Valentine." In a small-town community, there's a miner who has lost his mind, and he's going around chopping people up. I play one of the deputies on the case.
MTV: Part of the fun, obviously, is slipping on those 3-D glasses and having axes, body parts and everything else flying out at you. What is your character's proudest 3-D moment?
Gathegi: Well, my most proud 3-D moment didn't make it into the film, but it's OK, because I didn't feel authentic doing it. You do the work you do as an actor. For the 3-D to work, you have to do a deliberate take. So my thing was I was looking into a video camera, and I had to move the camera lens slowly, and it [was supposed] to come into the audiences' faces.
MTV: We're not going to say whether you live or die, but when you get a horror script as an actor, do you flip through the pages hoping your character will get a grisly death scene?
Gathegi: Nah ... I have died in enough TV and films. When I was reading this script, I never wanted to die, because then you can't do the sequel.
MTV: What attracted you to the flick?
Gathegi: There are three-dimensional characters in this world. There's a love triangle going on, there's a town that counts on the mines in order to survive for their whole livelihood — it's operating on so many levels. And then there's this psychopath, who has his own reasons for killing people. ... And the fact it was 3-D, that was the most alluring aspect. The most fun I had in a movie theater was watching "[movie id="283620"]Beowulf[/movie]" in 3-D.
MTV: This film also has what might be my favorite movie tagline of the year.
Gathegi: [In an intimidating voice] "Nothing says 'date movie' like a 3-D ride to hell!"
MTV: Wow, you should get a job doing voice-overs on movie trailers.
Gathegi: [Laughs.] I want to. I've heard those guys get paid a lot of money.
MTV: Give us the perfect date-movie scenario involving "Bloody Valentine."
Gathegi: Well, this movie is doing most of the work for you gentlemen. Pick up your lady. Pay for the movie tickets. Sit in the first five rows — you're going to want to get the maximum effect; don't sit too far back. Have her grab your arm — hopefully you've been working on those biceps. You might get lucky and need to protect her, because it's scary. And don't jump yourself! Because she's not going to like you afterwards.
MTV: This film also has a very interesting performance by actress Betsy Rue. She's onscreen for more than five minutes, without so much as a single stitch of clothing. How, exactly, did that go down behind the scenes?
Gathegi: I assume she knew what she was getting into when she read the script. It was clear in the script that this chick did not have an article of clothing on her when she gets ... well, no spoilers here. But I thought she was badass that way. That's also like a plausible moment to me. A slasher film has got to have a sexual aspect, and sometimes it's thrown in there gratuitously, but in this situation, she's some bad bi--h walking around naked.
MTV: Were you there when they filmed those scenes?
Gathegi: Yes, and it was very uncomfortable for me at the moment. They didn't let any of the crew in, except for the people who had to be there in the room when she was naked. We have one scene where I'm there with her. But I'm a gentleman! I couldn't look at her. I felt I was cheating because she was naked. That was an experience that I hadn't been familiar with, filming with a naked actress — especially when it's not a love scene. I'm just observing. It's weird.
MTV: Well, you know the rule: If you get naked in a horror movie, you're not gonna be around very long.
Gathegi: Yeah, but there's also another rule: If you're black, you don't make it through the opening credits.
MTV: Well, congratulations! I think we can reveal that you make it that long, at least.
Gathegi: [Laughs.] We're changing the game in "Bloody Valentine."
MTV: But in all seriousness: As an African-American actor, would you consider it a great triumph if you lived to the end of the movie?
Gathegi: [Laughs.] Is it important for me? I think it's important on many levels. ... But if I did end up expiring before the opening credits, as long as my character was badass during the first 30 seconds, then I might have taken the job.
MTV: And if you did survive, well, you're like the Barack Obama of horror films.
Gathegi: Exactly. [Laughs.] Wow, we just made that comparison. Unbelievable.
Check out everything we've got on "My Bloody Valentine 3-D."
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