Interview: ‘Hatchet 3’s Zach Galligan Talks ‘Gremlins’ and Urban Legends

Good things come to those who wait. That’s a saying as old as Larry King, but it rings true for fans of Adam Green’s Hatchet series. Having released the first in 2006, then the second four years later, things are coming to an end with Hatchet III on June 14… Or are they? The third installment picks up with scream queen Danielle Harris reprising her role as Marybeth Dunston. She’s drenched in blood and Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan) isn’t buying what she’s selling.

Wait a minute, you mean the Zach Galligan who most of us grew up wanting to date, or be?  Yes, the man who’s widely known as Billy from Gremlins is heading back to the big screen as the Sheriff of the town that can’t catch a break. So what do you talk about when you get a chance to chat with Zach? Whether or not he owns a Gizmo, of course (spoiler: he doesn’t, he wasn’t even offered one):

MTV Geek: Did you ever imagine that one of your first roles would be enough to cement you in pop culture forever?

Zach Galligan: Wow, well when you phrase it that way… What’d you say, cement me in pop culture? I had a pretty good idea that the movie was going to do well because you kind of have to go back to that summer of 1983 and see where Steven Spielberg was at the time. The year before he’d done E.T. and Poltergeist, and E.T. was the most successful movie of all time – at that point. So you knew you were working with the number one movie guy in the world and you knew, at least I knew, I had the lead in the movie. So I felt like even if it was half successful as E.T. or the Poltergeist, I knew it would still be pretty memorable.

MTV Geek: Did you go back and watch the first two Hatchets or did you just wing it like, I’ll catch on?

Zach Galligan: When we did the picture I kind of thought my character would have absolutely no idea about anything that had happened beforehand. He was pretty much in the dark so I wanted to pretty much keep myself in the dark and experience things anew, the same way that my character would. That’s the way I shot the film. Once the movie was over I went back and watched to kind of figure out everything that happened to see how my character would’ve responded.  I’m happy to report that it wouldn’t have changed anything. There’s nothing in the first pictures that I really felt I needed to know because my character didn’t really need to know it. That’s kind of the way it worked.

MTV Geek: Are you playing the typical, clueless bumbling sheriff?

Zach Galligan: You have the typical setup in all horror movies where you have the believer and you have the non-believer. So yeah, it can be very difficult for a sheriff to believe that the reason why a young woman comes into his station covered in blood is not because she murdered people but because the ghost of a deceased relative in the swamp, that’s unstoppable, killed everyone with an ax and is now still alive and killing people in the swamp. That’s pretty much what he thinks until he gets out there and sees people slaughtered.

MTV Geek: I know it’s quite common in comedy, but are you allowed to ad-lib your scenes in movies like these?

Zach Galligan: It really isn’t so much a comedy/drama thing. I think it’s about is the director okay with it or not. In this instance Adam Green and BJ McDonnell were both totally fine with it and if they didn’t like it, they just wouldn’t use it. I think they would make sure they got the take the way they had written it and once they felt like that they had that, their feeling was like, do you wanna play around now? Go ahead.

MTV Geek: The tagline for this film is “Some urban legends never die,” are there any that you’d swear are true?

Zach Galligan: My guess is that some sort of craft has probably observed us in the sky from some other place. I have no idea. The UFOs that were spotted were probably not manned but I think there’s been so many sightings that there’s got to be something to that phenomenon. And my other guess was that it was possible, not anymore but back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s that maybe Loch Ness Monster was just sort of a leftover dinosaur or mammal that lived in that lake. There was probably just a few of them left. The way that there was the Dodo bird in like 1912, and then it went extinct. I think a lot of the animal spotting’s were very, very rare animals that we think of now as legendary creatures.

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