Why Are Name Actors Scared To Act In Horror Films? by Mark Heidelberger

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Film Courage: Forgive my naïveté, but why does name talent not want to be in horror movies? Is the budget too low or is there a stigma attached?

Mark Heidelberger, Producer: I think named talent is probably more adverse to horror because of a stigma. I don’t think it has to do with…because some horror pictures have decent budgets and you could be going after maybe the same names I’d be going after if it was a romance or comedy on that same budget level. So I don’t think it’s the money. I do think it’s more the stigma. My horror picture I had several casting directors pass. We had trouble finding a casting…we were willing to pay them a decent salary and a lot of them just didn’t want to take it. I think because they felt like it was going to be tough to get even a modest names on board a horror movie…you know it’s not like SEVEN where it’s like this smart thriller with some kind of really pseudo horroresque elements. It’s like straight horror, it’s a tough sell and I think a lot of actors don’t feel like maybe if they’re already established that they need to do that genre, that it’s going to help elevate their career. They want to do more serious work or whatever that might be. I’m not saying I agree with that.

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I think our picture THE BASEMENT (I thought) had a really unique, interesting storyline. Very psychological or it had some gruesome moments, but I think those gruesome moments were enough to sort of scare people away.

I think that stigma could be the managers telling them Look you don’t want to do horror because the stigma is not real, perception is reality. So if it’s perceived enough to be there then they’re just like better steer clear. You’re getting offers on these other dramas, romantic comedies, action pictures. Do those because there is no stigma with those so go ahead (they are safe). That’s my assessment. From what I’ve seen definitely actors avoiding horror pictures outside of big studio ones are definitely real because I’ve experience it firsthand, but that would be my assessment on why.

 

Question For The Viewers: Have you run into trouble attaching name talent in a horror production?

 

Image courtesy of MarkHeidelberger.com

 

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