Make no mistake, the flesh-eating, monstrous children who dismember their teachers in Cooties are a force to be reckoned with. Luckily for the adult actors involved, the terrible kid behavior was limited to the time between “action” and “cut,” according to star Jack McBrayer. And sometimes the adults had to remind the kids to be scary, not giggly.
Cooties is a star-studded horror comedy in which McBrayer, Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Rainn Wilson portray a group of middle school teachers who have to fight for their lives when their students catch a virus that turns them into terrifying, grotesque predators. Screen Rant sat down with McBrayer to get the inside scoop about how they pulled off a film that is equal parts disgusting and hilarious, how he perfected his horror movie scream, and to end things on a lighter note, what he knows about Wreck-it Ralph 2.
When did you first learn about actual cooties?
The real epidemic that we have? Gosh I don’t know, second grade? On the playground.
Did you ever catch any?
Yes, I am cooties survivor, I’m here to share my story with the world.
What practice or fine-tuning did you do with the scary movie scream?
Ooh, that’s a good question. Not too much, I sound the way I sound. I don’t know, it was just fun to scream at these children who were dressed up. It was fun. Yes, I didn’t practice different screams, I sound like a scared girl anyways so [laughs].
But also you are a professional so you were just in the moment, reacting.
That’s true, I used my instrument.
What can you say about the scare factor vs. the humor factor?
That’s a great question, I think the Cooties has a very good balance of comedy with horror and also the writers have backgrounds in both. Leigh Whannell is and very talented comedian, but he wrote Saw and Insidious and has all this crazy backgrounds. But I think between that and Ian Brennan, they really combine the two pretty good. I think it worked because we can get pretty gory in this movie too.
Without spoiling anything, what would you say is the grossest scene in the film?
Well, I think there’s one montage when we know that things are really going to trouble, when the kids have kind of taken over the playground, the teachers are still holed up inside, but we see a montage of what exactly the kids are doing with the carnage, you know what I’m talking about, it’s gross. All those body parts, we use for real, we recycle them, we didn’t want to spend the resources on production.
I visited a set once with lots of kid actors and they were filming a food fight scene and to get the kids energized all the craft service was sugar, what was the craft service this situation for you?
Kind of the same, a great deal of sugar, but that was per my contract. All Pixy Stix, all Mountain Dew, I don’t know what the kids were eating. No, the kids were so great, and so patient with us. They were giggling as much as we were, so sometimes we had to be like, “Remember, you are scary monsters.” It was adorable.
Do you know about Wreck-it Ralph 2?
You know, I honestly don’t know a great deal, which I’m not just saying to deflect, but if you hear anything, give me a call?
Do you have any inkling if Felix is in it?
I don’t know, but how awkward would this be right now if he wasn’t?
I just assume. I like to assume in this case.
I do too, so does my accountant.
How soon do you actually find out about that stuff?
I don’t know, because I don’t remember how it worked on the last one for Wreck-it Ralph 1. Those kind of movies take two and a half years so your guess is as good as mine, but if you hear something, track me down.
But you are ready to put a little time in your schedule for it?
I am. Daddy’s got bills to pay [laughs]. But also I love doing them.
Cooties will be in theaters September 18, 2015.