When Jamie Kennedy (Scream, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment) joined the Tremors franchise for its long-awaited fifth installment - Tremors: Bloodlines - the series had been on an 11-year hiatus. With co-star Michael Gross having appeared as Graboid expert and hunter Burt Gummer in every single movie and television episode, he had a big shadow to overcome. As Gummer's estranged son, Travis Welker, Kennedy had the opportunity to help bring the survivalist down-to-earth and add a fresh perspective to the series.
SR: So what initially drew you to become part of the Tremors franchise?
JAMIE KENNEDY: It was a really good character. It was part of a legendary franchise and was like something that was so cool. You know hadn’t made one of these movies in about 12 years. They were saying how it could be a totally new type of movie and it was different and they were going to reboot the franchise. So I was very excited about. So I saw a lot of possibilities there.
SR: Yeah, the big fan base was clamoring for it for quite a long period of time so, you came on-board at a very good time for it.
JAMIE KENNEDY: Yeah, it’s a huge fan base and I realized how big it is and I’m lucky to be in it. The people really seemed to grow over time. It’s a great world, this Tremors world, and people just keep watching them. So it’s awesome.
SR: In this movie Travis takes a very big leap in responsibility in the actual Tremors world. Do you think, as a character, he's ready to take that kind of charge? Is he mature enough now to take over for Burt [Gummer], should Burt officially ever want to pass that torch to him as the lead character?
JAMIE KENNEDY: Well, that’s what you’re going to see in this movie. You're going to see Travis grow and he's going to change and he's going to become more of a man. The first movie is a little bit more of a fun loving goofball, and then in this movie, certain things start to happen. Then we realize that he’s becoming more of a man. Burt really has to trust him with the reins, and that’s kind of what the movie is about. It’s about him growing in who he is and taking over for this father. There’s a lot of that in there.
SR: What’s your favorite part of the original trilogy and/or TV show that you enjoy drawing references to, other than being, obviously, Heather and Burt’s son?
JAMIE KENNEDY: Yeah, I’m their son but I think the just the genealogy of the whole Perfection, Nevada and how there’s a lot of references to Chang’s Market. In this one, we see some of Burt’s life. There’s a lot of cross-references between this one and the first one. Then there’s Kevin Bacon. People just loved Kevin Bacon in [Tremors] and there’s references to him. I think we try to be true to the whole genre of Tremors and how we add stuff to it.
SR: Where would you eventually like to see the characters, and maybe the story, progress? What different environments or different aspects would you like to see added to the franchise?
JAMIE KENNEDY: I think space is next…I'm kidding. Well they couldn't they could go to Canada, because they didn’t think [Graboids] could survive in the cold. They didn’t know where they could go, these things. So I think that this is a new [idea]. Tremors in the Arctic is a new one. For me, I think maybe going somewhere in the ocean, water, because they’ve always been in the land. But if you have something in the water the whole world is opening up, because Tremors in the water – people didn’t think they could be there. It just expands the world even more.
SR: Could you see them in a volcano or maybe even an urban environment where they're inside of a city? Because they haven't really been inside of a big city yet.
JAMIE KENNEDY: They haven’t been! That’s a really good point. That’s a really good point, bro. I think you're right. I think that somewhere in a big city - like doing your stuff - like that would be actually, really big. Somewhere in a big city, like New York, would actually be really big. Some city were the Tremors…that’s a really good idea. I like Tremors in New York. *laughs*
SR: Or Chicago seems to be the place to destroy at the moment.
JAMIE KENNEDY: Yeah, that’s where Burt’s favorite team [the Cubs] is from.
SR: Then you can wrap it all together. Usually they allow the Graboid to morph over the course of the first three films. It has a new transition they add to it each time. Then after the third one with Assblasters they kind of stopped doing that. Now, they’re just changing the environment. So do you see them maybe changing the [Graboid] body again and doing something else besides the Assblaster? Though I know that's an entire cycle: Graboid, Shrieker, back to Assblaster.
JAMIE KENNEDY: How do you mean?
SR: They morph every movie during the first three movies. They change. The Graboids are underground, then they added the Shriekers, and then in the third movie they added the Assblasters. Then they didn’t really do anything else with the monsters, as far as, morphing it. They just started changing the environment where we would find the monsters. They went to the Old West. They went to Africa and now they’re in the Arctic, north of Canada. Do you see them maybe changing the body of an Assblaster and coming up with something new? If so, what would you like to see them maybe change it into?
JAMIE KENNEDY: The Assblaster, that’s part of the worm. That’s the bird, man. The Assblaster is a bird.
SR: Right, so they have flying, they have underground, the have on top of the ground – but you mentioned maybe going into the ocean? Could there be a mutation for that?
JAMIE KENNEDY: That would have to be a whole different type. Maybe that would be like a mutation? That’s what we talk about in this movie about: How did the Graboids end up in the Arctic? That’s a big thing. People are going to find out how they happened in the Arctic. So if they did go to another geological location, like the water, they probably had to mutate. Do I see that happening? I have no idea. I don't know what the next move is going to be but it will be pretty cool if they keep expanding the world.
SR: Are there going to be more films? Michael [Gross] talked that they were discussing it soon, actually. Have they mentioned it to you at all?
JAMIE KENNEDY: I haven't heard anything yet, but you know Michael is deep in the Tremors creative pit. So he’ll know than I do. Maybe they are? I don’t have any idea but people seem to like them. So we’ll see how this movie does.
SR: Now they're doing the TV show again, obviously with just Kevin Bacon and his daughter - clearly being played by somebody different on the show. Have you been approached to do any kind of cameo or any kind of part in the TV show at all?
JAMIE KENNEDY: I have not been approached by any of that. I think that’s a whole different world they’re doing. But it’s good just because it gets the name Tremors out there. Talking about it and promoting the brand of Tremors. But no, I’m not involved, but Kevin Bacon is, I heard, and that's awesome for the whole thing.
SR: Yeah. I'm wondering where Fred Ward is in all of this. Would you like to see him come back?
JAMIE KENNEDY: Yeah man! Fred is a legend! The whole [world] of Tremors is based off the first movie. The energy of that first movie and how it’s completely this little underground hit that became a super-duper cult classic. If Jurassic Park is the “father”, then Tremors is the “son”. You know what I mean? It has its own world and people love it. So I’d like to see the series become successful, anything with Tremors, because I think it’s good for the show.
SR: Maybe Fred comes back on the next movie and [Travis] gets introduced to his daughter? How would that work?
JAMIE KENNEDY: Who’s playing his daughter?
SR: Somebody hot?
JAMIE KENNEDY: *laughs* I'm going to look it up right now.
SR: OK. So if you could play Travis and any other horror property, right, any type in this genre. Obviously not something like Friday the 13 or anything like that. Any other monster horror property, which would it be and why would you choose to do that one?
JAMIE KENNEDY: In horror or in an action movie?
SR: Horror or action, something where it would make sense, where you would be in that type of environment – monster hunters and such.
JAMIE KENNEDY: You know what? That’s a really good question. I’d love it to be Jurassic Park because Travis came into this [Tremors] world trying to show his dad how to “blow up” and become more successful. So he started the YouTube channel and said, “Hey! How are you going to reinvent the Burt Gummer brand?” He taught Burt how to become more socially relevant on social media and Burt taught him how to hunt these monsters. How to take them down. So I always think that Graboids and Assblasters are in the same world as Jurassic Park. It would be cool to be somewhere in Jurassic World, like a Tremors/Jurassic Park crossover. That would be sick.
SR: Who wins: Graboid or a T-Rex?
JAMIE KENNEDY: You know what? I think there's mutual respect there. I think at the end of the day you’re going to look at it and you’re going to see the T-Rex is bigger and could win, but I think the Graboids have their own strength, because they go underground and T-Rex’s can’t. Then they have the Assblasters above them. So you’ve got the air, the ground and the sub-ground, all covered. There could be a lot there.
SR: They’re on even footing when it comes to arm length, though.
JAMIE KENNEDY: *laughs* Yeah, Yes sir.
Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell is on Blu-Ray and DVD now.