An Interview with Justin Marxen from Haunt (2019)
Justin Marxen has been acting for over twenty years, and soon you will see him on the stage accepting best acting awards. One of the nicest people in the industry, Marxen has had recent success playing The Clown in the horror thriller Haunt, streaming as a Shudder exclusive and on Hulu. Marxen was gracious enough to offer a few thoughts on the industry, what it takes to get into acting, and some amazing insights into the horror genre.
First, I want to ask you what made you become an actor?
I have always loved movies since I was very little. My mom and dad always took me to the movies and they both would always show me the classics. when I started watching Al Pacino movies, That’s when I knew I wanted to be an actor.
Was horror a genre you felt you would ever act in?
I have always loved horror movies as an actor, and as a huge movie fan, you always hope to get to act in all types of genres and horror was definitely one of them.
Who were your idols? Who are your horror idols?
Good God there are so many!! I would definitely say Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Tom Hanks. Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood, Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore. Growing up, I really loved Whoopi Goldberg. I thought she was awesome in Ghost, Fatal Beauty, and The Color Purple. Horror icons, there are so many! I love all the classics, Freddie, Jason, Michael. I really love Donald Pleasance in all of the Halloween movies. He is one of the ultimate good guys.
I love both Fright Night movies as Chris Sarandon and Colin Farrell are both great. The whole cast of Aliens. Bill Paxton as Hudson is one of my all-time favorites, and he’s also one of my favorite actors of all time.
Congratulations on the success of Haunt. It seems like the movie is really gaining some cult status online, with special editions, toys, and even an LP vinyl collection. What has been the most thrilling part of it for you?
It has been an honor to get to be in that movie and to play that character and to find out that audiences have really enjoyed it. and to find out every year, more and more fans watch is just awesome! Whenever you get an opportunity to act in a movie you hope to God audiences are going to enjoy it.
The clown. What was your inspiration and how did it come to be your role?
The directors, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods grew up making movies together, and thank God they let me audition for the part of the clown. They did not make it easy.
I had to audition several times. right before one of the last auditions they gave me a note to play with voices and the first thing that came to mind was Philip Seymour Hoffman, God bless him. He had that great deep voice, especially from Mission Impossible III. Once I used that I was able to get the part.
Another of the inspirations we talked about was Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men, and I also watched Al Pacino from The Godfather, Part II. Steve McQueen was also someone I watched a lot.
Big question: Is the clown still roaming around? Is he coming back for a sequel?
That is a very good question. If there happened to be a sequel, I would be more than happy to be a part of it!!
Why do you feel horror is held in such regard, especially recently when it is getting nominated for major awards unlike before?
That’s a good question. I think horror is held in high regard because people enjoy a great scare and they wanna have fun. It’s a genre where you love the heroes and villains. I think it’s great when they get nominated. The year The Silence of the Lambs won a lot of Oscars was awesome. That was also a great year as well for the Oscars.
Can a movie be bad and still be good? Can a movie be good and still be bad?
In my opinion, there can be a movie that a lot of people say is bad, but there are always gonna be fans that love that movie and that’s cool.
What advice can you give actors who want to break into the horror genre or act in films in general?
I don’t know if I’m worthy enough to give advice, but I would say keep going! keep hustling. Send out your headshot, resume, and demo reels to a lot of acting agencies. Once you get an agent that’s half the battle.
I saw an interview with Jason Alexander one time and he said something that was awesome. If there’s nothing going on write yourself and your acting friends good parts for a film or a short, TV pilot and go out and make it and send it out. If you do that someone might see it and you’ll get more work and you will also be very happy. Good luck and Godspeed!!!
If you could be in any role, in any genre, what would it be?
That’s another great question. There are so many parts I would love to play. I love the crime genre. I love to playing police officers, detectives, undercover officers all of it!!
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