This article was last modified on February 12, 2015.


Interview with Adam Green and Joe Lynch, “Holliston”

Take Adam Green, the director of “Hatchet” and “Frozen”. Team him up with his friend Joe Lynch, the director of “Wrong Turn 2”. Make them roommates who work for Dee Snider of Twisted Sister at a basic cable station. Now, take GWAR and have them (or at least one of them) living in the apartment’s closet… mix it all up with horror movie effects and a sitcom sense of humor. That’s “Holliston”.

The show has had guest stars such as comedian Seth Green, Tony Todd, Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Bailee Madison, director John Landis, Ray Wise, comedian Brian Posehn, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, James Gunn and Derek Mears.

Dread Central called the show “Laugh out loud funny!”. Hitfix said that the show was “The strangest sitcom ever made… and it works. HOLLISTON doesn’t look like anything else on TV and that is a very good thing indeed.” The Austin Chronicle cited Holliston as “The show you hoped BIG BANG THEORY would be” while The Daily Trojan stated that “FEARnet’s HOLLISTON is something truly unique; a show that, in many ways, follows in the footsteps of traditional sitcoms while still having an identity all its own.”

Adam Green and Joe Lynch talked about the show with me between the first and second season (around June 2013). After a long delay, here is how that all went down.

GS: So great to have you guys here. I’ve spoken to a lot of big names, but you guys are the real deal.

AG: That’s far from the truth, but thank you. Now we’re nervous.

GS: Which one of you picked out the “Holliston” theme song?

AG: That was me. The show had been gestating for about 13 years and ever since the idea for it came about in early 2000, it was the theme song in my head. So we’re really glad that it worked out. The band is Hog. They’d played on the radio for a few weeks, but nobody really knew who they were. They broke up right after that, so it was hard to get a hold of them. Even talking to the label, the label didn’t even know that they had the band. They actually said, “We don’t know who that is.” So I was like, “We’re just trying to give you money. Take the money.”

JL: When Adam brought me into the fold, his first question was, “Do you want to do this?” His second question was, “This is the song, yeah?” That was it, really. Early on, years ago, Adam knew that was going to be the song and he played it to me. I think they played it on KROQ only 3 or 4 times, but it has such a good, uplifting beat.

GS: Yeah, I’ve actually had the album for about 15 years now. I was surprised someone knew the song.

AG: (laughs) You’re the other guy who bought the album!

GS: For those who haven’t seen “Coffee & Donuts”, which seems to be most of us, what do we need to know to appreciate “Holliston”?

AG: Really, hardly anybody has seen it. When I first got out of college, I got a job directing really bad local cable commercials, like what you see us doing on the show. Will Barratt, my business partner at ArieScope for 14 years now, made a short film with me that got a little attention. So then everyone was saying we should do a feature. We made “Coffee & Donuts”, which is basically an autobiographical movie of my life. We made it for $400 by stealing all the equipment from the cable company we worked at. We had no idea what we were doing. The movie ended up getting an award at a film festival, which got me signed at a major agency and that was really the pitch for the TV series. First it was sold to a major network, but through the development process, it got sold to someone else and kind of fell through for a while.

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Luckily, in the meantime, I was doing other things, got a bit of a following, and that allowed me more control to do things the way I wanted to do them. “Coffee & Donuts” has never officially been released because of copyright issues. It would cost millions of dollars just to have Aerosmith, Marilyn Manson and whatever else we had in there. So it will never actually come out. Sometimes when I screen other films I’ll show it as a bonus afterwards, so some people have seen it. The pilot episode of “Holliston” was essentially that movie turned into a television pilot. So much of this was already there 13 years ago. There’s no need to see “Coffee & Donuts”, and don’t feel bad that you haven’t, because no one has. I’ve seen DVD traders with it at conventions somehow, but we can’t release it officially.

GS: Is this just part of the show, or did one of you actually threaten to break up with a girl because of “Gremlins”?

AG: I never used “Gremlins” as a specific excuse, but in the time I was waiting for the girlfriend who is called Corrie on the show to come back, I would find any excuse, no matter how awful, to avoid being attached. I was just making excuses because I was still in love with someone else. I’d date someone for a little while, and then I’d tell my friends it wasn’t going to work out because she’s never heard “Master of Puppets” or something like that. And my friends were like, “Really, dude? Are you serious?” “Yeah, she’s just not the right one. What do you want me to say?” I never actually used “Gremlins”, though.

JL: I think everybody, especially genre fans, have that one film that a significant other or prospective significant other just has to see, if not love. For me it wasn’t “Gremlins”, it was “Dawn of the Dead”. The original, not the remake, though the remake is good. It was trial and error, where if they could get through it, they could have a second date. “Dawn of the Dead” is every first date.

AG: For me, that’s “E.T.”

JL: You still cry whenever you watch “E.T.”

AG: Yeah, you have to. That’s just how it is. But for the audience, we’re all the same in that we have movies that we love or don’t love or use as references all the time. “Gremlins” is just one of them, because who hasn’t seen “Gremlins”? We’re both lucky in that we ended up marrying total geeks, women who dress up for “Star Wars” conventions.

GS: A practical effects question… what goes into fake puke?

AG: Whenever somebody throws up, we try to emulate the puke from “The Exorcist”. So, it’s really a lot of pea soup and emulsifier. Which, when it’s cold and you have to hold it in your mouth, it will make you nauseous. It tastes delicious. We’re used to this kind of stuff, but it’s really fun to find new ways to torture Corrie English. We made her have to throw up on herself. We had to explain that to her. It’s an ensemble show, with no real lead character. But it’s still told through the voice of my character. I was afraid the male audience would not like Corrie because she’s breaking his heart, so one way to win them over was having her do horrible things and torture her. Making the hot girl throw up on herself. And it worked, I think, because the male audience thinks that girl is pretty cool. But yeah, pea soup…

JL: There was a bathroom puke scene where craft services really stepped up with lettuce and cauliflower. Fake blood with strawberry soda… it looked like craft services had been raiding a Dumpster. Bon appetit!

GS: How much of “Holliston” is work and how much is fun, considering you’re alongside your friends?

AG: It’s incredibly hard for me, because I’m writing, directing and show-running each episode. The pre-production, writing, post-production… it’s probably some of the hardest stuff I’ve done. But I’ve never had a better time, ever. I think everyone on the crew, the cast, and the craft service would agree. A few days before we wrapped season one people were walking around crying. On Season Two, the sound guys were emotional because they didn’t want it to end. And with TV it’s hard because you never know if you’ll see another season. Especially the first season when we had no idea what was going to happen. It’s a very unique, different show on a network a lot of people don’t have. Everything about it spelled “one season”, but people supported it so passionately right out of the gate. The morning after the first episode aired, we got a green light for a second season, which is really rare. We were shocked and thrilled. But it’s a very specific show targeting an audience that would not normally watch sitcoms. Sitcoms are not made for horror fans. Fans have all the power, and they really rallied on Twitter and the social networking sites. The fan mail we get is insane. In the past I’ve gotten people who say they love Victor Crowley, but for this we have like 90% of the people writing in about a personal struggle and what the show means to them. People are very enamored and very opinionated about Adam and Corrie and can see both sides. So it struck a chord.

JL: It is very hard work, but when you surround yourself with people you care about and enjoy working with, it’s a different kind of work. You’re killing yourself with 90-hour weeks, no sleep, no food and you’re over-saturated with work. But with these people around, it’s so much fun. It’s hard for us to see it ending, even though it’s a lot of work and we’re on set by 3am. We loved it so much we never wanted it to end, and the crew came back for season two not just because they wanted to work but because they enjoyed it and it’s so gratifying.

AG: The hardest thing, though, and I think Joe and Corrie will attest to this, is getting prepared for it. Joe has lost about 25 pounds. We’re supposed to be average guys, not good looking or models or anything. But once it was decided we were going to be the actors, we really had to commit and not just phone it in. We take it very seriously with the boot camp and the dieting. The best motivation is casting yourself as the lead on a TV show and watch how easy it is to turn down that cheeseburger.

JL: There’s an entire episode where Adam and Joe are sitting in a bathtub naked. Watch how fast those pounds come off! It’s not even a vanity thing. Who wants to see that? My mom doesn’t want to see me on TV looking like crap.

AG: I’m five pounds lighter than I was in high school. I can’t wait for my class reunion, because everyone else is bald and overweight.

GS: Are we going to see Joel David Moore on set?

AG: It’s inevitable, yes. Not season one or season two, even though we just worked together on “Driving Lessons”, a short Halloween film. But yeah, Joel and I always find a way to work together, so I’m sure it’s inevitable.

GS: Thanks, guys!

AG: Talk soon!

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