We’re only a few weeks away from the premiere of FEARnet’s series Holliston. Taking place in, you guessed it, Holliston, Massachusetts, the show will follow Adam and Joe, two guys down on their luck and stuck in small town New England dealing with life, work, and women, all while chasing their dream of becoming horror movie filmmakers.
I recently caught up with the series creator Adam Green, who’s now gearing up for the third installment of the Hatchet films, to talk about the upcoming series, his Massachusetts roots, and how the transition into writing a television series isn’t all that foreign to him.
Stacy Buchanan: So, let’s talk Holliston. What’s it all about?
Adam Green: The show is about two guys [Adam and Joe] that are trying to be horror filmmakers and their living in that time of life right out of college where when nothing’s working out like it’s supposed to. You don’t have any money to speak of and your career ambitions are just failing all around you. And the girl that was supposed to come back doesn’t. So it looks JUST like a sitcom, the laugh track, the whole thing. But it’s not about a group of supermodels that miraculously live in these nice places and have money. There are real people in it. You’ll see us stealing toilet paper from gas station bathrooms just to be able to wipe our asses. I think that’s one of the things about the show that’s really special.
And the show isn’t really just based on my life, but all of the actors in the main ensemble. Their names on the show are their real names because I wrote these characters largely based on them. In real life, I dated a girl in high school and for most of college and it was just the worst heartbreak of my life when she broke up with me. Corri English plays my ex-girlfriend and in real life she wasn’t my ex-girlfriend. We’d have camera guys that would only be there for like two days that didn’t know the whole deal yet, and afterwards they’d come up to me and be like ‘look, I don’t want to overstep my boundaries here but you can totally tell that girl is so in love with you and you’re going to get back together.’ It was a good compliment to the acting!
SB: You’ve put together an amazing cast – how did you get everybody wrangled up to participate?
AG: They’re all really close friends of mine in real life and the main ensemble [for Holliston] was written for Joe and Corri and Laura. When I brought the show to the network [FEARnet] I said that the main cast is already cast and it’s a deal breaker if you don’t want one of these people. Normally if you show up and say ‘I already cast these people’, they’ll end up saying NO. But FEARnet saw the value in the fact that we we’re all friends.
Dee is really the only one that is not playing his self. His character’s name is Lance Rockett with two T’s, because he rocks! He’s an aging wannabe rocker who’s stuck in the 80’s and still comes to work in leather pants, spandex shirts, makeup, and hairspray. For him [Dee], a lot of people assume that’s what he’s really like because of his Twisted Sister days. He’s spent the past 20 years reinventing his self and fighting that stigma, and so to play a character that is completely feeding into that, especially being on a show where everybody else is playing themselves, was a little bit of a risk. I think that what he did really worked, he completely owned it and he’s so incredibly funny on the show.
And Oderus from GWAR plays my imaginary friend who lives in my closet. He’s basically the same character that he is in GWAR, just Oderus. We were obviously overjoyed to have him.
SB: What made you decide to turn Holliston into a TV series as opposed to a movie?
AG: There are just so many possible story lines that you can choose from and places you can go with the characters. It’s got everything. It’s got the ambition. It’s got the horror stuff, but also it has the love story at the core of it.
I’ve developed a lot of TV shows over the years. In fact, that was how I made my living at first. I sold a lot of different pilots that I wrote. None of them actually ended up getting made, but it’s kind of a cool thing because whether it gets made or not, you still get paid. As a writer that’s how I was making my living, and that’s what made me be able to afford to do something like Hatchet.
You don’t really get paid a lot of money when you make your first independent movie. But thankfully I was able to stuff away all this money writing for TV so that I was able to go and do that.
SB: Were you writing horror pilots or comedy pilots?
AG: One of them was a comedy. One of them was a children’s show about a boy and his talking dog. And then another was a horror one called SOULD [S-O-U-L-D], based on a real guy that lives in California. When a real estate company can’t sell a property because it’s haunted, they call this guy in to cleanse the house of spirits. The network passed because they said that America wouldn’t watch a show about a clairvoyant person who can see dead people. And then a few years later we had Medium and Ghost Whisperer. It’s funny when it works out that way, when you’re ahead of the curve and you’re just too early with something.
SB: Your Massachusetts roots tend to make some pretty memorable special appearances in your work. Other than the physical location, are there any references that Boston folks should be looking for?
AG: Oh yeah, there are a TON. One of my favorites is a discussion between Corri and Laura about whether they should go to Market Basket or Cumberland Farms. They get into an argument about how Laura says ‘Market Basket’ and everybody else says ‘Marke-basket’. When the script circulated people were like ‘How is the funny?’ and I was like ‘Just wait, you just have to see them do it.’
We’re going to Massachusetts – we’re doing a screening for Emerson and a screening for the town of Holliston. The cast has never been to Boston and all they keep saying is ‘Are we going to go to Market Basket?’ That’s what they want to see, is Market Basket.
And the network [FEARnet] wants us to record station ID’s from places. Like Casey’s Crossing, which is the only bar [in Holliston]. “Hi, I’m Joe Lynch, and you’re watching FEARnet.” For me, it’s just hilarious that this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere that I grew up in is now becoming the focus of things.
SB: How did you meet Joe Lynch?
AG: We met when Hatchet and Wrong Turn 2 were both doing the festival circuit. There’s a guy who’s a favorite in the horror community out here [Los Angeles] named ‘Spooky Dan’. He used to hold these backyard screenings of horror movies that hadn’t come out yet, and I think it was actually the night that we were screening Hatchet that I’m standing in one corner of the house kind of holding court and making all these people laugh telling all my stupid stories, and I look across the way and there’s some other guy [Joe] doing the same thing. I was like ‘Who’s that guy?’ And so the next backyard screening I made sure that I sat next to him to see what he’s all about. And ever since that night, we’ve been inseparable. Maybe it’s because he’s from Long Island and has that East Coast work ethic and mentality, but he totally reminds me of somebody that I grew up with. I might as well have known him for 25 years.
SB: Are you guys going to be doing more work together?
AG: Hopefully the show [Holliston] will be an ongoing thing. It’s been a blast! There is a misconception out there that we’re like a team, but we both still have our movie careers. He’s [Joe] about to do his next movie Everly with Kate Hudson, which starts shooting in about two months. And I have to go produce the next Hatchet movie. But when you get to work with your friends, there’s really nothing better than that.
SB: And any updates to share on Hatchet III?
AG: We started pre-production yesterday! We should be rolling cameras by the end of April or early May . Just figuring out and finalizing everybody’s schedules. BJ McDonnell is directing. He was my camera operator on the first two Hatchets and Spiral. It’s been really inspiring to have it be somebody’s first movie again – he’s so excited, like a little kid in the candy store. And the crew is really feeding off of that and it’s making everybody else super excited.
When you get to part three of something it’s easy to start feeling a little stale. It’s just been a joy watching him take over and start steering the ship. I’m still standing behind him to help, but it is his ship and he’s doing a wonderful job so far.
Holliston premieres on FEARnet on Tuesday, April 3rd at 10:30pm. Partake in the trailer below.