Elisha Cuthbert & Joel Silver—House of Wax—02/19/05

Once a correspondent for Popular Mechanics for Kids, Elisha Cuthbert's adult stardom came with the role of Kim Bauer on Fox's TV serial 24. After appearances in Old School and Love Actually, Cuthbert took the title role in the popular teen comedy The Girl Next Door. Now, she's teaming up with legendary producer Joel Silver (The Matrix, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard) for Dark Castle Entertainment's House of Wax. Cuthbert and Silver schmoozed the press at the 2005 WonderCon at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Groucho: What was the high point during the filming for you, and what was the low point?

Elisha Cuthbert: Uhh, it was always high-energy. 'Cause the movie, once it hits a certain point in the first act, you're gone. You're totally into the film, and there's so many things boom-boom-boom happening one after the other. So to kinda get in there and do some of my sequence stuff was really high-energy. We had a lot of stunt stuff going on, we had a lot of things happening, and fire and wax, and lots of crazy prosthetics and things. So that was the exciting part. But the low part was we had a little bit of a fire mishap on the set.

Joel Silver: Little bit.

EC: Little bit. Which kind of was a high point, because it was kinda cool actually. I was like, "Wow, I get to witness, like, the studio up in flames." But it was a low point 'cause we had to stop for about four or five days and, y'know, kind of put a little dent in it. But then we kept goin', which was good.

G: Joel, how did you keep everybody calm after that?

JS: Look, I mean ever—I mean, nobody got hurt, so that's the most important thing.

EC: Yeah.

JS: I mean, nobod—I mean, we had—I mean, we didn't plan on the place burning down, but we took precautions in case something did happen. And we had built two sets of the House of Wax set that we built one on one stage—that was kind of a non-effects stage where it was the full-on set—and then one was designed as the effects stage—it was elevated so that they could—guys could get underneath it. And it was all designed for the—rigged with the fire gags. But, y'know, it just got out of hand—it was just too much stuff. I mean, we ended up doing—again, it's a thing I always say. On The Matrix, when Larry was saying to me, "I want the actors to come in for four months and train to be able to fight," and I said, "Y'know, when you paint your house, you don't hire an actor to be a painter. You hire a painter. Just hire stuntmen." And Larry would say, "No, I want the actors to look like they can do what they're doing."

EC: Yeah.

JS: The same thing in this: y'know, I mean, you don't really want to use real fire. You are telling a story and making a movie about it. But, y'know, fire is fire. It just got away from us.

EC: Once you put aside that no one got hurt, you get to realize that we were also shooting this MTV series in conjunction with the actual shooting of the film, and how brilliant it was for this episode! (Laughs.) 'Cause it was like, all of a sudden, people are going to be watching the show and go, "Oh my God, they're witnessing this huge stage get, y'know, completely demolished." It's like great television too. And so it was, like,perfect.

G: ...It's said that you will return to 24—I know you probably can't say much—but how do you see your future with the show?

EC: Uhhhh, it's up in the air right now. I mean, I—they've inquired about some stuff. I got to see. Got to read some things. But, uh, but we'll see! You never know. You can't ever put anything aside; you gotta leave it open. At least, that's what I'm doing, so.

G: ...Does this film, House of Wax, homage the 1953 film in any way outside of the title?

JS: Maybe just in concept and idea. I mean, we took it further. I mean, in this story, there is a kind of a wax museum called "The House of Wax" which is literally made of wax. So the entire building is wax.

EC: And it was, literally. It was very easy to melt.

JS: But I mean, it has some—I mean, we—when we do that, we were conscious of the original movie. And we watched it, and there are some kind of shots that will, y'know, kind of be—kind of have a memory of that movie. But it's a very different story, and a very different—and the effects are, y'know, I mean, from right now.