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Steven R. McQueen (Piranha 3D)

Steven R. McQueen: The Interview (Piranha 3D)

Shakefire sits down and talks with Steven R. McQueen, star of the film Piranha 3D which opens in theaters today. He is most known for his role as Jeremy Gilbert on The Vampire Dairies.

Shakefire: Tell us about the film.

Steven R. McQueen: It was such a fun project to work on. It’s got all these great actors in such a surreal concept that we just gave into it. Alex Aja has done a lot of fear stuff but I feel that this one, he kind of…we definitely have the fear aspect to it and a real family base but just adds definitely humor. It’s kinda mixed with Snakes on the Plane or something like that. Between all the girls in bikinis, and these fish attacking, my mom’s a sheriff too, so it’s just, it’s a fun script.

I’m a socially awkward kid that’s in love with a girl who’s two years older. She’s dating the popular guy in school and I’m chasing her all around and she finally agrees to go on this “Girls Gone Wild” trip with Jerry O’Connell who plays kind of like the Joe Rogan of the series. We get on this boat and all this crazy stuff happens and then all of a sudden these fish start attacking this whole spring break setup and things just escalate from there. There are certain moments you jump back in fear and some moments you’re just cracking up. It’s crazy!

SF: It seems like the whole retro horror film that’s not to be taken seriously.

SRM: Yeah, you know, we just went for it. It’s cool, it’s cool.

SF: What was it like always filming in the water?

SRM: It was nice. It was something ridiculous, like 112 every day. So we would just jump in in between every take and be dry within 30 seconds. It was cool. We were filming in a spring break setting so every day was like spring break. And having Richard Dreyfuss there, Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell; I just kinda sat and talked with them and we all became a family. Adam Scott too is hilarious.

SF: Any particular scenes you were fond of filming?

SRM: Yeah, I liked doing all the underwater scenes. I’ve always made it a point to do my own stunts. There was a lot of stuff that they wanted us to use stunt doubles for going down under. I kinda sat and trained with all the stunt guys there and I got to hold my breath up to two minutes or something. Not two minutes, that’s exaggerating [laughs]. But anyways, I can hold my breath for a long time.

Filming those scenes, it’s scary. You’re down pretty deep and they have to bring the air regulator to you in between each take and you’re just kinda sitting there blind. It’s dark down there, you got no mask so your eyes are open, and they just gotta have a guy with scuba off camera swimming right to you. It’s kinda a leap of faith.

SF: Where was it filmed?

SRM: In Lake Havasu, Arizona. We actually had a whole lake built for us which was awesome. I felt like a little kid. I was like, “woah, I get to go swimming every day!”

SF: How were the fish effects done?

SRM: It was all CGI. They were based upon a certain prehistoric piranha that actually existed, obviously a little more exaggerated but we just had to embrace our imagination and go for it. It was fun. Luckily being freaked out wasn’t hard. I was panicking already, fish or no fish.

SF: How was it seeing the final product once the fish were added in?

SRM: It was fun. It’s been interesting. I did a Disney thing which caters to younger kids, then Vampire Dairies which caters to teenagers, and now all of a sudden you go to this which is definitely for the older crowd and the cult/old scary movie fans. It’s just fun to be able to entertain different groups so it was cool to see.

SF: Have you seen any of the previous Piranha films?

SRM: Oh yeah, I’ve watched them all. First one was awesome. James Cameron did the second one right? Just watching them you crack up the whole time. It’s awesome. I hope we have that with this. Though it is a scary movie you’re cracking up throughout most of it just because of the situation. I think we kept it. I hope we kept it.

SF: Did you get anything from watching them?

SRM: No, just to have fun with it. Everything that I’ve done so far the characters have been pretty dark and deep. With this one it was a little more light and free where you can kinda just go with it. So that was definitely a great experience and different character for me to play which is always fun. It’s a different mindset, different personality.

SF: What are your opinions of 3D?

SRM: I love it! I think any time there’s a change it’s going to throw people off. Like when color TVs first came out, people decided that it would never catch on. I think it just really adds another dimension to things where you can get lost. Movies are about forgetting everyday problems, everything that’s going on. It’s about losing yourself in someone else’s story for a little bit. When there’s that extra dimension, you get lost in it. It kinda brings us back to not knowing what’s going to happen and that fear of the unknown which is more fun.

SF: What was it like working with all the big name actors around you?

SRM: They’re all cool. We hung out every night. We’d all go grab some food after work, after being on the lake all day, maybe a quick drink or something, and we’d just talk. It was a cool experience cause a lot of the time in this business, especially bigger names like themselves, people get egos quick. They were all just very humble and real people which was refreshing and cool to see.

SF: Where do you see yourself in the future; more film, more TV, etc?

SRM: I enjoy doing film. Film is where the end goal is. Right now I’m a student; I’m learning. Every project I kinda pick up something new. More than anything it’s about the character I like to play. I like playing the outcast. We kinda portray this idea of perfection with romantic comedies and all that which is not something I want to do. I moved around a lot so I was always the outsider and I like portray people that have those things that hold them back from society. I always feel the outsiders are who I like to play, that side character who no one fully understands.

SF: That’s kinda funny because I see you are more of the jock type of person.

SRM: Everyone always expects me to play that. No matter who you are, whether you’re a jock – and I do play sports – we all have…people hide their insecurities in different ways. Rather than shying from it, I think it’s more fun to understand, you know.

SF: You currently have the Vampire Dairies going on, anything else planned in the lineup?

SRM: Not at all. This next hiatus, I’d like to work on something though since I took the last one off my managers are all mad at me. It’s all going to come down to script. I don’t want to do any romantic comedies. I don’t want to do anything mainstream. If there’s a great script or if there’s a great side character that’s got some problems upstairs then I’d be interested in it. But only if the right script came around.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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