Q&A With Fran Kranz From The Cabin in the Woods

If you haven't seen the meta-horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods, stop talking to your friends, stop reading blogs (spoilers are everywhere!), and go see it. Fran Kranz plays Marty, a stoner whose off-the-rails conspiracy theories sound increasingly less deranged as members of his posse start getting bludgeoned. And when you're done at the Cineplex, see about getting tickets for Death of a Salesman on Broadway, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield and directed by Mike Nichols. In the play, Kranz plays nerdy neighbor Bernard, whose eventual success in life becomes one of Willy Loman's many heartbreaks. Kranz spoke to Details.com about his two high-profile gigs.

DETAILS: How does it feel to be in the hottest ticket on Broadway?
Fran Kranz: Maybe this sounds arrogant, but that was kind of the thrill of getting the job in the first place, that it was the highest-profile play on Broadway this season. The people I'm working with? Such a dream come true for an actor. It's a challenging play, one that every night you "get up for"—and as soon as that night's performance ends, I can't wait for the next performance. I haven't done much theater, but I've done enough to know that that's not normal.

DETAILS: This play was written in 1949, but its themes of being self-made, living the American dream, having something to sell—and being in your thirties and still unclear of who you are—still resonate in a big way.
Fran Kranz: There's been all these connections drawn to social media and the idea of being known and well-liked—everyone's a brand—and all these interesting, valid ways that the play is maybe more relevant now than it was before. It's a funny thing that we read it at the age we do—12 or 13—because it doesn't really have that resonance until you're a young adult and you're supposed to be making something of your life. When our youth is behind us, we remember the direct or indirect succession of events that brought us to where we are. That's what the play does. It bends back in time to what went wrong. I'm 30 years old and I totally sympathize with "What the hell am I doing with my life?" I've been very fortunate with acting, but most of my friends are just hitting their thirties, and I know very few people who are satisfied and confident with what they're doing.

DETAILS: I'll bet you have a ton of friends asking for ticket hookups to the show.
Fran Kranz: I can't get people in! I've used up pretty much all my house seats for every performance. I'm not even kidding. Please print that.

DETAILS: You're also currently starring as slacker-stoner Marty in the buzziest horror movie so far this year, The Cabin in the Woods. It's full of spoilers and plot twists, but it was shelved for three years before finally being released. Was it hard to keep your mouth shut that whole time?
Fran Kranz: I've been telling people how awesome it is for three years, ever since I read the script. But there's more than one secret and so many crazy subplots; I think there's many layers of defense before this movie is completely spoiled. And even if I'd heard everything about the movie, I would still think, "Wow, that sounds insane. I gotta see it."

DETAILS: For a horror movie, it's hilarious. I loved how the script incorporated the line from that late-eighties Drug Free America commercial: "I learned it by watching you!"
Fran Kranz: You know, I feel like such an idiot, because I didn't get it! Someone had to show me the YouTube video. For the most part I feel like I'm up on that kind of popular culture—TV shows or commercials of the early nineties and eighties that everyone makes fun of and after-school specials. So I was shocked that I didn't get that! But I've seen the movie now with lots of audiences, and everyone loves that joke. It really kills.

DETAILS: Cabin was written and produced by Joss Whedon, who directed you in the Fox series Dollhouse. Whedon's known for having characters speak in his own pop lingo. Do you have any favorite Whedon-isms?
Fran Kranz: There's a great one in Cabin in the Woods, but I don't know if it was from Joss or Drew [Goddard, cowriter and director]: "husband's bulge." It's kind of dirty. In the movie, it's in Patience's diary—she mentions a "husband's bulge," and then I point out that one of the characters has a "husband's bulge" while he's with one of the female characters.

DETAILS: Have you tried to work "husband's bulge" into everyday conversation?
Fran Kranz: No, I don't think it would go very well. I already feel uncomfortable now that I've just said it.

DETAILS: Have you ever read the message boards on your IMDB profile?
Fran Kranz: I have, and I've learned it's not a good idea. Early on during Dollhouse, people told me Joss Whedon fans were very intense, that they love Joss, Joss can do no wrong, it's only his actors that do wrong. There would be some lonely late nights and I'd get on the IMDB page. I remember I was most hurt by "most annoying person in the world," or something to that effect. Amy Acker [who plays Lin] and I were filming Cabin in the Woods, and we had a little competition over worst IMDB comment. She had "worst person in the world," and I have "most annoying."

DETAILS: There's also this: "I've had the privilege of seeing him shirtless and his body is awesome. He's got these incredible eight-pack abs."
Fran Kranz: Oh, I don't know about that. There's no eight-pack anymore, if there ever was. Now, if this was fourth-grade soccer . . .

—Rachel Rosenblit, entertainment editor at Details

Also on Details.com:
60 Seconds with Tony Hawk
60 Seconds with Ellie Goulding
60 Seconds with Ellie Kemper

Photo by Diyah Pera courtesy of Lionsgate
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