Max Thieriot stars in the new horror film House at the End of the Street, which arrived in theatres this weekend. The unnerving psychological thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa, a young teenager who moves into a new home that’s next door to a house where a gruesome double murder took place.
Max plays Elissa’s neighbour, Ryan, who survived the murder that took his parent’s lives. The two meet and start to form a relationship but as they get closer, it turns out that all is not as it seems and when startling and unexplainable events begin to happen, Elissa learns that the town, and Ryan, may be harbouring a deadly secret.
Recently, we had the chance to speak with Max at the film’s LA press day. He discussed his preparation for the role, why he was attracted to it, what his favorite horror films are and more.
Check it out below but be warned, there are minor spoilers throughout.
We Got This Covered: How did you prepare for the role of Ryan?
Max Thieriot: I watched a lot of videos of people who have done terrible things in their lives. I read interviews too. In an interview with Charles Manson, they asked him if he felt remorse and he said “Remorse for what? You people have done everything in the world to me. Doesn’t that give me the equal right?”
When they asked if he was guilty, he said he wouldn’t do anything that he’d feel guilty about. So, I was trying to figure out what that all means and wrap my head around some crazy stuff. At the same time, I wanted Ryan to be compassionate, affectionate and somebody that everybody cares about. Someone that Elissa would be willing to approach and form a relationship with. Mark helped me too. We talked about it a lot and went into all sorts of character development.
We Got This Covered: Does it feel good or weird knowing that you pulled off the part of a psycho killer?
Max Thieriot: Yeah, I think I’m really messed up (laugh). You feel good about it. It’s rewarding. It takes a lot of time of just being alone, locking myself up in my room watching interviews and not thinking about anything.
We Got This Covered: What made you take this role?
Max Thieriot: When I read the script, I was so shocked by the ending. I never saw it coming. I read enough scripts where I feel like I can see, especially in the thriller and horror genre, that you can see what’s happening. This script, when I read it, I was legitimately surprised and impressed by everything that just happened. I was blown back. I walked out of and told my friends “I just read this script and you’re not going to believe what happened.”
We Got This Covered: Was your physique how you got the stripper movie Disconnect?
Max Thieriot: Yeah, I guess. I had to cut down. I had Foreverland and then I did Yellow which is Nick Cassevetes’ film. I got to be more beefy. Then, I did Disconnect and they were saying I had to cut weight and get super shredded. So, I just started dieting like an animal. I got really shredded.
After that, I did something else and went from 165 to 185. I did this pilot where I play this rugby player. My arms were all big and my neck was swollen. After I finished the pilot, my agent was like “Max, you need to lose the neck” (laughs). This past month, I lost 20 pounds. It kind of gets depressing having been this small kid all of my life. When I started working out, I weighed 145. It was literally before I started filming this movie. Then, to go to 185 and then have to lose 20 lbs after doing it for 2 and a half years is like “Well, this sucks. I’m getting skinnier again” (laughs).
We Got This Covered: Does the studio help you with the weight loss?
Max Thieriot: They’ll give you a nutritionist and stuff like that, but I have two buddies who are natural bodybuilders. So, I go back and forth between the two. One will tell me to eat like six chicken breasts for lunch. After that diet, one tells me to eat like one grapefruit a day, this, that, a protein shake and no carbs (laughs).
We Got This Covered: What are your favorite horror films?
Max Thieriot: Psycho, which is kind of ironic. As a kid, I was big into cheesy, old-school horror films. I was a big fan of Chucky, Leprechaun, the Scream movies and a lot of the Wes [Craven] stuff.
We Got This Covered: One unique thing about House at the End of the Street is that we get to hear Jennifer Lawrence sing. You did some singing in The Pacifier. Were you able to give her any pointers on performing for the first time?
Max Thieriot: No, I steered clear of that. I’m terrified of singing in films. I don’t know why. There are times when I think I could be a country music singer. Then, I’m like “Wait, I hate singing in front of people.” I didn’t have a lot of advice. I just said “Good luck. I’m glad it’s you and not me right now. I’ve been avoiding it ever since.”
We Got This Covered: After filming, was it hard to shake the character?
Max Thieriot: No. Afterwards, I think I had a pretty big break. I went on a backpack trip in the mountains with a couple buddies, so that got me away from everything for a while. I got outdoors and had freeze-dried mountain house food for a couple days (laughs). After that, you just start thinking about the next thing, basically.
We Got This Covered: When can we expect Foreverland and how was it filming in Mexico?
Max Thieriot: Foreverland came out and did a limited release in Canada and is doing all sorts of different film festivals. It was just in Ireland too. I don’t know when it’s coming out in the States. I have a feeling that it’ll be limited, but will appear in cities like L.A. and New York.
Filming in Mexico was awesome. I filmed there once before. I filmed Jumper for a couple weeks on some stages in Ensenada. This time it was cool, because I got to experience a lot more filming in Mexico as Mexico. We filmed in La Paz and in Baja. We were out in the desert. It was awesome. You get to see a lot of that in the film. Celiana, who was the DP, really captured this beauty and this amazing light that Mexico has. It was a good experience. Everybody worked really hard. We got a lot of good scenes. Damien Bichir was awesome too.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Max for talking with us. Be sure to check out House at the End of the Street.