There are original ideas and then there are ideas that are so bizarre they make your jaw drop and your eyebrows stand up.
That’s the case with Glorious, a Lovecraftian horror movie about aliens from another realm and glory holes. After a terrible breakup, Ryan Kwanten’s character Wes intends to drink himself to death at a rest area.
When Wes hears a menacing voice (J.K. Simmons) in a restroom stall, things go from bad to downright bizarre.
The voice confines Wes in the restroom and leads him on a psychological odyssey that crushes his spirit until he is allowed to put an end to his agony by making a sacrifice through a glory hole.
Although some people might find that narrative confusing, Kwanten thought of it as an exciting opportunity to push his acting skills to the limit.
Kwanten describes how Glorious evolved into one of his most fulfilling experiences in an interview with Digital Trends. Additionally, he talks about the True Blood revival and whether or not Jason Stackhouse would be interested in a comeback.
In a scene from Glorious, Ryan Kwanten is seen gazing outside a vending machine.
Glorious is a Lovecraftian horror movie about glory holes, according to Digital Trends. When you hear that, what is your initial reaction?
Mr Ryan Kwanten: Actually, I have to admit that J.K. Simmons is the first person who springs to mind. That is exactly what it was. Before I was sort of invited on board, Shudder and J.K. had already started to develop. So, to refuse something of this nature with that much power and vitality attached would [take] a man much braver than I.
What struck you as you eventually read that script?
I’ve never read anything quite like that before. References were made to those classic plays from the past. Those two-handers, you know, where they kept people entertained merely because the dialogue in the scene was so passionate.
Great references to that were made in this. At one point, Rebekah jokingly remarked, “We could do this as a play.” That is a very real possibility.
We were lucky in that we were able to film a large portion of it in chronological sequence, which gave it a fresh and spontaneous vibe.
Knowing where you’ve come from and where you’re heading is essential when filming work as chaotic, anarchic, and bizarre as this one, and the chronological approach to our shooting was undoubtedly helpful.
The movie’s director, Rebekah [McKendry], told me the character of Wes had to be played honestly when we spoke. It couldn’t be funny or ridiculous. How did you manage to act so dramatically in this strange, ridiculous tale?
I simply have to give it to J.K. You must have [him] for this movie to succeed, believe me. I suppose I tend to be more like the laconic character, but I admire J.K.’s timing and his ability to see the humour and horror in a situation. He surpasses humankind in power.
He pretends to be a god. The bottom line is that you need someone who can present ideas with a sense of reality.
Before filming your scenes, did you discuss them with J.K. Acting with a voice as opposed to a human must feel different?
Yeah. Look, I’ve had the good fortune to perform a lot of voice acting in the past for both films and television. This was unbelievable because we had the opportunity to conduct hours of research with J.K. as well as complete two, two and a half read-throughs to fully grasp his intentions.
However, a producer took over for J.K. for the 18 days we were filming and provided the voice. Unbelievably, he pulled off a convincing J.K. impersonation.
We knew exactly where J.K. wanted to go with it. He had the opportunity to sort of responding to my performance as well as how Rebekah discovered the project after filming, how it had changed, and how that might have impacted J.K.’s initial perception of it.
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With the way you were blocking and practising all of the movements, you mentioned how Glorious was shot like a theatrical production.
You were doing ten-minute takes, Rebekah claimed. How did you manage to get used to this kind of filmmaking? Do long takes give you pleasure?
Even if you have scenes that are written that are ten pages long, that is a really interesting question because it is quite uncommon.
Those scenes typically take up one page and last one minute. Rebekah was adamant from the start that we were going to play those scenes in one take, which is something you very rarely get the chance to do.
For me, having a lot of that time on set to myself was extremely helpful in building momentum. For us, it was crucial to keep us on our toes because a movie like this lives or breathes by its pacing.
Since we spent more than 80% of the movie, theoretically, in a truck stop restroom, we want to show as much of it as we can. In those eighty or so minutes, we want to expose Wes to the full range of emotions.