Everyone’s favorite supporting actress, Judy Greer, takes on her first starring role in Blumhouse Television and Hulu’s INTO THE DARK’S GOOD BOY. The latest installment in the Into the Dark series follows Maggie (Greer), a 39-year-old woman who’s sick of dating apps, crappy bosses, meager pay, and the pressure society puts on women to have a family. She adopts a rescue dog, skeptical that he will be able to change her life for the better… He does, but certainly not in the ways she’d expect. It just gets crazier and darker from there.
During a visit to the set of GOOD BOY, we got a chance to speak with Greer herself, who also served as an executive producer on the movie. We chatted about her first leading role, what it’s like to work with Wes Craven, and the ghost of Marie Callender.
Did the concept of an emotional support animal resonate with you?
Judy Greer: Yeah, definitely. I have a very special terrier mix – I call her a “terrorist mix.” Her name is Mary Richards, and I got her at a rescue four years ago, maybe. She weighs, like, 10 pounds, and she’s really fucking cute. She is awful to everyone around her, hates everybody… But I just love her so much.
When I got Mary, I had always had big dogs, and I really wanted a small dog, ’cause I travel so much, and I get so lonely and homesick. I wanted to have something I could take with me and could be a companion for when I travel and stuff.
That’s not the case with her, because she’s so awful to everyone that I can’t let anyone take care of her. If she bites someone, they’ll totally sue me. So I can’t really take her with me when I go places, so she’s not emotionally supportive for me. In fact, she stresses me out so much, because of her nature. I feel like I am her emotional support human.
So it didn’t quite work out for you – but do you still think emotional support animals work?
Judy Greer: I do believe – a girlfriend of mine adopted her dog from the same rescue I work with, and where I got Mary – and this dog has changed my friend, completely. I think it works. I think it’s real.
Were you worried at all about teaching people about emotional support animals, since the movie does take things to an extreme?
Judy Greer: My sensibilities are, taking things to the super extreme is weirdly safer than trying to walk a line. Because if you try to straddle a line when you’re making a statement, I think you end up upsetting everyone. But if you push it all the way to the end, and you’re just like, “No, this dog kills everyone and rips everyone apart, and it’s super fun and weird, and it’s just poking fun at something…” …In a weird way, I feel like that’s safer. But I’m making that up right now.
What would you say is the appeal of the story?
Judy Greer: I really liked the struggle of the character, of wanting to have some control over her future, when you’re a woman of a certain age, and there’s all this stupid pressure. It takes its toll on new relationships, and it seems really unfair. I really liked that actual storyline in this, that this woman was strong and decisive, and she was like, “No, I’m gonna freeze my eggs. I’m going to take this problem off the table so that it doesn’t affect then also getting what I want, which is a satisfying relationship.” I liked that, as an entry point. I found that to be interesting and I think that will resonate with some people.
Then obviously, the absurd horror and extreme comedy of in the meantime calming herself down and getting this emotional support animal takes it to the extreme of, “I don’t need anyone. I’ve got my frozen egg and a dog that will kill anyone that fucks with me.”
There’s also a lot of fucking blood, it turns out, in this movie. I worked with Wes Craven, and what I saw yesterday on set, Wes, if you’re out there, look what we’re doing! I know he’s looking down going, “Yes!” Actually, he’s looking up from his crossword.
That’s right! You worked with Wes Craven on 2005’s Cursed.
Judy Greer: Before cell phones and stuff, he would xerox the New York Times crossword and pass it out to the entire crew every single morning. He loved the crossword. Yeah, Wes Craven, he was this nice, sweet man. He was always doing the crossroad, and he’d be like, “Um, I think you need more blood over there. Nope, I’d like there to be more pus coming out of the wound.”
Have any interesting or challenging this happened during your time on set for GOOD BOY?
Judy Greer: Do you guys know Marie Callender’s? I’m pretty sure that Marie Callender was haunting our set. We were shooting in a vacant [Marie Callender’s restaurant]…maybe she’s still alive, I don’t know. (Note: Marie Callender passed away in 1995.) But definitely, when we were shooting in Marie Callender’s, we were making all these jokes, because weird pieces would just fall down out of nowhere. All this weird stuff was falling down, or not working, or turning on and then turning off, and weird noises, and then we were like, “It’s the ghost of Marie Callender.” That was fun.
Challenge-wise, for me, I’m usually a supporting character, which is awesome so this was really exciting to have a chance to star in something. What a dream come true. It’s also so much work. I’m like, calling my friends who star in TV shows, “Is this what you were doing for five years? God bless you. I’m sorry I ever asked to meet you for lunch. I take it all back.”
There are so many scenes and pieces and montage elements that we are just hustling to get it all in, to make it beautiful, get the shots we need, tell the story, and make it interesting. That’s been really fun and a really cool challenge. I mean, yesterday was so crazy. They were like, “There’s going to be two hoses squirting blood at you…” That was really fun. I had to shower in my trailer, something I’ve never had to do.
It seemed like a very practical effects-heavy movie. What was that like?
Judy Greer: Well, that’s fun. The last bunch of effects movie I’ve done have either been with Weta [Digital] or … so doing stuff with puppets, with actual blood squirting out, the whole, “Nobody touch anything, this is a hot set! Move the camera over there…” that’s been so fun. It’s easier to act when you’re covered in blood, and you have to act like you’re covered in blood, for sure.
Those movies are fun for different reasons, but this is really cool. It’s really fun to be practical, to see the dog puppet, to see the spine rip through the fur. It’s fucking dope.
Between this and Halloween Kills, is there anything in particular that draws you to horror? Would you ever direct a horror movie?
Judy Greer: Yes, I totally want to direct a horror movie. It seems so fun. It’s funny, ’cause, I really wanted to work with David Gordon Green, and he reached out about being in the Halloween reboot, so I’m like, “Yeah, of course. Whatever. I don’t care what it is, I just want to work with David Gordon Green, and ultimately, Jamie Lee Curtis.”
And also, in Cursed, all those years ago, Rick Baker was meant to do the wolf transformation. So I wouldn’t say I was into the genre necessarily, but it was more the people making the movie. I wasn’t out there looking to do a horror movie, but I wanted to work with Wes Craven, because he’s a god, and fucking Rick Baker – are you kidding? Now, Rick didn’t end up doing the transformation makeup, but… Anyway, what was attractive to me about Halloween was working with David and Jamie and Danny McBride. I didn’t have experience with Blumhouse yet, but I was like, they make awesome movies.
On the Halloween Kills set, I got closer to Ryan Turek, who works at Blumhouse and he was like, “God, I need to educate you in horror.” So he started making a list of books I have to read and movies I have to watch. He’s like, “I’m going to singlehandedly be responsible for your horror education.” He was telling me something about the best horror movies of all time, that they’re always about a real thing. It’s about someone being lonely or about a business being taken over by a bigger business – it’s about a meta topic, and we just explode it.
He’s like, “That’s why I think the great horror movies stand the test of time because the genre’s so relatable to all different kinds of people. Because you do find your story in it…” That’s how he explained it to me, and I was like, “Oh, I thought I was just watching people get their heads cut off… No, this is about a man who was looking for a friend…, etc.”
INTO THE DARK’S GOOD BOY is now available to stream on Hulu. For more on the film, check out our review here.