Actor/Comedian Ken Marino has made a successful career out of making people laugh in series such as MTV’s “The State”, “Party Down”, and “Childrens Hospital” as well as films such as Goosebumps, Role Models, and 2017’s horror/comedy, The Babysitter. Now in 2020, Ken has returned once again to the crazy world of The Babysitter in McG’s follow up film, THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN. Prior to the release of the film, I had the opportunity to chat with Ken Marino 1:1 where he discussed everything from working with McG, taking a deal with the Devil, as well as his performance of “Black Velvet.”
THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN takes place two years after Cole defeated a satanic cult led by his babysitter Bee. Cole continues to be haunted by the horrific events of that night while everyone in his life thinks he’s lost his mind considering Bee and all of her friends disappeared. He is still hopelessly smitten with his best friend and next door neighbor Melanie – the only one who believes his story – who convinces him to forget the past and come to a party thrown at a nearby lake. But when old enemies unexpectedly return, Cole will once again have to outsmart the forces of evil and survive the night.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Ken! How does it feel to return the world of The Babysitter?
Ken Marino: It was a blast to get a call from McG saying “Hey, would you like to come back and do this?”. I had so much fun the first time with Leslie Bibb and Judah Lewis. I didn’t know what to expect but then McG sent me the script and I was like, Oh, I got some more fun stuff to do then just a couple of scenes, I was thrilled! Working with McG…he’s just crazy in the best way. He’s a cinephile, movie lover, and he just gets so excited like a kid in a candy store when he’s shooting and talking about film. Being on set was always so much fun behind the camera as it was in front of the camera, so it was cool. Working with Judah…now he’s a man, he’s a young man now. That was shocking because I stayed the same age somehow, I don’t know how I did it.
Did McG encourage improv during filming? There’s a scene in particular that seems to be a throwback to a skit of yours called Pope-A’s Visit. Was that done on purpose?
Ken Marino: There was a lot of stuff written in the script, but McG encouraged us to jump off the script and sort of go in different directions. I can’t honestly say where that was…I think there was a version in the script and I’m sort of remembering it now. At the time I was like, “Oh, I don’t want it to sound like ‘The Pope-A’s Visit‘ because it’s such a terrible accent” but that’s what I do, that’s my wheelhouse (laughs).
A lot of your scenes take place with Chris Wylde, who plays Melanie’s dad. There seemed to be a lovely bromance between you two. How was it working with him on this project?
Ken Marino: I worked with Chris Wylde many years ago on a movie that I co-wrote with David Wain and produced. It was this weird, independent, subversive comedy called The Ten. Chris came in for a day or so and I met him there and he’s such a funny guy. Then I got to really know him on the first The Babysitter and I just adored him. He’s one of the funniest people – he’s so fast, his humor and his wit is just like rapid fire. It’s easy to sit back and watch him go. Every once and awhile, when there’s something to say I say it and then he’ll riff on that for another ten minutes. I really think he’s a wonderful comedic actor and more importantly, just a really cool human being.
When I spoke with him recently, he mentioned how much fun it was to do the car scene in which you both, after smoking copious amounts of marijuana, begin singing a duet.
Ken Marino: I think he’s probably talking about the night when we both sang in the car and we wound up singing Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”. That was one of those nights where, and this is a testament to McG who just kind of walked over and was like, “I want you guys to be doing something else, you’re probably singing together at this point, right?” What was amazing about McG is he’s always super prepared, more than any other director I’ve worked with, as far as everything was storyboard etc. But then he had the confidence to walk on set and throw a lot of that away and then discover all these wonderful, fun, new things on the day that weren’t in the script that he didn’t plan for. That was one of the stupid, fun things that we did. Chris was a fantastic singing partner.
When it came to playing Cole’s dad, where there aspects of the character that you could relate to?
Ken Marino: I think so. I have two kids – my boy is 13 and my daughter is 11. I want to be there for them and I want to support them. There are times when kids think that their reality is slightly different then what the reality really is and you wanna be there to support. But you also know kind of what the truth is but you still need to be loving and supportive. There was a little bit of that in there. Just having kids and wanting to be the best parent you can be and be supportive, that came easy. I don’t know how it came across on the screen but it certainly came easier from inside my soul.
My last question for you is have you ever considered taking a deal with the Devil?
Ken Marino: Yes. When we discussed this before earlier in the conversation, my son [Cole] has aged from the first movie to this movie, but I’ve stayed the same age. You can draw a straight line to the deal that I made with the Devil. I will never age. Unfortunately, I’ll be going to hell for eternity and apparently that’s going to be really painful and awful but while I’m here on Earth, oooooh yeah I look good!