While talking to Fango about his role in Adam Green’s much-anticipated chiller FROZEN (which just played the Sundance Film Festival and opens in limited theatrical release February 5), actor Shawn Ashmore gave us a little info on what to expect from Darren Lynn Bousman’s MOTHER’S DAY, the remake of the 1980 shocker which is expected to hit theaters this spring. “In broad strokes, it’s about a trio of bank-robbing brothers,” says Ashmore, previously seen in THE RUINS and the X-MEN features. “In the middle of a heist, one gets shot and they have to hole up somewhere while they figure out what to do.
“They go back to their old childhood house,” he continues, “to find that it has been sold by their mother and a housewarming party is going on. So there’s a bunch of people in the basement when these three guys come trudging through the door, and they hold everyone hostage. I play a character named George who’s a young doctor at the party, and my task is to keep the [shot] brother alive—because if I don’t, they’re going to kill everybody.”
In discussing the remake, which wrapped about a month ago, Ashmore can’t hide his enthusiasm about the project, which gave him the opportunity to perform opposite such notable actresses as THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE’s Rebecca De Mornay and THE TRIPPER’s Jaime King. “Working with Rebecca De Mornay was incredible; she’s super-intense,” Ashmore says. “They’re an awesome bunch, and I was blown away. It was one of those movies where you show up and every day you’re working with a new actor, and they’re just blowing your socks off and making you raise your game.”
The ’80 MOTHER’S DAY, directed by Charles Kaufman, is a notoriously nasty gorefest, but Ashmore says of the update, “It’s a true psychological thriller as far as I’m concerned. It’s definitely violent, but not overly so. It’s a countdown, a time bomb ready to explode; these guys show up, and then their mother [De Mornay] and sister arrive. They’re lifelong criminals, surviving on the edges of society—these people are desperate and need to get out of there, and the 15 people at this party are in their way. So it becomes a psychological game of trying to manipulate each other and everyone trying to survive and get out of it. It was interesting and a lot of fun.”
Ashmore also briefly reflects on THE RUINS, the adaptation of Scott B. Smith’s best-selling novel which has managed to shake off its initial negative buzz and disappointing box office, and is now often referenced as an underrated and tense little film. “I was disappointed from the get-go that people didn’t buy into THE RUINS,” the actor says. “I think the ‘talking vines’ are sort of what everyone makes fun of it for, but I am really, really proud of that movie. It’s one of those films that was amazing to make, and I was totally creeped out. There’s a real visceral sense of how dirty we got and how desperate we were, and there’s a subtlety to it, and I felt the vines were done really well. I know a lot of people didn’t like that aspect of the movie, but that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy.
“Initially, more people didn’t see it or didn’t like it,” he continues, “but I can’t tell you how many times, when I’m talking to people and mention that film, they’re like, ‘Oh, I saw that, I actually really dig it.’ Which is cool, because we worked really hard, and the director, Carter Smith, is a very talented guy. And the cast are all, to me, people who I don’t see as genre actors, and they all gave amazing performances. I’m glad that people, maybe on a second viewing or if a friend mentions it to them and they watch it, they really enjoy it, because it’s a really fun, exciting movie.”