Quirky Newcastle comedian, Ross Noble has just made his acting début in Stitches, a rude, clown-themed comedy-horror set for a Halloween release. The film – directed by Irishman Conor McMahon – cleverly blends spine-tingling gore with crude quips and laugh out loud gags. We caught up with the inimitable funny man himself to talk about Stitches.
Any fan of Ross Noble will know that his comedy is somewhat unscripted, improvised and comes across as an ongoing stream of surreal consciousness. Talking to the man himself is a strange, hilarious journey that includes anything that pops into his head. Yet despite being handed a script for his role, the 36-year-old comedian still managed to bring in his own hilarious quips and fuzzy logic to the film. Noble said that he enjoyed improvising and ended up creating a few hilarious moments which made it into the film, even though McMahon had strong ideas about the film and had practically “directed Stitches all in his head”.
One improvised moment stands out for Noble in particular, “in the party scene where the kid goes – ‘You’re not my dad.’ – and Stitches goes – ‘I could be!’ The crew all laughed and we had to film it again.”
Director, McMahon let him experiment with the scenes, “He would do a take and I would try different stuff. Anything which made the editing team laugh seemed to stick in the film.”
Unlike other supernatural-comedies such as Beetlejuice, which are very over-the-top, Ross said he wanted to tone the character of Stitches down as much as possible.
The obvious approach to Stitches, explained Noble, was to make him “wacky and crazy” like Michael Keaton’s Betelgeuse character. “I wanted to do the opposite of that, make him quiet and controlled. Make him as grumpy, nasty and menacing as possible.”
For Noble it was Stephen King who perfected the ‘freaky clown’ image. In particular, the 1990 mini-series It; he reckons “It is like the Citizen Kane of the clown world”. Musing about what makes them so spooky, he reckons “clowns are so frightening because they have this projected image of happiness on their face.”
The face paint work by clowns makes them seem emotionless, he explains. “It’s a bit like Jason with his hockey mask or even Hannibal Lecter when he has that mask on. There’s something about that still, immovable face, but when you add a painted smile to it… that’s terrifying.”
Noble reckons than even as adults, clowns will still freak you out which is why Stitches makes the perfect horror character. “Clowns are so in your face and they’ll chuck stuff all over you. If you’re a kid and you experience that, it will always stay with you until you’re older.”
Discussing the special effects, Noble explains that the splattered blood around the walls was added in afterwards. Any cat-lover will hate seeing Stitches experiment to see how many lives a cat really has. Noble questioned the director whether he really had to torture the toy cat. He revealed to us that if you look very carefully at the scene, the cat actually only had three legs.
“I was there with a stuffed cat and while I was throwing it about, one of the legs flew off. I said ‘Let’s do it again’ and the crew were like, ‘No, it’ll be fine, no one will notice.’!”
If you can’t wait for Stitches the movie, check out the trailer and film review below.
Stitches comes out October 26, 2012 and we’re not clowning around when we say, it will certainly leave you in stitches.