Interview – ‘Abigail’ stars Kevin Durand and William Catlett talk about their childhood nicknames

After a group of would-be criminals kidnap the 12-year-old ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure, all they have to do to collect a $50 million ransom is watch the girl overnight. In an isolated mansion, the captors start to dwindle, one by one, and they discover, to their mounting horror, that they’re locked inside with no normal little girl.

As the blood-soaked, horror-comedy Abigail bursts on to Australian cinema screens on April 18. Nick L’Barrow had the chance to sit down with some of the film’s cast, Kevin Durand and William Catlett, to chat about blending horror and comedy, and the hilarious story behind Kevin’s nickname, MC Big Head!

Nick: Kevin, William, it’s such a pleasure to meet you both. How are you going today?

Kevin Durand: Good!

William Catlett: How are you?

Nick: I’m so good because I fucking loved this movie!

Kevin and William laugh and clap

Kevin Durand: Yes!

Nick: It truly reminded me of how horror can be so much fun. It doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom! What do you both feel it is about comedy and horror, even though they seem like different genres, that works so well together?

Kevin Durand: You’re seeing humans at the brink of something. When they’re on the edge of something, great humour could come out of that, right? And there’s nothing more that people want to see than—you know, traffic slows down next to a car accident because you want to know what happened. We run to the TV when something horrible happened in the world.

But this [movies] is a safe setting, right? Myself being a six-foot-six, 260-pound man, screaming at the top of my lungs when I see this adorably terrifying thing, I think Matt [Bettinelli-Oplin, director] and Tyler [Gillett, director] really blend that perfectly.

William Catlett: They [Matt and Tyler] do a great job. And I think, when you get scared in real life, and you find out it was just a cat, you usually start laughing! It wasn’t that bad, you’re just tripping!

They do a great job of pulling on the heartstrings, layering in the comedy, and the horror and the mystery. And you have a good time! That’s why I say Abigail is a rewatch! The way you felt about it is the way we felt making it!

Nick: That’s so awesome! Do you guys have any horror movies you go to that you really enjoy in that “fun” way?

William Catlett: Mine is Chucky! Always!

Kevin Durand: Chucky! [laughs}

William Catlett: I used to watch Chucky growing up! He had me laughing.

Kevin Durand: My all time is The Shining. Jack Nicholson. Not necessarily funny, but insanely creepy and beautifully horrifying. And The Exorcist.

William Catlett: Oh, yeah, The Exorcist is great! And you never want that feeling when you leave a scary movie like, “That sucked”. You want to leave scared and interested. Like, wow! I’m gonna tell my friends about it, you know? I think we’ve done a great job with this one!

Nick: I think so to! I love the fact that your characters get nicknames based on the Rat Pack, plus I love Reservoir Dogs, so the idea of criminal nicknames is just cool to me!

Kevin Durand: Yeah!

Nick: Did you have any nicknames that have stuck with you that you feel personifies you the most?

William Catlett: Well, mine’s tattooed on my arm. It’s “Bay Bay”, because my sister didn’t know how to say “baby”. So, she would say, “Mommy, let me see the ‘bay bay’. Then for the longest time, everybody called me ‘Bay Bay’ and I didn’t know my name was William Henry Catlett IV. The teacher said, “William?” And I said, “Who is that?” [laughs] That was my nickname growing up – Bay Bay.

Kevin Durand: [laughs] My nickname ever since I did a movie called Mystery Alaska has been ‘Tree’! But before that, when I was a rapper, a lot of people used to call me ‘MC Big Head’! And it was because I was six-foot-six and had no weight on me, but I had this giant head [laughs]! They called me ‘MC Big Head’!

William Catlett: Yo, MC Big Head! That’s why he filled out, you know!

Kevin Durand: That’s what I started eating steak!

Nick: Guys, I’m getting the wrap now, but I just wanted to say again how much fun I had with this movie. I’m always trying to convince non-horror fans to give these movies a chance, and I think Abigail is a great one to do that with!

William Catlett: Oh, man! Nice!

Nick: I appreciate you both taking the time!

William Catlett: Oh, man, appreciate you brother!

Kevin Durand: Thank you, man!

Thank you so much to Kevin and William for their time, and to Universal Pictures for organising the interviews. Abigail is in cinemas April 18.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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