Josh Ruben interview for Scare Me

AJ Friar sits down with Josh Ruben, the director of the new excellent Scare Me starring Aya Cash(The Boys) and Chris Redd(Popstar: Never Stop Popping) we have a great time discussing everyone’s chemistry in the film and how energetic Chris Redd was in the film. Scare Me is getting ready to stream on Shudder on October 1st.



Josh:
I’m very well. Thank you so much for taking the time.

AJ:
Well, thank you so much for joining us on infamous horrors today. So, tell us about how Scare Me all came together.

Josh:
Well, I was getting a little sick of directing commercials as great as they can be. Getting a little soul-sucking, I guess, you could say and my manager, Brian Steinberg said, “If you want to make a movie, hopefully we could find a little bit of money for you”. And I dusted off some old ideas I had for horror scripts and just sort of general stories that I’d had in the… gathering cobwebs. And I decided to make essentially an anthology film that never quite left the campfire.



Josh:
And congruent to that, the Me Too Movement was really starting to gather momentum, specifically the calling out of the diva on sorry. And that one really got to me just as a comedian and as a fan and sort of in signal boosting several women’s stories and engaging conversations on Instagram.

Josh:
I started to get pretty motivated about gender dynamics. And so I want to make up… wanting to make a horror film, an anthology style film or a film that least felt like those escapist films I’d watched as a kid. Creepshow, Cat’s Eye, Tales from the Crypt but also something that had a bit of a social message to it, especially on the heels of Get Out. But in this case, exploring toxic white dudes and then also a means to spar opposite the great Aya Cash and the great Chris Redd and your work with Becky Drysdale.



AJ:
Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit more about working with Aya Cash and Chris Redd because man, their chemistry in this was unfathomable. I mean, incessantly, Chris had so much energy throughout the film. What was it like directing those two?

Josh:
It was a dream. It was a total dream. I mean, Chris is so gracious. We were just talking on a previous interview and he was like in a… His first day he was coming off of SNL and he was so tired and he got his fifth, sixth, seventh, and 10,000 wins working with us because remember GF, I mean we’re 14 days shoot. I had Chris for two and a half days and Aya for nine. And they were just so easy to work with and really helps that they loved each other. These two got along so well and that chemistry was such an important part of Fred’s trajectory too, of being ostracized as a third wheel by the second and third act of the movie. So it was just a dream and just with their different backgrounds, Aya having a theater background and Chris, obviously his experience with live performance, but also with improv and comedy. It was cool to sort of adjust my directing styles, so to speak or my approach to working with them both but the synergy it was impeccable. It was an absolute dream.



AJ:
And let’s talk a little bit about the distribution because Shudder pitched a Scare Me Up. So how was it like working with the Shudder on distribution? Cause now you got all of these horror fans are going to be checking this out and when it gets released on the platform. So how was it like dealing with those people from Shudder?

Josh:
Shudder is like the clubhouse from Monster Squad that I wanted to be a part of. Monster Squad, Sandlot and every like irreverent buddy or idol I looked up to as a kid who marched to the beat of their own drum. Shudder is a… They’re such fans of the film and we sort of sent this film to them on a whim because I didn’t think they were an acquisition. We just sent the movie to them because I wanted to direct one of the episodes of Creepshow and I didn’t really have much narrative to show for it. They just announced that Creepshow was happening, so we just took a swing. Obviously Creepshow was already sort of booked up with their directors, these kind of horror legends that could tear you in the leg but they took a look at Scare Me and we were kind of floored, frankly, to get a response from them where they said, “We want to buy this.”



Josh:
And we were reluctant to a degree because you’d think like, “Oh, but what if we can wait to see who else is out there,” but the movie business is crazy. It’s dire, we’re in a really interesting place right now, but Shudder specifically showed such love and respect. And they truly are, especially between Emily Gotto and Sam Zimmerman and Sean Redlitz and Craig Engler. I mean, such a love for the genre and they know the specifics of it, unlike anything I’ve quite ever known. And I see myself in them and I look up to the channel and I’m so honored and I’m not at all surprised they just surpassed a million subscribers. They’re going to keep going, I’m thrilled.

AJ:
And what are your thoughts on how movies have kind of shifted from… Everything was just kind of being released in theaters to now on streaming companies like even Apple TV is now getting into the mix of everything. So, what is your take as a filmmaker and somebody that grew up loving films and probably went to the theaters all the time to see something new. What is your take on the whole situation that movie theaters are in right now?



Josh:
Well, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into everybody’s lives, into everybody’s plans, into all of our routines. So it is what it is and we will come out on the other side of this. I think there’s going to be prosperity and normalcy down the road who will be back in movie theaters and enjoying it but we can’t be afraid of streaming, we can’t be afraid of digital. I mean, the bottom line is there are filmmakers who are able to make movies kind of no matter what. They’re filmmakers like the guys who made Tangerine on an iPhone or even Florida Project or… Rob Savage just made host all entirely on the same platform proper. It’s a weird time but it’s also you got to look at it as a glass half full opportunity for a creative Renaissance in a way.



Josh:
And it’s really inspiring to see filmmakers still creating and streaming platforms are nothing to be afraid of. I’m a little bummed, it’s a bittersweet thing. It’s also such a privileged position for me to say this. I’m sitting here at home doing press for my first film that we were supposed to have a run at Alamo Drafthouse. We were going to have a limited run and I don’t get to have that because the world is kind of in dire straits right now with COVID. But at the same time, we’re releasing it to millions of people at once on Shudder’s platform. So there’s a chance really, where more people will see it this way than if they would in the theater anyway. Saving the parking costs and drive and the gas and everything. So I’m extremely grateful, it’s a crazy time and I think it’s nothing to be afraid of as a filmmaker. I’m feeling very hopeful and very grateful. Just wish I could be celebrating in person to everybody.

AJ:
I think we all wouldn’t rather be celebrating this in person too with the press days and everything. So Josh, thank you so much for joining us at infamoushorrors.com this afternoon.



Josh:
My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

AJ:
And have a great weekend, Josh.

Josh:
All right. You too, sir. Take care. Bye-bye.

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