Magazine article The New Yorker

Horror Show

Magazine article The New Yorker

Horror Show

Article excerpt

Horror Show

Danny McBride

The actor Danny McBride looked around the Jekyll & Hyde Club, in the West Village, and said, "This is where the New York bankers do all the big deals, huh?" It was shortly after noon, and the putatively scary horror-themed restaurant--skeletons in top hats, chattering mummies--was empty. "I worked in places like this in Los Angeles," the actor continued, "and I recognize that disgusting stale-beer stink."

A waiter dropped by and delivered a rapid spiel: "There's-going-to-be-a-crazy-guy-walking-around-don't-make-too-much-eye-contact-and-you-should-be-fine." Unconcerned, McBride ordered a Caesar salad with chicken, then suggested that the menu was a missed opportunity: "The names should be more horror-infused, more 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon' Wings." He snickered genially.

In Ridley Scott's new film, "Alien: Covenant," the latest installment of the actually scary horror franchise about aliens who burst from the bellies of spaceship crew members, McBride plays a jaunty Southerner named Tennessee. The forty-year-old actor, who grew up in Virginia, is known for his gallery of overconfident Southern men-children. "The movies were making fun of a 'Hee Haw' South that didn't really exist anymore," he said. Beginning with his irrepressibly cocky Kenny Powers, in the HBO series "Eastbound & Down," which he co-created with Jody Hill and Ben Best, McBride wanted, he said, "to make fun of a South where you could learn an ancient martial art like Tae Kwon Do in a shopping center next to a tanning salon." However, he added, "After 'Eastbound,' every script I would get was, like, 'You're an asshole.' I'd fallen down the asshole well."

A curly-haired man sauntered up and introduced himself as Dr. Ghoul. He wore a lab coat with a rubber hand peeking from its pocket, and he spoke with a vaguely Transylvanian accent.

"We've been waiting for you," McBride said, leaning back expectantly.

Dr. Ghoul grinned and said, "That's a very seductive way of putting it. 'Here, drink this beverage. Don't worry what I put inside of it.' " McBride laughed. Dr. Ghoul asked why he didn't dunk his lemon and lime slices in his club soda. McBride jerked his head toward the kitchen and said, "Those slices sit back there in a dish for days."

"Have you been back there?" Dr. Ghoul asked, sounding less and less mad-scientist-y. "That's exactly what it's like." Then he moved on--other diners had trickled in--promising to return in eight and a half minutes.

McBride ate a few bites of his salad, pushed it away, and said, "When I met with Ridley, he said that in 'Alien' films, because these characters rapidly start getting their guts ripped out, he wanted actors who can quickly convey identifiable types. …

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