Starting as five college students head to a, yes, cabin in the woods. a journey intercut with clean-cut technicians working hard on … something … that clearly figures into the five’s getaway, “Cabin in the Woods” shouldn’t, and can’t, be explained much more than that. co-written by Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard, it’s a crazy-fun carnival of smart, silly and surprising scares. The film’s fun turns make for a cagey interview — talking with co-stars Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, who play two of those clean-cut technicians behind the scenes, felt almost more like a debriefing than an interview at SXSW last month. You know Whitford best from snappy Aaron Sorkin projects like “The West Wing” and “Studio 60″; Jenkins, Oscar-nominated for “The Visitor,” has also lent his presence to films from ‘Step Brothers” to “Let Me In.” The two actors and gentlemen were good enough to not spill any secrets as they talked about working on the film, how they got roped into its bizarre vision and their favorite horror films.
Was finding this film a circumstance where somebody sent you the script, and you read through it, and discovered its delights page by page? Or did somebody drunkenly or caffeinatedly sit down with you and go, “Alright, there are these kids…?” Was it reading it page by page or was there more a narrative approach?
Bradley Whitford: It was reading it page by page. It was as fully realized as a script could be, and it was clearly the sort of unpasturized vision of a couple of lunatics, which is so rare to read a script that hasn’t been storyboarded into submission. It was a very fresh script to read. Pitching, I don’t understand pitching. If somebody came to me and said, “We should to a TV show about people who work in the White House,” you got to read the script. The idea isn’t enough.