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August 2005
The Cave: An Interview with Morris Chestnut

The Cave: An Interview with Morris Chestnut

By Damien Smith

If there's anyone who's tries to do things differently in terms of film genre, Morris Chestnut is one of those actors. Amongst certain parties, Chestnut is seen as the pretty boy when you think of his roles in "The Best Man", "The Brothers" and "Two Can Play That Game", but Chestnut will have you think otherwise. Recently Chestnut has been working in the horror/ thriller films. Having done "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" last year, Chestnut takes on a new form of monster like form in his latest film, "The Cave" and he spoke to blackfilm.com about taking on this role and working in the water again.

What drew your attention to the project?

Chestnut: It was something different. Anacondas was like a sequel. This felt to me like a true horror type thriller. I just wanted to be a part of it.

Are you a big fan of monster movies?

Chestnut: Oh yeah. I watch them all the time. I love horror movies. That was one of the draws.

What are some of your favorites?

Chestnut: All time classic is Halloween. Love Nightmare on Elm Street. The first one.

How is the technique different when approaching a horror film as opposed to comedy?

Chestnut: You're dealing with a lot of special effects in this movie. They put a tennis ball on a stick and say, "This is the monster." The process is definitely different. You really have to use your imagination a lot more.

How was it working with all the water scenes?

Chestnut: Aw man, black people don't like water so... I didn't really like it too much. That was kind of like a running joke on the set. We shot the movie in Romania and they didn't have any black stunt doubles in Romania. And I didn't like the water so that was a problem.

The cliche is that the black guy is usually the first one to die in horror films, but you managed to survive this one.

Chestnut: [laughs] I did it for the sequel. Because I really didn't have much to do in this movie. But the black dude lived past the first ten pages. That was a plus. And then I made it to the end so, yeah, that was a draw.

Is there any talk of a sequel yet?

Chestnut: Well that's up to the public really. Hollywood is going to go, "If the movie makes money, there'll be a sequel. If it doesn't, that's it."

Would it actually be called The Cave 2? Doesn't seem like the best idea.

Chestnut: I tried to tell them that. (laughs) I was like, "Bruce, man, you guys really have to think about this title. Because, what, are we going to go back in the cave for a sequel?" I told them that, so I have to let them figure that out.

Did the production design help create the right feel?

Chestnut: Once we got to Romania and we saw all the sets, it was just good to see. All the sets were just massive. When we got there it was just white, like Styrofoam. So we got to watch them pretty much build it from beginning to end.

What was the most grueling part of shooting?

Chestnut: All the gear. We had to carry all that gear up and down, back and forth. They even lightened it up a little bit, but it was still pretty heavy. You know, and just getting dirty and wet every day.

At what point in production did you get to see what the monster would look like?

Chestnut: Well what they did was, because the monster took a long time to, not create, but get it right. So when we first got to Romania, they showed us sketches. Then they showed us pictures of him trying on the suit. But it the monster obviously got scarier and scarier each time. They added things to it. But it was never scary. It was just Brian in a suit. You know, a buddy of ours that we knew. There's a scene where he tracks me underwater. And after I did that he's like, "Hey, dude, you alright?" (laughs) You know, it's your buddy.

The Cave Opens August 26th, 2005


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