Interview: André Gower

Written by Justin on 03/21/2009 04:32 PM
Bookmark and Share

Ever since I was young, I have always had a fascination with monsters. Most of my childhood was spent drawing monsters and pretending that monsters were real. You can only guess how I might have felt when I had my first chance to see The Monster Squad sometime after it’s release in 1987. I had a clubhouse in my backyard, and guess what it was called? The Monster Squad. I had a file cabinet filled with drawings of monsters along with their weaknesses and how to get rid of them. I made my friends take “monster tests” to get in the club. The only thing I didn’t really have access to were silver bullets (which is probably a good thing). It’s pretty clear how much of an impact that The Monster Squad had on me.

So, you could only imagine how excited I am to say that the leader of the Monster Squad, Sean Crenshaw (André Gower), was kind enough to do an interview with me for the site.

As a kid, The Monster Squad was my favorite film. I watched it nearly everyday because I was obsessed with monsters. Did any films have that effect on you as a child?

I watched a lot of classic movies growing up. Creature from the Black Lagoon was one of my favorites. But my interests ran all over the place as well – no one genre stood out over others. I just liked watching movies.

A lot of movie fans are disappointed with re-makes but Hollywood keeps pumping them out. How do you feel about the talks of a re-make of Monster Squad?

I see both sides, being a normal consumer and of course having grown up in the industry. I do hope that CGI isn’t the star of the show. (I have a feeling it will be anyway). But I also think that it would be great to bring the Monster Squad to a whole new audience—aside from the kids whose parents were kids when MS came out. My fear is that it will be redone in a way that current viewers won’t understand why so many fans do hold it dear. The original MS characters—the kids, anyway—were so relatable to a lot of fans, which is why they still watch it and why many others can’t understand the devotion.

There was a huge Monster Squad reunion at Monster Mania a while back, what was it like to be reunited with your co-stars and meet the fans who have loved the film?

Well, to go into that, we have to set the record straight—we’d reunited more than once before Monster Mania.
Credit for the MS reunions and thus the DVD goes to Eric (Quint) of Ain’t It Cool News. I know others might try to take credit for the dvd, or reunions or whatnot—there’s only one party responsible for all of it – Quint and the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.

Back in 2006, Eric and Quint started tracking us down just to see if they could make it happen. A snowball effect occurred and before you knew it, we were all in the same room again after probably a decade or two. It was like no time had passed, actually. Ryan and I immediately cracked the same jokes and insults, Ashley was as cute and sweet as always, and Fred was still part of the gang.
Quint started the ball rolling with the dvd requests. A lot of that had to do with the fan drive. Then Michael Felscher approached LionsGate to produce the dvd and documentary, so that was all him.

I’ve met fans over the years, but the first screening—at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas—that was something else. It was really nice to meet people who really held the movie close to them and even more than that, brought their kids to meet us. That to me is a sign that you really have sticking power. It’s always great to hear their stories of playing their own Monster Squad in the backyard, or getting tattoos of emblems from the movie or feeling like they had a friend in Fat Kid because they were just like him and had something to relate to.
There were four-five more cast screenings before Monster Mania. Monster Mania was the first reunion with the monsters though.

The werewolf transformation scene in monster squad is probably my favorite transformation of any werewolf film, what was it like to work along side such incredible creature effects?

Try seeing it up close! Stan Winston is –was—so underrated. And when you look at how much CGI just soaks up film these days, young people have no idea of what goes into doing it old-school. I’ll always prefer works like Stan’s to CGI.

In the Monster Squad anniversary DVD they state they Frankenstein’s monster stayed in character and in make-up through all of his interactions with the cast. Was it weird for you and the rest of the cast to work with the “real” Frankenstein’s monster?

No. We knew it was an actor. Tom (Noonan) is a method actor. Method actors stay in character nonstop. He felt it would work better if the kids never saw anything else but the character to create that relationship. I did have to rent a movie of his to see what he looked like. Ashley had more scenes with him than anyone so it really made a difference to a 5-year old I think.

When you are met by fans, what is the most popular line quoted from the film?
“Wolfman’s got nards!” and “Kick him in the nards”. (Surprise, surprise!)
One of the best lines quoted to me was at Fright Night Film Fest. My assistant and I were lounging at my table, and a fan saunters up and says, “Well, well, well….are you two sitting comfortably?” I don’t think a fan quote has topped that one yet.

What can you tell us about Cinema South?

Cinema South is a production company I formed a few years back to work with some projects I had going on at the time. Nine out of ten projects you create or would like to pick up do not pan out. I’ve put a few on the backburner for a few years, and there are others that I’m working on folks with right now. But things take time, priorities change and right now, I believe that what I’m meant to pick up or sell will happen when it’s supposed to. Timing is everything. It’s not my top priority—right now managing my real estate is top priority. Cinema South is more for fun and possibilities.

You are a basketball lover and played for UNC-Asheville, how was that experience and what basketball teams do you follow now?

I’ve played basketball since I was about 7 years old and still do. College was a great experience and I’m so glad I chose to take a break from the industry and have that experience for my life. I was still working quite a bit in television when I graduated high school, so it wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but I knew that I could never go back and attend college or play basketball if I didn’t do it then. I made such good friends at school that I still have today, including several former teammates.

Getting to play basketball every day was as much fun as you could ask for. It is hard work though. One of my favorite coaches actually coached me at Louisburg College (a private school outside Raleigh). I don’t hold one team over any other but I enjoy ACC basketball (Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest) and I love to watch the NCAA tournament. But I don’t get to watch near the amount of sports that I like with my schedule.

Do you have any signings or appearances scheduled soon?
I get asked a lot. I’ve had to turn down quite a few over the last year because they somehow always ended up on a day that I already had blacked out for work or travel.

List your favorites in each category:

Art: Caravaggio (for his skill and an artist and the fact he didn’t take any shit)

Sound: I love 80s music, beach music, southern rock, classical and my favorite – bagpipes

Word: I prefer historical books and science but I read action and espionage as well.

Film: What else? Just kidding. I like the Harry Potter series, LOTR, good action movies, Japanese horror, mindless humor—I grew up in the industry, so I’m very picky (and I ruin all the endings), but I also try to just enjoy the piece for what it is.

I would definitely like to thank André for taking the time to do this interview with me.

Check out his personal page (where I am pretty sure you can buy a red “Stephen King Rules” shirt!) – André Gower




Comment

  1. Thank you Andre…Monster Squad still rules! Dear God I hope they don’t make a remake. And Justin…beastly interview. This is my favorite one so far!

    Tom · 09.03.22, 02:41 PM · #

  2. I am pretty sure the remake is pretty much set in stone. Rob Cohen(the original Monster Squad producer) said he is producing it.

    Justin · 09.03.22, 03:43 PM · #

  3. I don’t know how I missed that one. At least they kept someone that worked on the original on board…but as Andre Gower said in his interview, the cgi may become the star of the show instead of the kids. I wonder if Dracula’s infamous line as he throws Phoebe will still be in the film, or if Hollywood will deem that too harsh for today’s youth? One thing’s for sure…Wolfman will probably have nards. It’s a line you can’t mess with.

    Tom · 09.03.23, 02:32 PM · #