KENNY POW­ERS GOES DARK

Danny McBride gets to fight some mon­sters in Alien: Covenant.”

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - MATT PRIGGE @mattprigge matt.prigge@metro.us

Danny McBride is not Kenny Pow­ers. In real life, he’s a nice guy, not the ego­ma­ni­a­cal mon­ster of a former base­baller from “East­bound & Down.” (He’s also not “Danny McBride,” the asshol­ish ver­sion of him­self he played in “This is the End.”) He’s not even strictly a fun­ny­man any­more. In Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” he plays the non­wise­crack­ing pi­lot of a mas­sive ship trans­port­ing thou­sands sleep­ing colonists to a new home far away. En route, the crew in­ves­ti­gates an­other planet, only to sud­denly find them­selves bat­tling space mon­sters, and not just the clas­sic Xenomorph from the orig­i­nal “Alien.”

But that’s not all: McBride is flexing his hor­ror mus­cles some more. He’s re­cently signed up to co-write the re­boot of “Hal­loween” with his long­time friend and co­hort David Gor­don Green (“Pineap­ple Ex­press”). We talked to the actor-film­maker, 40, about go­ing from laughs to scares.

It’s pretty cool that you’re segue­ing from com­edy into hor­ror now.

Yeah! Turns out killing peo­ple is as much fun as mak­ing peo­ple laugh. [Laughs]

Were you sur­prised with “Alien” that you weren’t go­ing to play a comic re­lief who cracks jokes then gets an alien mouth through the head?

Hon­estly, that’s what I was ex­pect­ing when I first heard from Ridley. I would gladly par­tic­i­pate in any­thing he wanted me to. When I got the script it was ex­cit­ing to see he was go­ing to rely on me for some­thing dif­fer­ent than what I’d done be­fore.

And you’re a nice guy in this movie.

I know, it’s great! [Laughs]

Are peo­ple sur­prised to learn you’re not an ego­ma­ni­a­cal ass­hole like Kenny Pow­ers?

All the time. I’d hate it to be the op­po­site, where it’s like, “He seems like such a nice guy. Turns out he’s a dick.” [Laughs]

It must have helped do­ing this be­fore you wound up with the gig co-writ­ing “Hal­loween.” It’s such a dif­fer­ent kind of film for you and David

Gor­don Green. It re­ally is. I met David my fresh­man year of col­lege; he was my next door neigh­bor, one year ahead of me at North Carolina School of the Arts. When I saw his films, I thought he was def­i­nitely do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent than ev­ery­one else at school. He had a unique voice. It’s high praise, but I re­ally think his ca­reer path is sim­i­lar to Robert Alt­man. Robert Alt­man was not afraid to jump from one genre to the next. He could do some­thing like “Nashville,” then make some­thing like “Pop­eye.” That’s what David likes to do. He just likes mak­ing movies, and he doesn’t want to have that same ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery time he shows up on set.

Still, is it scary to be do­ing hor­ror?

No, it’s just as ex­cit­ing as do­ing a com­edy — to be look­ing at masks and blood ef­fects and fig­ur­ing out in­tri­cate ways to kill peo­ple. [Laughs] It’s just a dif­fer­ent set of is­sues to get your head around. The thing that’s kind of crazy about cre­at­ing a hor­ror film is you rely on the same thing that you do with com­edy. Ul­ti­mately it’s about en­gi­neer­ing ten­sion and pace and know­ing when to let the au­di­ence off the hook, so you get the best re­ac­tion out of them. It’s been fun to take some of those same prin­ci­ples you would with com­edy and fig­ur­ing out how to en­gi­neer scares in­stead.

MARK ROGERS

Kather­ine Water­ston and Danny McBride play two of the po­ten­tial mon­ster-chow in “Alien: Covenant,” in the­aters to­day.

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