The Purge: Anarchy is the latest film to come out of the low-budget production company Blumhouse Productions. The film is the follow up to the surprise hit of last summer, The Purge, written and directed by James DeMonaco. Anarchy fulfills the promise of the first film by taking the viewer out into the streets on Purge night and letting us see what it looks like when all hell breaks loose. Zach Gilford plays Shane, half of a couple stranded on the streets of downtown Los Angeles trying to make his way to safety. Nerdist interviewed the actor about working on a Blumhouse film, joining the franchise and what audiences can expect from the most recent film, in theaters now.
For actor Zach Gilford, best known for the TV series Friday Night Lights and Devil’s Due, what was the experience like working for the king of low-budget horror, Jason Blum? Gilford told us, “You know, his model for making movies, it works and it’s smart. Everything goes up on the screen and I know he’s gotten some heat for it but if someone doesn’t want to do his movie because of whatever reason, then don’t do it! But if you’re doing it, then you’re doing it; be excited about making the movie… We all were there because we wanted to make a cool movie and we thought this could be. I really think this movie, specifically James DeMonaco, he’s one of my favorite directors I’ve ever worked with. I think he shoots really well but the work environment he creates, he makes everyone feel respected and makes everyone feel appreciated and he’s a true collaborator.”
Despite whether you like the movies or not, The Purge franchise has always been praised for its smart and big ideas, something that was not lost on Gilford when he was considering joining the second film and when he saw the final result. Said Gilford, “I really was proud of this movie when I saw it because at first you’re like, ‘OK, I’m making The Purge sequel, I know what that is.’ Then I read the script and I thought there was a lot there. There was a lot of commentary politically in it but even if you take all the political commentary away, which I think really heightens this movie, it’s a well made film. It looks good, its fun, its not cheesy, so I was really proud. And I think so much, besides the amazing acting by me, it’s really a tribute to James because he had a vision and he knew how to execute it.”
The first film starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey was a huge surprise hit in the summer of 2013. How does The Purge: Anarchy differ from the first? Gilford explained, “The first one, it kind of got the ball rolling. If anything I think these two movies make each other better. They’re totally different movies. In the first one I think people were like, ‘The Purge? You can do whatever you want? That’s crazy, I want to go see that. What’s that all about?’ Now people know what it’s about and this [movie], it goes out on the street. It’s a totally different movie. This is an action movie where the first one was kind of like a horror/ thriller/ home invasion movie, so exactly why people want to go see it [The Purge: Anarchy], I don’t know, but people have been telling me it’s the trailer, its got a good ad campaign. You know, when I saw the trailer I was like, ‘That looks like a cool movie! I would go see that.’ I just really like the fact that people leaving it will get more out of it than they expected.”
The Purge: Anarchy, starring Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul, written and directed by James DeMonaco, is in theaters now.