The long-running Wrong Turn franchise gets a new lease on life with its latest entry, a fresh reboot of the series. Simply titled Wrong Turn, this new film replaces the classic formula of cannibal mutants with a more serious and realistic take that delves into the increased tribalism of the various factions that make up America in the increasingly divided 21st century. The gory kills are presented as genuinely scary bouts of terror, rather than delightful grindhouse spectacles, while the characters feel like fully-developed human beings, rather than brainless cannon fodder or simple-minded killers.
Written by original Wrong Turn scribe Alan McElroy and directed by The Domestics helmer Mike P. Nelson, the new Wrong Turn boasts an impressive cast that includes Matthew Modine and Bill Sage as the elder statesmen of the picture, but also a slew of new young people who are forced to do what they must in order to survive the hidden corners of Appalachia. British actor Adain Bradley plays Darius, one of the group of young people who become lost in the woods, and the choices he makes throughout the film go a long way towards setting Wrong Turn apart from its predecessors, but to say why would be delving into spoiler territory.
While promoting the release of Wrong Turn, Adain Bradley spoke to Screen Rant about his work on the film, from making his first visit to the shooting locations in Ohio to overcoming his fear of horror movies in order to star in one himself. He also discusses an injury he sustained on the set and how it impacted the shoot, leading to overtime work for his stunt double. Finally, he discusses the idea of being a rising star in the movie business and how he didn’t think of the prospect of fame when he first decided to follow his passion for acting.
Wrong Turn is out now in theaters, Digital, and VOD.
How’s it going?
I’m doing alright, I’m just thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail!
Don’t! Oh, well, I suppose you could, just don’t take a wrong turn, you know?
See what I did there? I’m on form today, Zak!
Boom! Well, I’ve got everything I need, that’s the interview, it’s been great to talk to you, and I hope to catch you on the next one!
Yeah, see ya Zak, big fan of Screen Rant, love what you guys do.
We love Wrong Turn here. Maybe that says something about our readers, I’m sure. Tell me how the trajectory of getting this role; does your agent go, “Kid, you gotta read this,” do you go into an audition blind, how does it happen?
Oh, it’s straight-to-offer, of course. Just kidding. I got the audition in on a Monday. I was super sick, and I never miss auditions, but I was like, “Guys, I just can’t do it.” So I was able to go in on the Thursday of that week. On Friday, I got the call that said, “The director wants to speak to you on Saturday.” Saturday, I spoke to Mike. Sunday, the contracts came in, and Monday, I was on the plane to Ohio. It was the quickest turnaround I’ve ever had. I came on super late to the project. I read the sides and thought, this is really cool. They tell me it’s a horror movie, but there seems to be some really deep character development going on here, I’m not sure what this is! I spoke to Mike, and he sent me the script. I’m kind of a picky reader, like, I’ll read ten pages here, 15 pages there… But I sat down in my bed and read it, and thought it was fantastic. It wasn’t a typical kind of horror film. There are thriller elements, there is lots of character development. I’m a scaredy cat, so I struggle a lot with horror films. But this made a lot of sense. I was fortunate enough that Mike thought I made a lot of sense, and I think we made something good!
Totally. I really like the movie, by the way! So, along that process, what’s that moment, is it when you’re reading the lines, or when you’re talking to Mike, when do you realize this movie isn’t just a story of college kids getting lost in the woods and getting eaten by mutants?
When was the moment when you were like, “Hey, this movie is really smart in addition to all the violence and terror?”
I think it was Mike. I spoke to Mike before I read the script in totality, and Mike was explaining it to me when I got the original audition. Even then, I thought, this feels like something different. When I spoke to Mike, he was so enthusiastic, and based on projects he’d done in the past… He sold me, I was on board. The script was penned by Alan, who is absolutely fantastic. The script was in line with what Mike said and what I felt, so I thought, yeah. My first instincts were right. This is something different. Mike is really something else. He takes his time. No stone is left unturned with him. I think that’s why it came out the way it did.
Where did you shoot, in Ohio?
We shot in the middle of Ohio. I had never been there before. That’s fun. Every time I get to go somewhere new to work, it’s fun for me. The community was great. We shot outside of a little town called Milford. There were a lot of woods, a lot of great areas. It really encompassed, I suppose West Virginia, but that whole Appalachian Trail, desolate, in the middle of nowhere kind of feel. And we also had a field where they built The Foundation’s village, outside of Milford. It was all centralized around there, which was fun. We had that “middle of nowhere” feeling, but we were also ten minutes from the hotel!
That sounds nice. So, did you get some of that small-town Americana vibe? I know it’s sometimes scary in the movies, but it seems like it would be super cozy in real life!
Hey, man, it’s not bad! I liked it over there! I didn’t know what to expect, because you see these films and they have small towns and the banjos and all that, and I didn’t know what to expect. But when I got there, the community was great, everybody was really nice! There’s a pool of talent that makes films there, and they all knew each other, so it felt like we were just walking into a family environment. I would like to go back there the first chance I get, to be honest, it was so wonderful. I can’t wait to shoot something there again.
Had you any experience with the films beforehand? You said you’re a scaredy cat, your words, so maybe not, but did you brush up once you got the part? Are you a secret gore-hound as so many of us are?
I knew of the films, but I think I’ve only seen the first one, and it was probably when I was too young to be watching it, and I shouldn’t have been watching it. But I’m not super steeped in the Wrong Turn-verse. But funnily enough, my cousin, I told him that I was doing it, I was like, “Yeah, it’s a reboot of this thing, and I said, Wrong-” and he said, “Turn?!” And I was, like, “Yeah, mate, but this one is different.” There’s definitely some fans in the family, for sure.
Yeah, I think there will probably be some people who get mad that there aren’t cannibals and mutant people like in the old ones, but I think if they can get past that, they’ll be pleasantly surprised.
You know what’s funny? I thought that, too. I thought, the people who are hardcore fans of Wrong Turns, I didn’t know if they would take our deviation well, but I have to say, I thought we were going to get it worse from the Wrong Turn fans, but the Wrong Turn fans have been super supportive! If you look at the original films, and especially the original, it was a product of its time. It is what it is, from that time. I think Alan did a really good job updating that original concept. I think people expect more from genre cinema now. I think you go into horror and you want character development. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the blood and gore that people want and expect, but I really thought the fans were going to eat us alive a little bit, no pun intended, but everybody seems to be happy customers so far!
It’s also a case of, like, there were six of these movies before this one. If you’re into the older style, there’s no shortage of adventures for them to return to.
Yes, of course.
Okay, you’re in Ohio, shooting, rehearsing, all that. Tell me about being in the woods on the day. Did anyone get Lyme disease?
(Laughs) No! Just a fractured knee. No, it was fun! The first couple of days, we shot chronologically. The first day we shot was actually our first scenes, where we’re driving and doing the hike. We shot all that first. It was nice to explore the trails, be in the mountains, and understand our surroundings before stuff hits the fan and everything gets really serious. It was a nice entryway to shooting.
Wait, back up. who broke their knee?
Oh yeah. I was… It can’t even be quantified as a stunt. It was such a small movement. You’ve seen the film, right?
Yes I have!
When Jen and Darius are running away from Wolf Skull and we go into a little cubby hole with the decrepit woman behind us and we pop out, we do kind of a little stop take, like we just ran into that hole, and I only had to drop six inches onto my knees like I had just jumped in there. And I said to Mike, I said, “Hey Mike, I don’t know, I’m a pretty big guy.” And he goes, “No, no, we put somebody in there yesterday! It’s fine, there’s enough space for you.” And he was right. There was enough space. But what we didn’t know was, under that patch of grass was a rock formation, and so I dropped six inches, the rock hit my left knee perfectly in the right place to completely shatter it.
So I had to do 90% of the movie on crutches, because I had a fractured knee. Anytime you see me limping around, the limp was real. Any other time you see me moving, running, crossing the screen, that was my fantastic stuntman, Will. He did all of my movement. I don’t think I did a single stunt because I was on crutches the entire time.
Wow. How are you feeling now?
I’m 99% better, to be honest. I think I should probably get surgery, but that will never happen. I’m terrified of that stuff. As you can tell, I’m a bit of a scaredy cat with everything! I’m good, I’m good. To be honest, I’m just happy it didn’t slow production down. They gave me as much time off as I needed, but I was back to work after only a few days. They made it work. They got Will on, my stunt guy, full time. It’s all good now.
Well, it’s seamless in the movie, I had no idea.
You know, for fans with a keen eye, there are a few times, because Will is such a good match for me, that he just crosses frame, and you can’t tell. After you watch it the first time, watch it again, and see if you can spot Will. He’s in there!
It’s like Where’s Waldo. Where’s Will? Okay, I got to talk to Matthew Modine earlier. Did you get to meet him at all?
I got to spend a bit of time with Modine. He’s a really cool guy. You don’t know what to expect when you work with these people who have had illustrious careers. You don’t know what kind of person you’re going to get. But Modine is awesome, he’s cool, he’s chill, and a team player. There were a lot of times he could have pulled rank on the long nights, but he was in the trenches with the rest of us. It was really fun. And hopefully, at some point, I get to do something with him again. He was a really fun guy. I didn’t know what to expect, but he over-delivered, that’s for sure.
He wasn’t a diva on the set, good to know!
No, that’s my thing. (Laughs)
It’s funny, because I get to talk to lots of stars as part of this job, but in some ways, I’m the most excited when I meet someone who is clearly going to be a big star but they’re only just taking off. The credits you’ve built for yourself already are setting the stage. I’d like to think, and I’m sure you would as well, that you’re gonna make it in this town!
Thank you, I appreciate that. Time will tell, but I’d like to think so! (Laughs)
Did you always want to be a movie star? Was this the trajectory you had in mind when you were a boy?
You know, to be honest, mate, I’ve always wanted to do this, to act, but it’s funny… Some people want to be actors, and some people want to be movie stars, but the stardom thing was never on my mind. It was never something I ever really wanted. But what I’ve found is, it kind of comes with the territory. I always thought these stars were maybe kind of a different species or something from us people. Like, they weren’t “real” people. But all of a sudden, you do one thing, or a couple of things, and then you’re in the supermarket and someone’s like, “Oh my gosh, The 100! Or Riverdale!” And you’re like, “Oh yeah, I forgot, we’re all just humans.” And I suppose, as the projects I do and the notoriety goes up, so will that… I guess I never wanted to be a movie star, per se, but there’s a lot of cool jobs that I really want to do and that I’ve had the opportunity to do, and there are new opportunities, and I guess movie stardom may just come with that. I’m just excited for whatever comes next. I’ve always wanted to act for a living, and I’m doing that now, so I’m happy, man!
Living the dream!
Living the dream! Thanks, Screen Rant, for the Wrong Turn fandom, we really appreciate it!