We spoke with Actor Parry Shen about his career which has included work in Film, TV & Video Games. Most notably he is known from Adam Green’s Hatchet slasher franchise; appearing as three different lead characters in Hatchet 1 – 3 and he reprises his role of Andrew in the latest installment Victor Crowley.
Other appearances have included roles in Better Luck Tommorow, Starship Troopers, Buffy The Vampire Slayer & a recurring role in General Hospital.
“There aren’t many people in the world that know more about about superheroes than I do.”
How did you first become involved in acting?
I’ve always been interested in acting things out/making voices/using puppets to tell a story or a joke. But I never had the guts to actually step on a stage until my freshman year in college. While I was a business student by day, my girlfriend and I would enter these talent shows by writing these huge productions for my friends and us — that had drama, comedy, fighting and music. We’d always win because they were so elaborate but in hindsight, it was us finally having an outlet to release all this creativity.
How did you first become involved in the Hatchet franchise?
In 2004, I had a day where I had 4 auditions from 10am-6pm, which is a lot. That’s 4 sets of dialogue to learn and 4 completely different characters. By the end of the day, I was wiped out and the casting director for Hatchet had accidentally put her home address as the location for the audition — so I went to her home first!
Found out the real location was way across town and now I was late. So by the time I got into the room with Adam, I was just done and in hindsight, probably loosened me up because I just went in there and did what I had prepared — not caring about being self-conscious or thinking about how well I was doing.
Its been 10 years since Hatchet was released – and the latest installment is hitting screens now. How has your character changed and developed since Hatchet III?
That was the fun part about doing VICTOR CROWLEY this time around, I got to finally build off of a character instead of starting from scratch (due to character deaths). So I really buckled down with thinking about how has Andrew changed and what has stayed the same with him over the past decade.
He’s definitely one of the smarter ones because he survived that harrowing night, but he did it under the pretenses of hiding. And not helping Dougherty when she’s being pulled into the torn open hull — so there’s definitely guilt/shame that he’s been living with. Also, his celebrity/attention came as a result of something that was thrust into his lap, and not pursued – so there’s an interesting uneasiness that he carries. But once the shit hits the fan when they’re back in the swamp, we’ll see if he’s grown and how much of his self-preservation is extended towards others.
How difficult was it keeping the new film a secret?
It’s really not that hard to just keep your mouth shut. It was fun to have a secret. The cast and I would think up of fake photos to post at a location overseas to use as mis-information to refer to if we were ever confronted about shooting the film. In this day and age with literally every second of your life being on broadcast via social media, it was nice to be able to be in charge of something that we could control.
The only hard part was when I would go to red carpet events and they’d always ask, “So, what are you doing next?”and having to say, “Oh, nothing.” Then after a while during post-production, I actually forgot I was in the film because I just didn’t talk about it.
Which is your favourite character from the franchise Shawn, Justin or Andrew?
Shawn’s theatricality was just so much fun. I just kept suggesting different accents, adding sleight of hand gags, twirling the hat, flourishing the cape, yelling in Cantonese, telling bad jokes.
It was like there was literally nothing that was off limits with this character!
They keep killing you and you keep coming back! What is it about the Hatchet franchise that keeps you and the fans coming back?
I think it’s the fun & good natured essence of the films. Yes, Victor is terrifying when he’s chasing folks down, but the creative manner in which all the kills are done coupled with the smart dialogue and humor makes it something very special and unique.
Speaking of deaths which is your favourite death scene? There’s a lot to choose from!
I love humor, so Joel David Moore’s/Ben’s cameo death in Hatchet III is such a wonderful surprise and memorable way to bring closure to that character. It’s so brief, but makes such an impact. I would say it’s like Wolverine’s “Go Fuck Yourselves!” moment in “X-Men: First Class”.
Are you a horror movie fan yourself?
The horror films I personally tend to gravitate to have more of a Sci-Fi bent. Like, “28 Days Later”, “Ex Machina”, “The Fly”. “Alien” and “Resident Evil”. Or humor like, “Shaun of The Dead” and “Scream”.
What have your experiences been like meeting fans of the franchise at conventions?
I’ve actually never been to a horror con beyond a panel signing. But I shall see in a few weeks on Oct 6-8 at Scare A Con, where I’ll have my first table and set up camp in the heart of things. Felissa Rose, my VICTOR CROWLEY co-star, suggested I give it a shot. So the past few weeks I’ve been coming up with some really cool Hatchet items to showcase there.
We’re also going to do a panel and since we won’t have any footage to show (Adam has the only print for the Roadshow), Felissa and I are going to do a LIVE performance of a scene in the film! It’s gonna be pretty cool but now we have to re-learn our lines!
You have worked on many projects over the years – which have been your personal favourites?
Besides that Hatchet franchise — there are a lot and for different reasons.
“General Hospital” has allowed me to develop a multi-layered gay character who went from annoying jerk to lovable, fan favorite over 5 seasons and 130 episodes. Prior to that, the longest stretch I’ve had for any character was 3 episodes.
“Better Luck Tomorrow” and “Yes, We’re Open” (currently on Amazon Prime) are some of the best and complex pieces of dialogue I’ve had to work with.
“Unidentified” (also on Amazon Prime), was the first film I produced, which was so gratifying literally knowing how every piece of the film came together (from the credits and music to knowing what went wrong that day of shooting and how we negotiated to get certain actors).
Then with the video game, “Sleeping Dogs”, I got to play a villain for the first time because it didn’t matter what I looked like physically. In the game I was 6’3” and yoked. It was wonderful to not be put into a ‘box’ of the characters I was ‘allowed’ to play.
And with “Doc McStuffins”, I got to sing my own intro theme song!!
What is your favourite movie of all time?
This always changes, especially when I’ve just seen that film. Right now, it’s “The Princess Bride”, since I just saw it with my kids. “Back to the Future” is pretty damn close to a perfect film — but in terms of cinematography, story/tone & performances, I think it’s gotta be: “The Shawshank Redemption”.
What is your favourite TV Show of all time?
“Friends”. No matter how many times I’ve seen an episode, I find myself still laughing hard. Once they were in their groove after the first few seasons and each actor figured out their character’s personalities and how they fit into the grand scheme of things, it just flowed.. It’s not as ‘smart’ as “Breaking Bad”, “Dexter” or even “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — but I like to laugh. And that show makes me laugh. A lot.
If you could play any role which would it be and why?
Someone in the DC or Marvel world. I grew up with comics. I worked at Marvel Comics as an intern and during my lunch breaks poured over their leather bound archives managed by Peter Sanderson. I co-created 2 graphic novels about Asian American Superheroes. I still read and collect. There aren’t many people in the world that know more about about superheroes than I do.
This is definitely an exciting time for a comic fan with literally every other film being a comic IP and I would just love to be a part of that theatrical canon somehow.
Do you have any other upcoming projects?
I produced a second movie titled, “Bloodhound” that follows a private investigator on a bizarre case and stars Ed Ackerman and Dave Foy (both from “Hatchet II”), and that is about ready to be closed up.
But I think the main focus for me right now is the Roadshow and hitting the convention circuit to see the fan reaction to “Victor Crowley” in person. After all, I’ve waited almost 2 years for this!