Justin Long © Universal Pictures

Known primarily for his comedies He’s Just Not that Into You and Strange Wilderness, Justin Long is not a stranger to the Horror genre, being featured in the successful Jeepers Creepers. He returns to the genre in Sam Raimi’s new movie Drag Me to Hell playing Clay Dalton, Christine Brown’s (Alison Lohman) skeptical but supportive boyfriend, who doubts that supernatural forces are attacking her.

Were you a fan of Sam Raimi?

Justin Long © Universal Pictures
Justin Long © Universal Pictures

I was a fan of all of his films, I was a fan of Spider-Man, this is going to sound controversial, I loved Spider-Man 3. I really did, I thought it was awesome. I grew up with Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, and so I was an enormous fan. I was to the point where I cut my vacation short just to have a meeting with him. This is before I knew how serious he was about casting me; I was excited just to meet him.

Were you disappointed because you didn’t have any Horror scenes to do?

I know. I kind of got the short end of the stick. Although, at the time, I have to say, I had moments where I was excited to be going home early to get my rest. So at the time I wasn’t as jealous as I am now. Alison worked her ass off, and she more than rose to the occasion, I’ve never seen an actress work so hard.

You got to be a victim in Jeepers Creepers.

Yeah, and that was part of my conflict, because I knew how exhausting that was, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to be dragged to hell. I want to be slowly led to purgatory.’ That sounds more appealing.

Your character was the most understanding boyfriend in the world.

Justin Long © Universal Pictures
Alison Lohman and Justin Long © Universal Pictures

Well, I hate to say that I drew from my real life, and my personal experience, but I did. [he laughs] My role in the movie, and I hope I didn’t misunderstand my function, was to just service Alison’s character, and the audiences’ willingness to want her to not be dragged to hell. Had I been super-obnoxious or whatever, the audience would be like, ‘She might be better off in hell. We hope she gets dragged there a little bit quicker.’

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Justin Long © Universal Pictures
Justin Long © Universal Pictures

I’ve had experiences. I love going on ghost tours in cities in the south. I was on one in Key West, and there was [a building] with an awning and marquee, and it had been abandoned for 10 years, and the tour guide told us the story about how it used to be a church back in the 1840s. This is documented, the preacher found out that his wife was having an affair, and so he waited until she was in the church, boarded it up and set it on fire. He didn’t realize that she was teaching Sunday School at the time, and killed 14 or 15 kids, just burned alive, horrible story. The latest incarnation, it was a theater and the actors would complain about hearing children screaming or playing, or had burning sensations. My girlfriend at the time and I we’re just taking random pictures and we zoomed in on one of the windows on the second floor, which were all boarded up, and you couldn’t see much, but there were some exposed areas where the curtains were pulled back. We zoomed in so it was sort of pixilated and not clear but I swear to God it was a kid’s face, clearly eyes and a nose. We were freaking out, my skin is crawling just telling this story.

Have you talked to Sam at all about a sequel?

Just sort of passive aggressively joking about it, just trying to plant the seed. I know he’s doing Spider-Man. I’m sure Drag Me To Hell is not high on his priority list.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.