The ‘Final Destination’ series crashes into theaters again this weekend for the fifth — yes, count ’em — time. In the newest shock-filled installment, another batch of well-moisturized twenty-somethings survive an elaborate mass disaster (this time, it’s a bridge collapse) and spend the rest of the movie trying to outrun the clock as death methodically comes to collect. In these films, an attractive young person can cheat fate for only so long before landing on top of, getting caught under or being sucked into a heavy, sharp electrical appliance.
One face in ‘Final Destination 5’ is not like the others, however: that of comedian David Koechner, best known for his roles in ‘Anchorman’ and NBC’s ‘The Office.’ Here, Koechner plays Dennis, a gruff boss who may or may not meet his end thanks to a hot tar leak.
Koechener spoke with Moviefone about his gore-filled second career as a horror star in ‘Final Destination 5’ and the upcoming ‘Piranha 3D’ sequel, and explained what it would take for ‘Anchorman 2’ to assemble on the big screen.
Moviefone: What attracted you to the ‘Final Destination’ series?
David Koechner: A couple things: the first was a job. I have five children. Two, I’ve never done anything like that, so why not? If I can be in ‘Hannah Montana’ then say “I just did ‘Final Destination 5,'” I think that’s a lot of fun.
Were you a fan of the previous movies?
I certainly am now well versed in the Rube Golderg-like machinations of death and fate. I don’t know how you categorize it, but it’s not really a horror film, it’s a gore and thriller film — but they’re such a fun thrill ride. The explosions of morbid joy when someone gets offed are incredible. I got a blast watching the movies.
What’s your favorite death from the series?
The craziest is the escalator [from ‘The Final Destination’], that one might be too much for me. One of the producers showed me all the deaths from the movies in a row, and it’s such a roller coaster. I know it’s morbid, but I was laughing my ass off.
What is it about the deaths in ‘Final Destination’ that are so fun?
They’re a surprise. It’s a chain reaction, but you can’t see all the links. There’s such great tension and you know it’s going happen, you know each person is getting singled out, you just don’t know how. The tension mounts and when it happens, it’s such an odd joyful release and you cannot contain yourself. I cannot say enough about Steve Quale as a director; there’s a lot of moving parts and you got very detailed action, and if you don’t set this up right, it doesn’t work. He’s been under the tutelage of James Cameron for 20 years, working second-unit, so he’s had the best.
If anything, there’s a slight prejudice in the general populace against franchise pictures like this. I say put your prejudice aside and go along for this fun ride. Honest to god, when I watched the whole movie, I was screaming. Loudly.
Well, you have a lot in common with teenage girls.
We’re emotional equivalents.
Watch the trailer for ‘Final Destination 5’
Speaking of splatter-filled horror movies, you’ll also be appearing in this November’s ‘Piranha 3DD’ — how will the sequel top last year’s carnage?
Hold your breath, that’s all I can say. Ving Rhames came back, Paul Scheer came back, Christopher Lloyd came back, and that’s how they got me. Who knows how much [money] we’ll make — but with this one, if there’s a line, this takes that line and erases it.
What can you tell me about your character Chet?
Chet’s a villain. You’d be rooting for Chet to get his.
And you’ll be co-starring with David Hasslehoff; what is he like off-camera?
He is a delightful man. He’s humble, very kind, very sweet. He’s well aware of who he is: he’s the Hoff.
To talk about something less gory, but just as horrific, it looks like Paramount has nixed Will Ferrell’s plans for ‘Anchorman 2.’ Is there any way a sequel will ever happen?
The only thing I can do is put out a positive idea of that sequel happening, because the more positivity we give to it, the more likely it’s going to happen. I’d love to say “yes, it’s going to happen” but sometimes that has a negative reaction; someone higher up might say “it’s not up to him.” There’s such a desire for it in the marketplace that it should happen. I think that movie would easily make $ 70 million opening weekend. I go out and do stand-up and the fans for ‘Anchorman’ are rabid.
What do you think happens to Champ Kind in the next installment?
I think he would more aggressively pursue Ron in some type of intimate relationship. It just might come to a head. There’s such clear and specific desires on Champ’s end that would have to be dealt with. Ron would have to sit Champ down and say “it’s not going to happen.”
Your confession scene from the ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgundy’ spin-off made me laugh harder than anything in the theatrical version.
It is a very powerful scene isn’t it? It does blow people’s minds. We just improvised a bunch on that; we were in Glendale, California, we’re being pulled around in a trailer and you could not turn on the air conditioner and you could not roll down the windows for sound reasons. We did that scene without pants because it was so hot.
Watch Champ Kind’s hilarious confession from ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgundy’ (NSFW)
You’ve had memorable performances in so many cult comedies; which movie’s fans have you been most pleasantly surprised by?
‘Out Cold’ is huge, as is ‘Waiting…’ I knew that it was there, but I didn’t know how big it was until I started doing stand-up; people want to hear quotes from the movies, so I do them. I’m so fortunate to have been in more than one cult film. Others that still have a cult, although not as large, are ‘Run Ronnie Run!’ and ‘Extract.’
If you haven’t had a chance to see ‘Extract,’ you’re in for a treat. It’s one of my favorite roles I’ve ever done. Mike Judge writes such amazingly and beautifully detailed characters, and you just walk right in; it’s like putting on a great glove and just playing with it … and that’s a horrible metaphor.
(Images courtesy of Warner Bros., Everett Collection)