Horror veteran Justin Long gets it: when the protagonist of a scary movie does something stupid that puts them right in the path of the villain/monster/killer, sometimes you just want to throttle them yourself. But he promises this is not the case with Barbarian’s Tess (Georgina Campbell), who “takes logical, intelligent steps that all then have obstacles,” Long explains to The A.V. Club’s own Jack Smart.
The same cannot be said for Darry of Jeepers Creepers. “I remember having the experience of seeing that movie. And the whole audience is yelling at you! And it’s a wild thing to hear a whole audience call you stupid or go, ‘What are you doing?!’” He recalls. “I saw it with my mom for the first time and there were three ladies in front of us who were very vocal, very angry at my character.”
The actor continues, “And when it was over, my eyes are—spoiler alert—my eyes are gone. And my mother is crying, ‘Oh, they took your eyes!’ And the three ladies in front of us, they’re getting up and they go, ‘Good. I’m glad his eyes are gone. Stupid, stupid white boy.’ They were furious with me.” He adds: “My mom started to make a move, like a protective mother. And I was like, ‘It’s just a movie,’ you know, pulling my hat down.”
Even though Tess is apparently more clever than Darry, she’s still getting audience feedback at Barbarian screenings, Long reports. “And Georgina is such a likable presence, so it’s less of, ‘You’re stupid, don’t go in there!’ And more like, ‘We like you! Don’t go back in there and be a hero.’ It’s a lot of that.”
Speaking for himself, “My character is so unlikable that whenever bad things happen to me, they’re sort of rooting for bad things to happen to me,” he teases. Justin Long haters, this is your moment! For Justin Long lovers, you can read his full A.V. Club interview here.