‘Cloverfield’ cast chats with The Hurricane about their monster hit

In a movie theater near you, the cast of “Cloverfield” is being attacked by a hellish monster. But on a Friday afternoon in New York, actors Lizzie Caplan, T.J. Miller and Mike Vogel are goofing around during a conference call with college media outlets.

“The sequel is a softcore pornographic film called Loverfield,” joked Miller, who plays the role of the comedic Hud.

Jokes and pornography aside, it might not be too early for talk of a sequel. Indeed, “Cloverfield” raked in more than $40 million in its first week out- a record for a movie released during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.

The formula for the film’s success? Put a hot and intriguing group of twentysomethings in Manhattan while a hideous monster goes on a rampage and sends the city into a state of chaos, then capture it on film from the perspective of a character’s camcorder. In essence, it’s the “Real World” meets “Jurassic Park” meets Sept. 11.

“I think a lot of people will react negatively because it does conjure up some disturbing images, but it was never our intention to exploit what happened on 9/11,” said Caplan, who plays Marlena. “I think that people who make films, they need to be allowed to explore these relevant social issues, like the fear that we all live in.”

Vogel said that experiencing such fear in a movie theater is a beneficial and cathartic experience for audiences.

“I think that the draw to it is that people want to experience danger,” he said. “And that’s why we go to films; we kind of look at the different characters that are there and say, ‘I would react that way.'”

But for Caplan, envisioning how to react on camera was entirely different than actually doing it.

“We had to do like upwards of 40 takes for every scene and a lot of the scenes were running,” she said. “I haven’t gone to the gym in like a year. I don’t know if I was really ready for it.”

In order to balance the film with equal parts action and comedy, director Matt Reeves gave the cast the opportunity to improvise in several scenes.

“Part of that was to make sure that it was as naturalistic as possible,” Miller said. “And part of it was because that’s what they fucking pay me for. I’m the comedian that they brought in to make this part funny and have that aspect of the film be successful.”

And though the film has been successful, Caplan, who co-starred in “Mean Girls” as Lindsay Lohan’s gothic friend, hopes it achieves more.

“I think ‘Mean Girls’ turned out to be the best possible version of that high school movie [genre],” she said. “And I’m hoping that this will be the best possible version of a monster movie.”

Nick Maslow may be contacted at nick@miami.edu or read at blogs.themiamihurricane.com.