Interview: Ethan Suplee Talks God is a Bullet

The hard hitting action thriller God is a Bullet hits theatres this week and actor Ethan Suplee plays one of the villains of the movie. He stopped by to chat with me about it and the challenges of bringing such a nasty character to life.


I watched God is a Bullet the other day, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. What was it that drew you to it?

I’ve been very close friends with Nick Cassavetes for a long time, and he told me about it maybe 10 years ago. When he told me about it, I didn’t read the book, he just basically described to me that we were going to make this really brutal savage movie, and that it was going to be awesome. So, when he came back, he was like, “we’re gonna actually make this movie now”. I was like, great and read the script and I was shocked that he was able to put it together because it is so brutal. With a horror movie, there’s gore and brutality, but also they mostly take place in some kind of a fantasy world, right? and this is really kind of squarely set in the reality that we live in. While I don’t know if there are actual people like this that exist in gangs of satanic cults, I have no idea but there could be. It’s just an interesting thing to take a moment and think about that kind of savagery because I think there is savagery in the world and I think it gets toned down quite a bit for entertainment.


Absolutely. It’s great to actually see a movie like this still being able to get made these days; were you’re aware of the challenges of trying to get it all put together?

Yeah, yeah, I mean, it is unlike any other movies. I guess recently, there was a movie, Bones and All that I watched, and I actually loved Bones and All and I thought how the how the hell did they make this movie because it’s also so brutal, and yet artistic. I think that you kind of get one or the other, you get super artistic or brutal, but you don’t get both as a mix. I think with God is a Bullet, you got a really good story. The whole movie is good. The cast is good, the plot is good, the characters are good, and it’s savage. It’s brutal and so it was really fun to be able to be a part of that.


Your character’s name is Gutter, which is a beautiful name for a lovely man. How do you prepare for a role like this for a character like that?

Well, in all the other parts that I’ve done, it’s very rare that you get a character where all of your ideals, all of your morals, all of your values align perfectly with the character; you’re playing a different person from yourself. And with the ones that are a huge departure, like with American History, X, I still want to have some humanity because I am trying to portray a real person; it’s just a real person who has very divergent values from my own, but he’s not walking around thinking that he’s evil. He’s walking around thinking that he’s right. So, to do that, honestly, you have to put some humanity into it. But with Gutter, I think Gutter is walking around intending to be evil, intending to do harm. He thinks that he is the spawn of Satan or something like that. It was actually difficult to remove the humanity and not let the humanity that I hope I have innately peeked through.

I thought all the characters in general, the way they looked was fascinating; did you have input into the look of Gutter?

Yeah, we got to sit down and go over them. There were a bunch of options to choose from, and I definitely got to; there were some that Nick just said, “I really want you to have this” and that was fine. When we did the whole process, it would take multiple hours, so there were definitely times where I would be like, “please let me wear a long sleeve shirt that covers my torso because I don’t feel like having all those tattoos put on today”.


How long does it take to put all those tattoos on?

Hours and hours with a team of five, six people, working nonstop, applying them.


How do you keep sane; can you even look at your phone or read a book?

Well, no, because a lot of the times they’re working on your hands and your arms and your back all at the same time. You’re kind of standing out stretched with your hands resting on stands because I don’t know that I could even stand with my arms outstretched for two hours. They put on music and you’re talking to them and just it’s very, very odd to have people basically painting your body for two hours.


You mentioned that you’ve known Nick, for many years. How would you describe his directorial style?

Nick, having started as an actor, I think he brings some insight in how to communicate with actors that you don’t always find. He’s such a great, great director; with some directors who might ask me to do something, I wouldn’t necessarily trust them but I have nothing but trust for Nick. So, I’m always interested in doing exactly what he wants me to do.


Generally, what do you look for in a script whenever it comes across your desk? And has that changed over the years, the type of project you look for?

Well, the the first thing I look for is, while I’m reading it, if I’m captured by it; if I’m finding myself walking away from it quite often and not totally enthralled that tells me something. I want first to be riveted by the script. Then all the other stuff, whether it’s a comedy or a drama or a thriller, that’s all ancillary to did this speak to me? Did it cause me to feel something? Can I picture it in my mind? Is that something that I would be interested in watching?


The home invasion seems still sticks in my head. That was a tough thing to watch. Is that the hardest scene to put together?

That was really tough. Yeah. Because that happens very early in the movie, right?


Yeah. First 10 minutes.

Yeah I don’t think it’s spoilers to say I had to be physical with a young girl and I was very, very uncomfortable doing that, because I didn’t want to hurt her. I kept being told, “we can see that you’re taking it easy on her”. She’s tough and she was even saying to me “you can actually make it look like you’re hurting me” and that was probably the hardest thing for me to do, because I really didn’t want to hurt her. You could see that, so we shot that quite a bit. That sequence where I am physical with her. And, you know, that was probably the hardest part of that entire shoot for me.


Yeah, that’s not a surprise. What would you like audiences to take away from the film?

I would love it if you got invested and you were made to feel angry and disgusted and sad, and hopefully at some points triumphant.


Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today and all the best with the film.

Absolutely. My pleasure. Take care.