Interview With Drea De Matteo, Star Of ‘Collide’

Collide, the latest flick by Mukunda Michael Dewil, really surprised me.

With a vague synopsis:

A gripping thriller chronicling three couples over the course of one fateful night in an LA restaurant…

I really had no idea what to think and went into it totally blind. I’m so glad I did. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Kat Graham, Ryan Phillipe, Drea de Matteo, Jim Gaffigan, and Aisha Dee (Sissy 2022 – our review), Collide blends sensitive topics like drugs and racism, with deceit and depression, into a thriller that pulls you in and takes you on a roller coaster ride. To celebrate the release of the film, I chatted with star Drea de Matteo via Zoom, and we talked about the film, what she learned from her character, what keeps her passionate, and more!

PopHorror: Thank you so much for your time, Drea. I really appreciate it. I really enjoyed Collide, so I’m excited to speak with you.

Drea de Matteo: Oh, cool! I haven’t seen it yet. I’m going to watch it tonight when it premieres on VOD. So I’m going to interview you! You’re going to tell me about the movie, Tiffany! Just kidding!

PopHorror: Nothing I had predicted happened.

Drea de Matteo: I know! It was a wonky script. It was so crazy and such a big concept for us all being in one place in one night. I love those kinds of stories where all the storylines just sort of collide, so to speak.

PopHorror: I do, too, and that was a big selling point for me. I love ensemble casts. I love when they all intersect and connect together.

Drea de Matteo: Me too! I really do love that. I was glad to be a part of one of those. I’ve never done anything like that, so it was cool. And it’s also easier to film, which I liked. It was cool. You show up, and you do your little story. It’s kind of like shooting a TV show in a weird way, because you don’t know what the hell is going on in all these other stories. You’re here for your character.

PopHorror: So what intrigued you about the film and made you want to be a part of it?

Drea de Matteo: I think the first thing was the script. It was also the beginning of people coming out of Covid, so that was exciting to be able to work again. But to be honest with you, I hadn’t anticipated anything great coming across my desk at that time. And of all the movies I was doing during that time—I’m doing TV, so I don’t even like getting into the indie world of film and stuff—but there were so many great scripts that came by that I had to do them. And they all took place in one location.

I guess that was the model after Covid lockdown. It’s that storyline where everything is sort of colliding and overlapping, and all these people have nothing to do with each other, but they share this sort of common… When I read it, for me, the premise? I hadn’t seen it, and I don’t know what Mukunda’s edited yet, so I don’t know what the theme is of it as much now, but when I was reading it, it felt like this heavy feeling of people living in somewhat of a fear state. Which is what we’ve been living in for a large part. But everyone is struggling to find a way to feel safe.

PopHorror: That’s a great way to put it.

Drea de Matteo: Whether it’s financially, physically, emotionally. Everyone is trying to understand where their place in the world is right now based on the person across from them as opposed to just looking within. Understanding who they are, but everyone is looking out. How is this person affecting this cause-and-effect thing? I think we’re living in that society right now, where everybody is pointing a finger at the person across from them. Everyone is going through their own thing.

My character, for instance, is in a midlife crisis. She doesn’t feel safe with her safe husband, who is Jim Gaffigan. That’s another thing that I thought was cool, to play across from him. I felt like he was the unexpected husband. But my character, I think in a lot of ways, was probably very broken, and now at 50, she’s like, “I want things that I didn’t have before.” And she doesn’t care who she hurts to get there. That’s not so nice. You see everything. There’s every aspect of life happening in this movie. All in a restaurant.

PopHorror: That was quite a departure for Jim Gaffigan, and I liked that a lot. I love it when it’s unexpected. He’s known for his comedy, and then he comes in and does a gut-punch of a character like this. 

Drea de Matteo: So good!

PopHorror: I was blown away by that.

Drea de Matteo: Me too. And he was so good. I was worried that he was going to be the pain-in-the-ass serious actor when I got there. And he wasn’t, thank God. They would yell, “Cut!” and then boom! One of those bad ass jokes would come out of his mouth towards me, and I was like, “Yes!”

Jim Gaffigan in Collide

PopHorror: You needed that comic relief in such a heavy movie.

Drea de Matteo: Big time.

PopHorror: Was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to your character?

Drea de Matteo: Well, there was stuff in the script that was written that I was adamant about not wanting to do, and thank God, we ran out of time.

PopHorror: Are you allowed to say what that is?

Drea de Matteo: Yes. There were all these scenes where I’m dancing in front of the bar trying to get attention, because she’s like so… There’s something pathetic about her, even though she’s somewhat of his antagonist. She’s a victim of her age in her own life and whatever, and I guess she just wants young men to still find her attractive, or just men in general. So she’s dancing in front of the bar, drunk. And I’m an actor. I know I can do anything, and of course, I would have if Mukunda said he still wanted to have this in there, but I had said to him during the night, “I hope we don’t get to that dancing scene.” And he looked at me later on and said, “You don’t have to dance.”

PopHorror: What a relief!

Drea de Matteo: I didn’t have much to bring to it except for my backstory, because there’s obviously a lot of history between us that’s not observed in the writing, so I had given myself that I was damaged goods when I was a young woman, and that Jim was a safe place for me. He took care of me; he probably helped me get my shit together. Maybe I was doing drugs, or maybe there was just an unstable lifestyle, and he became my place of safety. When you’re hitting that midlife crisis at 50, maybe you’re wanting to experience all of the things you never experienced. Live on the edge and all that stuff. I think she always had that in her.

PopHorror: What did you learn from your character?

Drea de Matteo: Just being in that scenario, don’t go on a blind date, number one. I think… Don’t take your love for granted. I’m 50 right now, and I’m a mother facing a midlife crisis. I’m not going to lie. But I don’t take things for granted in life. I could never imagine being that way in life. I could never just cheat like that and be somewhat hostile about it. It doesn’t resonate for me. That’s why I gave myself that history so I could justify that kind of behavior. One should never justify that behavior.

PopHorror: I think that works for any age, too. Don’t take love for granted, don’t cheat, don’t be a horrible person.

Drea de Matteo: Don’t hurt people! It’s a sacred space. Love is a sacred thing. I’ve been cheated on plenty, so I know. I know what that feels like… And silence!

PopHorror: I think a lot of us know what that’s like.

Drea de Matteo: Of course! I’ve done it; it’s been done to me. I’ve played every part on the planet. It’s not worth it.

PopHorror: It really isn’t.

Drea de Matteo: Never.

PopHorror: You’ve done a lot of what I like to call horror adjacent projects. Not really horror but adjacent to the genre. Would you say that you’re a horror fan?

Drea de Matteo in The Sopranos

Drea de Matteo: I don’t know. Well, I guess the movie I did earlier this year, Safe Space, that was not really horror. It’s a thriller. The movie coming out, One Way, is also a thriller. It’s more of an action film. Horror… I did do one scary film.

I am a horror fan, yes. I am a fan. I watched The Exorcist when I was a kid. I accidentally watched it when I was eight. My mom left it on and fell asleep, and I puked everywhere. And then I started reenacting it for my brother when he would come home tripping on acid when he was a teenager. I would wait in his room and be Regan. If my mom had guests over, I would come downstairs in my nightgown and piss on the floor. I was obsessed with that movie. I saw it 87 times. And then Amityville, The Shining. There’s a great new horror film. Well, it’s not new, but in the last 10 years maybe, called The Shrine. It’s incredible.

PopHorror: I haven’t seen that.

Drea de Matteo: It’s a good one. It’s cheesy in the beginning. It looks like really bad video. But when you get into the actual meat of the horror part, it’s so good. It’s really scary.

PopHorror: I’m going to have to look that up.

Drea de Matteo: And Midsommar. I loved that one. So yeah, I love horror films. And I’ve been to so many conventions—comic conventions and horror conventions—things like that. I get off on all that stuff. Now I’m a little afraid to watch some of that stuff late at night. We watched Stranger Things nonstop with the kids.

PopHorror: You’ve had a long and illustrious career and continue to find success. What has helped you stay passionate?

Drea de Matteo: Oh, man. What has helped me stay passionate? I might have stopped doing what I do a long time ago, but when I had my daughter, I didn’t want to let her down. I wanted her to see that Mommy could keep being in her industry working. I wanted to be somebody she could be proud of. I originally started out as a film student and not an actor, so I still feel like I have to make that transition back to where I started.

Right now, I’m having a hard time even being in my own industry, because I’m a real hippie who just didn’t get vaccinated, so I’m having a rough time with that. I haven’t been able to work since these last movies. We’re joking around, but this was my last. This was it. I’m done. They’ve been really hellbent on that, so… My kids are like, “Please Mommy. We don’t want you to do that.” And I’m like, “I won’t. I’m here.” I’m a single mom, so when you have two little kids that are… Anyway, everything that can stay passionate about anything are my two little kids. That’s the truth.

PopHorror: I love that. I just have one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?

Drea de Matteo: The Shining and The Exorcist were my favorites. But then I became Amityville-obsessed, and I even got into Amityville 2 because I loved The Exorcist. Amityville 2 has real Exorcist vibes. Still cheesy, but awesome.

Thank you so much, Drea, for taking the time to speak with us. You can catch Collide on VOD now!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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