‘Fresh’ Screenwriter Lauryn Kahn Reveals How Much Bloodier The Movie Was Almost

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Costs. (Projector images)

There’s a deluge of comedians turning into horror these days. Jordan Peele is the most prominent example of this, having briefly disappeared after Key and Peele wrapped only to return with the instant classic get out. Danny McBride teamed up with his Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green to write a new Halloween trilogy. Chris Rock did a Seen film. The The whitest kids you know comedian Zach Creggers filled up Barbaric on us.

Lauryn Kahn is also on this list. The screenwriter has been working in comedy for years. She was Adam McKay’s assistant for a long time, gaining experience on the set of Half brothers and the other guys. She has written and directed short films on funny or die which starred Selena Gomez, Nick Krroll, Kathryn Hahn and Rob Riggle. She scripted the Girls Trip feature Ibiza.

Then, earlier this year, his latest brainchild was unleashed on the world: Coststhe Sundance horror hit starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan about a “Mr. Straight” guy who, it turns out, is actually a sadistic cannibal who regularly slices women with who he takes out – leaving them alive as he takes one limb at a time – and packs their meat for a super-rich underground network of fellow woman-eaters.

“I grew up loving horror movies,” Kahn told Yahoo Entertainment in a recent horror mvp interview. “But my type of horror film doesn’t live in darkness all the time. I like the fun. I like the mix of genres that comes out of it. So it became a challenge for me. Like , ‘I think I want to dip my toe in a horror movie. Maybe make him say something, but not stick it down your throat. I call it “hiding your vegetables”, where you can watch like a horror movie, but if you want to have a conversation about deeper things, you can. And so for me, dating was something that I thought I could leverage a little more.

Lauryn Kahn attends the Fresh in March premiere in Los Angeles.  (Photo: Amy Sussman/WireImage)

Lauryn Kahn attends the premiere of Costs in March in Los Angeles. (Photo: Amy Sussman/WireImage)

Costs is indeed fun, some stomach-churning moments. The film kicks off as a straight rom-com as Noa (Edgar-Jones) endures a gruesome date with a pretentious scarf-wearing hipster who splits checks before embarking on this ultimate type of cutesy encounter with Steve (Stan ), a doctor (plastic surgeon) who flirts with her over cotton candy grapes in the produce aisle of a grocery store. Even once we’re in the grip of Noa’s nightmare, as she’s chained up in the basement of Steve’s secluded dream house in Zillow, the film is relentless, obscurely hilarious – especially once Noa starts hatching a plan to escape.

“When I launched it, some people didn’t quite get the vision,” says Kahn. “I said, ‘It starts as a romantic comedy, then it turns into a horror movie, then it ends like a Quentin Tarantino movie, and we’re going to make it all work. Because for me, it’s real life, right? You might have something terrible and laugh the next minute.

Costs was a risk, though Kahn credited his producing partners at Legendary Pictures for “getting it right away” (prior to its Sundance debut, Searchlight Pictures acquired the film for distribution on Hulu). Yet there were plenty of other people along the way who didn’t. “I had people coming into my office saying, ‘I don’t think this can work,'” says Kahn, who was also an executive producer. “Even down to distribution. At every step, there were just people who were scared or didn’t understand… It definitely put people off.

Costs is crude in points, but on the page it was even cruder, leaving director Mimi Cave tasked with toning down some of its more explicit carnage. “You saw a lot more surgeries, body parts, cooking was bloodier, eating him body parts was a lot bloodier… Sawing, cutting, things like that,” Kahn told About the scenario. “It was kind of this happy medium of showing things just for a hair’s sake and then you go to the next scene, so you don’t have to sit in the gore.”

Costs also wants to have a conversation, in the way it addresses the unspoken dangers that women could potentially face in every interaction with a new man.

“I had read this Twitter thread that kind of sparked something in me about a woman selling her washing machine and the steps she had to go through that men never shy away from,” Kahn tells About the pulse of history. “It’s like, ‘Okay, well, it’s not in a public place, it’s at my house. So if I put this up, I have to know that my husband is going to be at home. and that they have to come in the morning to watch it. And basically somebody showed up when her husband was gone and it was like kind of a step-by-step thing. He’s like, ‘I just want to see it very quickly.’ And then she has to decide, ‘What does he look like? Could I take him? How old is he? He’s wearing a wedding ring. Should I let him in? Now he wants to go to the basement. It’s this simple thing that men have no idea. It’s like every time I’m parked in a parking lot at night: ‘Where am I parked? Are there lights? Is “Is my phone ready to go? Do I have something to protect me if I walk my dog ​​at night?”

“So I wanted to tap into that experience…And then dive into the encounters and imagine the worst possible scenario after letting your guard down.”

At the end of the day, Costs is fresh. The film has an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was generally considered one of the best and most original (freshest) horror films of the year.

However, some of Kahn’s favorite reactions have come from his own family. “My aunt and uncle, who I think watched it at first to make me happy, said they ended up watching it three times,” she said. “And my 96-year-old grandmother watched it.

“But I like that horror fans respect him, because he’s a picky, specific type of fan… And the women felt heard in the experience of dating and trusting and all that. And even non-horror fans said, “I didn’t think I could handle this, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.” One of the best tweets I’ve seen was, “I knew it was a good movie because I didn’t check my phone once. That’s a big compliment.

Costs is currently streaming on Hulu.

Watch our interview with director Mimi Cave and stars Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones: