Movie Article

You Know Who's Cool? Eli Craig

''Tucker & Dale vs. Evil'' is his debut, but the director has a lifetime of showbiz experience thanks to his biggest fan: his mom, Sally Field

After director Eli Craig assembled an early edit of his first movie, the horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, he sent a copy to Sally Field. Not because the two-time Oscar-winning actress is a secret fan of such Tucker & Dale-inspiring movies as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead 2. But because she is Craig's mother. ''Nobody was thinking [the movie] was funny,'' says the director, 39. ''So I sent a rough cut to her and said, 'Can you tell me if I'll ever work again?''' Craig had reason to worry, given the conventions-lampooning plot of Tucker & Dale, which stars Tyler Labine (Reaper) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as pals who get mistaken for homicidal hillbillies. (Craig says the original conceit was ''What if Leatherface was really just a good guy with an unwieldy chain saw?'') Fortunately, the movie earned fans in 2010 at Sundance and was later bought by indie distributor Magnet — thus confirming the initial opinion of Craig's mom. ''She was the first one who said, ' This is really funny,''' he recalls. ''The encouraging thing was, I don't think she's ever seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.''

Originally posted Sep 23, 2011 Published in issue #1174 Sep 30, 2011 Order article reprints

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