Jim Gaffigan & Drea De Matteo Open Up About Their Roles In Collide - Exclusive Interview

In the new thriller "Collide," Peter (Jim Gaffigan) and Angie (Drea de Matteo)'s marriage is hurtling toward an unsettling end. Peter has just realized his wife has been having an affair and is wrestling with the idea of what to do next. While their world is collapsing, their story is about to collide with a few other strangers who have crossed their path at a local restaurant.

At a nearby table, one couple is going on a blind date gone very wrong. Back in the kitchen, a waitress and busboy are working a drug deal behind the scenes. Though these couples couldn't be more different, their decisions are about to affect everyone around them — and the night is about to end in one very dangerous way.

This edge-of-your seat story is filled with ups and downs and all sorts of A-list stars, and The List sat down with two of them for an inside look at filming the fast-paced thriller. In an exclusive interview, Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan and Emmy-winning actress Drea de Matteo shared what they loved about the script, the challenges they faced while depicting their characters, and the fact that they still have yet to meet their co-stars.

Jim Gaffigan describes his move into dramatic roles

Jim, you're widely known in the world of comedy, but what is it that draws you to more dramatic roles – especially this one in "Collide"?

Jim Gaffigan: I've always loved acting, and the more complex the character, I like the challenge of finding the character in me.

It's weird — my entire career, I've wanted to do acting roles and roles like "Collide," but you have no control over how the industry perceives you. I'm grateful for being known as a comedian, but I've done other dramatic roles. I understand that perception is 90% of this industry.

When I read the script, I was really excited because it was — [My character] Peter's very much a passive guy, and I'm not really a passive guy. I always think of myself as this Midwestern nudge. People think that a Midwestern person's going to be polite, but I'm not. I don't know if that makes sense.

For much of the movie, your character Peter is alone. Do you approach scenes where you're by yourself any differently than if you were working with other actors?

Gaffigan: It's probably easier when there's someone there that you can react to. It was a unique challenge, but I did know that it was Drea [de Matteo]. I did know that there was, in the writing of the DJ that I called into, and even the person who was playing [him]. I don't want to give too much away, but there's a couple people that I interact with, and what they said informed who they were.

There was a lot of sitting by myself, and I didn't want to play the same note. I remember saying I didn't want to play the same note, and the level of grief or anger was something that I was trying to keep track of during the shooting.

Drea de Matteo describes why she needed to be involved in this thriller

Drea, what was it about this thriller in particular that made you want to be involved and play Angie?

Drea de Matteo: The script really blew me away. It was right in the middle of the whole COVID thing. Nobody was getting to act that much.

I felt like it was also placed in one location over one night with a bunch of different couples. Mukunda [Michael Dewil]'s script was so perfect. I felt like it was amazing.

When I heard that Jim [Gaffigan] was playing Peter, I was like, "Now, that's really unusual," speaking of him going from comedy to drama. Once I was there watching him do it, I was like, "Wow. This is intense. This is going to be pretty unbelievable."

I was drawn to the script, first of all, more than anything, and the concept of it. I thought all the themes that were at play were really important and great, especially in the era of COVID and everything. The whole theme is about how everybody tries to find a way to be safe, whether it's financial, or emotional, or physically. There's all these things going on in one location.

What message do you hope that viewers take away from this film? Do you think that message is different depending on whether it's Peter's or Angie's perspective?

De Matteo: That's a tough one, because for me it was, like I said, the theme going through everything. I'm sure Mukunda [Michael Dewil, the writer and director] would have something different to say, but it was all about this element of safety, and how unsafe people feel in the world. Again, there's the financial, emotional, physical, there's just all of this sort of stuff going on.

The only message you can say is don't go on a blind date. [Laughs]

Surprisingly, many of the co-stars from Collide have still never met

Drea, you worked closely with actor David Cade throughout "Collide." Jim, you've worked with Kat Graham on "17 Again" in the past. Did you two meet any of the other actors while you were filming?

Gaffigan: Essentially, there would be some fittings here and there, but some of it was COVID, right? It was split up, and there were these individual storylines. There wasn't, even in the group scene — some of it was COVID. You had to do it in pieces.

It was weird, because even the storylines of the other characters, or Angie's relationship with the guy she's having an affair with, I didn't need to know the complexity of that. I needed to know what was happening, and processing the betrayal.

It's interesting, because I even did a Twitter post [this week] saying that, because everyone in this movie is beautiful except for me, so I said that I was the best looking actor in the movie.

De Matteo: [Laughs]

Gaffigan: Because there's so many actors and actresses that are like Drea. They're beautiful.

De Matteo: Jim and I also probably had only a few moments together. Everything was more us hanging out in the holding area.

Gaffigan: Yeah.

De Matteo: Yeah. I only met David, really, and you. That was it.

"Collide" is now playing in select theaters. It will be available on demand Friday, August 12.

This interview has been edited for clarity.