Published on November 20th, 2023 | by XO0
Preston Corbell – Why Playing The Bunny Man in Cabin Fever Was Well Worth It
Most stunt performers start their careers plunging off bridges, jumping through fire, and getting shot with dummy bullets in movie scenes they are rarely credited for. Almost no one starts dressed as a bunny holding a plate full of pancakes – except Preston Corbell in Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever (2002).
Preston’s debut on the silver screen was short (around 3 seconds) and lacking any life-endangering stunts. Unless, of course, he would have been fatally allergic to bunny suits and pancakes. Nevertheless, his brief appearance is one of the movie’s creepiest scenes, with fans discussing it twenty years after its release.
Today, we look closer at how that early role in Cabin Fever influenced Preston Corbell’s career path.
Joining Eli Roth on Cabin Fever
Eli Roth – a lifelong, self-proclaimed horror buff – debuted in 2002 with Cabin Fever. This splatter horror-comedy gained a worldwide audience almost instantly. Even people outside the horror genre liked the new entry in the long and versatile catalog of scary movies. Prominent Hollywood directors like Quentin Tarantino and Peter Jackson praised the low-budget production, helping it gain even more fame.
Besides the unexpected admiration from some of the industry’s biggest names, “Cabin Fever” attracted legions of fans from its early screenings. Eli Roth struggled to raise a $1.5 million production budget for over seven years while being rejected by countless studios. Following its acclaimed debut, the movie gained over $30 million worldwide and spurred an entire franchise, including two sequels and a remake.
Preston Corbell joined a small crew and an even smaller cast to help Eli Roth direct his first movie. However, the process was more difficult than expected, and several problems marred the production from day one. In fact, filming had to stop a few hours into the first day after a few independent investors backed out following an anthrax scare.
When Movie Budget Problems Shape Entire Careers
The movie’s already-stretched budget was running low quickly, pushing Roth to make difficult but necessary decisions. As the casting costs neared zero, the extras were given speaking roles, and the parts of extras went to anyone looking to appear in a movie for free. Even Eli and his brothers took some roles to cover absentees on filming days.
This is how an 18-year-old Preston Corbell ended up playing the infamous Bunny Man in Cabin Fever. A small part that carved a big enough gateway into the movie business for the Dallas-born stuntman. Even if, at the time, he was more inclined towards careers in acting and modeling, this small role allowed Preston to explore other industry niches.
That smooth entry into the movie business was followed by a somersaulting career as Preston Corbell went on to perform more dangerous stunts in over 100 movies and TV series, including Eastbound and Down, Blue Mountain State, and One Tree Hill. With over 20 years in the film industry, Preston admits today that “always working” and amassing credits are crucial to staying relevant in this business.