Set Visit Preview: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'
It's an unseasonably chilly June night in Chicago and Freddy Krueger is hot in pursuit of a nubile teen with only one thing on his razor-crazed mind.
That's not a spoiler, is it?
If we were on the set of a "Three Stooges" remake, it wouldn't be a spoiler to tell you that Moe was poking somebody in eyes. And if we were on the set of a "Gymkata" remake, it wouldn't be a spoiler to tell you that somebody was getting fancy on a pommel horse.
The horror fantatics at Platinum Dunes are remaking "A Nightmare on Elm Street," so of course Freddy Krueger has his designs on carving up a presumably less-than-virtuous nymphet.
Of course, there's something different about Freddy. The sweater? That's similar. The hat? Very recognizable. The glove? I can tell you that I tried it on and it filled me with a sense of malevolent power, but nothing more. The makeup? I'm going to have to tease you by merely saying that it takes more than three-and-a-half hours to apply, it's not what you're remembering and it's satisfyingly and inspiringly gross.
No, what's different about Freddy Krueger is that instead of Robert Englund hiding under the makeup, it's Jackie Earle Haley, an Oscar nominee for the cinophiles, Rorschach for the fanboys and the eternal Bad News Bear for order viewers.
Although Krueger isn't likely to be respectful of his scantily clad prey, Haley is full of respect for his predecessor-in-crime.
"I think it's really important that Robert Englund and New Line have done such a fine job over the years of creating this world and this character," Haley tells a select group of reporters on the Chicago set of the "Nightmare" update. "It's fun to kind of re-envision and do that but at the same time we need to remain true to a point of who Freddy is and what the franchise kind of represents. You know what I mean? It's neat to get to re-envision it but at the same time you don't' want to go so far that we've left what makes it so kind of cool and bitching. I've never been a big horror genre fan, but I did go see 'Nightmare on Elm Street' in the theatres and I dug it. I thought it was cool, just the concept of it. Also just the idea that there was one of these films in the genre that had a little depth to it, that Freddy, definitely always to me, was always my favorite of that group of classic monsters, you know? Meaning like Jason, Michael Myers and all them."
Michael Myers and Jason have also been reimagined in recent years, with the hit "Friday the 13th" reboot also coming from Platinum Dunes producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. While that spring smash aimed merely to be good-and-bloody slasher fun, the Platinum Dunes guys emphasize that "A Nightmare on Elm Street," directed by Samuel Bayer, isn't going down a more serious path.
"I would characterize 'Friday the 13th' as a fun horror movie and when we make another one of those that's what we're going on for that," Fuller promises. "With this, it's more about terrifying and unsettling and if we're lucky making people have horrible nightmares. I mean that's what the whole movies about and that's what we're aiming to do."
For more on what Form and Fuller have in mind for the new "A Nightmare on Elm Street," you're going to have to wait until closer to the film's April 2010 release (or catch the Warner Brothers presentation at Comic-Con later this week), but both producers are very high on their terrifying leading man.
"[I]t's amazing to watch him," Form promises. "It seems to happen on our movies a lot where you think “he's the guy” and then finally when he comes out in the make-up and you see him down there and he's doing his lines, you can't believe that he's the guy. I mean, even Derek Mears in 'Friday the 13th' for us. When we first met Derek, we thought he's going to be an amazing Jason, but for us, we couldn't believe how good he was and how amazing he was to work with and what he did with that movie for us. It's very similar in this."