I know that as a serious movie buff there are a lot of movies that I should be very excited about in the coming months, but the one that’s really getting my juices flowing lately is the reboot of Friday the 13th. It’s been too long since this series was with us, and as an unabashed fan of all things Jason Voorhees, returning to the shores of Crystal Lake holds a lot of promise for me.
It only gets better the more I talk to Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, the Platinum Dunes producers behind this new version. As I’ve told you before I went to the movie’s Austin set with some reservations and came home a believer. Talking to Fuller and Form at Comic Con only reinforced my belief; I don’t think this is going to be a Great Movie, but I think it has the chance to be a Great Friday the 13th Movie, and how could you ever complain about that?
This seems like a fairly traditional take on Jason. Was there ever a less traditional take on the franchise, maybe one where you gave Jason lines or something?
Fuller: We had all kinds of crazy scripts. We had one script that had Jason in the suburbs and he was going into people’s homes and killing him. There was the one where there was barbed wire in the water…
Form: We had one where Camp Crystal Lake was open again, and this time there were campers.
Fuller: We went through a lot of versions to come up with what we have now.
Form: But we never had a version that changed the character of Jason, just ones that put him in different settings.
What was it that drew you back to this traditional take on Jason after all of the different versions you worked through?
Fuller: Some of it is that we spent so much time in basements dismembering people, and we needed a break. We wanted to spend some time outdoors on a lake. Drew and I love to water ski, so we put a water ski boat in it, and we could have girls water ski naked – things we really hadn’t had in a movie before. I’m not kidding you – part of it was wanting to have fun making a movie, and being outside. The script that [Damian Shannon and Mark Swift] came up with had these things. And it was also interjected with a sense of fun. And I don’t mean that the kills are campy – it’s kids out having fun in the woods, doing things kids do in the woods. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen that. And since you’ve seen that in a rated R way. We wanted to go all the way with that. There’s alcohol and drugs and sex.
Form: And nudity.
Fuller: A lot of nudity. Too much nudity for an R rating.
Really? Do you mix the nudity and the violence? That’s what pisses the MPAA off.
Form: We do not.
Fuller: A little nudity, take a break, violence.
Form: Go back to the nudity.
When we were on set, you told me that you shot two very different versions of one kill. Derek tells me there was another kill where you did the same thing. It’s interesting – did you guys come to the kills and have a lot options, or was it just these two kills? It sounds almost like murder improv.
Fuller: Usually our budget doesn’t allow us the opportunity to do it that much. It happens sometimes because we’re not sure what we want, and we’re not sure what’s going to work in the edit room. A kill is so important that you don’t want to blow it. In the instances you’re talking about we covered ourselves different ways to make sure we had the options we wanted. In a perfect world we’d have enough days to do every kill three ways, but we just don’t have that time or that kind of money.
Watching you guys work was fascinating because you’re so involved in every creative decision. Have you guys considered taking the director’s chair yourselves?
Fuller: You know, it’s a different job than what we do. It’s a lot harder. Michael Bay is our partner, and he’s a real director. It’s something Drew and I have talked about, but it’s not something we’re actively pursuing at this point.
When you were putting this together, when you finally got this script down, aside from the drugs and the nudity, what was the one thing that you had to have? Was it a specific kill? What was it that was going to make this your Friday the 13th?
Fuller: It’s not really one thing, it’s Jason running. Seeing Jason go after people and pursue them. He’s a hunter. That’s something that’s never been the centerpiece of one of these films, but the fact is that he sees this as his land, and these kids are coming there and they shouldn’t be there. There’s no forethought about what he’s going to do except to eliminate the problem and move on to the next one. We wanted it to feel that way, we wanted to feel like he was a methodical, fast, brutal killer.
Derek is coming at Jason from a really interesting angle, a more sympathetic angle. What’s your take on that?
Fuller: I think that’s more for Derek’s head than it is for the movie. I think if we go into that in the film we’ve done it a disservice. This isn’t an origin story. We want people to cheer when Jason kills, we don’t want them feeling sorry for him. We don’t want them feeling bad that his mother got killed.
You guys have been remaking a bunch of classic horror films, but a certain kind of classic horror film – the more exploitation, pulpy style of film. But not you’re remaking Hitchcock. The balls.
Fuller: Here’s the thing: the only way we’re going to do it is if all the parts are perfect. For us, getting to work with a director like Martin Campbell is exciting. We’ve never gotten to work with a director of that caliber. It’s an experience that we’ve never had – that’s a very compelling reason to make that movie for us. It takes balls to remake Hitchcock and Michael and I had this professor in college who to this day calls us and tells us not to do it. We won’t do it unless it warrants it, in the same way that we wouldn’t make a Jason movie where he’s teleporting or where he goes into space. So it’s too soon to say whether or not we’re going to make that movie.
But the budget would be bigger than what you’ve played with in the past.
Fuller: That’s a huge movie.
Are you excited to get into bigger things, to have more money?
Fuller: The budget is never really a consideration for us. We just want to keep on making movies and learn more about making movies. This is the first movie we’ve done that has comedy in it, and it’s fun not to just be miserable and watch people die all day. It’s fun to laugh! We didn’t learn that until our seventh movie. It took us seven movies to learn that. We’ve come out of the dark and into the light a little bit. I’m not expecting us to do a romantic comedy next year, but we sure would like to interject some humor into the things we’re doing because it makes more of a modulated emotional experience.
When are the fans who weren’t out in San Diego going to get their first look at Jason in action?
Form: A teaser in September-ish, and a trailer a couple of months after.
And we’re going to see something red band for the internet?
Form: I’m sure.
Fuller: We want to.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey