The star of the original 1980 film talks about the production, the legacy of the series, the remake and upcoming projects
It's pretty safe to say that Adrienne King had a feature film debut like none other. After appearing in uncredited roles as a dancer in films like Between the Lines and Saturday Night Fever, the young actress made her film debut in a low-budget horror movie that would forever change the horror genre (and the way we look at a certain date): Friday the 13th. The film is back in a new Uncut Deluxe Edition on DVD and Blu-ray on February 3 and I had the chance to talk to the actress over the phone for this new edition. Here's what she had to say.
Can you talk about how this project first came about for you? It was pretty early on in your career.
bold:Adrienne King: Yeah, I was a young thing. I always had wanted to be an actress and I had started when I was very very young. Basically commercials and off-Broadway stuff. I had gone to school for acting and I had gone to school for art. It was whatever stuck first, was the way it was going to happen. It was very restless, with two passions, art and acting. The summer of '79 there was an open call for any and every single actress and actor that was between the ages of 16 and 24. They had already been casting in L.A., looking for a "name" and couldn't find one, or couldn't afford one, let's put it that way. I came to New York and, little by little by little, I was called back, called back, called back and ended up reading with a number of different people and they were mixing and matching guys and girls and they didn't know who Alice was going to be still. (Producer-director) Sean (S. Cunningham) had a screen test and I guess I nailed it and my scream, I think, put me over. I think that did it.
Yeah. The scream is always the clincher.
Adrienne King: Yeah. You've gotta have the scream and I was blessed with my lungs, so there you go.
Could you describe the shoot at all? It wasn't a very long shoot, I know that.
Adrienne King: Yeah. We started right after Labor Day and the leaves were still green on the trees and we ended on October and it was 28 degrees outside, the final time that Jason pulled Alice in the lake. There was a little mist and the leaves were turning a little orange and falling off the trees. It was critical seasonal change there, by the time we ended there.
When you were filming this, did anyone really have any sort of idea the kind of impact this would have for years to come? It's going to be 30 years next year.
Adrienne King: How could you? How could you have a clue that this was going to become the cult classic that it has and spawn the sequel that it has and the resurrection and the Blu-ray from Paramount. It's just mind-boggling. Like I was saying, Friday the 13th and Alice and Adrienne all have three generations of fans, globally now, and still going strong. That's an amazing thing right in itself. No, I have to tell you, we were just happy to have an acting gig. That's the absolute truth of it. The camaraderie you see is real. We were all just so blessed to be working, especially when you figure they really did see every single actor in New York, union and non-union I think. There's certainly no way we could've ever predicted it. We ran out of money and we didn't even know if we were going to finish, at one point. There's a lot of extras on this Blu-ray and I think Sean deals with the fact of how he ran out of money and how he had to make a very soul-searching decision on who to turn to to get the rest. It's well worth checking out. It's kind of interesting. He went to "the evil side" (Laughs) but it was for the good of mankind.
So do you have a favorite memory on the set or favorite scene that you filmed that sticks out, looking back after all those years?
Adrienne King: I'd have to say the fight scene, the fight scene on the beach. You can feel the grip of the sand, when you watch it on the Blu-ray. The definition or the resolution is so intense. You feel the head smacking into the sand the way you've never felt it before. We know how important that is, in the actual combat right there. That would probably be my favorite scene, only because how do you get away with beheading someone and still it was the right thing to do. It was a brilliant scene and I call it the "ballet of the machete," personally. I do, seriously. Oh, and this would be a good place if you don't mind me being ridiculously gross and plugging. I found these notes, from that scene, in my jeans pocket 25 years later when I moved up to Oregon, in a box that was taped up and labeled Friday the 13th. Everything from the movie, including all these Polaroids from the set. I found like 30 Polaroids and reviews that said the movie would never make it, that Betsy (Palmer) should be tarred and feathered for reducing herself to Mrs. Voorhes. I found all of this stuff in a box after the stalker situation in 1980 and opened it and Sean's original notes from that scene are there. So I put them up on my website for all to enjoy. There's a poster with them and you can freeze frame those and watch the Blu-ray and have a really good different experience.
What is the website?
Adrienne King: It's AdrienneKing.com or the official FridayThe13th.com. And, I just found out from Paramount that we're going to be actually be giving away some of the Blu-ray DVD's, so how cool is that? I was totally impressed by it. There are a lot of good extras and I thought I knew everything there was to know about Friday the 13th, especially having done research for the documentary His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, but there is so more and God only knows what's left. Hopefully we've wrung it all out now.
So do you still keep in contact with everyone from the film like Sean or Betsy or anyone else you worked with?
Adrienne King: Yeah. Betsy and I see each other, especially these last couple of years, we've gotten very tight. Sean totally kept us apart on the set, when we were filming, because he did not want a bond to grow, so it was kind of a smart thing for him to do, I'm sure, as a director. We've definitely kept in touch and we talk and we see each other at conventions. And (Composer) Harry Manfredini, I've been hanging with him and Sean, we definitely see each other from time to time. Other than that, no... oh, Ari (Lehman)... the little Jason all grown up and, I'm trying to think. It's at the conventions, that's where we cross paths. I've seen Amy Steel. Amy and I had known each other through New York so we had kind of kept in touch. I live in the boonies now. My husband and I have 25 acres and a mile and a half of river and the closest animals we have are goats and llamas. We don't see a whole lot of mankind out here.
I was actually on the set of the remake, so do you have any thoughts on that?
Adrienne King: Oh, really? No, you tell me! I have no clue. Why didn't they want Betsy and I in the remake? I'd like to know, just out of curiosity.
I read about that too and they didn't really talk about it on the set, but I read that they had called you to appear in the remake, and then they called a few days later saying they didn't want you back.
Adrienne King: Yeah, and after all that working out, the legs and arms, they dissed me and dissed Betsy. But, the good news is that it got me off my butt and I went back and did my first on-camera acting role in Walking Distance, playing the role of Louise Strack, a role that was originally written for a guy. It's sci-fi horror and it's something that I think I had to top Friday the 13th, and how do you do that? Timing is everything. Mel House wrote the script and, do you remember Closet Space? That was his. This is one that - I'm keeping my fingers crossed - will be coming out this spring. So, I have to thank the remake people or the resurrection people for that, because it really got me miffed enough to do something. I figured it's like Alice. OK, dis me once, I'll take care of it. You don't get a second chance.
That's great. Yeah, I was going to ask about Walking Distance yet, so you haven't heard anything about the release on that yet?
Adrienne King: Well, I have not even seen the rough cut yet. Mel House keeps everything close to him, so I'm going nuts. Sean used to let us watch the dailies, which was very very kind. I did not realize how giving he was as a director and how special that was, because it doesn't always happen. But, I hear there's a lot of sniffing going around and a lot of the big names have been mentioned - the big little names, not the big big names. So, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it will be a good little theatrical distribution for us. That would be so much fun for me, as an actor, because I had such a great time and it was almost like doing another indie like Friday the 13th. It was an indie and the cast and the crew were young and passionate like the first one and it reminded me a lot of making Friday the 13th.
Do you have anything else lined up that you can tell us about?
Adrienne King: Here's another thing that I didn't even mention in any of my other interviews. The people that did the DVD His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, actually cast me, and Dee Wallace, Heather Langenkamp and Danielle Harris, to do an anthology, female-directed, horror movie. How do you like that? It's like a Creepshow situation, so I'm reading scripts right now and, supposedly, Danielle Harris' is already in the can and, if you told me that I would have any opportunity in my life to direct a horror film... I am so psyched because every horror movie I watch, I watch it with a critical director's eye. I just can't help myself. I just never thought the opportunity would never come to pass, so I am just flipping out over this. I'm very excited.
Adrienne King: Yeah! They already have the financing, which is amazing. Who knows. I'm just flipping out because, like I said, it's all come full-circle. I thought after I had a stalker in 1980, that was it. I didn't think I'd ever come back to the business, even though the business was always a part of my life, and now I'm having the opportunity, not only to be a part of it on camera, but directing? How cool is this! It's awesome and I can only thank Friday The 13th for getting me here. It took awhile, only 30 years later, but, hey, it was a fun ride. It was an outrageous ride, a real roller-coaster, like the movie Friday The 13th.
So, finally, it's been 30 years since the first movie. What would you like to say to the fans who have supported this first film and the entire franchise throughout the years, especially with this new remake coming up?
Adrienne King: I'll tell you what I want to say to them. I want to say to them hang in there. If this resurrection/remake isn't what you're looking for in a sequel, I'm throwing it out to all the young writers and directors that grew up on the original, come up with a great sequel. I think Alice and Jason still have some unfinished business and I'm leaving it up to the talent out there to see it through. And Betsy! Let's do something for the fans, the original fans and I'm glad we've got a new generation, but lets give something back to the original fans too.
Excellent. Well that's about all I have. Thanks for your time today, Adrienne, and best of luck.
Adrienne King: Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure, Brian, and Happy MovieWeb (Laughs).
You can see Adrienne King and the rest of this cast get a franchise started all over again when Friday the 13th comes back to DVD in an Uncut Deluxe Edition and Uncut Blu-ray edition on February 3.