The actor/stuntman talks about portraying the real-life serial killer, a Hatchet sequel and moreIf you're well-versed in the horror or stuntman worlds, Kane Hodder is a name you surely know well. A veteran of over 70 films as a stuntman and 60 as an actor, Hodder is best known for his portrayals of Jason Voorhes starting with Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood through Jason X, earning him the distinction of the actor who has played the iconic character the most times. He has also appeared as a more recent horror killer as Victor Crowley in Adam Green's cult horror hit Hatchet and now the horror legend is going sans mask, portraying the real life serial killer Dennis Rader in B.T.K., which hits the shelves on DVD on May 12. I had the chance to speak with Hodder over the phone, and here's what he had to say about his new film.
So you've worked with director Michael Feifer on the Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield film right before this, so did he come to you right away when he came on board B.T.K.?
Kane Hodder: Apparently, he did. That's the understanding I have, of once he had the idea and wrote the script, that he thought I should do it. I was very grateful that he had the confidence in me the first time, for the Ed Gein thing, and then to do this one, even more so. This guy, Dennis Rader, was not only a horrible guy, but he was likeable. It was even more fun to play a character where you could do two sides to him like that.
Yeah, absolutely. The story was quite amazing when he first was captured in 2005, so was this something that you had followed when it first came out, and was there ever an inkling that you might want to play this guy when the movie came around?
Kane Hodder: Well, I never thought I would play him in a movie, but I certainly knew the whole story, because a hobby of mine is to read true crime, to read the major and not-so-major stories about serial killers that have been around. So I knew everything about that whole story and I was really interested to play the character, knowing everything he had done.
You said you knew the whole story, but did you go deeper to prepare for this at all, or what other kinds of things did you do to get into this mindset?
Kane Hodder: You know, I reviewed the story again, just to make sure it was fresh in my mind. The movie isn't extremely accurate on all points, but we recreated a lot of scenes that actually happened. I've said it before in interviews and it sounds kind of stupid to say it, but it really is true, that playing a violent character or a scary type of guy, it seems to be very easy for me to get there. I usually say that I'm a little closer, in personality, to someone like that, than the average person, and I think it's easier for me to get there than someone else that's a little less of an a**hole, I guess (Laughs). I don't know. It never takes me too much work to get to a murderously violent character, but at the same time, I think if I'm not doing that, I think I can come across as an O.K. guy, as a decent guy, which I needed to do for this too.
Yeah. There's a very interesting duality to this, because this movie shows his "normal life" as well. So was that a nice change of pace for you, since you're playing these guys a lot, and you don't get to see that side that often?
Kane Hodder: Yeah, it really was. To play a nice guy, some of the scenes I was a nice family man, and I had dinner with the family and laughing about things, just a nice guy and then immediately leaving the table and going out to the garage and start planning the next murder. It's a pretty odd situation, but yes, it was nice to play a nice guy, because I really never have. I played a police officer in that movie Monster with Charlize Theron. I actually arrested her at the end of the movie. When Patty Jenkins, the director, said I want you to play the cop at the end, since I was doing the stunts anyway. I said, 'Really? A cop? Fantastic.' Then she says, 'Well, they're in a biker bar and they're undercover.' I said, 'Oh, ok. That's why' (Laughs). I am a good guy, but I still look like a bad guy. But yeah, for the B.T.K. thing, it was pretty nice to play this, almost mild-mannered, in a way, or I'm hoping it comes across this way. When we were shooting the movie, for scenes that would lead up to the violence, I almost tried to make him kind of inept, kind of bumbling, in a way, just because I thought it was a kind of interesting range. He'd kind of screw up, once in a while, just the things he would say that I would come up with, that hopefully makes people think, 'You know, he's kind of a dork, in a way. Then he goes and kills them and he's not a dork anymore.' Hopefully that comes across that way, but that was my intention.
We talked about working with director Michael Feifer before, and he's tackled a number of these true-life, serial-killer movies, so just what is it about you two that makes you the go-to guys for these movies?
Kane Hodder: (Laughs) Yeah, that's a good question, actually, because I think he writes great scripts about these real guys. Especially with Dennis Rader, you can avoid some of the really horrific things that he did that I would even feel uncomfortable putting on film myself... and that's saying something, stuff that would make me feel uncomfortable to do. There are things that Dennis Rader did that, man, I'm not sure I could put it on film. He writes the script and gets the horror in there without some of the salacious stuff that people don't necessarily need to see. It's a violent, horror-type movie, but I just think he writes them well and he's always been one of those very few directors - him, Adam Green and Richard Freidman - that have ever had the faith in me to give me a really meaty part with some emotion in it. I guess, eventually, more people will have that confidence, maybe after this movie comes out, it will help some, but I'm always fighting an uphill battle with people who don't know my work. They say, 'But wait a minute. He's a stuntman. Stuntmen can't act.' A lot of times, that's true, they think they can act and they blow it for people who can. I don't know. It's an uphill battle and hopefully one day it'll be a little easier that people won't have to force themselves to look past the stunt thing.
This should be a really big step though. For one, you're not wearing a mask the whole time.
Kane Hodder: That's right, and I'm wearing glasses, I've got a cheesy, 70s porn moustache or something, so I look like a real dildo, in a way.
One of your most iconic characters is Jason Voorhes, so I was wondering what your thoughts are on the new Friday the 13th and Derek Mears' performance?
Kane Hodder: You know, I have not seen it, and it's not because of any reason that I'm against it or anything. I just haven't had a chance to see it yet. I will definitely see it. I know Derek very well. He's a good guy and he realizes he was in a very lucky position to have even gotten the part, which I also realize that I was, because the guy before me, C.J. Graham, in Part VI, I think did a fine job. For me to be mad that Derek is doing it, is kind of hypocritical, because I took it over from somebody else. Now, granted, the guy I took it over from, had only done one movie and I did four before they replaced me, but that's the business. I will critique Derek's performance, because he said he'd be interesting to see what I thought, and, you know, I'll be honest. From photos and stuff that I've seen, I like his stance, because a lot of guys, they force their imposing stature and it looks fake to me. I think Derek, from the photos I've seen, it doesn't look like he's forcing it, so that's good.
Yeah, absolutely. I thought it was a damn good film. I actually ran into him this weekend, so that was kind of funny.
Kane Hodder: Oh really? Was that at a convention or just in town?
Just in town, yeah. I ran into him at a comedy club, of all places.
Kane Hodder: Oh really?
Yeah, and I was actually on the set of this new movie so he kind of recognized me from there.
Kane Hodder: Oh, wow. Very good.
So, it's been rumored that there is a sequel to Hatchet in the works, so is there anything that you can say about that?
Kane Hodder: I believe they fully intend on doing it. I've talked to (director) Adam (Green) about it a lot, so he would like to do it. I know he's got a great story, he's told me a lot about it and some characters that we saw in the first one will be developed a lot more, which I think is great. I'm hoping that includes Mr. Crowley. I'd like to see some more Mr. Crowley in there, myself, but it was such a fun movie and it was certainly the best horror movie I've been in. I really look forward to doing the sequel. I just hope that something doesn't happen where Adam doesn't direct it or something. Adam has got to direct this movie. That Frozen movie is going to be just great too. It was hard to work on. The shooting conditions on that set were the most difficult I've had for 32 years, but I think it's going to come across that way. You're going to know that we weren't on a soundstage.
Yeah, I remember seeing these pictures he was posting from the set and, I'm from Minnesota myself, so it looked pretty brutal.
Kane Hodder: Oh, you can appreciate the snow. We had 33 inches in one 24-hour period up there. We were at 7,000 feet or something like that, up in the mountains, and it was March.
You have a number of other films that are in development, so can you talk about this latest slate of films that you have coming out?
Kane Hodder: Well, there's one I did awhile ago called Born that comes out next month on DVD. I finished one called Sickle down in Arizona in April. I play the title character there. Sickle is his name and, once again, I was under the impression that I'm playing a certain character, because they said he's the sheriff of the town. Beautiful. Once again, knowing what usually happens afterwards, I say, 'And?' 'And he kills everybody that comes into his little town' (Laughs). There you go. Then I have an anthology thing that I did called Monsterpiece Theater, that should be coming out fairly soon, and I've been talking to those people about directing something, because I haven't done that yet.
Kane Hodder: Yeah, I eventually think I would like to direct something, but I enjoy the performing stuff so much that it might be hard for me to stay behind the camera. If someone was killing someone, I'd be like, 'Wait a minute. That doesn't look real. Let me show you' (Laughs).
So, finally, B.T.K. comes out on DVD tomorrow, so what would you like to say to your fans to get them to pick this up on DVD?
Kane Hodder: Well, first of all, if you want to see me acting like a dorky type of guy that's murderously violent, I think you'll thoroughly enjoy the movie. I think it's really well-done and I'm really happy with the final cut. I just hope people respond to it, and I think they will.
Great. Well, that's about all I have for you, Kane. Thanks so much for your time and the best of luck with Hatchet 2 and anything else you have coming out.
Kane Hodder: No problem. Thanks man. I really appreciate the support.
You can see Kane Hodder inhabit both sides of the B.T.K. killer, Dennis Rader, when the film hits the DVD shelves on May 12.