When it comes to a Friday the 13th film, no one really roots for Jason Voorhees' victims. Fans flock to a Friday flick to cheer on the killer and his workhorse like ways of slaughtering the poor, innocent young teens that eventually find their way onto the end of his machete. It's a blood and guts affair that has no room for deep character development. Platinum Dunes producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are attempting to rearrange that conceit with their latest retelling of the Voorhees mythos. With their updated Friday the 13th reboot, they've decided to make the prey identifiable and likable. And they've done that by not only crafting a humorous script with great dialogue and perfected soulful moments, they've also gone out of their way to cast actors that you will truly care about.
First up, they grabbed everybody's favorite Winchester brother Jared Padalecki, best known for his role on the CW's extremely popular Sci-Fi horror series Supernatural. Then they added the beautiful and talented Amanda Righetti, who stole the show as Hailey Nichol on The O.C.. And they rounded up this charming cast with the ravishing Danielle Panabaker, responsible for wowing audiences as Julie Stark on Shark. If this young trio has anything to spare, its likeability. And Director Marcus Nispel is relying on their previously established relationships with certain audience members to sell their plight as picked upon fodder for Jason Voorhees.
While visited the Austin, Texas set of this latest in a long line of Friday the 13th films, we got a chance to talk with all three actors about their experiences as pending dead meat. What is it like to be hunted by a vicious backwoods retard in a hockey mask? Here is our conversation with Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, and Danielle Panabaker:
At one point you guys were talking about having Jason on Supernatural. Now you finally get to fight him after all.
Jared Padalecki: Now I finally get to fight him. You know what's funny? I've heard that from a few places. That they'd talked about it on the show. They had never brought it up with myself of Jensen [Ackles]. I think it was just a writer's idea or a fan's idea. It would have been a lot of fun. But, now I get to do it on the big screen. So it's even more fun.
Is everyone getting hurt in the movie, or is it just you, Danielle?
Danielle Panabaker: I have several "getting-beat-up" stories from doing this movie. My legs are not attractive at all right now. My favorite story is from three or four weeks ago. We were shooting on a Friday night in a house. Jared and I were running out of the house. We had been shooting nights all week. It's probably six o'clock in the morning on Saturday morning. After having shot five days and nights, we're all sort-of in that giddy-hysteria you get into when you're completely sleep deprived. Your body knows it's six o'clock in the morning, and it hasn't slept, so it's ready to go to sleep. We're shooting this scene, and Marcus keeps yelling, "Okay, faster! You guys, closer together!" We're shooting the scene and we're running around the corner. I guess Travis and I tried to occupy the same space at the same time. He's bigger, so he won. He accidentally shoved me into a windowsill, and I hit my chin and split it open. I blacked out and passed out on the floor in front of everyone. It was totally embarrassing. I spent a couple of hours in the emergency room, had x-rays and all that jazz.
Amanda Righetti: There've been a few cuts and bruises, that's for sure.
What keeps you guys going throughout the night? What keeps your endurance up?
Amanda Righetti: The cast has been really great. I think it's a mental thing. Being able to focus yourself and keep your eye on the ball. And to focus on what it is that you're here to do. It's about just getting the job done. The cast and crew make it a little easier to get through the day. Everybody's really great, so that's been a fantastic plus.
Are you guys dreading the shoot which takes place on Friday the 13th?
Danielle Panabaker: I think Friday the 13th has always been a good day for me, knock on wood. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly. We're getting toward the end of our shooting schedule, and things are getting a little more frantic and hectic, so it will be interesting. It's ironic and cool that we're shooting on a Friday the 13th.
There is a debate going on here. Who is the real hero? You or Jason?
Jared Padalecki: That's interesting. I'm going to go to the movie to watch Jason as I think 100% of the other audience members are. It's funny because we had to do a photo shoot for the movie last week. My singles were part of the photo shoot. No one wants to see a picture of me. The poster is going to be Jason and his mask. No one wants to see Jared! I totally go with Jason as the hero. I guess I would be the protagonist, but he's the hero in my eyes.
What is your initial reaction when you sign up for a Friday the 13th film?
Danielle Panabaker: I'm thrilled and honored and totally shocked. It came out of nowhere. I had actually met Brad and Drew, the producers, several months prior to hearing about this project. I just really admired and respected the work that they do. Really, this movie came together so quickly that I had no idea that there was a role for me. My manager actually called me on a Sunday night and said, "Hey, guess what's coming your way?" I got the script, read it, and was very impressed. It's really important to start off with a good script. It's really easy to make a cheesy slasher film because you know people will go see it. And it will make money. You can make it cheaply with a bad script, and it doesn't matter. But this script is great. The characters are totally real, and I related to all of them. There's so much humor in this film. What's great about it is that it comes from a really authentic place. It's a bunch of kids at a lake house for a weekend. Yes, there's sex. Yes, there are drugs. I mean, there's everything. You name it, these kids get into it.
Amanda Righetti: I hadn't read the script before I was offered the role. For me it was initially a leap of faith. I wanted to be a part of the Friday the 13th franchise. I think it's so popular, and it's such a cult classic that the idea of being part of a remake was really exciting. When I first read the script, there were so many twists and turns and surprises that I totally had an adrenaline rush. I was sold on the first read.
Jared, you are going to be fighting Jason on top of an old, overturned bus. Is that correct?
Jared Padalecki: I am. This is in the heat of my climatic chase sequence. I'm not fighting so much as getting my ass kicked. We're on the run, obviously, as it so happens in these Friday the 13th movies. We're trying to get away from the scary guy in the hockey mask. And he comes up on us. He catches us unawares and basically turns me into a little pile of mincemeat. Which is fine. I didn't want it to be like, "Here I am, a fighter to fight Jason." I want to be a guy that can survive on instinct. I've taken fight training and Derek [Mears] is a big-time actual fighter. But no one wants to see Jason get up there and do a roundhouse kick. No one wants to see Clay and Jason Muay Thai kickboxing. So, this fight is just very brutal and raw, and animalistic. Which is kind of exciting for me.
Did you already rehearse the fight sequence?
Jared Padalecki: We've rehearsed it. We've been on this set for a few days now because we had a big scene in the barn. So we rehearsed our fight a few times. My stunt double is here. Amanda's stunt double is here. And Derek is, obviously, his own stunt double. They make sure we are comfortable with everything and they check it out and make sure it's safe. About a half an hour ago I went and smashed my head into fake glass. Because Clay gets his head smashed into fake glass. Or into real glass, but they had to make sure I was comfortable with my head banging on a piece of break-away glass. I was basically over there impressing myself.
Can you talk about Marcus Nispel as a director?
Jared Padalecki: Marcus is a very, very, very visual director. He sees it. He tells you what's going on and how the scene is going to be. Then it's like a crazy guerilla style, "Hey, the camera is here! Go! Now the Camera's here ! Go!" You hear stories about certain directors that piss off their actors when the character needs to be pissed off. It's almost been good acting by default. It's almost like, "I don't know what's going on or where I'm running!" I'm gonna watch the movie and be like, "Dude, I believe Clay didn't know where he was going!"
Friday the 13th opens February 13th, 2009.