We last left off right after our chat with Danielle Panabaker, but there was much more to behold at Austin Studios. We had people to interview and glorious Chicago hot dogs, actually flown in from Chicago for the producers, and gourmet ice cream to eat. That wasn't even lunch, folks. Just high-class movie set snackage. God, I love the movies. Anyway, where was I...
Since they were still on set-ups, we went right into another interview with Scott Stoddard, the special makeup effects artist on the film. Stoddard's work can be seen as such films s the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Sin City and the hit F/X series Nip/Tuck. We had a nice half-hour chat with the makeup effects wizard and here's what he had to say about working on the latest Jason film.
Can you talk about what your points of reference were from the previous movies, in designing for Jason?
Scott Stoddard: The makeups that were done in Part 2, that Warrington Gillette was wearing, the Carl Fullerton makeup that's certainly more mountain-man-ish. Some elements of that I like. Also, parts of Part 4 I liked and a little bit of him as a child in Part One, but not as balded, more as a young kid who still has hair and is more of a kid but is more of a deformity, and definitely more like in the human realm, having one side more accessible than the other. That's where I kind of pulled from and then from there I went through medical books and looked at different types of diseases and stuff, human abnormalities and just pulled from that. The scoliosis of his spine, the hump on the side of his back, a little more barrel-chested. I just wanted to draw from all that stuff instead of a big, solid, lumbering Frankenstein.
To your knowledge, how much exposure does the makeup of Jason's face get in the film? From what we understand, he's either in the bag or the hockey mask. Is it just 99% of him in the bag or the mask and then 1% of his face just for shock value?
Scott Stoddard: It might be more than the 1% of seeing his face. We've shot a couple of different things so we'll see what ends up in it. The outcome from what they've seen, they really liked, so we'll see what works best for the film. I know in the whole time in doing the designs for it, I know that they didn't want to show him that much, his face. They wanted to keep it real covered, but in my own right, I said that if we do show it, I want to be prepared for it and I want to make something really special for it and pay homage to the other films. Then once I did that, and we started seeing it through the days, it was like maybe we can do a little here, a little there. Once it goes into editing, they'll determine what's appropriate for the film, for him to be seen.
What's the creative process like for coming up with the kills? Do you get together with the writers? Do the writers come to you with outlandish requests that you have to figure out? Is there compromise?
Scott Stoddard: Yeah. Well, there's always compromise. What's great is that the writers did come to the plate with a script and we read it, looked at it and it's my job to figure it out and say, 'How are we going to shoot this? How are we going to do that?' But nothing was really set in stone once we started sitting down with the producers and the director. We would start having meetings and just go, 'Well, what do you think of this?' Nothing was really set in stone where they said, 'It's been written. That's what it is.' We kept shuffling ideas around for things so it was good, a collaborative effort. It was a nice open playing field but at the end it's the producers and the director as far as what they want to see, but everyone had a voice in what they thought. It's coming from a group of people who grew up on these films or watched them a lot. We all got to get involved.
Was there anything in the original script that didn't actually happen, either that it was too outlandish or you just couldn't make it work?
Scott Stoddard: There were a couple of things that were too outlandish where it was just shock on top of shock. It just kind of took away from the initial impact of it so we just sliced it down and made it more, not simplistic, but the impact in one area and not drag it out where it's obsessively obscene or it wouldn't work for the film. There were a few things.
Even in slasher films, depending on how it's shot, you don't have to show a lot of blood or you can show a lot of blood. Does this film show a lot of blood or is the blood obscured by angles or smaller amounts?
Scott Stoddard: It's been a bit of each. We'll shoot stuff where it's a little less blood, and it's more of the impact of what's going on and, definitely, the actors bring they're game in. I always feel like there's always a much better reaction to what you don't see. Instead of seeing the visceral side, you see the emotional side from somebody going through something. So they're going through and shooting stuff like that, but then we'll also have stuff to choose from as well, that's a little more grotesque. In the final editing they're figure out what works best for the scene.
Is there anything that's really extreme? At one point Freddy vs. Jason has geysers of blood going off.
Scott Stoddard: We haven't done too many geysers. Again, what's nice is with it being a collaborative thing, they'll come to me and go, what would really happen? We stretch it a little, but if it's called for a fountain, no. There's only so much blood in the human body. Organs are not spring-loaded and they don't shoot against the wall and explode through the wall.
So it's based in a sense of realism then?
Scott Stoddard: Yes. From my standpoint, that's where I wanted to keep it, because there's a lot of stuff you saw in the older films that was real. It didn't have to be 'more is better.' You do it just right and then you have the reality of it and that's scary, I think.
There's been talk of Jason keeping bodies in his little underground tunnel thing. What can you tell us about that? Are we talking about old decayed bodies or like people he's killed recently that are just stacked up?
Scott Stoddard: A bit of each. Well, we haven't even gotten to that scene yet tonight, so I'm not sure how we're setting it up. It's a bit of stuff that he's just held on to, keeping them out of the way so nobody falls upon it. He's just kind of trapping and pulling away, keeping his area clean. Some are older than others. There are definitely going to be some skeletons in there but it's not going to be in the realm of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or anything. It's not thought of as taxidermy or anything it's just taking care of it, storing it, keeping it out of eye's sight from the rest of the world. That's it.
Looking at the way the movies were done then, were the movies from the 80s and what you're doing now, radically different? Just in your general experience?
Scott Stoddard: There are definitely material and stuff we use now that are way more advanced then what they had to deal with back in the 70s and 80s, even the beginning of the 90s. We have better technology to make things more user-friendly for actors, also looking nicer as well. Then, when you're getting into an area of something being dirty and grimy and gross, it's all kind of the same techniques to get to that point, but we just have better materials now. I'm just a fan of the sleight-of-hand tricks that you do for certain kills and things like that. If they're shot right and they're coordinated correctly, they work really well and it's all about a magic trick.
Visual effects have come so far, in terms of CGI and creating big effects. Have you found that CGI undermines some of the work that you do, in the sense that we'll just shoot it and pretend there's a blade?
Scott Stoddard: Yeah, sometimes you hear that and people tend to want to rely on things like that but we've been able to get away with quite a bit without having to rely too much on stuff like that. Relying wholly on one effect tends to not work. It's nice when you see an entire element happen, or an entire effect happen, and realize there were two or three elements involved later and you can't tell them apart. The greatest for me, doing practical stuff, is when you do it and then they think, 'Geez, that was a really nice CG shot.' It's really sad that everybody things CG. I remember when it first came out, nobody knew what computer generated image meant. Now it seems like they're overloaded with a lot of computer effects and it's like watching a big video game.
What was your favorite thing to create on this whole project? Was there a certain kill that you just really loved?
Scott Stoddard: They were all quite interesting. For me, it was really the Jason character, even from the young Jason and the older Jason running about. It was just fun to kind of revisit that and imagine what I remembered seeing, not really going back and seeing the films. I'd seen them on and off throughout the years, but I never really studied them. Just to think back in my head what I liked about certain things and piecing them together and then going back and looking at the films and going, 'I took a bit of that, I took a bit of that,' again, kind of like Frankenstein's monster. That was fun to make that.
We saw the mask. It was very simple but very effective. How did you come up with that?
Scott Stoddard: I had gotten a copy of a mask from Part 3 and I utilized it and looked at it. There were some things I had wanted to change and make a bit different because, again, I had wanted to keep it in the realm it needed to be. I tried to make it a bit more user-friendly for Derek who's going to be in the make up and wearing this thing. Once I got the shape right, I made a two-part mold from it and instead of doing just a fiberglass or a vacuform, which I heard the ones in the past were made like that, I knew Derek was going to be doing a lot of physical stuff, so I made a core for it and basically made it out of really high-strength resin. It's more like heavy-dense plastic so it could take a hit, it could be pounded.
Yeah. He mentioned he really appreciates that.
Scott Stoddard: Yeah. He's being smashed in the face, he's being kicked in the face a bunch of times. It's just like, 'Go ahead and hit him.' He's a stuntman as well, so he's like, 'Yeah, go ahead and hit me. I've got a hockey mask on.' From what I had heard, the old hockey masks that were in the actual hockey world, were made out of whale bone. They used to carve whale bone into the shape of a mask for a face. So that would be kind of cool if I could get a material and make something that's not as strong as bone, but something that's similar, that's light enough, that can take a hit and in fact then it could be a stunt mask as well.
Can you tell us about the sack as well? Derek said it was much cooler.
Scott Stoddard: Yeah. It's kind of a mix between Part 2 and instead of using a rope and tying it around his neck, it's kind of like a wrap, in a way. It's very disdain, dirty, one eyehole cut out for his good eye to see through. We kind of paid homage to The Elephant Man, a square opening. It gave a little more emotion to it but it conforms to the shape of his head a bit, so you know something is going on under there. It's not just a big square thing.
This Jason seems to be running around more as opposed to just stalking. We saw all the padding he had and did you have to change your approach with this more mobile Jason?
Scott Stoddard: Not really, because Derek moves really well. I mean, wardrobe might have had to do adjustments but from what we had to do, he's basically got a body suit on the top which is a sculpture of his chest and his back. He gets into that and we have a head piece that goes down and gives his shoulders shape, but it's pretty flexible. He can move around pretty nicely and do what he needs to do inside. It's vented in the right places for movement in the arms, shoulders and torso.
So does he have some sort of spinal deformity?
Scott Stoddard: Yeah. He's got scoliosis and a larger sort of scapular hump on his back.
So he has to walk a certain way?
Scott Stoddard: He can accentuate it, or he's actually standing straight when you see him moving around. That's just the shape of his body. He can accentuate it even more if he's just off-kilter a bit.
After talking with Stoddard, we were led back into the studio and they were shooting another sequence in those creepy tunnels. We continued to see how light-hearted this set was as we saw a prank go down before our eyes. One of the girls on the production team (we never got her name) decided to leave her cell phone in one of the pockets of producer Brad Fuller's chair and the phone rang during the middle of a take, with a note that said "Gotcha" on the phone. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one, including Fuller, but it turns out he got the last laugh. When they went back to do another take, Fuller, banking that she hadn't put her phone back on silent, called her during the middle of the scary take. Gotcha right back atcha! I've never been on a film set when they were this close to wrapping before, and it was really a very cool energy that came from everyone on the set.
When they got back down to business, we were able to catch a few minutes with cinematographer Daniel Pearl. Pearl's first gig as a cinematographer was for the now-legendary The Texas Chainsaw Massacre back in 1974 and he also served as DP on the 2003 remake as well, with a slew of horror films and music videos in between. We were able to get in a few questions with Pearl between takes and here's what he had to say.
So what is it about your visual style that makes you so well-suited to take this on?
Daniel Pearl I don't know. It's just sort of been intuitive for me. As you guys probably know, I photographed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 35 years ago now. I think in another month it will be exactly 35 years ago that we started that. It's just something that it's my way of seeing things. Just my natural line of shots and the way I light. What's great about horror films is they want to be dramatically lit. They want light, they want shadow, they want contrast. That's great for a cinematographer. That's a gift. I've got friends that do fantastic work, they're doing comedies but they're boring to light. In horror, it works so well. Tobe Hooper, on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1973, he introduced me to this concept that when you're doing horror, it's a lot about what you don't show. People come out of watching all these films, whether it be the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or whatever. If you talk to people and they start to describe their impressions of the film, they'll describe it a lot gorier than it actually is. This is what works. We use the shadows to obscure and not show things because the mind will fill in the blank better than we possibly could. We play with that and let people fill in the blanks themselves. The theory always is what you imagine is many times scarier than what we can actually show. I'm really proud of a sequence in here where in this death sequence, they had this idea where it should be these flickering fluorescents. Well, the buzzing fluorescents we've all seen in third-world countries and stuff. Then, because we shoot in anamorphic lenses, which is a system which sort of graphically squeezes an image to one-half its width in the camera and then the projectionist spreads it back out. Anyhow, in this death sequence, the original idea was to use these fluorescent lights buzzing. This particular lens, we have brand new anamorphic lenses from Panavision. The problem we have with them, people have probably seen anamorphic flares like with the original Star Wars, it's like a starburst when the light hits the lens it puts a horizontal line right across the frame. Well the fluorescents did that, but in a dull way and it wasn't interesting and wasn't attractive to us. So we hanging lamp that gets hit and I said perhaps we combine the swinging lamp with the sputtering of electricity, the guy swings with a hockey stick and hits the lamp and it starts swinging and then we incorporated the flickering on and off. As I looked at that footage, I said thought perhaps it wasn't what would happen in reality, but when I looked at the footage it's one of the coolest death scenes I've ever seen. The light is swinging, sputtering on and off. I was there when we shot it and I'm filling in the blanks. It's a classic example of what you don't see and what the mind fills in and makes it work. I'm really proud of that sequence. For me, I think it's one of the coolest death scenes I've ever seen. I think it works fantastically.
Did this film have a particular look that you needed to honor?
Daniel Pearl: No, in fact I'm rather unusual. I shoot a lot and I don't really emulate anything. In '99 when the DVD players came out, I went back and I looked at all these films when I went to film school here at the University of Texas that I watched. Seven Samurai and all this classic cinema and it clearly had its influence on me. I watched the original Friday The 13th, but I didn't see any of the others. I tend to not be as much of a student of cinema in that way, as a lot of people I know, because I like what I do to come from my head and my heart. It may be what somebody else has done, but usually it's not. I just try to think up things. I had a long and glorious career in music videos. Somebody counted, but I did 427 music videos. In '82, when MTV sort of first opened, I had been a DP for nine years but I was 32 years old. I was young enough to be hip and work in that format, but at the same time, experienced enough to be one of the most experienced people in that business. I was like the granddaddy. It was like, 'Oh my God. He's been a camera man for nine years!' That was always about cutting edge, looking for something new, always. What's never been done before? That was one of the reasons I had started to tune out a lot of what was going on because people are coming to me with things that had never been done before.
How has your collaboration with Marcus sort of evolved?
Daniel Pearl: Marcus and I have worked together for a long long time. I've done a lot of commercials with him and music videos with him and all this dramatic stuff. As much as anything, we both like the same things. The quality and direction of light that I use, so there's not a lot of talking about it.
Compared with your other work with Marcus, how would you describe the palette of this film?
Daniel Pearl: Let me tell you something. Most filmmakers, die-hard filmmakers, don't even realize that to remake the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that we shot in '02 and released in '03, there's no digital media there. That was a dark film, lit, controlled, control contrast and finished in a laboratory. That is photo-chemical. I'm very proud of that film, very proud of how that film looked and particularly proud of the photography and the chemistry. I have to say this film will be pretty interesting to look at. It won't be as extreme and desaturated as Pathfinder, that got out of control, that went too far. The funny thing is when you're shooting a movie, you're working with the director, with the producers, the studio, the colorist who's doing the color-grading on the dailies. When they movie is done, I always sit there and I look at the edited movie and I go, with a few exceptions, I go, 'Just make it look like the dailies.' We all came in with Chainsaw, Brad, Andrew, Marcus, myself and all of us all agree that this movie can look like those dailies. That's good enough for us.
After that great conversation with the legendary cinematographer, they were still setting up the next shot, so we were taken outside to meet up with one of the other stars of the film, Jared Padalecki. He plays Clay, who heads to Crystal Lake to find her missing little sister Whitney, played by Amanda Righetti. Padalecki is no stranger to genre work, appearing in the horror films Cry_Wolf and House of Wax before he signed up for Sam Winchester on the widely-popular CW series, Supernatural. I'm often surprised when I meet actors in real life and Padalecki surprised me because, well, he's friggin huge. He stands about 6'4" and I didn't expect that at all. I did expect him to be a very cool interview subject, and he lived up to that as well. Take a look at what Padalecki had to say.
So can you tell us a little about your character and what you do in the movie?
Jared Padalecki: I play a guy named Clay Miller. Basically my involvement in the movie as I start out, we don't know much about me. We just know that I'm looking for my sister who's gone missing, so I go out to Camp Crystal Lake, not knowing the legends and not knowing what's out there and what happens on Friday the 13th. I run into another young group of guys and gals who are out there for a camping trip and horror ensues. You can all imagine where it goes from there, right?
How familiar were you with the earlier films?
Jared Padalecki: You know, I'd seen the first one and I've seen Freddy vs. Jason and I've seen one of the other ones, I think the second one, where he had the burlap sack still. For Freddy vs. Jason, I had some buddies that were in that so I went and watched that. But I'm familiar, I know the story. Everyone knows Jason Voorhes, whether you've seen one or ten or zero. Then, obviously, Friday the 13th and the legend that goes behind that. It's funny. I got home from work last night at, I want to say it was 6:30 (AM). The hotel leaves your stereo on, like classical music. It was in between songs and the guy was like, 'Here on blah blah blah, we have a long day of beautiful classical music today, in case you want to stay in and risk those Friday the 13th roads. Here's Friday the 13th traffic...' It was literally right as I walked through the door and it was really weird.
For this role, was this something that you pursued, or was this something that was pitched to you? And what was your first reaction when you read the script?
Jared Padalecki: I had seen The Amityville Horror, that Platinum Dunes had redone, the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that Platinum Dunes and Marcus (Nispel) had done, the original remake and I had seen The Hitcher, Sophia Bush is a friend of mine. I enjoy them all, but I loved the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. I watched it, actually, when I did House of Wax. The director sat us down and as a cast, we watched the movie. He said this was a recent horror remake that was done really well that I think is really good. We watched it and we were like, 'Man, that's good.' It was interesting, it tells the story visually. It's hard to remake a classic and give an homage to the original and still make it new and interesting for different audiences. So, I found out about this script from my manager. It was during the strike and I was about to go and do some international press for Supernatural. I was literally about to fly out, hell, four or five days later or something, and I hear, 'Hey. Listen there's this movie, a Friday the 13th remake. The director is in town and Brad Fuller, one of the producers is in town. They want to meet with you.' I asked if I could see the script and they said, 'We're emailing it to you now. Print it up and read it. They want to have dinner with you tonight.' I said, 'All right' and I read the script and I really enjoyed it. It was a first draft, a draft they had written before the writers had gone on strike, so there were certain things that, at dinner that night, I was like, 'Listen. I would maybe want to do this.' They were like, 'Listen. A lot of changes are going to be made that can't be made now because of the writers are on strike. We're going to clean this up, we're going to clean that up,' but the outline was there. It was very exciting. A lot of the kills were really cool and I really wanted to be a part of it. I was really grateful that they wanted me to be a part of it too. I think I was the first one attached to the movie, don't quote me on that. As soon as I met the director and the producers, they said it was going to be a collaborative effort and everybody's input matters and obviously we're the captains of this ship, but we respect input. I was like, 'Count me in.' If I can get off my show, and the dates work out and they ended up working out. The strike obviously ended so I went back to the show, but they cleared me. I ended up finishing Supernatural on April 28 in Vancouver at 5 in the morning then basically me being on a flight to Austin and getting here at 12:30 AM and getting to work, 10 hours later to shoot my first day. It was kind of a hectic story, but here we are, a day from it being over and, well, it still seems hectic, but we got it done.
Are you then going right back to work on Supernatural after this then?
Jared Padalecki: Yeah. I'm doing international press in Australia next week, so I leave from Dallas on Wednesday to leave for Australia for a few days. Then we're supposed to start shooting the first week of July. No rest for the wicked, right? I had a three month break on the strike, so I can't bitch and moan too much. But yeah, straight from Supernatural to Friday, back to Supernatural.
And how long do you shoot Supernatural for?
Jared Padalecki: Nine months. I mean, we get two weeks off for Christmas and a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving. But yeah, from the first week of July, I think we're supposed to wrap the first week of April.
What's your favorite kill in this movie?
Jared Padalecki: My favorite kill is the kill of the police officer who comes to sort of check up on us. We know Jason is outside, we know someone is killing off these people in this group of friends that I've hooked up with and we hear a knock on the door and, at first, we're a little panicky, but we're like, 'Why would this guy knock?' So we go to check out the door and it's a police officer. I start to let him in and as I let him in, Danielle Panabaker's character, Jenna, sees Jason basically drop down from the roof and shove a fireplace poker through the policeman's eye, through the door, ends up right in front of me and then we take off. That's really the moment in the movie where everything has sort of come to a head and then just explodes. Everything is so fast-paced, everything is so hectic, the audience is really going to be on the edge of their seat from that moment on. It's not like they wouldn't before, but that's when it's full-speed ahead for the rest of the movie.
What's been your favorite part of this whole shoot?
Jared Padalecki: It's been some hectic hours. It's a horror movie, it's Friday the 13th, so we're shooting a lot of exterior nights. The camaraderie between the cast has been a real joy. I've worked on stuff before where the cast, it wasn't like we didn't get along, but we didn't get along this well, so meeting a bunch of new people. Derek is awesome. He's such a kind and generous man and very hard-working and it's been fun to get to know him and Danielle and Travis Van Winkle and Amanda Righetti. The cast is, I can say... I've been doing this awhile, and I can say, without a doubt, that I'm going to keep in touch with the people that I met on this movie. That's nice to be able to say, because usually it's like, 'Hey, summer camp. See you later,' but you don't call them. Here, I can't wait to go hang out with them again, whenever we're in the same city and I'm not shooting Supernatural.
We were told that, as much as there's violence here, there's also sex as well. Do we see you without you topless?
Jared Padalecki: (Laughs) Not yet. If there are reshoots, who knows. They might try and yank my shirt off.
I'm being equal because we were wondering about the female cast.
Jared Padalecki: It's absolutely fair to ask. That was also something I brought up with the writers and the producers and the director because, as it is, I'm wearing a form-fitting shirt and I was like, 'Listen, guys. I'm already on the CW, which is kind of the pretty boy network. The last thing I want to do is to do this movie, with a lot of fans and just be like, 'Hey, here's me taking my shirt off' and be kind of douchebagy. Honestly, I wanted Clay just to be a normal guy. I didn't want him to be like, 'Hey, here I am. I'm a sex symbol. Watch me fight Jason. I'm cool. I'm a ninja.' I just wanted to be a guy trying to find his sister. It's not about how he looked or whether he worked out or whatever. So I steered clear of the topless scenes.
You mentioned fighting Jason earlier. Do people actually fight Jason in this movie, or are they mostly running from him?
Jared Padalecki: Mostly running from him. That's another thing, just like taking my shirt off... or not taking my shirt off, I wanted to make sure it wasn't like, I'm a guy trying to find his sister, and now I'm going to go mono y mono with Jason. Ultimately, he's Jason Voorhes. I'm not going to sit there and be like, bob and weave and fade and leg kicks and choker holds and shit. It's basically Jason is after us and we're just fighting like cornered dogs to defend ourselves. There's no, like, 'Lets get it on!' and then we dance around the ring and try to find an opening in each other's guard. It's really, where the hell did this guy come from, and how am I going to make sure he doesn't kill me. Not so much like a fight scene. There are some big-time skirmishes and injuries, so it's been fun to fight, because I'm forced to fight. It's not like, 'Come on, bastard. I'm gonna get you.' It's like, 'Well, I guess I'm going to have to try and get out of this predicament.'
Does the camaraderie that you share make it easier for you or tougher for you to center yourself and you have to go back in and be scared?
Jared Padalecki: I guess for everybody it's different. For me, it makes it a lot easier. I'm not method. I don't enjoy not enjoying my work. If I'm playing someone who's sleep deprived, I'll sleep nine hours, you know what I mean? I don't want to get to work and be miserable because it messes with my focus. Likewise, I don't want to worry about not getting along with somebody that I'm working with and then be fakey during the day just so you can get on. It's nice to be friends with somebody, because it's so weird and, you know, I'm bruised up and I'm banged up and there's scenes where we're having fights and I cut my face open for real during the fight. You don't want to go from that, to "and cut." You don't want to talk to anybody. You don't want to go, 'Oh, dude, I just cut my face,' because you don't like the guy. It's nice to go like, 'Derek, I think I just messed myself up.' He'll be like 'What? Are you all right?' And I'll just go, 'Yeah, I'm fine, but geez. I'm gonna have a scotch when I get home,' or something. It's nice to be able to vent a little bit. You can't burn the candle at both ends, so it's nice to, in between takes, to sit down and have lunch with everybody and joke around and kid around because, otherwise, you spend so much time with these people. I have a director named Kim Manners, one of our directors/executive producers of Supernatural. He's always like, 'You know, if I didn't enjoy working with you guys, I would quit.' This is his quote to me, I'm not married, but he's like, 'I spend more time with you guys than I do with my wife, my kids, my dog, with my best friends with my family. If I didn't like you all, why would I want to spend so much time with you guys?' So, it's really nice, in my opinion, to really get along with everybody.
You've worked in the genre before, but was the process a lot different on this film?
Jared Padalecki: The process was very different. House of Wax was I think a 90-day shoot in Australia and I wasn't the lead. I was like the fifth or sixth lead. It was very different for me because, here we are and we're shooting the same length of movie, but in less than half the time, so it's so hectic. And I'm the lead in the movie, so there's a lot of responsibility. I'm in most every day, most every scene and, if I'm not in, then they might need me so I have to be close by in case they go, 'Hey, we need you today,' which has happened a few times before, like, 'I know you're supposed to have a day off, but we kinda need to shoot this scene today.' I'm like, 'All right. Well, let me sober up.' Just kidding. You know, you have to be on top of your game for however long. Also, I did House of Wax before I did Supernatural, so I've been much more comfortable with the genre and acting with visual effects and special effects. House of Wax was really my first time to be submerged in that world of prosthetics and special effects. Here's a camera and here's a green piece of tape that you're supposed to scream when you see it, stuff like that. To me, then, it was like, 'Uh, really? I don't want to look like an idiot,' and now I'm used to it because I've done it 60 times for 60 episodes and I've watched them and was like, 'OK. I don't look like an idiot.' Or, if I do, it's not because I'm staring at green tape.
Has there been one scene or sequence that has been the most challenging or the most fun, or are those two things mutually exclusive?
Jared Padalecki: They're not mutually exclusive. Sometimes they coincide. For me, the most challenging was my ultimate confrontation with Jason. It being a horror movie, it's night. It being a horror movie, it's raining. It being a horror movie, we're in a barn, fighting for our lives. In between every take they're spraying me down with water and throwing mud and dirt on you and you just feel banged up and bruised up. Derek is a joy, because there are a lot of parts - I'm not a stuntman, you know, so I don't do my own stunts and I try to do my own fight scenes as much as I can, but Derek is a stuntman. There was a part where I sort of don't know what else to do so I kind of grab him and run him back as best I can, try to push him into the wall. A few times, you know I'm in like designer boots and tight jeans and you can't really move in it. My boots are all wet and my feet are slipping out. I'm literally, basically just leaning on Derek. I'm 220 pounds and I'm like holding onto Derek for dear life. He just, in character, just sort of resets his feet, lifts me up and is like, 'OK, go ahead.' He has the mask on so no one can see him say, 'OK, go ahead.' So I'm back on my feet and I'm doing it again. You get bruised up and banged up. I still have some bruises on my lower back and my side. That was the most fun and the most challenging was probably the sequence I was talking about with the police officer getting pokered. We have a few different sets and there were some cool shots. When you see the movie, you'll see, but with half-sets and the camera moving from the outside of the door with Jason, then kind of following the poker through the house and then ending up with me. When I was shooting that, I remember thinking to myself, it's probably the worst thing for an actor to think, but, 'Man, this is gonna look cool!' You're supposed to just stay in the moment and be true to your character, but I couldn't help but think 'This is gonna rock.' It's cool to shoot that and to know it's going to look cool on camera and the audience is going to go, 'Cool! How'd they do that?'
Is there anything you can tell us about the new season of Supernatural? We heard that Dean was in hell for a little bit longer than we think he was there for.
Jared Padalecki: Yeah. I don't know a whole lot about specifics, but I know they have a few episodes written and I think they're going to give me the outlines for them, very very soon. I've heard sort of whisperings that he's going to be in hell and I might have to figure out a way to go get him, which would be wicked cool. I hope that they end up doing that. I think that Sammy is going to have to go a little more darkside, which I've been waiting for years to do, so I'm excited about that.
After our wonderful chat with Jared Padalecki concluded, we came back to the set and saw that they were still setting up the next shot. We also found the lovely Amanda Righetti relaxing in her chair, reading a book. We took this opportunity to snag our last interview of the night with the young actress, who plays Padalecki's sister in the film, Whitney. The young actress is getting some great exposure these days, with her role on the hit CBS freshman series, The Mentalist and she'll be seen in the upcoming Seann William Scott/Paul Rudd comedy, Role Models, which hits theaters on November 7. Here's what Righetti had to say about her work on the new Jason film.
Can you first tell us a little about your character?
Amanda Righetti: I play Whitney. She is the sort of responsible type. She has an old soul. She takes care of her mom who is in the hospital. I play the sister of Clay, who is played by Jared Padalecki. I end up getting drug out into the woods for camping with my boyfriend and his friends. Mayhem ensues, shortly thereafter.
How much work did you have to do to create this character?
Amanda Righetti: I didn't have a lot of time to really work on the character. I didn't necessarily get a full script until about a week before we started shooting. The preparation, without getting into too much detail, I just kind of had to get into the reality of what it is the character has to go through and break it down that way.
How familiar were you with the whole Friday the 13th franchise before this?
Amanda Righetti: I don't watch a lot of horror movies. I just remember Friday The 13th as a kid, making me cover my eyes in parts. I'm familiar enough with it to know the storyline and know about the first few.
What's been your favorite part of the whole production?
Amanda Righetti: The cast and the producers. I think it's been a really great group of people. They've been awesome to work with and it's been a lot of fun. Working with Derek Mears, Derek Mears and I worked together a lot and we do have a lot of fun on the set. A lot of joking.
Is it easy for you to sort of detach yourself from this experience, either in between takes or just watching yourself? Does that scare you or are you just watching your performance?
Amanda Righetti: I have a hard time watching myself. I can be really critical, which doesn't really help me. Being critical is non-productive. For this movie, it's been hard to sort of detach my character. Once I'm in it, I have to stay in it. Especially the last few weeks, it's been really heavy and it's been the tougher stretch of the shoot, very physically demanding.
It seems like almost all of the production has been night shoots.
Amanda Righetti: Yeah. I've been on the night shoot schedule since the beginning. There were, I think, about a week, week and a half of day shoots, but I wasn't really on those, so I was mostly on nights. I feel a little bit like a vampire.
So does that mess with your general equilibrium then?
Amanda Righetti: Yeah. I have a hard time sleeping during the day, in general. I get that very heavy guilty feeling that I should be up. Sleep has not come easily, so I feel a little bit like on a Twilight Zone sometimes.
Does the camaraderie with Derek and the cast make it easier or tougher to maintain that center when you are dealing with all these intense situations?
Amanda Righetti: My fellow actors on this show have been really respectful of that. There are times when it's cool for us to play and Derek is really respectful and he knows when we're in it. There's sort of a time and a place for that and the heavy stuff.
Has there been a scene that's maybe been the most challenging or the most fun?
Amanda Righetti: The most challenging I think has been the falling down all the time. My legs and body are really beat up from running and falling and that's been the most difficult, the bruising and the pain in my legs. The best part is being able to act, being able to do what I love to do, which is fantastic. I love being here and it's a great experience and the whole thing has been a lot of fun.
Of all the staples of these slasher movies, there's violence and sex and drug use. Did you have any concerns about anything before going in that they might ask you to do?
Amanda Righetti: You know, I did, initially. When I had auditioned for the film, I wasn't given a script, I just auditioned blind. So, I wasn't really sure what was going to be in the film and what wasn't and what was going to be required of my character. I had a little bit of trepidation, initially, but after having a few talks with the producers, it all worked out. Once I got the script, it was all good. It was exactly what I was willing to do, which was great.
Do you have anything lined up after this wraps?
Amanda Righetti: I do, actually. I did a pilot for CBS that has gotten picked up and we start shooting July 7th, I believe. I also did a comedy called Little Big Men (the title was changed to Role Models between now and then), which comes out in the fall, I believe.
Which pilot is it?
Amanda Righetti: The pilot is called The Mentalist with Simon Baker. It's about the California Bureau of Investigations trying to track down a serial killer and I'm really excited about it. It's a really great group of people. David Nutter, who directed it, was just lovely and fantastic and Bruno Heller is just a great writer. I'm really looking forward to that.
And with that, they were about to start shooting again and our day at Austin Studios in sweltering Austin, Texas came to a close at around 3 o'clock in the morning, which meant that we all survived our real Friday the 13th on the Friday the 13th set. It was quite an amazing night on the set, talking to all the key players of this film and it was just such a fun group to be around as they neared the end of this grueling all-night shoot. I was quite impressed with what I saw all the way around and I honestly can't wait to see the finished product when Friday the 13th hits theaters on February 13, 2009. Peace in. Gallagher out!