Jackie Earle Haley just might be the nicest guy at Comic Con. The man best known for playing crazy (his spot on portrayal of the unstable vigilante Rorschach in Watchmen won rave reviews from critics and fan boys alike) sauntered into the room like we were all old buddies. He sat down with a great humor and genuine enthusiasm to talk about his take on another iconic pop culture icon… Freddy Krueger. “Wearing the outfit is surreal and very motivating,” remarked Haley with a reverent smile, “It’s a scary process to fill Robert Englund’s shoes. His performance is what makes Freddy. The challenge is going back in time and paying homage while rebooting. It’s a real kick to play such a mythical boogie man!”
Joined by director Samuel Bayer and producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, Jackie gave us the low down on their new, darker take on Elm Street. All the razor fingered details are after the jump.
“We had always talked about wanting to re-do Nightmare on Elm Street,” remarked producer Andrew Fuller, “The concept is brilliant! If you fall asleep, you die.” This love for the original, dream slayer material seemed to be shared across the board with the Elm Street team. “The dreams are what separate this from any other man with a hatchet,” added director Samuel Bayer. In fact, the dream sequences got a lot of attention in this new version. Samuel feels that the dream sequences in the original series give the films a dated feel. “We have a much more sophisticated take on the dreams.”
The big buzz seemed to be around the fact that this new incarnation is using a darker, less funny take on the iconic Freddy Krueger. “This is not just an imitation of previous movies,” said Bayer, “We are taking it very seriously.” He mentioned that The Dark Night was a big inspiration for Nightmare on Elm Street in the way it made the world of Batman believeable. “We want people to believe it (Freddy) could be real.”
A few more ghoulishly notable bits from the Elm Street:
-When asked if he had met with Robert Englund, Jackie Earle Haley said they had not had a chance to talk yet. He did say that for his birthday he was given an original Nightmare on Elm Street poster, and he really wanted to have Englund sign it.
-Those wanting some blood will not be disappointed. The new film is bloody, though it doesn’t depend on gore for scares. “The dreams make it scary,” says Bayer.
-Bayer says that there is lots of emphasis on the characters and the kids. The whole panel seemed to agree that Nancy was, in many ways, the heart of the movie.
-“There is nothing scarier than Jackie in full make up walking around the set at 3 am,” said Bayer when asked about the make up and visual effects. “I’m an old school film maker. We do a lot of things practically.”
-Jackie Earle Haley had a reoccurring nightmare as a child of being chased through his house by a giant, 6 foot insect monster.
-When asked about the film’s rating, Samuel Bayer responded “Are you kidding me? This is Nightmare on Elm Street!” We’re taking that to be an R.
-As for the future of the Nightmare franchise, producer Brad Fuller said that “The audience will decide that.”