|FRIDAY’s Nispel talks Hodder and Manfredini’s absences, etc.|
|News - Film News|
|Written by Calum Waddell|
|Friday, February 13, 2009 04:53 PM|
Marcus Nispel carved his way into many a FANGORIA reader’s heart after successfully bringing back the buzz of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with 2003’s generally well-received remake. However, with the risk of being labeled a genre-only personality a constant thorn in the side of many frightmakers (anyone else remember Wes Craven’s struggle to start up MUSIC OF THE HEART?), it was something of a surprise to learn that 2009 would see Nispel tackling yet another of horror’s most iconic properties.
Nevertheless, after the commercial failure of his 2007 fantasy fable PATHFINDER (itself a reimagining of a Norwegian-made movie), the director was eager to find a new project that was ready to roll. And that is, ultimately, what led him to the shores of Crystal Lake for the just-released FRIDAY THE 13TH, produced by the same Platinum Dunes team behind CHAINSAW.
“They had a script that was already written, and I really liked it,” notes the German-born Nispel. “I was frustrated with the slow developments in Los Angeles, so I began thinking about other horror properties that could be brought back. I called the Platinum Dunes guys and said, ‘Have you ever thought about doing FRIDAY THE 13TH?’ They replied, ‘It’s funny you should mention this, because we were just ready to give up on it. We’ve had script after script coming in, but nothing we want to do.’
“At that point, we were three weeks away from the writer’s strike and had this very small window to try and find something that myself, the producers, three studios and Michael Bay all liked,” Nispel laughs. “So as you can imagine, when a screenplay [by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift] came in that everyone enjoyed, it was a pleasant surprise. Maybe that is why this film came out uncompromised—because when the draft was accepted, the strike began and that meant it could not be touched or worked on any more. We had to shoot what we had.”
Perhaps inevitably, however, controversy soon began to surface regarding Nispel’s apparent decision to ignore some of the most beloved aspects of Jason’s lineage. Sure, this might be FRIDAY THE 13TH redone for a new generation, but many buffs hoped that iconic composer Harry Manfredini (who also missed out on FREDDY VS. JASON) might be called upon to once again score the slaughter.
“I just didn’t want to do the same thing as before,” Nispel states regarding Manfredini’s absence. “I got in touch with Steve Jablonsky to score the movie, because we had worked together on THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. However, even then, I explained to him that I wanted a tune I could whistle when I left the theater but which might not automatically register with me. I don’t believe that, when you watch a FRIDAY THE 13TH film, you want to feel like John Williams is sitting next to you with the London Symphony Orchestra [laughs]. As corny as this may sound, I’m a big Mike Oldfield fan, but I was glad that William Friedkin didn’t used him throughout THE EXORCIST. It would have distracted from the onscreen terror. So I was looking for something quite subtle with the new FRIDAY THE 13TH.”
Also missing from the latest installment is Kane Hodder, the man who made his grievances about being forced to hang up the hockey mask for FREDDY VS. JASON very public. “We didn’t contact him,” Nispel admits. “Again, we all had a genuine desire to do something fresh with this franchise. No one wanted to see a frame-by-frame remake of the other FRIDAY THE 13TH films. If you look at my take on THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and compare it to the original, you can see that they do not have much in common either—just Leatherface. You’ll discover the same thing here—and our Jason is also a bit of a change. He is not slow, and he does not stand around like a postal inspector just waiting to strike [laughs].”
And if this revamped Voorhees ends up becoming a box-office monster, it would be foolish not to expect yet another film (which would, for the record, be the franchise’s 13th outing). The big question, then, is if Nispel envisions himself returning to Camp Blood. “I believe they intend to do more FRIDAY THE 13TH films after this one, but they’ll probably need to find someone else,” he says. “To do it for a second time would be arduous. That is also the reason I sat out TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING—I felt like I had ‘been there and done that.’ But, look, Jason keeps ticking—and they will think of something to keep it going. I just don’t think it will be me making the next one. I’m not sure how I could top this, you know?”