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[Exclusive] Nick Antosca Reflects on His ‘Friday the 13th’ Reboot That Almost Was!

[Exclusive] Nick Antosca Reflects on His ‘Friday the 13th’ Reboot That Almost Was!

“It shouldn’t be that hard to make a Friday the 13th movie.”

It’s never easy being a horror fan, especially when waiting for a new Friday the 13th. Even though there were eight films released in the 1980s, the franchise feels cursed. There have only been four more in the past 25+ years. In fact, the Platinum Dunes reboot is already nearing its ninth anniversary!

After Paramount Pictures traded the rights to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar to Warner Bros. in exchange for the full rights to Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th franchise, it felt like a new film was imminent. With the trade rights lapsing this coming January, Platinum Dunes and Paramount has been working feverishly to get Jason Voorhees back into theaters. Only, with multiple changes in leadership and the constant moving direction of the genre (found-footage coming and going), andthe failure of Rings being the final nail in the coffin, Paramount canned the plans for Friday the 13th for good.

Now, while we wait for the rights to revert back to Warners, all we can do is look back and wonder, “What if?”

While the previous incarnation sounded like dynamite, the David Bruckner-Nick Antosca screenplay was pure fire. I’ve read it and was absolutely floored with how cool it was, especially being that it was the first draft. (Guess what? You can read it too!) Since the project was canned back in 2015, Antosca has moved on to work on other classic genre offerings including NBC’s “Hannibal” and Syfy’s “Channel Zero”, which returns for second season “No-End House” on September 20th. With “Channel Zero” coming back, we caught up with Antosca who explained his inspiration behind his initial Friday the 13th script.

“The Paramount Friday the 13th movies,” Antosca said of his inspiration, adding Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and John Hughes movies to the mix. “Plus Jaws, a little bit. We just wanted to make a classic Jason movie, with kids at camp who get slaughtered, and great kills and some characters you actually enjoy hanging out with til they die.”

For those who read the script, it felt like they found a way to mix three of the best Jasons into one movie, including Kane Hodder’s beast-like nightmare of a slasher.

“David Bruckner and I talked about how to make a consistent Jason throughout our movie, but nod to the different Jasons,” he revealed. “I prefer supernatural Jason, personally. And I loved the imagery of him under the water.”

Jason Voorhees’ mythology is a bit complicated as the entire franchise is riddled with plotholes. Antosca talks a bit about the challenges in cracking the story.

“We just accepted from the beginning that we would have to pick and choose elements of the mythology to make a coherent one within one movie. It’s obviously not consistent over the course of the franchise, but you have a lot to work with. We adjusted the timeline a bit to make sense.”

The coolest aspect of Antosca and Bruckner’s Friday the 13th was that it would be period, taking fans back to the 1980s.

“To me, that just feels right,” he said of the decision to set it during the original’s time period. “That’s the Jason movie I want to see. It’s the same impulse that fed into ‘Stranger Things’ and a lot of 80s nostalgia that we now see popping up. It was in the air a few years ago. I’d still love to see a new Friday the 13th set in the ‘80s.

For those interested in “the process”, Antosca’s Friday the 13th was a first draft, meaning there was quite a bit of work to do. Here’s what he expected to change in his next pass.

“I’m sure there was more character work to do. There always is. The draft that got out there is a first draft, and I only ever had a chance to do one draft. I’m sure we would have kept tweaking the kills too.”

And of course, it wouldn’t be Friday the 13th if a sequel wasn’t set up. Here’s where Antosca wanted to take the Voorhees family.

“We had aimed for a winter-set sequel,” he confirms while revealing more plans. “The details were not hashed out, but it would have involved people returning to the site of the horrific massacre in the first movie — probably just six months later.”

So what happened? With Platinum Dunes ready to go, Paramount got cold feet.

“I know Platinum Dunes was ready to go — they were enthusiastic,” he reveals. “I heard various things — Paramount changed their mind about the 80’s setting, they wanted more mythology. Also, there was some corporate changeover in the ranks there, and the people who were in charge when I was hired were no longer there. The new folks may have wanted to put their own stamp on it. It happens. I was curious to see the version they did make, and I was disappointed when that fell apart too.

“It shouldn’t be that hard to make a Friday the 13th movie.”

Watch Antosca’s “Channel Zero: No-End House” on Syfy September 20th.



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COMMENTS

61 Comments
  • Wil McMullen

    I read the script and truly was floored at how goddamn good it was… It’s a damn shame they pulled the plug on this project. Jason seemed more relentless in this version and i loved the fucking ending…. This would have been just the vehicle F13 needed to make Jason relevant again.

    • jasonlives1986

      Ending?

      • ItalianBadAss37

        I preferred the Guzikowski draft.

    • Darkknight2149

      You should be thankful it was cancelled, because that isn’t the script that they moving ahead with. They scrapped Nick Antosca’s script in favour of a different one written by Aaron Guzikowski (which I have read and it’s godawful).

      Really, the fans aren’t the losers in this situation. It’s the studio. Given the many times this film was delayed, the fact that they tossed Antosca’s script, and everything else, it is clear that Platinum Dunes and Paramount had absolutely no idea what they were doing. Now, the rights will revert to New Line Cinema in 2018, who will most likely make a Jason film of their own.

      Given that this is the thirteenth film in the series, the fans and the franchise both deserve better.

  • Christopher Nickerson

    More importantly do they plan to reissue the blu Ray boxed set

  • Darkknight2149

    I haven’t read Nick Antosca’s abandoned script yet (I hear it was pretty good), but I have read the script that they were moving forward with.

    Trust me, the cancelled Friday the 13th was going to be god awful. It’s no wonder it was delayed so many times. For those who haven’t read it, here’s what would have happened in the 2017 film:

    – The film was a secret origin story for Jason Voorhees. It features three different killers – Elias Voorhees, Pamela Voorhees, and Jason Voorhees. The entire Voorhees family is revealed to be a lineage of serial killers.

    – Elias Voorhees is retconned as being the original bag-head Jason from Part 2.

    -The film opens with Elias (as bag-head Jason) killing Jeff and Sandra from Part 2.

    -Jason doesn’t start killing until toward the end. He’s barely in the film as the killer.

    -If you thought Jason was out-of-character in the 2009 reboot, here is much, much worse. Jason is basically portrayed as Hannibal Lecter. He’s a silent, yet intelligent killer who apparently knows the woods and can outsmart his victims. None of the kills stand out as creative or Jason-like, so there’s that as well. He also screams when his mother dies.

    -Jason doesn’t reunite with his mother after “drowning” because he’s trapped on an island in the middle of the lake (no, seriously).

    -There are a few time-jumps.

    -The movie sets up a mystery as to why Jason is supernatural, but for some odd reason, it is never resolved or set up for the sequel. All we learn is that Elias knew that Jason was going to be supernatural before he was born (somehow) and wanted to cause a miscarriage (but didn’t). That apparently has something to do with why Elias kills… It’s all very convoluted and none of it gets resolved.

    -The main protagonists are Annie and Mary Christie, daughter of the Christies from the 1980 film. Annie is this film’s version of Alice.

    -The only good part of the movie is the segment featuring Pamela discovering why Jason drowned and going on a killing spree. It calls back to the original without being a boring retread. However, it only makes up about a third of the movie.

    • Brett Lovejoy

      Well they’re expert con artists, because I was more than sold on the film they were about to shoot months back. Your description makes it sound like a massive, massive trainwreck, so it would appear we all dodged a huge bullet.

      Just like the article says, I always find myself asking “how hard is it to make a good Friday the 13th installment?”

      Impossible, apparently.

      • Darkknight2149

        “how hard is it to make a good Friday the 13th installment?”

        Exactly! It’s not like the fans are expecting some kind of cinematic masterpiece. Hopefully, some new blood will be brought in once the Jason rights go back to New Line Cinema in 2018, because what they have been doing for past two decades clearly isn’t working (except for Freddy vs. Jason, which should have got a sequel).

        Hopefully the success of Friday the 13th: The Game (which actually captured the spirit of Friday the 13th) will prompt New Line to go back to basics with the next film.

        • Necro

          I totally agree with you on a sequel for ‘F v J’!

        • Brett Lovejoy

          Oh, I certainly hope that’s what happens. Hell, the template they had was fine: 80’s set, a bunch of crazy, likable characters slowly getting offed one by one in the most brutal, unique ways while they’re at summer camp. No origin stories, no major twists, just 90 minutes of fear, dread, and gore. And tits.

          • Mike tantatelli

            “And tits” lmfao!!!

          • Brett Lovejoy

            Tits are a necessity! Gotta have a little highlight before the carnage and gore sets in, haha.

          • Necro

            Yep the obligatory tit shot is very important!

    • Necro

      The one with the time jumps sounds fucking terrible! In my opinion Antosca’s script is much better and doesn’t have any of this origin/3 character shit. Being it was a first draft it is more in the annals of what fans and the franchise deserve. My only beef is the ending and you can read it for yourself and let me know, other than that it was definitely in the right direction. I would’ve loved to read a final draft from him. I don’t guarantee you’ll like it, but I think you’ll appreciate it more than this disaster of a script you commented on.

    • Trav

      I definitely will admit that elements of that script sound absolutely horrible, but Elias Vorhees being the original “bag-head” Jason killer is a lot better than Part 2’s original explanation (That Jason never drowned and just decided to never reunite with his mother while hiding in the woods). Just my opinion though. On the other hand, Jason being trapped on an island in the middle of the lake, and Elias Vorhees knowing Jason was supernatural before birth are ideas that are both beyond stupid.

      • Darkknight2149

        In the majority of the sequels (and even the 2009 reboot), it is maintained that Jason never drowned, which would explain why he’s a grown man in Part 2, Part 3D, and beyond. Really, I prefer no explanation for why he didn’t reunite with her to dumb ‘shock value’ prequel explanations like “There’s suddenly an island in the middle of Crystal Lake” or “Baghead Jason is Jason’s dad, who is now the original Jason!”

        Also, I don’t think Pamela was at Crystal Lake for the majority of that time. She only came back every once in a while, to sabotage any attempted re-openings of the camp. At those points, Jason (who is mentally handicapped, BTW) could have been anywhere in the woods. I also like the idea that very moment he finally found her was the moment she got her head cut off. I think it was stated in Part 2 that he watched her die somewhere off-screen during the original.

        • Trav

          You do make some good point’s about Part 2’s explanation, but I’ve always found the explanation kinda lame. I know the idea of Jason being a zombie is something some fans hate, but personally, I’ve always liked the idea of Jason being a zombie, so I’ve always viewed him that way. But you are right, an island being in the middle of Crystal Lake all of the sudden is really stupid, and Elias Voorhees being the original Jason isn’t the greatest idea ever. I was actually pretty excited about the 2017 version coming out, but after hearing about the script, it sounds awful. The sad thing is, that trainwreck you mentioned was a lot closer to being made than Antosca’s script ever was. Diving deeper into Jason’s backstory has potential and was something I was excited for, but this would have been a terrible movie.

          • Darkknight2149

            I see your point. My interpretation has always been that he was human in the original films, and was resurrected as a zombie in Part VI (with the Necronomicon in Jason Goes to Hell opening the door for that to happen).

  • Barry Goldsbury

    I can’t say I was at ll ecstatic about Antosca’s script at all. Other than the 80’s setting, I didn’t like anything about it. There was no finesse to the kills or suspenseful stalk and slash. It just all happened like it was war time at the camp. The ending in town was like Terminator Jason and it just all felt very wrong. His script and the other one that was scrapped were not what this fan wanted to see.

    • James

      I actually liked it. It was a nice change from the other friday films we have had so far. It was pretty intense and brutal.

      • Corey

        Yeah, I liked it as well. It just needed to have its kills tweaked. There was no real reason to have Jason kill people off screen or out of frame.

        • James

          I absolutely agree. At least not more than one person like the original.

  • Trav

    Antosca’s script seems to be getting a ton of praise. I can’t wait to read it. But I’m split on the whole mythology thing. On one hand, I like the idea of the 80’s setting in a present day movie, and just making a classic Friday The 13th movie we all love. On the other hand, exploring Jason’s backstory and mythology certainly has potential. I also like the idea of the sequel being in a winter setting, as we really haven’t seen that be done in the Friday The 13th franchise before. Having the people be cut off from society (like in The Shining or The Thing), and Jason on the loose has potential to be incredibly scary!

    • Mike tantatelli

      I can picture the blood splattering on the snow!!!

      • WondrousPoop

        And after that novelty wears off 45 seconds in then what?

        • Mike tantatelli

          I take it you’re a “glass is half empty” kinda guy. Lol

          • WondrousPoop

            Nah. I’m a “glass is blood in snow will look cool for five seconds lets focus on the story and characters” kinda guy.

  • Necro

    13th film needs to be special and done right!

    • Mike tantatelli

      Truth!!!

  • Cappy Tally

    Between 2008 and now, Marvel Studios has made and released 16 films, with a 17th film due to be released this November. Each of them has star talent, massive budgets with tons of visual effects work, and amazing set and production design. They draw on many convoluted years’ worth of material, they have to please a wide array of passionate fans who are very resistant to change as well as mainstream audiences who have never heard of many of these characters, and they all have to fit neatly together like a puzzle.

    A Friday the 13th film does not require a large budget, star talent, tons of visual effects work, or a large number of elaborate/exotic locations in which to shoot. As a franchise it’s less than 40 years old, with only twelve core films to consider. It does not require a finely tuned cinematic universe planned years in advance. For the most part its fans are perfectly happy keeping things simple and sticking to a proven formula, however as fans of the horror genre there’s an undeniable flexibility that you don’t see as much among fans of the superhero genre.

    Between 2008 and now, there has only been one Friday the 13th film. Released in 2009. With multiple attempts at new films falling apart behind the scenes.

    There isn’t a single good fucking reason for this. There isn’t a single good fucking reason why 17 gigantic superhero films can be made and released with no problem between 2008 and 2017 and yet in roughly the same timeframe they can’t make ONE fucking Jason movie beyond the one we got in 2009.

    The Friday the 13th films are far less complicated and far less expensive, and yet we’re supposed to believe they’re more difficult to crank out than an Avengers movie? I call BULLSHIT.

    • Darkknight2149

      “There isn’t a single good fucking reason for this.”

      Actually, there is – Studio incompetence. It’s clear that Paramount and Platinum Dunes are completely clueless. They spent several years throwing crap at a wall to see what stuck, and what did they finally decide to move forward with? Some dumb origin film that completely misses the point of Friday the 13th (which crashed at the last possible second). The fact that they got a script from Hannibal writer Nick Antosca that would have been well received by the fans and completely threw it away tells us everything we need to know.

      I really hope this situation changes in 2018, when the rights revert back to New Line Cinema.

      • Cappy Tally

        Well, I wouldn’t call studio incompetence a “good reason” but I think we’re basically on the same page here.

      • Trav

        That’s the thing: As bad as Paramount botched this situation, I really don’t trust New Line Cinema with this franchise again. I do still enjoy “Freddy vs. Jason” though.

        • Darkknight2149

          It’s not ideal, but after all this, I’m hopeful for New Line as long as they don’t re-unite with Paramount and Platinum Dunes. Maybe they’ll follow in Friday the 13th: The Game‘s lead and decide to go back to basics.

      • Richard

        Off subject a little, but I am really encouraged that Halloween finally got out of Dimensions hands and into Blumhouses. I hope Jason could someday find a home with them too.

        • Darkknight2149

          It’s a shame that they still haven’t lost the rights to Hellraiser. I would love for Clive Barker to get the rights back and finally make that reboot with Doug Bradley.

  • AdamX

    I’d like to see smart Jason still. A Jason who would realize Freddy was fucking with him from the start or be prepared for any sort of chicanery those whacky sex crazed campers can cook up.

    He’s been the big dumb killing machine forever but imagine that same killing machine with intelligence.

    • Jameswd

      That’s exactly what he is in the remake people love to bitch about

    • Brian McNatt

      One of the reasons the remake is among my faves. A smart, aggressive Jason who had truly made Camp Crystal Lake and its surrounding areas his hunting grounds was awesome, and plays a major role in making the F13 remake easily the best of the Big 3 remakes (it, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street).

  • I really want a new sequel or retcon about one of the best killers ever, Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers. They’re very popular nowadays, I hope some studio should to produce a movie of one of them.

    • WondrousPoop

      Halloween shoots this year/early 2018 for a Halloween 2018 release.

  • Cappy Tally

    I dug Antosca’s script quite a bit.

    My biggest nitpick about modern slasher films is the way they’re structured. In the past, slasher films mostly featured a cast who got picked off one by one, sometimes two or three at a time but rarely, and yet no one ever really noticed anything was wrong until it was too late and most of them were dead.

    In most modern slasher films, the whole group is aware of the danger pretty quickly and the film becomes a fight for survival. In short, old slashers were stalk-and-slash pictures and new slashers are siege pictures, more or less. Modern slashers owe more to Scooby Doo than to their ancestors.

    With Antosca’s F13 script, IIRC, there seemed to be a curious mix of both styles of slasher storytelling, and I really liked it.

  • Trav

    Ok, I just finished reading the script, and wow, that would have been awesome. It really sucks it was never made. I like how they take the series back to its roots, making it feel more like an 80’s slasher movie. At the same time, the characters actually stay alive long enough to get a decent amount of character development, so we care about them when Jason gets them. One thing the original F13 did so will was build a unsettling and suspenseful atmosphere, and I really think this one did the same. There’s also subtle tributes to previous films in the franchise. Even though I just read through the full script, I would love to see New Line Cinema pick this script up and run with it when they get the rights back in 2018.

  • REC03

    His script while far from perfect was really good. It could have been a very entertaining, fun, gory time. Platinum Dunes sucks sfm so glad they are not part of this franchise anymore.

  • Francesco Falciani

    this story stil hurts me…now a winter setting, good! i hate u paramount

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    This and the links they point to are a whole lot of tl;dr at this hour. But, if this is the script that would’ve had the movie open with Paramount’s old logo and be set in the 80’s, it’s a damn shame we never got to see it. And while no script I’ve read about sounds perfect, this one sounds a whole lot better than the other goofy crap we’ve heard floated for the last nine years. Wish they’d push (and push harder) for this being made.

  • Barry El Beardo

    One of the reasons the remake sucked for me was because at its core, Friday 13th is about stupid but fun teenagers at camp being killed. Not dumb and annoying teenagers going to a cabin in the woods.
    I think a present day set camp film would be fun if you eliminate modern technologies off the bat i.e ‘at camp we don’t allow cell phones’ etc.

    • TheDarkShape

      “One of the reasons the remake sucked for me was because at its core, Friday 13th is about stupid but fun teenagers at camp being killed. Not dumb and annoying teenagers going to a cabin in the woods.”

      It’s actually way more about teenagers going to a cabin in the woods.

      Friday movies where people are killed at a camp: 1, 2, 6

      Friday movies where people are killed in a rented house/non-camp setting: 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, ’09

  • Tan Shearer

    If they set it in the 80’s it’d be cool if they film it with cameras that were around at the time so it looks authentically 80’s.

  • Shane o mac

    Paramount sucks

  • Judge Satchmo

    I was always fascinated by the concept of the day after. The carnage has ended and our first responders arrive on scene and start piecing together the previous night. Finding bodies stuck to barn doors, speared together in a bed. Let the audience experience it along with the police and paramedics. With the added tension that the killer is still lurking in the woods. Then when we see the films, with the towns people reluctant to talk about “the massacre” we get a real sense of the depth of that horror.

  • Corey

    I really enjoyed his script, and considering that it was only a first draft I feel like it would have ended up being very strong. It needed a bit of tweaking on the kills and some of the dialogue, but overall it was really good.

  • Simon Allen

    I read the script for this ….it was fucking abysmal .
    like something written by a sex-starved teenage Fanboy.
    Thank fuck it was never made .
    I didn’t think anything could be worse than a Shannon and Swift script but this was .

  • Jonathan Larsson

    Here’s a suggestion: Rather than exploring the terror of Friday the 13th, why not go deeper with the tragedy? Jason’s origins are quite sad, initially being a mentally challenged boy who was most likely bullied and died because of the councillors neglect, which drove his mother mad. He’s already basically the Frankenstein’s monster of the slasher icons, so why not?

    For instance, what if he was a boy born with various physical problems, and was raised by a struggling single mother who just wanted to afford the proper treatment for his conditions. Jason, feeling alienated enough as it was, wanted to prove himself at Camp Crystal lake, and to everyone’s surprise, being the best in basically anything from archery to tracking. However, rather than impressing the other children, they just get annoyed that a “retard” is outdoing them in everything and torment him further. This eventually drives him to attempt the one thing he can’t do: swim. This results in him drowning, but being eventually pulled up by one of the few councillors who noticed, who revives him with first aid, only for it to have a side-effect: Jason receives a permanent brain damage, which makes him go from a below average boy into a mute, drooling vegetable.

    Having to care for what remains of her son, Pamela snaps and begins to kill the councillors and children that was directly responsible to all of this. In the end she gets killed by the one who saved her son, which actually prompts Jason to more or less come out from his vegetative state, and start the path into the Jason we all know and love: He kills the only remaining councilor with his mother’s machete, begins to live in the forest and grows to be a massive man, who like a Rain Man of murder kills anyone who comes into his territory.

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