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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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