Producer Brad Fuller Talks ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

Recently, Bloody-Disgusting had the opportunity to hop on the phone with A Nightmare on Elm Street Producer Brad Fuller (Platinum Dunes) to discuss the upcoming remake hitting theaters this Friday. Among other topics, Fuller talked about their desire to stay true to the darker tone of the original, the decision to make Freddy a pedophile instead of a child-murderer, and the nature of the reshoots that were done following some initial test screenings. Read on for all the deets…

In 1984, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street was released by New Line and went on to gross over $25 million on a mere $2 million budget. The sleeper hit was followed by six sequels (seven if you count Jason vs. Freddy) and went on to become one of the top-grossing horror franchises in film history. Now, sixteen years after the original’s debut, Warner Bros. is unleashing razor-fingered dream phantom Freddy Krueger on a whole new generation of fans with a remake of the first film, in theaters April 30th. Read on for my interview with producer Brad Fuller, who is no stranger to the business of remaking classic horror films. Starting with 2003′s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, his resume includes remakes of The Amityville Horror (2005), The Hitcher (2007), and last year’s blockbuster hit, Friday the 13th.

BD: I’ve heard it said the goal for this film was to keep it closer to the darker tone of the first movie and keep it from becoming too “jokey” like the sequels. Even the first movie had Freddy spouting some one-liners though. Can we expect a few of those in this one as well?

Brad Fuller: Freddy certainly has a very dark sense of humor in this movie, and he says some very clever and funny things. Having said that, the character of Freddy Krueger…we want him to be really scary. We didn’t want him to be construed as jokey or light, so it [the wit element] is there, but it’s not there as it was in the later films.

BD: I know Freddy is now a child molester as opposed to a child-murderer. Were you guys at all reticent to go that route?

Brad Fuller: Yes, of course. And I think that when you see the film, you’ll see that it’s not something that’s totally in people’s face[s], but the fact is, if it were someone who had killed a bunch of children, there’s no way to keep that a secret, there’s no story to tell because the kids have to figure out what’s happening to them. It’s as simple as, you know, if there were five children killed in this town in Ohio, that would be on the Internet, and people would be able to find it. So we had to figure out some other ways to tell the story.

BD: So that kind of sprung out of wanting to make it more of a mystery.

Brad Fuller: Well, also that was how Wes Craven originally conceived of the story, and we liked that. We thought if we’re going back to tell the first one, let’s do it in a way that maybe they couldn’t or chose not to originally.

BD: How did Jackie Earle Haley come on board?

Brad Fuller: Through a lot of begging. He was the only person that we ever wanted for the role. We felt it was really important, because Freddy Krueger is so incredibly iconic, we wanted to get an actor, and we were hopeful that the fan base would say, `you know what, it’s not Robert Englund, but it’s such a good actor maybe he can make the character his own.’ And you know, the fact that Jackie Earle Haley was nominated for an Academy Award two years ago, and that he was interested in playing Freddy Krueger, made all of our jobs a lot easier.

BD: How does he approach the role differently from Robert Englund?

Brad Fuller: I don’t know cause I wasn’t on set with Robert. I can just tell you that Jackie was so on top of everything that this character did, and gave it so much thought. He committed totally to this. And he had a ton of time every day to really think about how he could be as evil as humanly possible, because his makeup took between 3