Interview By Thomas Alexander:
To say Robert Englund is an iconic figure of the horror genre would be an understatement of epic proportions. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has earned Englund cult status and rightly so.
It has now been over 10 years since Freddy vs Jason, the last time we would see Englund dawn the patented Krueger claws and since then the franchise has received the remake treatment.
Bloody-Disgusting caught up with the legend that is Robert Englund to discuss his latest film The Last Showing, remakes and the most bizarre rumours about his career.
Bloody Disgusting: You must get a lot of film offers so why choose to do The Last Showing?
Robert Englund: It is a terrific script.
There’s an old trick that I read about in a Playboy interview with Paul Newman. You always read a script all at once; you don’t bookmark it or put it down. You get a real sense of what reel you’re in and the pace of the film.
With The Last Showing I could literally hear the plot ticking and the movement through it. We were very fortunate to get Finn Jones because the audience needs to sort of watch him thread the mouse trap plot that I set for him in the film.
He literally has whole reels of silent acting almost like a Hitchcock or an early De Palma film that he has to bring the audience through the plot.
BD: It’s a film that’s kind of like if SAW met Scream…
RE: Yeah, that’s interesting. One of the things I channelled that I was inspired by was Sir Richard Attenborough in Séance on a Wet Afternoon.
There was a certain banality of evil in that I wanted to achieve with Stuart.
BD: Your character is a disgruntled cinema employee turned psycho filmmaker. What has been your worst job that drove you nuts?
RE: I was a bartender at Universal Studios one summer and at that point I had already starred in two movies but neither had come out yet.
I got this job as I was running out of money, eventually got elevated to working backstage but before that I was out front wearing this ridiculous little hygiene cap with an ugly vest.
That was something I was able to use when playing Stuart.
BD: How do you think Nightmare on Elm Street has fared over the years?
RE: Well, the Nightmare films have spanned 30 years with the first in 1984 and then the last with Freddy vs Jason.
Then there’s obviously the remake.
There’s this great moment of time that they span and because of the nature of improvements in technology there’s a greater shelf-life for films of my career especially Nightmare on Elm Street.
If you watch Wes Craven’s New Nightmare or even parts three or four as a double bill on a 50″ flatscreen TV on Blu-ray they look better now than they did when they were in the cinema.
BD: Think you’ll be playing Freddy Krueger once last time?
RE: I think because Michael Bay and Time Warner own the rights to the franchise they want to reboot it for a new generation and I understand that – it makes sense.
Hollywood remakes everything and I am not an actor to complain about it.
One of my biggest paydays ever was when I did the remake of Phantom of the Opera. We have to remember the movies our grandparents saw are all remakes of silent films.
The shelf life is longer now for films from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I think that Hollywood just needs to wait a little longer before doing a remake.
Is it my imagination that Godzilla has just been remade twice? There’s the one with Matthew Broderick and then the most recent.
It’s getting a little ridiculous.
They just need to trust that these films have a longer shelf-life.
BD: We heard a rumour that you read for the part of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars…
RE: No, that’s just internet bullshit!
I was actually reading for the part of the surfer in Apocalypse Now but I wanted to play the cook. It turned out I was too old for the surfer but too young for the cook.
They sent me across the hall for the part of Hans Solo but turned out to be too young for that as well.
I got home, had a shot of Irish whiskey and told Mark Hamill about the role for Luke Skywalker. He jumped in his old Volvo, went on the audition and the rest is history.
I think Mark’s in the gym as we speak doing some sit-ups for the new one.
BD: What was the last horror film that really scared you?
RE: I am huge fan of the Swedish film Let the Right One In and I love Brian De Palma’s Sisters. That really got to me, there’s a great performance by William Finley in that. Probably the best mad scientist ever done in film next to Ernest Thesiger in The Bride of Frankenstein.
The Last Showing is out on DVD and Blu-ray now.