Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are partners at Platinum Dunes Productions. The company, which they established with Michael Bay in 2001, creates opportunities for first time directors to make commercial, modestly budgeted films.
Concentrating on the horror genre, their company has produced such successful movies as The Unborn, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, The Hitcher and now A Nightmare on Elm Street, which brings the iconic killer Freddy Krueger back to the big screen. In the remake, Jackie Earle Haley embodies the supernatural killer out for revenge.
In keeping with their policy to give directors a chance to direct a major motion picture, Drew and Brad have hired Samuel Bayer, who has helmed hundreds of commercials and music videos over the last 15 years, to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I spoke with Drew, Brad and Sam at the press day for the movie, which opens on April 30th, 2010.
How nervous do you get when you’re taking an iconic film and remaking it?
Andrew Form: We’ve been getting nervous for nine years now.
Brad Fuller: But you have to get nervous because you’re being judged against arguably if not the greatest, one of the greatest horror films ever made.
Can you talk about casting Jackie?
Brad Fuller: I think we all felt if we were going to redo this franchise we really needed to start with our Freddy Krueger and let that iconic character be created by someone who had the skills to really do that. Jackie Earle Haley was the only name that any of us ever wanted; there was never dissension in the group.
I think it makes the right statement, it says we’re serious about making a movie with serious actors and this isn’t going to be a joke.
Was Jackie reluctant to do the role?
Andrew Form: I think in the beginning he was very excited, but he also wanted to hear from Sam, what kind of movie Sam was going to make. The movie could go any way, so if this guy’s going to take this character on, that only one man has ever played, Robert Englund, I think he needed to hear from the director, what was Sam’s vision of this film? That’s what our first meeting was about. And I think once Jackie did leave that meeting he felt comfortable enough that he was ready to do it.
Samuel Bayer: Who am I to ever get in the way of an Academy Award nominated actor taking a role like this? What do you tell somebody? ‘Well, I want you to base this on ‘what’?’ Whatever issues Jackie may have had with this character I think it was because he was trying to find who the guy was, and find his DNA.
Did he add anything to the character?
Andrew Form: You know what he did do that we talk about all the time? Early on in the process he asked if he could take the glove (with knives for fingers) home to his hotel room and just keep it in his room just to work with it.
I think by the time he got to the set and he put the glove on he could work the glove better than anyone, even the guys who made it. It was pretty incredible what he could do with his fingers, and I think no one expected that.
Sam, the visuals in this are amazing. What was your process and inspiration?
Samuel Bayer: It’s a very old school Hollywood technique. Most of my stuff is done in camera.
Some of the dream sequences are very much based on reality, whether it’s the girl being bounced across the ceiling, that’s done on wires, or there’s a sequence in the pharmacy cut into the boiler room, which is the motion control rig, cutting between the two images, just very simple techniques.
Hopefully I’ve given the movie a very specific look, feeling and style that maybe doesn’t feel like every other horror movie that’s out right now.
Are you hoping for a sequel?
Andrew Form: We would love to do another Nightmare on Elm Street. If we’re lucky enough, would be great, unfortunately I’m sure Sam would not be back,
Clearly at the end of this film we have left ourselves an opening for another one and I think it would be amazing to do another one.
Sam, why wouldn’t you do a sequel?
Samuel Bayer: It’s funny, with the right circumstances you never know. I used to be called the young hot director, and now I’m the middle-aged director, and I’ve got to catch up a little bit, so I’ve done a horror movie and maybe next one’s a science fiction movie or something like that, but you should never say never.
Can I ask about the horror factor? This didn’t seem like an R rated movie.
Brad Fuller: We talked about the DNA of these different horror movies. Leatherface, you’re going to be ripping limbs off with the chainsaw, so that’s going to be gorier. And with Jason it’s with a machete, but this is a psychological horror movie.
Samuel Bayer: Honestly, if you’re going to this movie to see people cut up you’re going to the wrong movie. It’s not the movie we made. I tried to make something a bit more cerebral. I’m not into Saw and torture porn. This is a thinking person’s movie, and if it wasn’t gory enough go see one of those movies. I don’t know what to say.
Brad Fuller: When you go back to the original movie, it wasn’t a bloodbath either and so again we tried to look at the DNA of the original film and try to expand it. To us it felt like the right amount.
Was there ever a thought to have Robert Englund come in for a cameo, or was he there and I just missed it?
Brad Fuller: There was thought of it initially, we talked about it, and I think that when all was said and done [we decided not to]. Robert has been very supportive of Jackie from the first moment and he’s only said wonderful things about it.
I think that when we sat down and talked about that exact thing, we decided that we wanted to make our version of Elm Street.
I think Sam wanted to make his own movie and by bringing Robert in it’s distracting, so he’s not in there, you did not miss him.