Equally excited that Rowland’s onboard is Robert Englund, the actor who played dream stalker Freddy Krueger in all seven “Nightmare on Elm Street” films and in a syndicated TV series as well. Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette (“Little Nicky”) and Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix”) all made early career appearances in “Nightmare” films, and if Englund had his way, Rowland wouldn’t be the only singer to get a helping hand from Freddy’s bladed glove.
“I thought there’d be a great role for Pink,” the 53-year-old actor said. “I think this is just me talking about an idea I had. I don’t think that was anything that anybody ever acted on. But there is a role that seems like it was almost written for her.”
“Freddy vs. Jason” was certainly written with Englund in mind. The idea to pit the two unstoppable killers against each other has been kicking around for a long time. Nine years ago, “Jason Goes to Hell” hinted at the possibility in its closing moments, and now, several scripts later, director Ronny Yu (“Bride of Chucky”) is ready to start shooting in Vancouver.
“I’m expecting Federal Express at any moment to come to my house and throw a new [slightly modified script] hot off the presses down,” Englund said. “But my [current] script dates back to July and boy, it’s a good script. It has the one thing that I felt it had to have – we have to get into Jason’s nightmares. Whatever’s going on, whatever remains of his synapse and psyche, we have to get into that. And they really exploit that in this. There’s also a wonderful set piece at a rave that’s just an amazing, amazing sequence.”
Freddy Krueger has been stalking teens in their dreams, as the movie mythos goes, ever since a group of parents banded together in the idyllic town of Springwood and set him ablaze for murdering their children. Jason Voorhees began his killing spree at Camp Crystal Lake in “Friday the 13th Part 2,” mindlessly butchering teens there until wandering to New York and eventually into futuristic outer space in this year’s “Jason X.”
“The plot is really ingenious, how they bring the two together,” Englund said of the upcoming marriage of the two franchises. “Freddy needs Jason. He manipulates him, and then it all starts to fray at the edge.”
Freddy may need Jason, but it’s unclear whether “Freddy vs. Jason” needs Kane Hodder, the actor who’s played him since 1988.
“Kane is a friend of mine and it makes this difficult,” Englund said. “‘Cause I think of Kane as Jason. Nobody does the killing machine like Kane. The only thing I know is, they’re looking at people…. One of the things that may be in the rewrites is that there may be a sequence in a flashback, we may see Jason young. Given that, they may be forced to hire somebody younger.”
“We’re going to revisit the back stories of both characters,” he explained. “It’s a real imaginative, wonderful, E-ticket ride of exposition. On Jason, you get the exposition and you get a Jason nightmare. My only problem is that we’re working on a real lake, outside, for a month of nights in Vancouver. My genitals are going to go up inside me to live – it’s going to be so cold!”
Though it’s got twice as much killing power as past movies in either franchise, it still wouldn’t be a slasher movie without some supporting players. So far only Rowland and Brad Renfro (“Bully”) have been cast, though several other actors are in talks.
“It can’t be just us,” Englund acknowledged. “There’s a great secret that’s going on in Springwood. As well as that, there’s a bunch of new kids. There’s a terrific comedy relief slacker in it. And Brad,… just as an actor, I love his role, because he gets the fun of playing paranoid. Sort of the male equivalent of Angelina Jolie in ‘Girl Interrupted,’ this is sort of ‘Nightmare Interrupted.’ [He’s] a neurotic and reluctant hero.”
Englund points to the first, seventh, third and fourth “Nightmare” films as his favorites, and he promises a “back-to-basics” Freddy in the new film.
“The fans love the one-liners, and we got a little too crazy with them,” he said. “We’ve really returned to core Freddy in this one. It wouldn’t be Freddy if he didn’t crack some jokes, and he does in ‘Freddy vs. Jason,’ but they’re a little meaner [and] kind of politically incorrect.”
Englund said they’ll be “trying some new things with the makeup,” and, if he has his wish, with the stunts as well.
“They might let me do some of that ‘Matrix’ stuff,” he said. “We’re not going to do ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Freddy,’ [but] I’m hoping I’ll at least get to do a little bit of that. I’m getting too old to get thrown up against the wall too many times.”
After almost 20 years as Freddy, Englund has learned to never say never (after all, the so-called “Final Nightmare” was released in 1991). But he promises that when the time comes, he’ll hang up the hat and glove.
“I don’t want to embarrass myself playing this guy,” he said. “I don’t want to do ‘Freddy vs. Geritol.’ ”
“Freddy vs. Jason” should hit theaters next summer.