Jackie Earle Haley is the new face of Freddy Kreuger in the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. He recently sat down and answered a few questions about his role and what was it like to play the iconic role of Freddy.
Q: What is your worst nightmare?
A: I am sure I have had a worse nightmares than this, but I did have this weird reoccurring dream when I was a kid. I remember dreaming that I am sleeping in the same bed but it seems like I am really awake and I am in the room. All of the sudden this tall sort of six foot tarantula man busts through the door and scares the bejesus out of me. I somehow get around him. I am racing down the hall of the house that I grew up in as a kid. Right as he gets on top of me, I wake up. This happened time and time again. I am not scared of spiders. I do not know what this dream meant.
Q: You originally tried out for the role that Johnny Depp got in the first “Nightmare on Elm Street”, are you a fan of the series?
A: Well, that is actually a rumor for the first “Nightmare on Elm Street”. I might have auditioned for “Nightmare on Elm Street” and don’t remember. It is also possible, I could have been sitting next to Johnny in the waiting room. It is the only thing I could figure where that started from. I am really not a big horror genre fan. When I saw “Nightmare on Elm Street” trailer in the mid-80’s, I went to see it in the movie theater and I dug it, it was different. At that time, it was part of a group of films. I mean out of the “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” series, this was my favorite. It always held more interest to me. I felt it was developed better and was more multi-dimensional, not only the monster but the rest of the characters as well. I thought it was an interesting horror film. Over the years I have probably seen bits and pieces of the other ones. I wasn’t a big “Nightmare on Elm Street” fan who sat and watched every one of them.
Q: Where there any things you tried to do in your performance to amplify the terror?
A: I do not think I was really approaching it from that angle. I was hoping that the terror and horror was present. It was more to me about embracing this character and what was going on with him and meaning it. Hopefully at the end of the day it was scary. At this point, when you’re saying “Hey wow it was scary”, I am going “Cool”. I don’t know yet. I sure hope he is scary. I saw the movie and I really liked it a lot but I am close to it. So from the Freddy aspect of it, I am sure we will hear all sorts of opinions on that.
Q: How was it being underneath all that makeup with Freddy?
A: Wow, what it is like in the makeup is the most cumbersome arduous stuff I have ever dealt with. Sitting in that chair for three and a half hours while they are pain-stakingly gluing this thing down. It is a slow process. It goes all the way to my eye balls and even on my eye lids. I mean poking and prodding. I remember sitting there and thinking it has to be better going to the dentist. Since then I have been to the dentist and I was right! It was just uncomfortable. It took me a while to acclimate to it as well. I think I was really agitated for a while. They also put fake finger tips on left hand and the knife on the other hand. I really couldn’t get anything out of my pocket. Surprisingly, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the contact lenses. I couldn’t see. One eye was blurry and the other was bloody. That would make me recede even more. I felt apart from the group and everything. The best thing to do was sit and wait till they were ready. I would take all of those odd and other-worldly feelings and give it to Freddy during action and cut.
Q: Did you have any hesitation about the role when you saw what Freddy’s background was?
A: There was a big pause concerning that for me. After playing Ronnie in “Little Children”, I was fairly certain I was done with that. But at the same time, this was Freddy Krueger! When I was considering this, a voice in my head said “How can you not play Freddy Krueger!” I think the reason why I am able to embrace this was that I embraced the fact that I was the bogeyman. I felt I was able to do it. I am not even sure how much cross-over there will be from those audiences.
Q: Would you be willing to step into the role of Freddy Krueger again?
A: Obviously we need to see how the movie does but I am signed on for doing a couple of more. I hope when it comes out people aren’t scared of me as being this monster guy outside the film.