Robert Englund Muses on Nightmare on Elm Street


Talks V possibilities and Fear Clinic

Nope, Robert Englund isn’t aching to invade the dreams of Jackie Earle Haley and slice and dice the successor to the role of the enduring horror icon Englund made famous. In fact, the veteran actor is itching to see how Haley fares in Freddy Krueger’s raggedy striped sweater and slouch hat. He tells Shock about the special wisdom he’s hoping to pass on, plus his thoughts on a possible return to the reptilian world of V, and bringing his personal brand of fear to the net.

Shock: Have you had a chance to meet Jackie Earle Haley and figuratively pass Freddy’s bladed glove?

Robert Englund: We were supposed to have dinner together and I was going to give him a list of all my favorite film festivals for him to go to in Europe. ‘Robert’s Top Five’: my favorite little resorts from the southern coast of Spain and stuff. I’m hoping to get him that list anyway, because after wearing the makeup and after doing publicity for the movie it’s kind of fun to go over there and have a little bit of distance from the United States, and the hospitality is very wonderful over there. They come at the project with a little bit of a different angle and it’s a little bit refreshing. You don’t feel like you’re repeating yourself quite as much, so I want to give him my Robert Englund’s Top Five list of film festivals to go to.

Shock: Are you excited to see the new Nightmare on Elm Street?

Englund: I’m really curious. I’m a big fan of talented actors and there’s some real talented actors in this project. Clancy Brown, Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights. Especially a young actor that I love from The Sarah Conner Chronicles which was recently cancelled, Thomas Dekker – I think he’s playing the Johnny Depp role, and Jackie. I’ve been a fan of Jackie’s since the early ’80s. He did a wonderful film called ‘Breaking Away’. In fact, I think if you go back and really watch that movie Jackie’s probably the actor who invented the sort of slacker character even before Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and even before Kevin Smith’s Clerks. He kind of coined that character and I don’t think that he ever got enough credit for that.

Shock: Has there been any talk of you appearing on the new V?

Englund: I don’t know. I just got back from Europe, literally two weeks ago and I was asked this question a lot over there. I don’t know if there had been some report on some of the entertainment programs that I’d been approached, but I’d heard that someone had mentioned my name and Jane Badler’s name if the show is picked up, coming back for a possible cameo or something. I haven’t heard anything. No one has told me but I have been getting this question a lot.

Shock: Would you do it if asked?

Englund: Oh, sure. I think it’d be a lot of fun. I think Morena Baccarin is terrific, the actress from Serenity, on V. I think she’s a great embodiment of what the original thematic thrust of the show was supposed to be about and has taken it to a whole new level. I like the new show. It just makes me feel a little old that both of my hits are 25 years old and being remade this year.

Shock: Tell us about your experience doing the web series Fear Clinic.

Englund: Well, it was a real challenge because the truncated, abbreviated way of storytelling. It was a real challenge in terms of narrative when you’ve been working on feature films and you have ninety minutes plus to spin your tale. So that was the real sort of learning curve for all of us, especially our writer. Aaron Drane and our wonderful director who really, I think, was the force behind really explaining it to us and getting us thinking in this truncated way for the storytelling. But then there came a point I guess about six webisodes in, where we really started to see how we could drop a hint and pay it off two or three episodes later. It was almost a kind of soap opera style but done with a look and a hint and an image and we could trust the web viewers to hang onto that or to go back and review it and re-stream it and know that that hint would pay off two or three shows later in terms of a relationship or failure or something like that. It actually became really liberating in a way, but the first two or three shows we were so worried that we weren’t explaining enough, that we weren’t shooting the exposition with enough respect. That was the real thing that we had to get a handle on. I have nothing against homegrown. I have nothing against homemade. I’m a big fan of it, whether that’s independent film or programming on the internet or but we also thought there should be room to come in and do stuff slick. We love good horror and good scary stories and we wanted to share that with the fans on the web and we also wanted to elevate the level of FX that are found on the web. Robert Hall – our director who’s done everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer up to the new M. Night Shyamalan film – was really the sort of driving force behind this and really knew that an image here and an image there would work. Part of it was kind of like independent filmmaking and then part of it was knowing that we only really had to have one great image per webisode, but that it really had to be a strong image. We had to take the time and the money to make that one right.

Source: Scott Huver