Fear Street’s Jeremy Ford Discusses Gnarly Deaths in Part 1: 1994

(Photo Credit: Chris Labadie)

Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy is set to begin on Friday with the release of Fear Street Part 1: 1994. The film follows a group of Shadysiders as they discover a terrible curse that haunts their town. The first streaming release stars Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Maya Hawke, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, and more.

RELATED: Fear Street Part 1: 1994 Trailer Debuts Ahead of Friday Premiere

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief spoke with Fear Street actor Jeremy Ford about his role of Peter in Fear Street Part 1: 1994 and Caleb in Fear Street Part 3: 1666. Peter is from Sunnyvale, a rival town of Shadyside that is blessed with good luck.

Tyler Treese: I noticed that we’re the same age. I grew up reading Goosebumps, but I never actually read the Fear Street books. So I was curious before you got this role were you familiar with the Fear Street books?

Jeremy Ford: Man, I wish I could say yes. The truth of it is I think it was like you. I grew up very surrounded by stuff. I never read it. I was such a chicken when I was a kid. The last thing I wanted was to be scared. I was not the kid that liked horror films, you know? I was super familiar with Goosebumps, and I had never actually heard of Fear Street until the project came my way. Then I [was] talking to other people my age about it because I was excited that I was going to be part of it, and it turns out like so many people I know have heard of it and grew up reading. So I kind of feel like I missed the train in a way.

Did you go back and read any of the books?

I was tempted when I first booked it. I actually bought a couple of them off of Amazon, mainly because I really liked the cover art. They’re very dated in a very cool 90s way, but I decided not to read them mainly because if there’s anything that I needed to help inform my performance in any way, it would either come out of Leigh Janiak’s mouth, the director, or it would already be in the script. I didn’t want to taint my mind, if that makes sense.

It definitely makes sense. You’re in two of the films, the first one, which is 1994, and then the last one, 1666. How cool is it that the films are this huge overarching narrative that spans 300 years, and you’re part of this entire trilogy here?

Yeah, it’s crazy cool. It was such a trip shooting them because everything was completely different in the two films that I was in. I think that goes for all three of them. The costumes were completely different, as you can imagine, you know, hair, makeup, the production design, even like the way they shot them. The third one, in particular, they shot it in a very like, like they shot it like The Crucible. It feels like a different movie where 1994 it’s very poppy and bright, and in 1978, it’s very like 70s slasher film. It was wild. I know they all have the same heart and the same throughline, but it did feel like I was making two different movies.

Fans were pretty surprised when the films were rated R because the rest of R.L. Stine’s work has always been targeted at younger demographics. What can we expect from the series when it comes to the level of violence and the language involved?

Yeah. I wouldn’t say any of it is like super gratuitous, but I will say like their use of language, like in the dialogue and their use of gore. Look, it’s a horror film, there’s no surprise that people are going to die. I definitely shouldn’t say who, and I guess I won’t, but the way people die, it’s very gnarly, but it’s kind of cool and exciting. It’s like, “God, who the hell came up with that?” I don’t want to shake their hand necessarily, but I want to thank them because some of the onscreen deaths are really spectacular. So it’s definitely more mature and elevated than the books in a very exciting way.

It’s funny that you said growing up you were a bit of a scaredy-cat, and you didn’t like horror movies, but now you clearly have an appreciation where you’re like, “Oh man, this death is gnarly.”

Yeah, I do. I think that comes from … I’m such a movie fan, as I’m sure you are. I do appreciate like a really good original on-screen death. Like I’m tired of people, you know, like getting stabbed with a butcher knife. Cause you’ve seen that a hundred thousand times, but there’s a couple of deaths in 1994 in particular when I’m like, “Oh my God, like what sick mind came up with that?”

Jeremy Ford

Not a ton of details are available about your character, Peter. Can you tell me a bit about your character and how he fits into the plot?

Yeah, sure. I played essentially two characters. I played Peter in 1994, and then I play a character named Caleb in 1666. It’s really confusing why I played two characters, and you’ll understand as soon as you see, but Peter in 1994, he’s a real d-bag. I’ll be the first one to say that he’s a real, he’s a scumbag. He’s sort of like the hotshot, like high school quarterback from the neighboring town. The whole series takes place in a town called Shadyside, which is a fictional town in Ohio created by R.L. Stine, and Shadyside is a really run-down town. It has all kinds of gruesome murders, and no one knows why. Right next to Shadyside is Sunnyvale, which is sort of like if you’re familiar with Parks and Recreation, it’s like Pawnee and Eagleton, and Sunnyvale is Eagleton. It’s like bright and shining. All the houses are really nice, and everyone has really nice cars. So I’m the guy from that neighborhood who kind of gets like sucked into the Shadyside curse. By way of Olivia Welch’s character, Sam, I sort of get caught up in the curse in Shadyside kind of against my will.

You get to star alongside some really talented young actors. I assume that was a really fun set to be on.

It was. It was the first project I did where I recognized people. I’m like, oh, there’s, you know, Sadie Sink from Stranger Things. Oh, there’s Randy Havens, also from Stranger Things. And then, oh, you know, there’s Benji, Benjamin Flores Jr., he’s a little past my time as far as being on Nickelodeon, but I know he had a show on Nickelodeon, and my niece watched it. I’m like, that’s the kid from the Nickelodeon show. It was very surreal, but everyone was really cool. Everyone’s young and up-and-coming, and sort of out of the gate was kind of like a cool summer camp family.

Something that’s really cool about this release is that the films are releasing one week after another. And I, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trilogy where, you know, it was also tightly packed together, and we’re just going to see anticipation build each week, you know, for the next one, see how the story wraps up. How cool is it that you don’t only, you know, kick it off, but you get to be in the finale as well.

Yeah, it’s great for my terrible impatience when it comes to these things. The fact that each movie’s coming out one week apart, it’s kind of like how I got the script. They sent me all the scripts, even the second one, which I’m not in, all at once. I read them like bang, bang, bang, back to back to back all in one night. I got the full swing of it all in one night.The viewers are essentially going to get the same thing, which is so much better than dropping it one movie a year. I mean, the original release plan was like, it was going to be in theaters back in 2019, and it’s going to be one month apart, but even that isn’t nearly as cool as the way Netflix is going to do it which is one week. It is like binge-watching, but for movies.

I love dogs, and I saw that you support a lot of rescue animal charities and that you rescued a Shepherd Husky mix. Can you tell me a bit about Pippa?

I did a little research on you too, and I know you have a Shiba Inu, is that right?

Yeah. I do. His name is Kota.

I always do a little like Instagram stalking before these things. It was kind of one of those things where we were like, “Oh, let’s just check out some of these websites and the shelters. Let’s just peruse and see what kind of dogs are out there. Literally, 30 minutes later, we were like on the phone trying to buy Pippa, and we did. It was life-changing in the best way, but also in the most intense way. Me and my wife rescued her, and we don’t have kids or anything yet, but getting a dog is such a full-time job. I mean, you probably know with your Shiba Inu, like the Shepherd Husky combo, she’s so energetic. We cover so much ground every single day. We go to the park. We go to the dog park. We do four-mile walks. It’s great. It gets me outside and gets me sun, but it’s gnarly. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s honestly the greatest.

That’s wonderful. Tell the audience why they should be checking out Fear Street once it’s out on July 2.

If you liked Stranger Things and if you like well-made movies, look, you’re going to like Fear Street. Even if you don’t like Stranger Things, you’re still going to like Fear Street. I say Stranger Things because the Fear Street trilogy is almost like a cousin to Stranger Things. I also bring up Stranger Things because everybody loves Stranger Things, and they should. Fear Street is cool because you get three movies all one week apart, all brand new on Netflix. It’s good, original content. It’s not a reboot. It’s not something you’ve seen before, and also in that, you’re getting three completely different horror films. Yeah. They all have the same throughline, but you’re getting a 90s sort of like Scream-style horror thriller. You’re getting a 70s summer camp slasher, and you’re getting a 1600s Salem witch trials. Full-on Daniel Day-Lewis Crucible kind of movie. I think it’s terribly unique. Honestly, I can’t say this without sounding completely biased, but they’re well-made movies, and I’m very proud to actually believe those words.