Details From The FRIDAY THE 13TH Set

Not a sequel, not a remake, the new Friday the 13th delves into the mythology surrounding Jason Voorhees, the machete-wielding, 'misunderstood' Mama's boy. Spoilers ahead!
Heads went through windows and machetes cut the air (and other things), thanks to a very scary--but somewhat familiar--6'5" force of nature.

During a June 6 visit to the Austin, Texas, set of the upcoming Friday the 13th reboot, Sci Fi Wire's PATRICK LEE, The IESB's STEPHANIE SANCHEZ and other reporters watched director Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) film protagonists Clay (Supernatural's Jared Padalecki, right) and Whitney (Amanda Righetti) as they're cornered on an abandoned school bus by Crystal Lake's favorite son, serial slasher Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears).

Nispel hasn't been alone in capturing this high-octane material, but rather has had two full-time collaborators in producers Brad Fuller & Andrew Form of Platinum Dunes.

According to Sanchez, the producing partners were "completely focused on the shoot--watching on monitors, making comments, getting the shot they so clearly see in their minds, and getting into the thick of it unlike most producers. They were also incredibly focused on us, answered all of our questions and more. Drew would always make sure we had a good angle to see the action."

Both Form and Fuller (below, left) took pains to emphasize that the new film is not a point-for-point remake of the 1980 original Friday, but instead conflates Episodes One through Three into a cohesive--and consistent--single narrative. This includes maintaining Jason's more iconic physical changes as well as his mother's place in the story.

"Everyone in this room knows that [Jason] didn't put the hockey mask on until the third movie," Form commented to the reporters, most of whom were fans of the franchise. "I would say most of the audience that will come see this movie...think that...he's in the first one, they think he's wearing a hockey mask, and that's kind of how this franchise started."

In fact, the first Friday featured Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees, who went about slaughtering sexually active teens at Camp Crystal Lake as revenge for the drowning death of her young son years earlier. Jason's re-animated, decomposing corpse made a cameo in the dream sequence that closed the film.

"And then the second one, of course, he wore the sack," Form said of Jason's rise to primary killer status. "And the third one, finally, you have that great moment when he comes out in the hockey mask. And [for the reboot] we take the elements where you will see Jason put the hockey mask on for the first time, how and why. And you'll see him actually do it, not just come out with it on."

One reporter called this significant scene Jason's "Darth Vader Moment."

Since the reboot will dramatize Jason's switch from sack to mask (which happened offscreen in Friday 3D), the reporters asked the natural follow-up question: full facial shot or from behind?

Make-up man Scott Stoddard replied that Nispel covered his bases by shooting the scene both ways, necessitating that Mears spend three hours in the make-up chair rather than his usual one and a half for head piece and chest plate alone.

Sci Fi Wire's Lee reports that Batman Begins-style flashbacks will show young Jason with Mama Pamela (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor), and also will explain, among other things, his whereabouts between childhood and monsterhood, the reason for his choice of weapon, and even the significance of Friday the thirteenth.

However, producer Fuller balked at calling the film an origin story. "The goal is to put a group of kids in Crystal Lake...and have them meet Jason Voorhees, and along the way you kind of get a sense of the history, but that's not what the story is."

Mears is approaching the story as a character piece in which Jason is a misunderstood human being, albeit one who, in full gear, "scared the $h!t out of" Sanchez. But that didn't stop her from cuddling up to the "big teddy bear."

"We got cool ass Friday the 13th shirts and a pic with Voorhees himself about to slit our throats!" she gushed. "How cool is that?!"

Friday the 13th wraps up principal photography this Friday toward its theatrical debut on Friday, February 13th, 2009.
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