Set Visit: Interview with star Amanda Righetti from Friday the 13th
Amanda Righetti is a gorgeous actress who's just getting her feet wet in the industry. She started with a few smaller movies then made the jump to TV, where she had recurring roles on "The OC", "North Shore" and "Reunion." She's gradually making the jump to bigger films with roles in PIPELINE, RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, the upcoming ROLE MODELS, and of course FRIDAY THE 13TH. She plays Whitney, one of the main characters in the film. So here we are, everyone exhausted about to start our last interview of the night and Amanda Righetti is nothing but smiles. She's obviously exhausted, covered in dirt and blood, bruised anywhere and everywhere and ready for several more hours of running and falling... did I mention it's 4 AM? Regardless of all that, Amanda put on her amazing smile and was able to answer a few questions for us regarding her character, production, and the movie as a whole.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
Okay. I play Whitney. She is sort of the responsible type, kind of like an old soul. She's been taking care of her mom, who's been sick in the hospital. I also play Clay's sister, who is played by Jared Padalecki. I end up getting drug out to the woods for camping with my boyfriend and his friends and mayhem ensues shortly thereafter.
How much work did you have to do to create this character and how much of it was already there?
You know, I didn't have a lot of time to really work on the character. I didn't necessarily get a full script until about a week before we started shooting. So a lot of the stuff has been, for me, built while I've been here. The preparation, without getting into too much detail and giving away the plot, I had to kind of dig into the reality of what it is that the character kind of goes through. And break it down in pieces that way.
How familiar were you with the whole FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise before this?
I don't watch a lot of horror movies, I just remember FRIDAY THE 13TH as a kid. Watching with my parents, making me cover my eyes at all the gory parts. But I'm familiar enough to know about the story and know what the first few and what kind of goes on every night. I didn't follow every single FRIDAY THE 13TH flick, most of them, the early ones, comes to mind.
What's your favorite part of the whole production been?
My favorite part of the whole production? Um... The cast. And the producers. I think it's been a really great group of people and being in Austin has been a lot of fun. Working with Derek Mears. Derek Mears and I worked together a lot and we get to have a lot of fun on set, so yeah. A lot of joking.
Is it easy to detach yourself from the experience with either playing a character in between takes? Or just watching yourself? Say when you watch yourself are you like 'that scares you' or are you just looking at your performance?
I have a hard time watching myself because I can be really critical, which doesn't necessarily help me. It kind of takes me out of it. Being critical is non-productive. Through this movie it's been... it's been hard to sort of detach from the character. Once I'm in it, I have to stay in it. Especially the last two weeks have been really heavy. It's been the tougher stretch of the shoot, so to speak. Just because the emotional demanding, physical demanding parts of the character have been heavy the last two weeks.
Seems like most of the shoots have been night shoots.
Yeah, I've been on the night shoot schedule since the beginning. There were about a week and a half to two weeks that was day shoots that I wasn't really on for. So I stay consistently on nights. I feel a little bit like a vampire. (laughs)
So does that kind of mess with your habits?
Yeah, a little bit. I have a hard time sleeping during the day in general. I get that very heavy guilty feeling that I should be up when the sun is up. So sleep does not come easily, so I feel a little bit like I'm in the Twilight Zone sometimes.
Does that comradery with Derek and the other members of the cast make it harder or easier for you to sort of maintain that center when you're dealing with all these intense feelings?
My fellow actors have been really respectful of that. There are times when it's cool for us to play and Derek is so respectful. He knows that when your in it, it's heavy, and he's right there with me on it. There's sort of a time and place for the playfulness and a time and place for the heavy diving into the character stuff.
Has there been a specific scene or sequence that you think is the most challenging or the most fun?
The most challenging... I think has been .... the falling down all the time. My legs and body have gotten really beat up from running and falling. That's been the most difficult, is dealing with the bruising and the pain in my legs. The best part is your able to act. Being able to do what I love to do is just fantastic. I love being here and it's been a great experience. The whole thing has been a lot of fun, really awesome.
Your expectations coming in, being in a horror movie - FRIDAY THE 13TH, a slasher. You know it's going to be physical and stuff. Did it surpass your expectations, was it at all what you thought?
I expected it to be physically demanding. It kind of comes with the territory just based on the genre that it is. I expected worse... it wasn't quite as heavy as I thought it was going to be. But it was still really physically demanding. I kind of built myself up for it to just be prepared to deal with all of it. It wasn't quite as terrible as I thought it was going to be. (laughs) Which I think is a good thing.
Of all the staples of these slasher movies, there's violence and sex and drug use and all these other things. Did you have any concerns about anything before going in that they might ask you to do and feel comfortable with. Whether it was a physical experience or...
I did initially. When I had auditioned for the film I wasn't given a script. I just got auditioned from signs. So I wasn't really sure what was going to be in the film and what wasn't and what was going to be required from my character, so I had a little bit of trepidation initially. After having a few talks with the producers and stuff like that it's all ironed out and gone. Once I got the script it was all good, I got to see exactly what I was going to be able to do and just a little bit of guidance was great.
Do you have any other projects lined up after this?
I do actually. I did a pilot for CBS that just got picked up. We start shooting July 7 I believe. I also did a comedy called LITTLE BIG MEN released sometime in the fall.
What kind of pilot?
The pilot is called THE MENTALIST with Simon Baker. It's about the character in an investigation tracking a serial killer. I'm really excited about it. It was a really great group of people. David Nutter, who directed it, was really lovely and fantastic. And Bruno Heller is a great writer so I'm really looking forward to it.
What else can you say about your character's relationship with Jason? I know it's kind of a complicated relationship that he has with your character. What can you say about that?
It is complicated. Jason's victimization, his troubled spirit sort of draws him to Whitney, in his own childish sort of way. It can be sort of demented in it's own right. But he just finds me.