Set Visit: Friday the 13th (1/2)

It's Friday the 13th. It's one of the most superstitious days of the year and I've been on planes all morning in my journey to get to Austin, Texas. Why? I'm here to watch Jason Voorhees return to glory on this hot and humid day. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be on this Friday the 13 than on the set of the FRIDAY THE 13TH re-imagining.

I walk onto the set in this huge warehouse and I immediately feel goose bumps. This is FRIDAY THE 13TH we're talking about, a franchise that has and will always be a HUGE part of the horror genre. And here I am, on this Friday the 13th, ready to watch Jason at it again. Before getting to the set, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form gave us a heads up on what we should expect.

A lot of people have been wondering exactly what we have here. Is it a remake? A reboot? Re-imagining? Anything else that begins with RE? Yes... and no. Yes, it has Jason's mother, yes it has the famous sack (and that's looking pretty badass!), and yes, of course it has the hockey mask. The best description I could give is this: Fuller and Form are taking key elements from the first 3 films, even a bit from the 4th, and making their own movie. A movie filled with sex, drugs, and violence. They're ecstatic about the deaths in the film, ranging into the double digits. They promise that you won't turn your head away in disgust or roll your eyes when someone bites it on screen, instead you'll smile from ear to ear and mouth the word: cool.

This isn't an origins story, very far from it. What Fuller and Form wanted to do, first and foremost, was bring Jason Voorhees back to Camp Crystal Lake and have him hack up a group of young pot smoking, sex craving teens. Add in a bunch of hot chicks, including the two gorgeous female leads in Amanda Righetti and Danielle Panabaker and I honestly can't see what would be better in a FRIDAY THE 13TH film.

FREDDY VS JASON scribes Damian Shannon and Mark Swift are once again tackling Jason Voorhees with their script and the film once again unites director Marcus Nispel with producers Fuller and Form, after all three having worked on THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Nispel was hard at work on directing his young cast on their retreat from the masked maniac. Unfortunately he didn't give any interviews and I barely even saw him as he demanded fear and realism from his actors. Instead I got to see Andrew Form watching the screens intently, calling the shots, wanting everything to be perfect for this potentially perfect movie.

FRIDAY THE 13TH has Clay, played by SUPERNATURAL star Jared Padalecki, arriving at Camp Crystal Lake in a search for his supposedly dead sister Whitney (one Amanda Righetti). He meets up with another group of teens, led by Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), who are out looking to have a good time. The drug and sex loving teens include Travis Van Winkle, Willa Ford, Nick Mennell, Ryan Hansen, and Aaron Yoo among several others. Needless to say the teens meet the legend of Jason Voorhees and proceed to become close personal friends with his machete, his bare hands, and whatever else Jason feels like using.

And last, but certainly not least, we have the man behind the mask. Derek Mears. Literally the most pleasant guy I've ever met. The first thought that came to mind after meeting Mears was: 'Can this guy really play the killing machine that is Jason Voorhees?' The answer is: Yes. He can. Very well too. Mears can click it on in an instant and become a psychotic madman, then click it off, when you know he's got a gleaming smirk under that hockey mask. So obviously Mears knows what he's doing when it comes to acting, and he can definitely portray the machete wielding Jason perfectly. But one of the most important things about him is that he is a HUGE fan of the franchise. Before an actor, before an employee, Derek Mears is a FAN of Jason Voorhees, same with producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. So just that tells me we've got something special here.

Rounding out the behind the scenes of FRIDAY THE 13TH are makeup effects pro Scott Stoddard and legendary DP Daniel Pearl. Also huge fans of the franchise and guys that demand their best work from themselves, Pearl and Stoddard only help this already great-looking film.

It was said that the cast had it rough night after night - running away from Jason Voorhees. Through the woods, through dark houses, in the rain, in the mud. As for the crew, they survived countless long shooting days that spanned from 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM, stuck in hot Texas warehouses or muggy camp grounds. Some actors splattered with blood and mud, endured gigantic bruises and trips to the emergency room. And Derek Mears was the center of it all with glue and plastic secured to his entire upper body. Everybody on set was obviously sleep deprived. And through all this... every single one of those people were having an amazing time. Able to smile non-stop and having a blast every second of the night. With laughs filling the behind the scenes just as much as the screams were playing on screen. Me witnessing all this just a day before the long, tedious production wrapped tells me one thing... that we're in for something GREAT.

And all this stuff doesn't even begin to touch what I've experienced this past Friday the 13th! So keep on the lookout for the detailed recount of the best Friday the 13th of my life, as well as interviews with Brad Fuller, Andrew Form, Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Scott Stoddard, Daniel Pearl, and Derek Mears. FRIDAY THE 13TH is currently set to hit theaters next year, on February 13, which just so happens to be another Friday...




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