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Interview! We talk Fairy Tales, Krueger & more with Robert Englund!

Starring in one of the most successful and influential horror franchises of all time (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), Robert Englund is a man that needs no introduction. Throughout the years he’s starred in many genre cult classics like HATCHET, 2001 MANIACS, and BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON and even dipped his toes into directing with the amazing and criminally underrated 976-EVIL.

For the last fifteen years, Robert has been more active on the voice acting front. Starring as The Riddler in THE BATMAN, The Scarecrow in INJUSTICE 2, and even as The Vulture on THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. He has new violent, and twisted cartoon, JJ VILLARD’S FAIRY TALES which premiers Sunday, May 10 on Adult Swim. We were able to talk with Robert about his love for animation, Freddy Krueger in the cartoon age and if he will ever direct again. A charming and introspective man, sit back and enjoy the legend that is Robert Englund!

You are no stranger to animation and have quite the resume under your belt. What is it about voiceover work that intrigues you?

"I think when I was a kid, early on, I loved the performances in cartoons and voiceover work. I loved Sterling Holloway. He did Winnie the Pooh, a lot of other stuff, and a lot of voices for Disney, of course. I love the Warner Brothers cartoon guys, especially Mel Blanc. I just loved his vocal work. You know, as a kid, I loved that stuff, and then I became a serious actor, and kind of a snob. Even in my youth, I remember being attracted to the Jay Ward type of stable of voice actors, Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, and Natasha. I loved all that stuff, and I've been doing this for a long time. I started narrating back in the 70s with a movie called BIG WEDNESDAY for Warner Brothers, and my most recent narration is for my new series TRUE TERROR with Robert Englund on the Travel Channel. There's a certain amount of your energy, and there's sort of a third eye observing you when you have to work on camera, and you're completely free of that when you're doing voice work. You don't have to worry about what you look like. And you're always working with people that you like. You show up, and there's an old friend like Mark Hamill or Brian Doyle Murray. And you get to work with him and say hi. That's always a treat."

JJ VILLARD’S FAIRY TALES seems dark and twisted. Is that what caught your attention, and do you enjoy the Adult Swim style?

"I love Adult Swim, and I had worked on with Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and Adult Swim before, so I knew it was going to be fun. J.J. is just such a ball of energy. You know, he's great to work. You just want to go out and drink with him and talk about movies and rock-and-roll music. It reminded me a bit of the horror film director Adam Green and that I worked recently with Alexandre Aja, the great director. But, yeah, Alexander is the same way. All you want to do is talk. You don't want to work. You just want to hang out, drink wine and talk about movies, you know. They'll turn you onto some little French horror movie you never heard of. It's great. It's just fun working with guys like that as far as JJ VILLARD'S FAIRY TALES go, well, I'm on a sort of dark, crazy, twisted and gross Goldilocks and the Three Bears episode. Linda Blair is Goldilocks. That'll steer you into the right way of thinking about it. Yeah, it's weird. I'm one of the bears, and I got to do an actual character voice. A lot of the time in voice-over work, they have me do scary villains, and it was kind of fun to play a real dumb bear. It's Goldilocks's father, and he's been turned into a gob of snot. I think they call him Porridge Daddy in this and then I also play the toilet. But I'm just proud of those three characters on my resume, because now when people look me up on IMDB under JJ VILLARD'S FAIRY TALES, they're going to see Porridge Daddy, High Head, and Toilet. And that's right up there with Bad guy #1 on CHARLIE'S ANGELS."

Freddy Krueger has popped up a lot in cartoons. One of the more famous instances was in RICK AND MORTY. Do they ever reach out to you for advice or to ask for your blessing? And what do you think of Freddy's portrayal on a show like RICK AND MORTY?

"Well, no. I mean, they wanted to have fun with it, so that's probably why they didn't come to me. Again, you know, I'm not cheap either. I do a lot of games and a lot of cartoons. I'm doing cartoons all the time, but a lot of times I'm doing dark, dark villains. But, you know, Freddy's been on SOUTH PARK, and I don't do that Freddy. I think he's even been on FAMILY GUY, so Freddy gets around. The only time I've actually done Freddy was on THE SIMPSONS. I played him on the Halloween special, but everybody brings me their RICK AND MORTY Freddy to sign when I do a big convention or a film festival. I can't tell you how many times I've signed these things because people just love it. I mean, it's a great show."

You directed the amazing 976-EVIL which is a favorite of mine. What would it take to bring you back to the directing chair?

"The problem is when you direct a movie takes a year of your life because there's pre-production, there's casting, there's there're meetings, then you shoot it, and the clock is ticking. So it's not nearly as enjoyable as you might think because you're running around the city and you're getting locations, and the clock is ticking. It makes you nervous in your gut. Then there's post-production, which I love. I love post-production. You can juggle. You can shift. You can play with the editing. You can play with the music and sound effects. You can add and subtract and change the sequence and order of stuff. That's the part I love. But the thing is, because of who I am, they all want me to direct horror movies and horror movies are a lot of special effects. And this is not my strong suit, even though I've been in special effects and I've been around them. It's just something I worry about. Though I understand how they're done, I still know how time-consuming they there. And you don't really have any control if something goes wrong and you have to do it again. You have to start from square one, resetting it up, and there goes your budget for that day. So it's not really my strong suit."

What would you prefer to direct?

"Not that I can't direct horror, and not that there's not some horror that I like, but my gifts, my talents for directing are more like that old Robert Duvall movie about a country-western singer, TENDER MERCIES. That's actually more where my gifts lie. I might have a little detective movie in me. That's really more my style. It's smaller in scale. Where the location is actually part of it. It's like a character in it. I'm getting older now, and I don't want to give up a year of my life. I might direct a play again. It only takes a couple of months, but I don't think I'll direct another movie. It just takes too long."

JJ Villard's Fairy Tales premieres Sunday, May 10 on Adult Swim.

 

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