Quantcast ICONS Interview with Derek Mears - Jason Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Actor Derek Mears
- Jason Voorhees!

FRIGHT fans, you're in for a treat! This month, we were given the chance to chat with actor Derek Mears who dons the infamous hockey mask of Jason Voorhees in the upcoming Platinum Dunes relaunch of FRIDAY THE 13TH. Since our time was limited, we thought it'd be fun to get YOU, our faithful ICONS readers involved. So we asked him questions submitted by you guys via our My Space page. Below are Derek's responses to YOUR questions! And for the record, for a guy portraying one of the most iconic movie maniacs, he's easily the nicest interview we've ever done here on ICONS. Read on! - By Robg., Mike C. & YOU! - 1/09

Hey Derek! Normally for ICONS, our interviews tend to be a bit more extensive and cover the entire career of who we’re speaking to. We will do that interview with you soon enough! But for now since we’re limited on time, we thought it’d just be fun to have fans from our My Space page send in questions for you.

Oh, that’d be fun! This’ll be a blast!

And don’t worry, the fans sent in good stuff…

Question number 1 – “Why do you feel its ok for you to ruin the Jason character?” (Laughs)

(Huge laughs) No, no! That’s definitely not in there! Let’s start with Seth from Houston Texas. He asks, “is the new movie a sequel or a remake?”

It’s more of a, I would say a retelling or a relaunch. Kind of like what BATMAN BEGINS was? The mythos of Jason exists. In my opinion it’s the best parts of 2, 3 and 4 from the original series pulled out and told in a totally different story.
Justan Carlson from Davenport Iowa would like to know - Derek, how completely awesome does it feel to be the first Jason to not have to walk after his victims? Fully running, swinging killer is how it should be.

(Laughs) Completely, completely awesome. (Laughs)

From Brian in Houston, Texas, being that this movie was shot in Austin, how do you think the surroundings of Texas will fare against the previous movies?

I think it’ll be great! Especially the way that cinematographer Daniel Pearl shot it. One thing’s for sure, I can guarantee you it’ll be the most beautiful looking FRIDAY THE 13TH film you’ve ever seen.

Wow, and you’re a die-hard horror fan, so it must’ve been cool to work with Daniel Pearl who shot the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE!

Oh yeah! I learned a lot from that guy.

Renna from San Jose, California wants to know, “I know the first original film had Jason Voorhees' mother. Will the new film feature a glimpse of his mother?”

From what I hear, yes, we did shoot the scenes for that. There was a controversy on-line for a while where no one was sure if Mrs. Voorhees would be in it. I myself have not seen the final film yet. Which is driving me crazy! (Laughs) I’ve only seen what the fans have seen on-line for the trailer and the one TV spot. I hear there’s another TV spot with Jason on the roof, but I haven’t seen that yet. I’m like, I remember shooting that, I want to see that! What I’ve been really impressed with on this film is that (producers) Andrew Form and Brad Fuller have been looking at the fan feedback to influence what they’re doing on the film. Once it got out there that Mrs. Voorhees wasn’t going to be in it, that she would only be talked about or referred to, the fans got up in arms. And now from what I hear, they put Mrs. Voorhees back in the film, which is awesome.
Oh great! You can’t not have Mrs. Voorhees!

Oh, I completely agree!

Johnny Nash from New York would like to know “Did you use any inspiration as Jason? Example Kane Hodder? Or any other Jason's.”
No. I mean, I’ve seen all the films, I’m familiar with all the actors that have played Jason before me. I’ve basically used the script that Mark Swift and Damian Shannon wrote and I did my own character from there. I had to put what I had known before about Jason to the side to try to discover new aspects of him. So, once I created my character, there are times in this film where for certain takes, I don’t know if they’re going to use them or not, but I did some homages, a tip of my hat to some of the guys before me. You might watch the film and say, “Wait a second… was that a Ted White head tilt?” Or “That guy totally moved like CJ Graham for that moment!” So, I don’t know if they’ll use any of those takes, but just out of respect for the guys that came before me, being a fan of them myself, I put in little things here and there. But all and all the character is all my take.
From Chuck, An American Psycho in London - I would like to know is it hard to play a character that doesn't talk or even have facial expressions?

It’s not really tough at all. It’s funny, because the common misconception is “Oh, being that you can’t see your face, you can put anybody in the mask. It’s just a guy in a mask. It’ll be fine.” Which I completely disagree with. To me, acting is acting. There’s no sub-category where you’re a prosthetic actor or a masked actor. We’re all actors, and if you’re in the right mind set in the character of the particular scene you’re doing, whatever you do is going transcend and go through that mask and be captured on camera. So, I’m mentally in a state of hurt and I’m extremely angry as Jason. Someone destroyed someone that I love and I want to take my revenge out on them. You really have to own that and be in that moment! I don’t care what’s in front of your face, if you’re in that moment, it’s going to come through. You’re going to be able to read it. If you think, “Oh I have a mask on and nobody’s going to be able to see what I’m actually doing” you’re going to lose the intensity. You’re not acting then.
From our reader Doug from Inverness, Florida, what is your favorite kill in the new FRIDAY THE 13TH movie?

There’s a scene, there’s a photo out of it where Willa Ford is out in the lake and I’m standing by the side of the lake in the middle of broad daylight. That sequence is my favorite in the film. But it’s weird though because we shot it 2 different ways. One way is more of a psychological kill which I really, really dig. And the other way is still good, but it’s a little more violent. I don’t know which one they’re going to use because I haven’t seen the final product yet. I don’t know if I can give anything away since I haven’t seen it. (Laughs)
Do you personally have a favorite kill from the entire franchise? One that sticks out for you?

Oh yeah, man! It sounds kind of cliché but PART 7, the girl in the sleeping bag and Jason slamming it against the tree.

It’s a classic!

I love that. It’s so good!
Jim Corrupt from the Liverpool UK. Your machete seems a lot bigger than the other Jason's. Are you more badass?

(Laughs) It’s genetic. That’s why my machete is bigger.

(Huge laughs)

No! I didn’t really have a say in it. I just kind of showed up and they were like, “Here you go!” Handing me the machete. (Laughs) Am I more badass? I don’t know…

Come on, let’s just say that you are!

I think you guys are going to have to be the judge of that. Let’s let the fans be the judge.
Our staffer Adam Barnick has a question for you. Your Jason seems like he could be the most 'thoughtful' and cunning of the bunch.  Can you speak about how Marcus Nispel worked with you on the character, directing Jason?  Did he approach you just like one of the other characters?

Completely! That’s what we talked about the whole time for this part. I was really blown away listening in on the interviews with the produces and Marcus. They’ve said, “What’s different about this role is we’ve actually hired an actor to play Jason as opposed to a guy in a mask.” I’ve made my living as an actor for 11 years and I’m part of the cast. We all hang out and see each other which is amazing.
For the intelligence of the character, that comes from the script by Mark Swift & Damian Shannon. They wrote him that way. They wanted to make him more of a character for this one, rather then just an entity. A lot of our long, long talks as a group were about trying to base Jason in reality. Make him a character and make Jason scary again. Because as the series went along, although it was great, it got campier and campier and we became less and less afraid of Jason. We’re trying to tie back in to give you that “Oh shit” feeling when you see Jason on the screen.

You just reminded me, our staff writer Danny Price from Australia didn’t have a question, but he just wanted us to thank you for making Jason scary again.

Oh, man. That’s so awesome. It’s really a team effort. I’ll take the thanks for everybody. In my opinion, Scott Stoddard who did the make-up FX and designed the new look of Jason & applies all the make-up for Jason. He’s in the trenches with all the blood & guts and torn limbs and severed heads – I mean, he’s a fan of the series and he’s 50% of Jason. I always use the analogy that I’m in the Nascar. I’m the one that gets to pilot the crazy car, but he’s the one on the headset that can see the whole track and will tell me if my tires are low, or telling me things like, “Hey, the camera is not picking you up on this angle. If you lift your head up a little bit more, you can show off this side of the face and it looks really cool in the shadows.” He’s really an amazing, amazing artist, and he’s really passionate about this film.

What can you tell us about some of the teenage characters in the film, because as the series went on, not only did Jason get campier, but also the teenage characters. How are these characters compared to the other FRIDAY THE 13TH victims?

It’s wild, when I first read the script, I was talking to my wife Jenny and I go, “This is crazy, because I really care about these characters!” And the comedy that was written into the film, it wasn’t like the cheesy campy “here’s my set-up and… punch line! Not so funny, but more stupid!” This is legitimately funny. And there’s been talk on the internet where people have heard this movie is funny. And they think it’s not supposed to be funny. What I want to clarify to some of the fans is that there are aspects of the movie that are funny, but Jason himself is never funny. He’s always dead serious. But there’s little bits of humor to the film that come as a release from the tension. The tension builds to such a high level that you need little bits of humor to relieve that tension.
But all the kids in the film, you generally like them. And I was blown away! I had become so close with the cast members. We all genuinely liked each other. We got to know each other so well. There are scenes when you see these talented young actors so committed to what’s going on, to the reality of this horrified situation – you see them crying and screaming. I’m off camera listening to them, and I’m emotionally attached! I’m worried for them. They’ll cut, and some of these characters will still be in the moment and trying to wind down from what just happened in the scene. They’d still be crying and trying to come back down to reality. And I’m really, really excited to see what the final product is for this film, because from what I saw on the sidelines, these guys are seriously talented actors.
Derek thank you so much for your time! We really appreciate it!

No, no. Thank you guys so much for the interest. I really appreciate it. And please, for you guys and the fans, if you see me at a signing, come up and say hello!

Special thanks to Gemma Cacho and Ryan Rotten!

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