A Nightmare on Elm Street Set Visit – Part 2
We continue our Nightmare on Elm Street set visit from June 25, 2009. Click here to read Part 1.
Andrew Clement, special effects – makeup, meets with us briefly after we leave Haley’s trailer. Clement designed Freddy’s new “look” for the film and talks about the process of reinventing the character’s makeup. “I started doing different things based on all kinds of references and I posted up bulletin board pictures of every Freddy they’d ever done, just to get a sense of the arc of Freddy, and what people would accept as Freddy,” says Clement. “You start from the first film and then you go into how the second, third, fourth seem to look. Then, it jumps into something really stylized, the old man, the really stylized one, and everybody really accepted that as Freddy, so there’s room to play.”
What would audiences not accept as their redesigned Freddy? “I don’t know that people would have had a really easy time accepting Freddy like crusty and flaky skin coming off,” explains Clement. “I brought in two other concept artists to work with me and we knocked around a lot of designs, and we just sort of saw what resonated—taking the old makeup and doing variations of that. This is plenty scary as it is just as the makeup so we pulled back on that, but we still have a digital component and it’s going to look really cool.”
Our visit has been mostly “Freddy focused” since walking on set and it was now time to meet with the heroine of the film, Rooney Mara. We say our goodbyes to Clement and make our way to the designated meeting area, where Mara joins us shortly after. Mara, who portrays Nancy Holbrook in the new film, is dressed in simple black and gray, looking sleep deprived with dark circles under her eyes. Her character in this film is slightly different from the version audiences were introduced to in 1984. Nancy has been rewritten as a withdrawn, artistic, goth type with a troubled past. Not quite the “girl next door” fans are accustomed to. “She’s quite obviously disturbed, quiet and keeps to herself,” says Mara of her character. “[She] can’t really open up to or connect with people. She feels really alone in the world because of things that happened to her when she was younger. Throughout the movie you see that change, and you see her grow, so it’s a good arc.”
Mara’s description makes it clear this version of Nancy will be different from the one portrayed by original Nightmare actress Heather Langenkamp. “I think everyone liked how sweet and wholesome [Nancy] was [in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street],” continues Mara. “But, at the same time, she was obviously very strong and a survivor and she never gave up. I think that’s what people liked about her, that she was a real girl; she wasn’t like a supermodel or just some pretty face. She was a real person. I think because this Nancy is coming from such a weak place to begin with, you get to see [her] come out of her shell, form a relationship with Quentin, and in the end she finally figures out why she is the way she is, and she’s able to do something about it… there’s a lot of back story in this one.”
“Since Nancy was little—[the film] shows it in flashbacks—she’s been an artist,” explains Mara of Nancy’s artwork, an element central to her character. “I think it’s her only outlet; she just does that, almost to the point of like the way someone with autism does things repeatedly. She’ll just literally paint all night long. And the things she paints are repressed memories that she can’t understand or remember, so her art’s quite dark, and she keeps painting the same things but doesn’t know where they’re coming from or what they mean, and she sort of starts to figure it out throughout the movie.”
Can audiences expect this Nancy to survive like in the original film? “I have one sequel in my contract,” teases Mara.
So, is Mara a fan of the original Nightmare? “I saw it when I was 12 years old, I think,” recalls the actress. “I was at a slumber party, and the older sister of the girl I was friends with was watching it with her friends and I saw it, and I really wish I hadn’t seen it when I was 12 because it really scarred me for life. I remember Tina’s death just freaked me out. I had that image in my head for years, her flying across the room. I’m glad I don’t have to do that, though [laughs].”
Mara quickly finishes her statement as Kyle Gallner takes her place. Gallner, who portrays new character Quentin, still looks disheveled from the scene filmed earlier in the day. “It’s hilarious,” exclaims the young actor, in regard to the FX replica of his head. “You’re never gonna see a giant version of your own head except on a movie set.”
Gallner’s character in the new film has been likened to Johnny Depp’s character in the original film, but Gallner does not agree with the comparison. “You know, Quentin is different from Johnny’s character,” counters Gallner. “He’s like that guy everybody kind of knows, [but] he’s not like the super-popular kid. He’s the kid that walks down the hallway and it’s like, ‘Oh, hey, what’s going on.’ He’s that kind of guy. At the end of the day he’s a good kid. It’s just he’s a little high strung and I think what he’s going through, he doesn’t really know how to handle very well.”
What can audiences expect in terms of Quentin’s relationship to Nancy? “Nancy’s the girl I think Quentin’s watched from afar for a while,” says Gallner. “He’s liked her for a long time and he tries to reach out to Nancy, but [she’s] so shut down that she doesn’t really let anybody in. Our relationship is forced to build through the movie. We’re thrown into a very chaotic, life-and-death situation and she’s kind of the only person [Quentin has].”
Gallner is quick to point out Freddy torments Quentin differently than Nancy, although it appears both characters are similarly targeted. “Nancy is obviously, like, Freddy’s girl, you know what I mean?” explains the actor. “It’s Nancy and Freddy, so she, I think, is tortured by him more than [Quentin is]. [Quentin’s] dad has a hand in his death and I think that’s probably the main reason [Freddy targets Quentin]. It’s like he’s using [Quentin] as a vessel, but for convenience, because he’s trying to shake things up.”
“Freddy just mind-fucks you pretty much through the whole movie, he really does,” states Gallner. “He just messes with you from beginning to end.”
Click here to read A Nightmare on Elm Street Set Visit – Part 3!
Look for upcoming follow-up interviews with the cast, crew, producers and director of Platinum Dunes’ film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
A Nightmare on Elm Street opens April 30, 2010.
All photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.