A Nightmare on Elm Street Set Visit – Part 3
Our interview with Gallner ends when we are notified the director, Samuel Bayer, is ready to see us. We leave the meeting area and approach the very busy director, who is intently watching as crews prep a bedroom set. Bayer looks haggard from the day’s activities, but is still upbeat given the long hours.
“I’m just getting really old and I had to make a movie,” jokes the director, when asked why he chose Nightmare as his first film. “I’m kidding. I wanted to make the right movie, and it took me a moment to make the decision, but when I made it, I knew it was the right one and A Nightmare on Elm Street is absolutely a great first film to do.”
Bayer, whose credits include mostly music videos, was not all that familiar with the original Nightmare series. “I wasn’t really a fan of the original series,” says Bayer flatly. “I thought the ideas in the first one were great, but I think they [eventually] became parodies. I’m a fan of the idea of Freddy, not the movies.”
The director quickly points out how his viewpoint is beneficial to the new film and not a detriment. “When I did this movie, I looked at Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Shining,” explains Bayer. “I think these are really beautiful horror movies, but yet are really interestingly made films. They’re not just horror movies, they’re films. I think sometimes horror movies get relegated [similarly] to art house movies, because they’re cheap and art house people see them, and horror movies are seen by fans of horror and nobody else. I’ve tried to make Nightmare a bigger film—an event movie. I’m disregarding whatever the history, the seven movies, and I’m starting fresh. I’m starting with the glove and the sweater and the hat and the legacy of Freddy, the story of Freddy, but I’m reinterpreting it my way and the way Platinum Dunes sees it, and I think that’s really exciting.”
As Bayer finishes his statement, we are informed that a new scene, not scripted, is ready to be filmed and we are invited to watch.
Crews quickly dart over to the nearest entryway and escort a cloaked figure to the set. Upon arrival, the mystery person removes their hood and the star of the film, Jackie Earle Haley, emerges. Haley is in full Freddy Krueger guise—which mirrors the notorious villain audiences know and love perfectly—and takes a seat across from Bayer. A small crew promptly surrounds the actor and assists him with putting on the famous glove and positioning the fedora, just right, for the scene.
Bayer explains that this new scene—an obvious dream sequence—takes place in a bedroom, with Freddy killing one of the lead character’s parents. He waits patiently for everyone to move into position and tells the FX crew to get ready. After a brief standby Bayer yells, “Action!”
Haley crouches behind his soon-to-be prey and, reminiscent of Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger, rises up and swiftly swipes the victim’s throat with his glove. Blood immediately begins to pour from the artificial wound, and the casualty falls forward onto the bed.
Cast and crew immediately explode in applause, pleased the scene worked in one take. “I waited a long time to make a movie and I couldn’t have made it with a bunch of better guys,” concludes Bayer. “I love my producers, my actors, and my crew. It’s been a lot of fun.”
A Nightmare on Elm Street opens April 30, 2010.
Also, look for follow-up interviews with the cast, crew, producers and director of Platinum Dunes’ upcoming film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
All photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.