Mad Behind the Mask
By: Marc Shapiro
Published in Fanorgia #225.
Kane Hodder has played unstoppable serial killer Jason Voorhees in every Friday the 13th movie since Part VII. And so it comes as no surprise that the veteran actor/stuntman is upset that he did not essay the hockey-masked killer in the long-anticipated Freddy vs. Jason.
“I got screwed,” says the 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound Hodder. “I’m very fucking mad about it. I’m offended that they’re using somebody else and not giving me a reason for it. It bothers me, and I think it will bother the fans too.”
As most franchise followers know by now, the Ronny Yu-directed Freddy vs. Jason ultimately filled the murderous role with Canadian actor/stuntman Ken Kirzinger—who, coincidentally, stood in for Hodder and served as stunt coordinator on Friday the 13th Part VIII. Kirzinger, who has chosen not to weigh in on the controversy, does offer, “The casting people definitely took notice of the fact that I had coordinated Friday Part VIII and had doubled Kane. I had history with that film, and that’s what nailed it for me.” Kirzinger adds, “I had my own ideas on how to play Jason from having worked so closely with Kane, but Ronny always had a specific look in mind for Jason.”
Hodder, who did meet with director Yu and has seen the final draft of the Freddy vs. Jason script, is at a loss as to why he was suddenly out of the picture.” All I know is that somebody at New Line Cinema suggested that they needed a different person to play Jason. I’ve heard stories that they were looking for a different physical type. Well, Jason has been a large guy for 18 years, so if there’s a change to that, then I guess I would not be the guy they want. My feeling is that they’ve already set this movie up for Freddy to win and so they want a less formidable actor in the Jason role. That’s going to piss off a lot of people who have been waiting for years for this movie to happen. It’s Freddy vs. Jason. You want to see an equal battle. You don’t want to see Jason compromised.”
According to Hodder, Freddy vs. Jason producer Sean Cunningham, who created the whole Friday the 13th concept, as well as many unnamed sources at New Line Cinema, are upset that Hodder will not be playing Jason. “I’ve read the script,” says Hodder, “and I’m sure you can imagine, based on the history of horror franchises, who would win, if anyone. This is the first movie of its type and probably not the last, so you can speculate on a winner or lack of a winner in this film.”
One rumor floated in the midst of this situation was that Hodder was, in fact, holding out for a higher salary. The actor vehemently denies that he tried to shake New Line down for a bigger paycheck. “That’s not true,” he says. “I would never hold out for more money. People know how much I love playing this character. Why would I jeopardize my ever playing that part again because I want more money?”
Instead, Hodder maintains that given his consistency in the role—he’s been Jason in four films, including last year’s Jason X—his big bargaining chip at this point should have been his identification with the character. “When I did Friday Part VII, I was just one of seven guys playing the part. But over the course of four films, I’ve made it mine. I realize that I can be replaced. Robert [Englund] can’t be replaced as Freddy. His face and voice are too closely tied to the role. Technically, they can replace me. But personally, I don’t think anybody else will do shit in playing the character.”
Having recently appeared in the werewolf thriller DarkWolf, Hodder concedes that not playing Jason won’t be the end of his career. “I won’t be unemployed,” he says. “But I will resent the hell out of the fact that somebody else is wearing that mask.”