Chicago Tribune: 10 questions about new “Nightmare on Elm Street” answered

Posted on: October/30/2009 10:35 PM

The Chicago Tribune published the following feature about the new Nightmare on Elm Street:

10 questions about new ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ answered

There hasn’t been a new Freddy Krueger film in six years, but you can still count on seeing one or two trick-or-treaters dressed as Hollywood’s favorite boogeyman each year.

Next Halloween will be a different story. You probably will see more than a few red-and-green striped sweaters coming to your door thanks to the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” remake, which is expected to hit theaters April 30, 2010. Chicagoans will have an added interest in the horror flick because it was filmed almost entirely in Illinois, from late April to early July.

Why Illinois? Here are the answers to that and other questions about the remake:

–Luis Arroyave, Tribune reporter

Why film “Elm Street” in Illinois?

Platinum Dunes, the production company behind the remake, enjoyed its experience making “The Amityville Horror” (2005) and “The Unborn” (2009) in the Chicago area.

“Chicago is really big,” said Brad Fuller, who produced the film with Michael Bay and Andrew Form. “It gives us a tremendous amount of scope. And we knew we were going to be filming for a long time, so we didn’t want to go to a place where we couldn’t get a nice meal.”

According to Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, the incentives offered by the state also played a part. “We made it affordable,” said Moskal of the film and its $20 million budget. “I think the 30 percent tax credit made a big difference.”

Where in Illinois was the film shot?

The producers wanted old and decaying for the Krueger scenes, and they found it in some of the city’s abandoned buildings. The scene in which Krueger is burned by the townspeople was filmed at an old Ryerson Steel warehouse on the West Side. Also making an appearance in the film are Elk Grove High School and John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights; Bluff City Cemetery in Elgin; Powell’s Bookstores in Lakeview; and Columbus Park, above, on the West Side.

Which suburb was used for the “Elm Street” neighborhood scenes? That honor goes to Barrington.

Why remake “Elm Street” instead of making another sequel?

The most recent film in the series, “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003), made $36.4 million in its opening weekend and a franchise-best $82.6 million overall at the U.S. box office. Still, Platinum Dunes only wanted to get involved if it could reboot the franchise.

“We weren’t interested in adding another one,” Fuller said. “We wanted to bring a new Freddy and tell a different story. Our company never jumps on a franchise.” Form said a sequel could hit theaters a year to a year-and-a-half after the remake is released.

How do the fanboys feel about Platinum Dunes tinkering with a horror icon?

Die-hard fans trashed Platinum Dunes when word spread of the remake, and they were even more furious when it became clear actor Robert Englund wouldn’t reprise the Krueger role . One commenter on wrote, “A Freddy movie without Robert Englund is like the New Testament without Jesus.” Some of those fans eventually came around after the first trailer was released in September.

“A lot of people have a preconceived notion of the character,” said Fuller, who helped remake “Friday the 13th” (2009) and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003). “It’s the first time showing them a different interpretation. … We were pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction to the trailer.”

Why is Jackie Earle Haley playing Freddy instead of Robert Englund?

“Robert Englund wasn’t interested in doing the movie,” Fuller said. “And Wes Craven (series creator) wasn’t involved, so we felt we had to make it our own. There’s going to be a segment of people who think it’s sacrilegious Rob isn’t playing Freddy — people we won’t be able to convince.” Haley isn’t a big name by any means, but he was an Oscar nominee for his role in “Little Children” (2006) and stole the show in “Watchmen” (2009). “We feel we entrusted this character to the best guy out there,” Fuller said. “He’s so good in the role. He made it his own.”

What does Robert Englund think of the remake?

Englund recently told the New York Post that he is “looking forward” to the film and is “curious and interested” to see what Haley brings to the role.

“I’ve been a fan of his since ‘Breaking Away,’ ” said Englund, pictured above, who played Krueger in eight films. “I’ve paid attention to him over the years. I’ve always conceived Freddy as a little wirey — like a junkyard dog. And I know that Jackie’s smaller than I am but I think he brings that wound tight physicality naturally to the part.”

What does Wes Craven think of the remake?

Wes Craven, pictured above, who wrote and directed the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), isn’t as receptive to the remake as Englund. He told in June that he was hurt that Platinum Dunes didn’t ask for his input on the remake. “Yes it does hurt…it’s such an important film for me that, unfortunately, when I signed the original contract I gave up all rights to it and so there’s nothing I can do about it,” Craven said.

What other actors are in the film besides Haley?

Connie Britton (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) and Kellan Lutz (“Twilight,” pictured above) are two of the more recognizable actors in the movie.

“We don’t have a big star, so we didn’t attract much attention,” Fuller said of the shooting process. “But when Kellan Lutz was on the set, more people came out to watch.”

Rooney Mara will play “Nancy Thompson,” the protagonist in the original “Elm Street” film.

What does the new Freddy Krueger look like?

Not many people have seen Krueger’s entire face — and that’s just how the producers like it. “We brought him on the set in disguise,” Fuller said of Haley. “The biggest thing we wanted was for him to look like a real burn victim,” Form said.

What other horror movies were filmed in Illinois?

Our beloved state has been home to quite a few horror flicks – maybe too many – including “Damien: Omen II” (1978), “Child’s Play” (1988), “Candyman” (1992), “The Relic” (1997), “Stir of Echoes” (1999), “The Unborn” (2009) and “The Amityville Horror” (2005), which was shot in Fox Lake (scene above). “Halloween” (1978) took place in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Ill. but was filmed in California.

“Horror movies tend to be set in quaint middle-America towns,” Moskal said. “The towns are very quiet and tranquil so that it makes the horror that much more unexpected and horrible.”

Click here to read the full feature. Special thanks to Mark Grace!