Jackie Earle Haley might not be a name you immediately recognize, but if you’ve seen Watchmen, Rorschach is burned into your skull. After hearing Haley discuss his approach to portraying Freddy Krueger at the A Nightmare on Elm Street panel at this year’s WonderCon, I’m convinced people will remember his name, or at the very least, give a whole new generation of children chronic insomnia.
Haley said initially he had consulted research materials for psychotic murderers to understand the motivation for the character. However, he eventually came to the conclusion that Freddy Krueger is a rare example of a monster within our modern culture.
“It was just such a different energy. I still wanted to embrace his human side [but] it was really an exercise in embracing this monster, this boogieman,” Haley said.
One source he didn’t consult in detail was Robert Englund’s original performance as Krueger, citing it as “daunting” to play a role that has only been done [and done successfully] by one man.
Haley was’t the only actor on the panel who didn’t study past films in the now classic franchise. Katie Cassidy, who plays Kris in the movie, stated she had never even watched the original movies, which was met with some booing from the crowd. This makes very little sense to me that her level of knowledge about the films would matter because the cast in nearly every long-running horror franchise is expendable — as such, they do get killed quite often and are usually forgotten by the next sequel.
Alternately, Thomas Dekker, who plays Jesse in the film, admitted to being completely obsessed by the original Nightmare on Elm Street series. The panel also included Kyle Gallner (Quentin), Rooney Mara (Nancy Thompson), while director Samuel Bayer was not able to attend.
Prior to the cast Q&A, the studio played an exclusive clip from the film that shows a young guy named Dean (played by Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz) sitting alone in a diner. When he becomes aware of this he gets up to survey the situation, which leads him to the back kitchen where he has an encounter with Krueger, who lunges out with the iconic glove with bladed fingers. When Dean realizes he’s cut, he flashes back into the wakeful realm. Suffice it to say, situation does not end well for him.
The clip was basically an extended cut of the opening scene of the trailer embedded here below.
The new A Nightmare on Elm Street will be released in theaters on April 30, 2010.