'Jason Voorhees' (aka Ken Kirzinger)
'Freddy Vs. Jason: The REAL Clash of the Titans'
Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is in hell – literally. It’s been nearly ten years since Krueger, one of the scariest horror movie characters of all time ('A Nightmare on Elm Street') invaded peoples’ dreams to exact his deadly form of revenge and murder. But now, his memory has been systematically erased by a town determined to put an end to Freddy once and for all. Like an inmate with a life sentence, Freddy’s been reduced to plotting a fantastic revenge that will never happen.
Until, that is, Freddy resurrects Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger), the equally iconic madman from the 'Friday the 13th' film series. Jason is the perfect means for Freddy to once again instill fear on Elm Street, creating a window of opportunity for him to emerge from his purgatory. Recognizing how easily manipulated Jason is, Freddy tricks Voorhees into journeying to Springwood to start a new reign of terror.
Now, prepare yourselves for the ultimate showdown in movie history!
Chatting one-on-one with the latest 'Jason,' Ken Kirzinger, I first made the sarcastic comment that for such an immortal, unkillable character such as ‘Jason’ is, he seemed also to have both a stunt double AND a stand-in! ”Yes, that’s right, I did," he laughs. "They were very specific about the fact that they wanted to hire an actor for the part of 'Jason' in this movie. And they were actually auditioning dancers at one point for the character because Ronny (Yu – Director) wanted to be very specific about the body movement and such. So, when they approached me they asked me to play ‘Jason,’ but told me I was being hiredas an actor and not as a stuntman! Because, there were stunts in the movie that I really wanted to do and having been a stuntman for 20+ years it was hard for me to let it go. Fortunately, a really good friend of mine, Glenn Ennis ended up being my stunt double and he actually auditioned for the part of ‘Jason’ as well. So, we kinda made a deal where I told him that if he gets the part that I'd double for him and if I got the part he’d double me kinda thing. So it worked out great.”
But, just how can you bring some kind of acting role to such a lumbering character such as ‘Jason’? ”Basically, you speak using body language. It’s all about movement and also the eye,” he laughs. ”Because, the mask I wear I have one eye that is completely covered by a prosthetic eye so I can only see out of my left eye. Which makes it awkward as you lose your depth perception and for some of the fight scenes where you’re winging a machete – like at Kelly Rowland – you don’t wanna make any mistakes," he laughs. "Yeah, I know it looks like ‘Jason’ is kinda lumbering along, but really my shoulders are back, my chest is flexed, my arms are out and it’s not as easy as it looks,” he again laughs.
Do you think the job of Stunt Coordinator on ’Jason 8’ helped you get the lead role on this film? ”Well, I think it definitely helped ‘cause they knew I was familiar with the franchise and stuff like that. And familiar with Kane Hodder who had played ‘Jason’ in four movies. And although they didn’t want this ‘Jason’ to be like Kane’s ‘Jason,’ me being familiar with that I thought was going to help. I think it definitely helped get me the job.”
Do you know why Kane didn’t get to take this role of ‘Jason’ after appearing in the last movie? ”You know, I don’t know the specifics, but I’ve heard different reasons and stuff like that. But, basically from what I understand, they wanted somebody of a little different stature. Ronny hadn’t grown up with the franchise like everybody in North America had, being from Hong Kong and they brought him in ‘cause they wanted a different outlook on it. And, because of the work he’d done on ‘Bride of Chucky’ and that franchise, they gave him free range to make his choices and so he chose me. But, if you wanted the right answer you’d have to ask Kane.”
Both these invincible characters get to fight for sure, but do you think the ‘safe’ ending was a cop out?! ”I don’t think so because realistically these guys can’t be killed! They’ll be alive and around as long as fans want to see them, and even if they’d had a clear winner in this movie, and this movie does as well as we are all expecting it to do, they would have found a way to bring ‘em back! They’ve had ‘Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter’ and that’s how they keep sucking the fans in, but I think the real fans know that. They know that going in, but they want to see the battle, because really it’s the journey not the destination.”
So, what does the ending mean to you? ”Well, did you notice that once he brings 'Freddy’s head up to the camera, that 'Freddy’s eye winks? Well, what it says to me is that wink is the wink, wink, nudge, nudge, we’ll be back,” he laughs. ”But we really played with that ending, because if you notice there’s so many games at the end where it goes back and forth about who won. Because, after we fall into the water and they’re on the dock, well, all through the movie whenever you hear ‘Jason’ walking around it’s thump, thump, thump. And so, you hear that, see the machete and it’s 'Freddy'! So, now you think 'Freddy’s won, but then I stuff Freddy’s arm through his chest and you think ‘Jason’ won! Then I fall into the water and then 'Freddy' drops to his knees and I come back and 'Freddy' gets his head taken off and also falls into the water! So, I think Ronny had a lot of fun with that one.”
Any behind-the-scenes secrets we can hear about? ”I think that probably the biggest joke is that Robert (Englund – ‘Freddy’) and I have become such good friends! I actually have a picture of he and I in full costume with our arms around each other like buddies, kinda thing. I think that’s the funniest part of it all that this big battle between these two horror icons is going on, yet we just got along great!”
What’s next for you? ”You know, I really don’t know. I’ve been a stunt man that kinda got into acting and then my career as a stunt coordinator kinda took off so I’ve been focusing on that the last few years. But, this may open the acting door again and if it does that would be great, but if it doesn’t I’ll just go back to my day job,” he laughs.
Does it ever piss you off that you’re in one of the biggest movies of the Summer, yet because of the mask, NOBODY ever gets to see your face and recognize you in the street?! ”Well, of course, but it’s been a lot of fun and not what I’m used to. I’ve done other acting jobs, and played other monsters, but nothing with the notoriety of playing ‘Jason,’ so they’ve given me the star treatment. Which is gonna make it really hard to just going back to being a member of the crew,” he laughs. ”But I’ve been in this business for over twenty years and I take it all with a grain of salt and I’m trying to enjoy it for what it is.”
What does the naked chick getting killed at the very start of the film symbolize to you?! ”You know, I think that’s just an homage to past ‘Friday The 13th’s, because at the lake you always have a teenager go down to the lake by themselves and end up being killed! And so, because it is a dream sequence - because ‘Freddy’ has gotten into ‘Jason’s head - I think they wanted a scene that people could identity with.”
And she sure had some nice boobs, that’s for sure!! ”Yeah, she did. She was very, very well endowed that girl,” he laughs.
If asked, would you play ‘Jason’ again? ”Well, yeah, if they want me to play ‘Jason’ some more, so be it. That would be great. But, if not, I’ve got a pretty good life as it is.”
Finally, what – if anything – could actually kill ‘Jason’ for good?! ”You know, because ‘Jason’ is kind of a mythical character, and as his whole thing is about seeking revenge for the death of his mother, I think that the only thing that would stop him – or could possibly make him vulnerable – would be if his mother really came back! You know, if that side of him was appeased then the other side of him wouldn’t be as powerful, I think. Because he’s really carrying a lot of anger over the murder of his mother and so I think if for some reason his mother came back into his life all that would diminish and he would be vulnerable to being killed like a normal human.”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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