KEN KIRZINGER: THE NEW JASON

Do you feel like a part of history? Can you watch a film like Friday the 13th, where there was no Jason, and say, “I’m a part of this saga?”
I went on one of those Friday the 13th websites and they had all of the pictures of the guys who’ve played Jason and then they had my picture and it really hit me – I’m going to be forever known as Jason and, no matter what happens, I’ll always be able to say that I was Jason. As I said, it all depends how much I bond with the character like the way Kane obviously did. You know, Val Kilmer isn’t Batman.

How did you get the part?
I went in on a bunch of callbacks and the producers were impressed that I’d worked on “Jason Takes Manhattan” and that was a big factor. They had me walk around; they had me swing a machete, all kinds of movements. They kept looking at my hands, too. I’d heard they were looking for someone kind of thinner, but they decided to go big. I think they liked the contrast between big Jason and little, skinny Freddy because it’s really funny when Robert Englund and I stand in front of each other. I think my mark on Jason is the fact that I’m the biggest actor to ever play Jason. If they want to do more films, they’re going to have to find someone as big as me. They also gave me two inches of lift so I’m like six-eight in the film.

What kind of weapons does Jason like to use in Freddy Vs. Jason?
He just likes the old-fashioned machete to the head. I’m trained in using lots of weapons, but Jason basically just likes to use the machete because they wanted a contrast between Jason and Freddy in that Jason exists in reality and Freddy exists in the dreamworld.

What motivates Jason?
Jason’s kind of sympathetic this time. Freddy’s evil for evil’s sake, but Jason has personal reasons for what he does – he’s a mama’s boy run amok – and that’s what drives him on to be this unstoppable killing machine. Freddy’s made it personal by impersonating Jason’s mother and that makes Jason angry. Killing teenagers is no big deal for Jason – that’s just part of Jason’s job – but Freddy’s really made him angry. What I like about Jason is that he’s an unstoppable killing machine and he just keeps going. In the film, he gets thrust into Freddy’s dreamworld, and it’s confusing for him, but he adapts to every situation and he keeps on coming. No one’s ever really been able to put Jason down. He feels pain, obviously, but not in the way that humans feel pain.

What does the face look like?
It’s probably less decomposed than the previous ones and it’s kind of a combination of all of the previous looks. When the mask is off, he looks like a, there’s no other word for it, retard. Not as rotted as before. He’s a modern day Frankenstein. I wore black all over my face so they could work on the face. We have five different masks and one of the eyes is lower than the other, as if it had been ripped out of its socket. They used prosthetics to create the lower eye and so I was blinded in one eye for part of the shoot.

Is Jason more powerful than Freddy?
I do think he would kill Freddy if this were a battle to the death. Straight up, Jason kicks Freddy’s ass, and he does. The teen characters just kind of facilitate the story, but the film’s not about them – it’s about Freddy and Jason. It’s about Jason trying to get Freddy into his world and vice versa. The kids are caught in the middle and they figure that the only thing to do is to have Freddy and Jason kill each other.

It must be hard not having any dialogue.
I think Freddy’s more dominant as far as acting goes. Jason’s a monotone and how do you give him a broader spectrum of character? We did simple things – carefully choreographed movements, expressive emotions – and director Ronny Yu was very specific about every move I made, measuring every movement. Even a simple scene with me walking down Elm Street took a long time to film.

Do you think Freddy Vs. Jason will turn into another franchise?
If they do another one, they’ll have to do something interesting and the films will have to evolve and grow. New Line has spent about three times what they normally would spend on a “Friday” film and I think they’re confident that they’re going to draw a big secondary audience, not just the “Friday” fans. If they make more films, they’re going to have to show new and interesting things and then maybe they’ll have to kill off one of the monsters for good.




Posted on August 18, 2003 in Interviews by
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