If the name Kane Hodder isn’t familiar to you then you’re probably looking at the wrong website. Kane has been involved in the film business since 1974 as a extra and performing stunts on film since 1977. But it was in 1988 that his name became memorable to horror fans worldwide when he took on the role of Jason Voorhees in “FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD”. His singular take on Jason became so popular that he returned to the role three more times and it made him one of the most popular genre actors in the business. A constant draw at conventions, Kane always makes his fans feel important and he truly appreciates the support they’ve given him over the years. In 2006 director Adam Green cast Kane as Victor Crowley, another seemingly indestructible maniac who has cut a bloody swath through two films and has returned for a third bloodbath in “HATCHET III” which opens this Friday in theaters and on VOD. I had a nice chat today with the big man about his latest film and some of his future film projects and I’m pleased to say that he’s just as awesome to speak with on the phone as he is to speak with in person!
Horrornews.net: I saw “HATCHET III” last week and I thought it was a bloody good time! What is it about the character of Victor Crowley that keeps you coming back?
Kane Hodder: Well you know I wasn’t the first actor to perform as Jason Voorhees so I had to take things that other actors who played him before me had given him into account for my performance. I originated the character of Victor Crowley and that was fantastic because I developed the character from the beginning in conjunction with Adam Green. Together we figured out how to bring the character along and develop him through three films and that’s a very rewarding thing for an actor to be able to do. So now Adam and BJ (McDonnell, director of “HATCHET III”) have open ears to my suggestions regarding the character. This isn’t to say that I’m always right but they’ll listen to my ideas and together we decide what’s the best thing for the character. From an actor’s standpoint this is the best possible way to approach playing any character.
HNN: So you’ve had a lot of input in the development of Victor Crowley over the course of the series. Did you have the same amount of input in the development of his father, Thomas Crowley?
KH: For sure. We don’t really see Thomas in the third film but because of the story that has developed over the course of the series we were able to do some things with Victor in the third film that people won’t expect. That’s what I really like about this film, there are so many big surprises within the film. It’s a really fun film.
HNN: What was it like to work with a first time director on a film that you have such an emotional investment in?
KH: BJ might be a first time director but he’s been with the series as the main camera operator since the beginning, so when Adam decided that he wasn’t going to direct “HATCHET III” he was the logical choice to fill his shoes. BJ knew the way the story has progressed from the beginning and had the experience of working with the characters. He’s a great visual director too, the kind of director who envisions a shot months before arriving on the set. He knew what he wanted the film to look like and he had a great rapport with the actors as well. He was a great choice to direct and a real pleasure to work with.
HNN: One of the most anticipated scenes in the film features Victor facing off against someone attempting to hunt him down and that character was played by Derek Mears. Since both of you have played Jason Voorhees in the past, fans are salivating at the idea of a Jason Vs. Jason showdown! Now as great as I thought the scene was, I was a little disappointed in it’s brevity. I really thought it was going to be a long, drawn out fight to the finish and it wasn’t. Was it always planned to be as short as it ended up being?
KH: It was always that way, we wanted to trick the audience! We got everybody waiting for it and then when it comes…BAM! It’s all over! As you’ve already seen, we wanted to surprise the audience and it was never anything more than that. A quick buildup that leads up to the moment when they meet and it’s all over in a flash! I think it plays out fantastically and although some people might come away from it disappointed that they don’t get as big of a battle as they expected you can’t tell me that they won’t be surprised by it. To me it’s much better the way we filmed it and Derek agrees that it was fun to have all of the hype build up over the months. All I’ve ever said about it beforehand was “Wait until you see the scene between Derek and myself, it’ll shock you”. Tell me if that’s not accurate!
HNN: How has the process of getting into the Victor Crowley makeup changed since “HATCHET”? Has it gotten any easier for you?
KH: I’ve been in many films in which my makeup has taken hours to put on and that’s fine, I’m used to that. But on “HATCHET II” it was pretty harsh because the makeup took 3 1/2 hours to put on and 1 1/2 hours to take off which is way longer than anything I’d experienced in the past. Combine that with the fact that “HATCHET II” was shot on a soundstage, which means that we could shoot as long as we wanted since we didn’t have to worry about the sun coming up or anything like that so I was in full makeup for a long time and the process of putting on and taking off the makeup was so tedious that make up designer Robert Pendergraft completely changed the material that the makeup was made out of for the third film. It was always foam latex in the past and that’s what’s normally used but this time it was made from silicone which means a couple of things. Firstly, I think this is the scariest that Victor has ever looked, he’s far more intimidating and the silicone helped me to make some really scary facial expressions. Secondly, it only took about 90 minutes to put on and 20 minutes to take off so I was in the makeup chair for far less time than I was in the past. The tradeoff is that silicone is way more dense, a lot heavier than foam latex. It’s not porous either so the head and the shoulders that I wore in “HATCHET III” weighed about 40 pounds total! So I had to perform this extremely physical part with all of that extra weight on my head and shoulders but having to spend so much less time in the makeup chair was something that I’d take any day.
HNN: That had to be really hard on you since you were filming in a real swamp in New Orleans. The heat must have been murderous…
KH: Oh it was just ridiculous how humid and hot it was! Even though we filmed most of the film at night the heat was just oppressive. And since we were filming in New Orleans in the middle of June you have to throw billions of mosquitoes into the mix as well so that part of it was quite hard. I’ve never had it particularly easy on any of the “HATCHET” films but this one was…really hard.
HNN: All of the previous “HATCHET” films have very abrupt endings and this one keeps with that tradition. Do you know of any plans to film a fourth one?
KH: Not that I know of. Although I hate to think that I’ll never be putting on the Victor makeup again it’s gonna be hard to write something to be able to bring him back from the way we left him in this movie. But if I know Adam Green (and I think I know him pretty well), he might be saying this is it for the series but somewhere in the back of his mind there might be some other storyline featuring Victor. If there ever is another one it won’t feel like we’re just grasping at straws in an attempt to bring him back, it’ll be something that he’s planned all along. As you already know, the entire “HATCHET” saga was meant to take place over three films because that’s how Adam had planned it. There’s been many films that were unexpected successes and that success usually led to a sequel that wasn’t planned for and it showed but Adam always had a three film arc planned out for the “HATCHET” films from the beginning. It would be really hard to bring the character back but if anyone can do it, Adam Green can.
HNN: I’m sure you’ve heard the news about Paramount getting back the rights to produce a new “FRIDAY THE 13th” film by now. What are your thoughts on that? If you were asked to return as Jason would you?
KH: I would most certainly come back if they asked me to! I never wanted to stop playing the character, I was replaced and never given a reason as to why. I would absolutely come back because in my mind I wasn’t done playing the character yet so I would welcome that opportunity. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
HNN: I’ve caught a lot of flack over the years because my favorite film of the series is “JASON X” (2001) and it seems like I might be the only person who feels that way about it…
KH: Oh no, I’ve met many people who like that film a lot. You guys might be in the minority but you’re definitely not alone! It certainly had the biggest budget of all of the “FRIDAY THE 13th” films. It had the best production value of the entire series for sure.
HNN: I don’t even think of it in terms of the way it looked as compared to the other films. I just really enjoyed the sense of humor it had and the awesome kills in it! I think it’s the most fun film in the series by far. And I think you looked absolutely incredible as “Uber Jason” in that film as well. Jason never looked as threatening as he did in that film if you ask me.
KH: How could anyone not like the “Frozen head” kill? That’s one of the best kills I’ve done in any of my films, it’s one of my favorites!
HNN: I was looking over your bio and I see so many films that you’re starring in that are either in pre/post-production or waiting for release and I wondered how many films do you appear in annually on average?
KH: It varies, I try to stay pretty busy and lately I’ve busier than I’ve ever been before and that’s because of the horror fans that have supported me over the years. I know I owe a lot of my success directly to the fans and that’s something I’ll always appreciate and never forget.
HNN: Horrornews.net ran a news item on a film that you’re slated to appear in called “SMOTHERED” which had a very interesting plot in which you, Bill Moseley and Roddy Piper are playing yourselves and end up being hunted down by some maniac fan you meet at a convention. It all sounds really cool but I have to admit I have a really hard time believing that anyone is gonna be able to hunt you down, let alone Piper and Mosely!
KH: We are hunted down by someone and although we are playing ourselves we’re doing it in a way in which you can believe we’re being hunted down. It’s kind of hard to explain right now but we’re going to be playing ourselves in a way that’s not really ourselves! So the way that our director John Schneider (“THE DUKES OF HAZZARD” TV series) is going to portray us is a way in which you can believe that we can be caught off guard. You’ll see what I mean when the movie is done! And we have a great cast for this one with Piper, Moseley, Don Shanks, R.A. Mihialoff and myself in it, we all know each other personally as well so the chemistry between all of us is going to be amazing in this film.
HNN: It does sound really exciting! When does it go into production?
KH: I leave for Louisiana on Saturday and we start shooting on Monday.
HNN: Another film that I wanted to ask you about is one called “SICKLE” which has a really interesting trailer and seems like a change of pace for you. Can you tell us anything about it?
KH: It’s somewhat of a different character for me because I play a sheriff who presides over a small town. But at the same time I’m sure you can understand that I’m not exactly the nicest guy in the world and I control my town in a pretty brutal way! It may be a different look for me but he shares some very familiar personality traits with characters I’ve played in the past. I think the movie has a very interesting grindhouse look to it and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the finished product recently. My good friend Tiffany Shepis is in it and it’s a really interesting story that I think people are gonna like a lot so watch out for it!
“HATCHET III” opens on Friday, June 14th at select theaters and on VOD.
Interview: Kane Hodder (Hatchet III) (2013)