Robert Englund: ‘My own reflection gives me nightmares’ | Films

Did filming A Nightmare on Elm Street give your nightmares? mrblancmange

In the first part, I didn’t have my movie star trailer; It had a small honey cart the size of a urinal, with a Formica table, a plastic chair, and a mirror with light bulbs around it: classic backstage makeup room. The lights were on a dimmer. I had them down when I was taking a nap around 4am, my head propped up on a tightly rolled towel so I wouldn’t smudge my makeup. I was waiting to be called to the set and I heard a knock on the door. When I sat up, I saw this disfigured face looking back at me in the mirror. The shock made me jump out of my skin. I raised my hand and realized, “Oh my God, it’s my own reflection!” But it was such an amazing moment that a variety of nightmares still inhabit it.

In behind-the-scenes photos of a nightmare on elm street, there seems to be a great bond between you and the young cast. Did that make it hard to kill? most of them on the screen? Ker555

By making movies, you certainly develop an actor’s relationship. We all woke up at dawn, puffy-eyed, full of caffeine, worried about the day’s work. I remember making fun of Heather Langenkamp [Nancy Thompson in Nightmare 1 and 3], who majored in Russian at Stanford University. She told dirty jokes, which I think disgusted her, but which correlated with Freddy’s meanness and innuendo, and helped break the ice. I know Mark Patton [Jesse Walsh in Nightmare 2] I agreed that we should play off Freddy’s sexual innuendo by circumcising his mouth with my sword.

In the days of practical effects, much was left to the imagination. You’d be walking over puppeteers and animatronic crews crawling around dressed as ninjas. So goofing around backstage really helps when they say, “Action,” so you can get into the reality of the performance.

You have a favorite iteration of Freddy, from the dark origins of the first two to the prankster sequels and the return to a darker Freddy in New Nightmare? wink

Fans loved the dark and cruel clown’s sense of humor, which became apparent when people started quoting Freddy’s lines, like, “I’m your boyfriend now.” So we exploited that as the franchise went on. But by the time we get to part seven [Wes Craven’s New Nightmare]we made it very dark again: what if Freddy, the manifestation of evil, I was really out there?

But Freddy was always a joker. In the original Nightmare, Freddy sticks his tongue out of a phone, disembowels a girl and wears her face as a mask as a cheap thrill. He cuts his fingers and cracks as green pus and blood spurt out. I know Wes thought we’d taken it too far, but we were responding to the fans who loved this unapologetically politically incorrect know-it-all by taking on his nightmarish revenge mode.

Watch the trailer for Englund’s latest film, Choose or Die.

Do you dress up as Freddy on Halloween and scare the kids? TopTramp

No. I leave Halloween to the fans to dress up and I leave New Year’s Eve to the amateur drinkers. But during filming, we certainly used to have fun. Making the first movie, I got tired of the food being served, so Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, and I walked across Sunset Boulevard and sat in the back of this dark Thai restaurant. I doffed my hat, we ordered, and when the waiter opened the kitchen doors, he shined a bright fluorescent light on me. The waiter took a good look at me, dropped his tray, backed into the kitchen, and we never saw him again.

Sometimes I worried that I wasn’t scary anymore, so every now and then I’d hide backstage and leer in the dark at some unsuspecting crew member on their way to the bathroom. I think a pair of 6ft 2in bras soiled her underwear so I knew she still had it.

Did you really audition for the roles of Luke and Han Solo in Star Wars? How far did you get? TopTramp

No. I really wanted to be in apocalypse now. He wanted to read for Chef, played by the great Frederic Forrest, but that part was already taken. They heard I was a surfer, so I read for the surfer, but I think they thought I was too old. As I was leaving, one of the producers told me that they were casting across the hall for this George Lucas space movie. George Lucas was my hero, so I thought, “Hell, I’ll go.” At the time, they wanted Han Solo to be played as an old man, as a cool guy who lets you smoke pot on Christmas. They looked at me for five minutes, took a couple of Polaroids; I didn’t read. That’s all I remember.

But when I left, I snatched the sides of the audition [script excerpt] for this much younger character named Luke Skywalker. I got back to my apartment in the Hollywood Hills and my friend Mark Hamill’s cowboy boots were on my front porch. He was working downhill at the CBS studios as a very successful television actor. Mark was watching the Bob Newhart or Mary Tyler Moore show. We would watch together in the afternoon and then call our agents at 5:00 pm to see how our auditions had gone. I remember saying, “Guess what? George Lucas is making this space movie.” We both loved American Graffiti, so Mark called her agent and pressured her to get him an audition. It’s a bit like Tarantino’s movie. once upon a time in hollywood. I was living at the time with Jan Fischer, who went on to The Lost Boys; our best friend became Luke Skywalker; and I became Freddy Krueger. At the time, we were just three young people living in the Hollywood Hills with big dreams.

Robert Englund
This is Englund… Robert behind the mask. Photograph: DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy

Did he really sing backing vocals on Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight with Gary Barlow and Rick Astley for The Lion King? Princeton

I think it’s an internet rumour. I did a million different dubs, but I had nothing to do with The Lion King. Also, I can’t sing.

What can you tell us about your role in the Stranger Things Season 4? TopTramp

This season is an homage to ’80s horror. I think it’s their scariest season. I go in around episode four. [The series debuted on 27 May.] When Covid hit, I was doing some personal appearances and some Stranger Things fans were asking me such specific questions that I assumed other actors had already talked about it. So I got slapped on the hands for that.

Are you, in fact, a friendly reptiloid from outer space in human skin, as the 1980s TV series V suggests? dan_random

No. I am not a reptile. Snakes are one of the things that give me nightmares. Way back in the ’80s, they still had an old-fashioned makeup lab on the Warner Bros lot, with all these men in white medical coats making gloriously designed prosthetics. On one occasion, because I was playing a reptile that could withstand extreme cold, I managed to rescue an earthling and they had to do some kind of frozen blister effect. They literally stuck grapes to the middle of my face with wax, so it looked like I had blisters on one side.

Later in the series, I find out that my fellow resistance fighters are going to experiment on me to see what is toxic to aliens, like an alien allergy test. Her entire back was covered in reptile skin, down to her hairline and behind her ears, with fake fur on top. Then they did this weird surgery where they removed my fake humanoid back and found it to be made of shiny, scaly reptile skin.

Zsa Zsa Gabor
With Zsa Zsa Gabor in Nightmare 3. Photography: Cinetext/Sportsphoto/Allstar Collection

What are your memories of appearing in a Halloween Special 2012 Come have dinner with me? unknownhere

I remember ordering fresh tuna steak, to add my secret ingredients: spring onion, sweet pickles, very finely chopped red bell pepper, a hard-boiled egg, some gourmet mayonnaise, and some honey mustard. I whip it all up, put it on toasted sourdough with a bit of butter, then melt it on cheese; It’s an old bachelor’s recipe called Tuna Melt. But it only works if you use very high quality tuna. The crew brought in this terrible canned tuna. I ended up serving my poor fellow contestants glorified cat food.

The problem with doing British reality TV is that sometimes I know exactly who the people are, I know all the gossip and scandals, but sometimes I don’t. Put me on I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! with someone from QI or the Tipping Point host [Ben Shephard]. I do whatever it takes to get to London, because I’m an Anglophile. Often I’ll go out in London, have a couple of cocktails and go back to my room. When jet lag kicks in, I find Tipping Point and it’s great comfort food for me, as are QI reruns with Alan Davies and Stephen Fry, joking around so wonderfully.

Robert Englund stars in Choose or Die, on Netflix

This article was modified on June 2, 2022 to correct Englund’s statement that Frederic Forrest had died.

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