Exclusive: Director says “FRIDAY THE 13TH” remake could have been “DAZED AND CONFUSED meets Jason”Home,Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
While speaking to FANGORIA about his terrifying “The Accident” segment in the soon-to-open SOUTHBOUND (look for that chat soon), director David Bruckner also opened up about his time on the long-in-development FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot—two different versions, in fact.
Bruckner, one of the trio behind the indie sensation THE SIGNAL, also helmed the chilling “Amateur Night” for the found-footage anthology V/H/S, and signed on to Paramount’s FRIDAY reincarnation when it was headed in a similar direction. “When I came on board that project,” he tells us, “Paramount was exploring whether or not they could do a found-footage FRIDAY, and they brought me in to crack it. I had some very specific ideas; if we were going to do that, I felt it needed to be single-camera. I didn’t think you could bring a whole bunch of media into the room, and that we had to do a kind of classic found-footage movie.
“So writers Richard Naing and Ian Goldberg [who scripted Andre Øvredal’s upcoming THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE and are working on CROPSEY with James Wan producing] and I set out in earnest to see if there was a movie there,” Bruckner continues. “There are certain restrictions to found footage; just the fact that you’re locked into a single perspective almost makes the slasher formula impossible, because characters tend to wander off on their own all the time and get knocked off. Also, part of what defines some of the greatest slashers is the additional perspective. That was a really fun obstacle to tackle, and we ended up structuring it a little bit more like a monster movie. All the mythos surrounding Jason Voorhees opened up a lot of possibilities, and for a moment in time, we had a story that took place in the ’80s, which worked with the found-footage conceit. It was a return to form in a lot of ways, and we really focused on the characters.”
Ultimately, the studio point of view toward the handheld approach changed, and HANNIBAL’s Nick Antosca was brought in as scripter. “We were set free from that mandate,” Bruckner recalls, “and did a draft that was not found-footage. We were allowed to truly explore what the film could be as a proper ’80s reboot—what that would look like. My take on it was that I wanted to do DAZED AND CONFUSED meets Jason Voorhees [laughs], a genuine last-day-of-school coming-of-age story. Nick wrote a great draft, and we really wanted to see that movie come to life. It was a very exciting process for me.”
Sadly, Bruckner wound up departing the project, with PRISONERS’ Aaron Guzikowski currently doing a new rewrite. “I think the studio is exploring some other options right now; we’ll see what happens,” Bruckner says. “I spent a lot of time with Jason Voorhees, and had a lot of ideas what to do with him. With both Richard and Ian and then also with Nick, we spent a lot of time trying to build relationships you could get inside of, and rip that all apart when Jason Voorhees shows up. But right now, he’s going through a transition. Everybody I worked with has great reverence for the franchise, and they’re all trying to find the best way to proceed.”
SOUTHBOUND hits theaters February 5 and VOD February 9 from The Orchard; keep your eyes here in the coming days for full Fango coverage.