- Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 November 2013 05:35
- Written by Lupe Haas
The former Bad News Bears child star admitted "it was a daunting task" taking over for Robert Englund. "Robert Englund did such a good job of creating Freddy Krueger with Wes Craven."
Haley first approached Freddy Krueger as a serial killer, researching real killers and watching Nosferatu for character movement but after being led astray, the Academy Award nominee (Little Children with Kate Winslet) decided on a different approach. "I needed to embrace Freddy as a mythical boogeyman", said the Shutter Island actor. "The main character in a camp fire story. Once I started going down that road, it was a lot more freeing and that much more clarity."
As Freddy Krueger the boogeyman, Haley portrayed a more serious character than the previous Freddy became more of a morbid comic than slasher by the eighth Nightmare on Elm Street film. However, the re-imagined script did allow room for humor.
"There might be a little levity here and there but it's a more serious approach in what they were doing before - although we are paying homage and re-envisioning than starting over. The very first film wasn't as comedic as they became. It was a little campy here and there but we're focused on a bit more darker and serious."
Getting into character as the revenge-seeking Freddy was not too difficult for Haley especially after his "incredibly grueling" transformation into the burned-face killer. While he admits playing Rorschach in Watchmen with a sock over his head was suffocating at times, that was 'a day in the park" compared to sitting in the make-up chair for a daily three and a half-hour session with a bust application and 13 different pieces glued to his face. Haley jokes, "It was kind of ironic to find out after all these years that the one person truly being tortured on the set of Nightmare on Elm Street was Robert Englund himself."
Jackie Earle Haley, however, isn't complaining. After making a comeback in Todd Fields' Little Children (2006), Haley has not stopped working since - with a steady number of roles in various genres from drama (All The King's Men) to comedy (Semi-Pro With Will Farrell). Haley prefers this phase of his career to this childhood acting days and appreciates his good fortune the second time around. "I don't take it for granted. It probably has more meaning to me as an older guy."
Does Jackie Earle Haley look forward to more Nightmare on Elm Street movies? "Let's see how it does. The prospect of it is very exciting."
Nightmare on Elm Street opens Friday, April 30th.