KANE HODDER: KILLING IS HIS BUSINESS
While he became famous for playing Jason Voorhees in four Friday The 13th movies (the Blu-ray box set is out now), stuntman Kane Hodder has been working in film for the last 36 years. Recently he has had the opportunity to act more, including playing deranged killer Victor Crowley in Adam Green’s mega-gory Hatchet trilogy, which revels in its nasty deaths and high body count. Hatchet III is out now on Blu-ray, and Kane talked to us about his cinematic adventures.
Hatchet III has to be one of the most over-the-top horror movies I’ve seen in a while.
I know, and I think it’s the first time Victor has ever looked really scary. [With] the different makeup and the shots we did, he looks scary now.
I remember you telling me at the premiere that you tried to nuance his performance a bit more this time out.
I did. Over the course of the three films, I just wanted Victor to look a little less twitchy and nervous. He’s settling into his role as a prolific serial murderer, so I don’t see him being as nervous as before.
I’m assuming that the Hatchet trilogy is now wrapped up?
It does seem to be wrapped up, but knowing Adam he probably held back some facts that could be told in another installment. But if it doesn’t happen, it isn’t something that’s critically important. Knowing him, he has some ideas.
You said that you have been getting more acting work recently. How do you think that shift came about over the last 36 years?
Just gradually, like everything else in my career. My stunt career built gradually as did my acting career. I would be given the opportunity to do one or two lines because a bad guy needed to do a fight with a hero and needed to say a couple of lines first. I would get parts like that. It didn’t make any sense to cast an actor and then a stuntman to double for him. They cast a stunt double who could go over the lines and then do the fight. I started out like that, doing very small parts and just gradually built up to where certain directors had a feeling that I could handle more and gave me much bigger parts. Guys like Richard Friedman and Michael Feifer gave me parts where there was a lot of dialogue. Then Adam Green comes along and not only has the confidence in letting me do some dialogue but let’s me do some sort of acting nuance that I never thought I would do in a million years. I’m always doing bad guys, I never thought I’d have a simulated intercourse scene. He had me dancing at Chillerama, so he’s always challenging me in really cool ways from an actor’s standpoint. When you have the directors that have the confidence in you to give you a shot, and then you do well enough to where other directors say, “Hey, I didn’t expect that,” they think maybe they’d like to give you a shot too. So it builds from there.
Now I’m doing really nice, big roles. I just finished a movie with John Schneider. He wrote and directed a film back in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he wrote a script that was so brilliant that I had to do it. I’m playing myself, and others in the film are playing themselves as well—R.A. Mihailoff, Don Shanks, Bill Moseley. We play versions of ourselves that are completely different than what you’ve seen in the past, and it’s a different twist. It’s a horror comedy that still has heart. The genius of Schneider is that he’ll do a take of something that we rehearsed, and suddenly something will pop into his mind, some suggestion, then we’ll do that in the next take. It’s just stunningly effective, and it was a real pleasure to work with him because he’s an actor and is certainly an actor’s director. I’m looking forward to that, it’s called Smothered. I heard talk that he might try to get it into theaters on Friday the 13th of December. That seems a little quick to me, but if anybody can do it, he probably can.
HALF-ASSED HEIST — Inspired by a real-life theft in the Bronx 30 years ago, Empire State shows how a security guard (Liam Hemsworth) for an armored truck company and his loser best friend (Michael Angarano) robbed over $11 million from the company, then got themselves with entangled mobsters trying to get in on the action after the fact. The ever charismatic Dwayne Johnson appears for about 10 minutes as the cop tracking them down, while Emma Roberts has a five-minute girlfriend role. This film has been savaged by critics and by fans for its irritating characters and for not having more action, but it’s actually a decent character study, even though Hemsworth looks nothing like his onscreen Greek family. The real-life heist mastermind, Chris Potamitis, co-produced the film and appears in a featurette claiming to have no knowledge of where the money went. But he seems way smarter than his onscreen double, which makes you wonder.
KHAAAAAAN! — Don’t be upset if you’ve learned that the “surprise” villain in the new Star Trek: Into Darkness is Khan. Although he and Dr. Carol Marcus come from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, their characters have been altered a bit, particularly Khan with superhuman fighting skills that we never saw in the latter film. There are a lot of great things about the new Trek—the Kirk-Spock dynamic, the Uhura-Spock romance, Benedict Cumberbatch’s intense portrayal of Khan, the dazzling effects and a storyline highly apropos for our post-9/11 world—but at the same time, there are some predictable plot points, familiar action sequences and a muddled, overly complicated explanation for Khan’s return. Some of the emotional landmarks do not always hit hard, but overall Into Darkness is a nice return for the new Enterprise crew, although I’d like to see some of the other crew members get more face time during the next mission. Side note: The featurettes offer a look into the cool set pieces, among other things. Someone had fun shooting this.
NO MAN’S LAND — Earth has been destroyed after the Scavengers attempted to invade and conquer our planet. As Commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) says in Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, “We won the war but lost the planet.” He and his work/love partner Rebecca (Andrea Riseborough) are among the few humans left behind to monitor facilities that are sucking up our aquatic resources to take to Jupiter moon Titan, where the human race is attempting to start anew, while surviving scavengers are still trying to disrupt them. But with odd memories of pre-war Earth flashing through his mind along with odd encounters with Scavs, and after a discovery of the stranger (Olga Kurylenko) he has been dreaming about, Harper realizes that something is amiss. While its impressive effects will suck you in, Oblivion offers an intelligent meditation on the nature of truth and what it ultimately means to be human. It could have gone deeper with its existential explorations, but as far as big budget Hollywood sci-fi goes, it’s pretty good and offers an interesting metaphor for how we view the modern world.
CAN’T STOP THE APOCALYPSE — Evidently humanity will be wiped out by a zombie plague, as World War Z and other movies have been showing us. What makes this Brad Pitt vehicle different is that the zombie outbreak is a virus, and his UN investigator character must traverse the globe to find out where and why it broke out and how we can stop it. The super fast undead shown here are nothing new, and the story is, from what I’ve been told, almost nothing like the episodic, multiple narrative book. But it has its moments, like the zombies crawling over each to climb a wall at Jerusalem. (Gee, no Tower of Babel reference there.) World War Z is more intense than scary, and it has a rather hopeful message to deliver in spite of the onscreen carnage. On second viewing, it holds up pretty well and is smarter and more nuanced than I originally thought. The scientists interviewed on the featurettes seem to agree.