Kane Hodder is man known for his ability to kill. After playing the unstoppable Jason Voorhees for four films in the legendary Friday the 13th series, Hodder has moved on to star in a number of successful and influential genre and non-genre films. Back in 2006 he returned to the woods to become the maniacal Victor Crowley in Adam Green’s homage to the slasher film, Hatchet. His large size and ability to tap into the homicidal rage that was the character’s trademark made Crowley an instant icon in fan’s minds.
After exhibiting some real acting chops in the 2010 film BTK, Kane revisited the swamp and put Crowley’s blood-stained overalls on for the unrated and controversial Hatchet II. His dual performance as Crowley’s father, Thomas, was eye-opening due to the fact that Hodder did such a credible and sympathetic job in portraying a man who’d been cursed by siring a madman.
Dark Sky Films is bringing Crowley home by releasing Hatchet II to DVD and Blu-ray. The disc – which is loaded with extras – features the complete unrated cut of the film and became available on February 1, 2011.
Dread Central spoke with Kane about his history of portraying madmen, his acting process, why he does so many horror conventions, and his plans for the future.
Dread Central: You were, of course, in the first Hatchet film. Tell me a little bit about how you met Adam.
Kane Hodder: It was through John Buechler who was instrumental in me becoming Jason. He met with Adam and talked about Hatchet and Adam said to Buechler, “Who do you think should play Victor Crowley?” Buechler said, “I think Kane Hodder.” Adam said, “Well, yeah… great! But I don’t know how to get ahold of him,” and Buechler said, “I do.”
DC: For the role of Crowley’s father, did you have to go through an audition process and a reading, or was it just a given that you would do it?
KH: Actually, once I talked to Adam about playing Victor, I told him that I really wanted to do something outside of makeup where I could show some emotion because nobody had given me that opportunity. As far as I can remember, I think he wrote the part because of what we talked about. I’m not sure if it was in his original idea until we talked, but… either way, there was no auditioning process. He just said, “Yeah, you’ll play Victor’s dad and I’ll let you do a little crying scene,” because I had wanted to do something like that for a long time and couldn’t get the opportunity. So Adam did it and suddenly it opened all kinds of doors for me and that was great.
DC: You did such a great job in BTK. Were you gratified by people’s response to that performance?
KH: Oh, yeah! It was fantastic! Feifer also let me play Ed Gein before BTK. Of course, he got a lot of flack because Ed Gein wasn’t the same size as me and all of that. People had a problem with it, but once they saw the movie, they said, “I guess that was all right.” Ed Gein was a character where, if you know the story, everybody thought it was weird. So I had to play weird the entire movie. Then BTK came along and Feifer said, “Look, I want you to play this guy now.” That was a much more challenging role because in half of the movie I had to be likable because so many people liked the real Dennis Rader. He was a church president and a Boy Scout leader and all of that stuff. It was interesting to play half the movie likable and half the movie murderously violent.
DC: When you got involved doing stunts, was it a kind of thing where you grew up wanting to be a stuntman or was doing stunts a way to get in there with the ultimate goal of being an actor?
KH: I went into the business with the sole intent of being a stuntman. I just loved it and started thinking about it seriously in high school. Then, while I was in college, I went to LA and really pursued it. My intent was to be a working stuntman and a stunt coordinator eventually, never even dreaming that I would be known for anything, really. I just thought I’d be a well-respected stuntman. But how many stuntmen do you know by name? Not many. I just wanted to do it. I loved the idea of doing stunts for a living. I just got lucky when the Jason part came along and, all of a sudden, I was known for something.
As I progressed in stunts, I started playing small parts because they would cast stunt guys in small roles, which makes sense. If a person has to do a stunt, why cast an actor to deliver one line and then have to hire a stuntman to double him for the stunt? Why not just get a stunt guy who can act a little bit? I started playing little minor characters and then thought, “You know, this is a lot of fun to do.” [laughs] I’ve never had any acting class or anything like that in my life. I didn’t really intend on doing that but kind of just progressed to that as I realized I like acting as well. The ideal thing for me now is to have a nice leading acting role with a lot of stunts in it. [laughs]
DC: You brought up doing Jason… I know you had a lot of input into the Jason mythos, the things you thought the character would do and things the character wouldn’t do. Did that same sort of thing carry over onto Hatchet?
KH: Not as much because this was a character that I was originating and it was a character that Adam had in his mind since he was a little kid. So, between the two of us, we decided what kind of actions and mannerisms that Victor would have.
DC: I understand that a lot of people fell ill during Hatchet II’s production schedule.
KH: I didn’t. I was lucky. I was one of the survivors. Considering how rundown and exhausted I got because of working in the makeup and everything, I was surprised I didn’t get sick since so many other people did.
DC: You obviously get along with Adam, and over the years you’ve worked with a lot of directors, but how was he as a director?
KH: I’ve said before that I think Adam is one of the most talented writer/directors, with the experience he had at the time, that I’ve ever worked with. I consider Hatchet his first real movie, and as prepared and good as he was on that, it was incredible. I’ve never experienced that before, someone with that level of ability and knowledge. I know he had done a couple of other things before, but with a real budget, he’s the most talented directors I’ve ever worked with. And an incredible writer as well. Obviously, with Frozen and all those other things.
Hatchet II – Blu-ray and DVD Trailer
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DC: And a really nice guy, really knowledgeable about the genre, which is always a plus.
KH: I believe it is, too. I think part of my success with playing characters like this is that I’ve always enjoyed watching horror movies and so I can take little things from other characters over the years – subtle things, just little minor things – and incorporate it into my character. If I wasn’t a horror fan, I might not be able to do that kind of thing.
DC: You’ve obviously been in a lot of films that had a lot of special FX. Does that process ever get to be a pain in the ass?
KH: Well… I think it always is a bit of a tedious process and you have to be very patient when applying prosthetics. It’s very difficult to work in them, especially doing stunts, but the reward greatly outweighs the difficulties, you know? I don’t think anybody would say that working in prosthetics is easy.
DC: Especially when you’re wrapped for the day and they have to take it all off.
KH: Right! The rest of the crew has been drinking beer for an hour and a half and you’re sitting in the makeup chair having it all taken off.
DC: You’re known for your physicality, your size and your understanding of stunt work. When it comes to acting – given what you just said about never having done the whole acting class thing – how do you prepare for roles? Do you use ‘Method’ or any of the classical actor schmaltz? How do you sit down and figure out who that character is?
KH: I don’t go too deeply into it. I do have some Method techniques that I do use like roaring and screaming, trying to get my energy up for a violent scene… stuff like that. It sounds bizarre, but… very often, I’ll go into a scene – even if it’s an acting scene, not so much with dialogue, but other things – I’m not really sure what I might do. Sometimes I just go with what the instinct is at the moment and, very often, that works out to be the best thing. It certainly can’t come off as rehearsed because I haven’t thought about it before. Other times I’ll think, “Well, that didn’t work at all” [laughs] and I’ll do something else. A lot of times I don’t have any preconceived notions and just do what feels natural. I think that’s where the success in the Jason character came from. A lot of times I just did what felt right at the moment.
DC: Does that carry over from take to take? The genesis of my question has to do with your fellow actors. A lot of actors like predictability…
KH: Yes, of course they do. [laughs] I’ve had some people say, “Oh, my god… It’s so hard to work off of you because you do something different every time.” I appreciate that because I’ve been on the other side of that as well. For me, I kind of like that. When I did Ted Bundy with Corin Nemec, he changed his dialogue in every take sometimes and I kind of enjoyed it. Maybe other people wouldn’t because they had something planned that they want to do and it screws them up or whatever, but… Yeah, I can see how people would get a little bit put off by it, so I try not to do it so much that it ruins other people’s performance or anything. It’s kind of a fine line to walk.
DC: In Hatchet, you kept very much to yourself once you were in makeup so that when the actors saw you, it was truly for the first time. Did that hold true for Hatchet II?
KH: Not as much because the shooting schedule was so tight and there was so much to do, it really didn’t allow for that luxury. Every once in a while I’d be able to keep myself hidden from an actor until they saw me, but not as much as I did in the first movie because we just had to get going. I couldn’t play around as much.
DC: And by then, presumably, they’d seen the first film and knew what you would be looking like.
KH: Exactly! That’s the other point I was going to make. Even though there were some actors that were from the first movie who already knew, most actors who were in the second one definitely watched the first one and already knew what I looked like. Even though the makeup had changed slightly, they still knew so it kind of took the mystique away.
DC: As I believe I said to Tom Holland, the cast is a virtual genre who’s-who. A lot of those people, though, were people you’d worked with before.
KH: Right… like Tony Todd I worked with before, but we’d never done a scene together. Even though we’d done movies together, we’d never acted together. Danielle I’ve known for years from conventions and stuff like that and from Fear Clinic. We had done a little bit together there, but still not that much. Then, Parry Shen I had already killed before in Hatchet, so… [laughs] R.A. Mihailoff and I have known each other since 1989 when we did Chainsaw 3 because I doubled him in that. So, I was Leatherface for some of that movie. Then, my buddy Rick McCallum, whom I’ve known since 1981, played the silent character John in Hatchet II. There was a lot of history there for me.
DC: You mentioned meeting Danielle at conventions. You do a lot of conventions, man.
KH: I try to. I enjoy it and I like to make sure the fans realize that I try to do whatever I can for them because they’ve been so supportive of me. So I try and do as many as possible, especially if I’m invited to go to a city I’ve never done a convention in or been to before. I like to go there just for the people who live around there, to try and return the favor of them being so supportive.
DC: Shifting gears a little bit… Tell me about Hollywood Ghost Hunters.
KH: Rick McCallum and I founded the group because we’ve always been interested in ghosts. I mean, we’ve done some of it in movies before and we thought we’d put together a group of people who were interested in the paranormal and a group of people who are normally the ones who are scaring people. Everybody in the group has something to do with making horror films. It’s an interesting twist to see if we can be scared instead of doing the scaring all of the time. Adam’s in it. Danielle’s in it. R.A.… Rick… Several other people who I’ve worked with before. It’s just an interesting combination. I believe it’ll end up being some kind of TV show just because of the personalities involved. Even if there’s no paranormal activity going on, it would be fun because we interact so well because we know each other so well.
DC: And finally, what have you got going next?
KH: In the spring I’m going back to Germany and finish up a 3D Robin Hood movie that I started called Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood, in which I’m playing Little John. I also did a movie with Tony Todd in West Virginia called Cut where we had some really good scenes together. I’m also writing a book. My book comes out October 1st and it’s basically the story of my life.
Information on Kane’s book can be found here.
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