Exclusive: Leatherface Talks! Dread Central Chats with Dan Yeager for Texas Chainsaw 3D - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Leatherface Talks! Dread Central Chats with Dan Yeager for Texas Chainsaw 3D

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This Friday, January 4th, Texas Chainsaw 3D is set to tear apart audiences everywhere courtesy of Lionsgate. The direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 classic reunites many franchise vets and newcomers, including the newest chainsaw-wielding maniac of cinema, Dan Yeager.

During a recent press day, Dread Central sat down with Yeager to discuss his approach to Leatherface for Texas Chainsaw 3D and also heard more from the actor about the challenges of bringing a character to life while being stuck behind a mask. Yeager also discussed how this sequel celebrates and pays tribute to Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre more so than any of the other sequels and how he landed the iconic role.

Read on for our exclusive interview with Yeager below, and look for more on Texas Chainsaw 3 all week!

Dread Central: Was there any nervousness on your part to step into the shoes of Leatherface for Texas Chainsaw 3D?

Dan Yeager: You know… no, not really. It was such a gradual, easy process amongst friends. Carl Mazzocone and I were friends for a good year before we started talking about Texas Chainsaw. It was actually another friend who I had taken acting lessons from – Jeff Celentano, who directs now – that had been working with Carl on another project and he asked about how Texas Chainsaw was going at the time. Carl just responded to him with, “Oh man, I just don’t know…” and then they started talking more about it.

Jeff then asked him if he had any ideas for Leatherface and Carl didn’t at that point so he said, “Well you know, I think this guy Dan would make a great Leatherface.” And this was like in August 2010. But Carl and I never really talked about movies up until that point – that wasn’t our relationship. We were into building stuff together and working on those kinds of projects together. Construction stuff. But anyway, I think it was that conversation that got things turning in his mind.

And as they were developing the story of Leatherface and who he was, I think Carl began to see him almost kind of like how I am in real life and so it all just began to come together at the same time. I believe he mentioned me to John Luessenhop early on and said, “You know, I’ve got someone I’ve been thinking about for Leatherface.” But then he invited us both to the same Christmas party and just let it happen.

You know, I used to be a lot less lighthearted and gregarious than I am now so I confess that I was probably standing there scowling at everyone at the party. I used to tell people that whenever I walked into a room, I’d size it up first just so I could make sure that I could kill everyone in it if I had to (laughs). But John saw me across the room that night while he was having a conversation with Mark Burg, who did all the Saw movies, and he said to him, “Oh my god, I think I’m looking at Leatherface!”

And a lot of what has been done with the character since the original movie came out was where they cast more of the “bulked out” big guy types, and I have never really been one that has spent a lot of time in the gym; I can push cars and lift stuff, but I’ve never been into body building or anything like that. Plus I’ve always carried a few extra pounds- John calls it the ‘farm boy’ look (laughs). But it needed to be someone who looks like they work for a living, like Gunnar did, so they didn’t want Leatherface to be this oversized monster. He needed to look like a real person, and ultimately, I think that’s what makes this character work in this movie.

Tania Raymonde Texas Chainsaw 3D interview here

Scott Eastwood Texas Chainsaw 3D interview here

John Luessenhop Texas Chainsaw 3D interview here

Dread Central: How challenging was it for you having to always wear a mask in Texas Chainsaw 3D and getting your performance as Leatherface across then? Especially considering we see the character a bit differently in this story than we ever have before.

Dan Yeager: In cinema it’s moving pictures that tell a story and everything means something so if you kind of have that and if you know that, if you don’t manifest something physically in some way, you’ll lose the audience. You have to rely on things like how you carry your hands, how you stand and how you’re moving and use all that when you’re juxtaposed within a scenario and give it all meaning. When we shot a certain scene where someone touches Leatherface’s face, we have a moment of fear from him that’s all in a head movement that’s only just a few inches. But you can see all that just from him moving back and that was the thing – when you have a monster that moves back from, or retreats from, something – that’s a jarring image. It’s very subtle and there’s a lot of moments like that that you can tell the story with.

Plus all of it was in the script so we had a lot to work with already just within the script, which was very well written. So we always knew the images of Leatherface that would tell his story in this movie. But there are also those moments of tension where you can see what’s going on inside him just from the way his hands are moving, too- they begin to tighten and clench up, and you know it’s coming. And a lot of it involved some pretty big physical moments, too, but there was a lot of subtlety to Leatherface this time around to balance those bigger moments out.

Dread Central: For my last question I wanted to talk about the psychology of the masks in Texas Chainsaw 3D. Was that something that you, John, Carl and the rest of the team were conscientious of and went over early on?

Dan Yeager: Oh sure, of course. And that was a problem that we were up against on this- the other movies never really tapped into that psychology at all. That was only one part of the problem of the sequels; they overlooked those little things that were in the original movie. Even Tobe’s sequel, which was more of his own reactionary piece he did in response to the absurdity of just how seriously people took the original movie when it first came out. He always said that no one laughed at any of his jokes in Texas Chain Saw Massacre so that’s why he made the sequel a comedy.

So over time the original character that Gunnar played became more and more of a caricature. Actually most of the characters did in those sequels become really over-the-top. So we always intended to get back to the feel of the original. And Leatherface, the original Leatherface, really was an interesting guy to watch; everyone always refers to him as the monster, but you have to remember that he is still a complete human being, too, which makes him that much more horrifying or even terrifying.

So everything with our approach to this character all came down to believability; John mentioned earlier that one of the earlier drafts of Texas Chainsaw 3D had Leatherface walking down the street, deflecting bullets with his chainsaw as the police are shooting at him. And sure, it would have been fun “movie stuff,” but that’s not what we wanted to make. We didn’t want to betray what had come before us so everything about this character, including the different masks and the reason why he’d wear them for whatever moment he was involved with, had to honor Gunnar’s Leatherface from the original. Everything came down to that.

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Texas Chainsaw 3D

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Ash vs. Everyone: Eight of the Most Exciting Evil Dead/Army of Darkness Crossover Comics

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To the excitement of fans everywhere, long before he even returned in the exceptional “Ash vs. Evil Dead” TV series, Ash Williams found a second life in comic books. His comic history began with the Army of Darkness adaptation by Dark Horse, painted by John Bolton and overseen by Sam Raimi. But it really took off in 2005, when Dynamite obtained the Army of Darkness license and published their first sequel miniseries, Ashes 2 Ashes, about Ash accidentally transporting himself back to the day before he went to the cabin and then trying to stop himself from ever reading the book.

Since then, there have been several more miniseries as well as a few ongoing titles and, well, a whole lot of crossovers. In the 10+ years since Ash firmly planted his feet in comics, he’s teamed up with—or more often, butted heads with—just about everyone. From some of the most classic heroes in comics to some of the biggest horror movie icons, to other Sam Raimi creations and even other characters Bruce Campbell has played.

Narrowing down the most memorable crossovers can be difficult, of course. But the best of them tend to be the ones that actually challenge and sometimes even question Ash as a character. They’re not just about fighting someone he’s never fought before. One of the most appealing things about Ash is that you can put him in just about any situation.

He’s always going to be Ash. He’s always going to think he’s the toughest, even the smartest guy in the room, he’s always going to have that ego trip that will leave every character around him rolling their eyes. He’s always going to sarcastically comment on what he sees. These crossovers, if anything, prove what a successful character he is by showing how well he can be placed into virtually any scenario.

Having said that, most of the following crossovers are absolutely big, dumb fun. And a few of them are genuinely exciting, innovative takes on both the character and the mythology… that also happen to be big, dumb fun.


Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness

OK, so Ash finds himself in the Marvel Universe, which is a great concept in and of itself. But it’s not the main Marvel Universe, as it turns out, it’s the Marvel Zombies Universe. Created by Mark Millar in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four, this is a world ravaged by a zombie plague that affected its superheroes, causing them to cannibalize one another. This is obviously a Marvel timeline that’s much more Ash’s speed and so he attempts to help the survivors with the aid of the classic chainsaw/boomstick combo.

This miniseries features several insane, delightful moments like Ash fighting an undead Howard the Duck, unsuccessfully hitting on Dazzler, using the Necronomicon to purposefully raise an army of Deadites to combat the unending hordes of hungry dead heroes, and Dr. Doom opening the doors of his castle as a safe haven to survivors, only for Ash to realize that this safe haven excludes the sick or the elderly.


Darkman vs. Army of Darkness

The idea of putting Darkman and Ash together is all kinds of genius. First and foremost, they’re obviously two Sam Raimi creations—both of them the heroes of cinematic trilogies, even—but they’re also polar opposite characters. Darkman is obviously dark. He was affected by his trauma in a serious way, defined by it, whereas Ash has spent his entire life avoiding his trauma.

The crossover also sees Peyton Westlake’s long-lost love Julie (who he’s been spying on since the event of Darkman III) being turned into a Deadite, referred to by other Deadites as “The Queen of Darkness.” As death isn’t quite as permanent in the Evil Dead universe, the comic takes advantage of this to bring back Darkman franchise villain, Durant.


Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors

The second Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash crossover miniseries deserves a mention of its own because of how genuinely insane it is. Whereas the first comic was a sincere combination of the three characters, based off of the actual treatment for the film had it been able to move forward, Nightmare Warriors is entirely its own beast. The story not only unites Ash with nearly every survivor of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, but involves Freddy becoming a cosmic entity with unlimited power and Jason returning to human form with luxurious hair as a reward for leading a Deadite invasion on Washington, DC.

Baby Jacob from Dream Child and Baby Stephanie from Jason Goes to Hell (both now teenagers) hook up, and Freddy’s Dead protagonist Maggie, as well as Stephanie, wind up joining their respective family businesses and going evil to the point of basically being sexy female versions of Freddy and Jason. It’s not better than the first miniseries by any stretch, but it’s so ungodly bizarre that it absolutely warrants a look.


Army of Darkness: Ash vs. The Classic Monsters

Imagine The Monster Squad with one manchild instead of a group of children. That’s the beauty of Ash vs. The Classic Monsters. As a fan of all of these characters, especially one who considers the modern icons as a part of a longer legacy dating back to the Universal days, it’s great to see Ash interact with these old-school monsters.

Much like The Monster Squad, Dracula serves as the primarily villain for this storyline. Werewolves, mummies, vampires and Frankenstein’s Monster all turn in appearances as well. On top of that, Evil Ash makes a return appearance, teaming up with Dracula and the others to try and take Ash down. It weaves Evil Dead into so many other landscape horror mythologies in a neat way.


Army of Darkness/Xena: Warrior Princess: Why Not?

This crossover manages to top Darkman vs. Army of Darkness by not only having two Sam Raimi helmed properties collide, but throwing two Bruce Campbell characters into the mix as well. Campbell, of course, played Autoclys on the show and you better believe the four-issue comic series has a field day with that. The plot, however, is the real kicker here as it might be the strangest set-up of any of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness crossovers.

The Wise Man from Army of Darkness flings himself into the present to warn Ash that one of the Mini-Ashes from the windmill sequence of that film got ahold of the Necronomicon and transported himself into the distant past of Xena where he has used Ash’s crafty modern engineering skills for evil, creating all kinds of ridiculous weapons. The crossover was so successful that it spawned two sequels, the most recent of which was released in 2016.


Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator

Evil Dead and Re-Animator are perfectly matched for a crossover. They’re both cult classic franchises of similar stature. They’re also both extremely similar franchises as well, both in terms of tone and style as well as the tongue-in-cheek, often outrageous amounts of gore. Seeing Combs’ interpretation of Herbert West, as well as Ash as we know him and love him interacting is awesome. They’re two completely different characters in just about every way.

The neat thing that this crossover does, though, is that it uses West and Re-Animator to introduce the larger H.P. Lovecraft mythology as well. It’s a nice nod, because the name of the Necronomicon hails from Lovecraft’s stories, so West seeking the book to unlock bigger mysteries of life and death is perfectly fitting. It’s super cheesy, but in a way that feels completely appropriate and delightful.


Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash

Hack/Slash is a wonderful comic so deep-rooted in ‘80s horror lore that it has crossed over with the likes of Child’s Play, Vampirella, Re-Animator and Hatchet. But when it comes to Ash, Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad are butting heads with another likeminded hero. The fact that Cassie is young and attractive and Ash is Ash makes for a great personality clash, because she is exactly the kind of person who would not put up with any of his obnoxious flirtation or advances.

But even despite that, they’re incredibly similar characters. Both of them have alienated themselves from their trauma, put up an isolationist wall, even though they deal with their lack of dealing with their problems in very separate ways. The crossover is great because it’s fun and really well-paced, but it also genuinely reveals things about both characters by pitting them against one another. Definitely one of the best.


Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash

This is the big one. Easily the most famous Evil Dead crossover, it has the added bonus of at least at one point being considered as a feature film. Obviously it didn’t pan out, but we’ve still got the crossover based on Jeff Katz’ treatment for what the film could have been. It’s Freddy, Jason and Ash as we know them and love them. It’s a direct sequel to Freddy vs. Jason. It deals, like “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” with Ash being older than the last time we saw him.

On top of that, though, it also gives fans the snowy Friday the 13th they’ve always wanted to see, as the comic is set at Crystal Lake in the dead of winter. In fact, it’s set around the Christmas season, which makes for a few great gags and even gives the whole thing a bigger “event” kind of feel. There’s also a great climactic showdown between the three title characters on the icy lake.


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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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