Exclusive: Heather Langenkamp Discusses Her New Documentary I Am Nancy
Actress Heather Langenkamp is known to fans worldwide as the tough-as-nails Nancy Thompson who boldly took on maniacal dream demon Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven’s classic A Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time some 27 years ago.
Since that introduction, Langenkamp has returned to the franchise on two other occasions- once as a psychology grad student trying to help a group of troubled teens in Dream Warriors and finally in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, where she had to face off against a new and improved (and far more vicious) Freddy.
Now Langenkamp is showing fans a different side to the actress- documentarian- with the release of her brand new project entitled I Am Nancy. Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the actress extensively about why this project was so important to her, the surprises she encountered along the way as she compiled numerous hours of interviews, and why the character of Nancy still means so much to her after all this time.
Langenkamp, who served as both narrator and executive producer on last year’s stellar documentary Never Sleep Again, discussed why she felt like she still had more to say about the Nightmare franchise after wrapping on that first documentary.
“Originally, Tommy Hutson and I had been wanting to do I Am Nancy to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street,” said Langenkamp. “But then Never Sleep Again came along and Daniel Farrands asked me to be a part of it, so we put I Am Nancy on hold. I loved Never Sleep Again and it’s a wonderful historic look back at the entire franchise but I didn’t want it to be my only mark on the analysis of the Nightmare franchise.”
“Something else we wanted to do with I Am Nancy is explore why women in the horror genre were always being chased down by monsters and even though the monsters became icons in their own rights, the women in these roles were also doing some heavy lifting and I think they deserved their due too,” added Langenkamp.
When Langenkamp finally set out to make I Am Nancy, the actress had a few ideas in mind for the subject matters she wanted to explore while compiling the numerous interviews over the last year. “The one thing I had always wondered if it was a conscientious decision on Wes’s part to make the protagonist of the original Nightmare a woman. Was it by luck or was he making a socio-political statement? So that is one of the themes I set off to uncover in I Am Nancy.”
“Another theme we decided to explore was the fandom behind the series and that ended up being almost the heart and soul of the project. It all started out because one of my employees has a Freddy tattoo on him, and for me a tattoo is an ardent sign of devotion. That’s where our journey starts in I Am Nancy, and we just kind of let things happen from there,” added Langenkamp.
Putting I Am Nancy together was no easy feat for both Langenkamp and Hutson. A project two years in the making, the actress talked about her experiences hitting the road to start in an effort to hear from the fans that fuel our beloved genre.
“It took us about a year to put I Am Nancy together after we spent the initial first year figuring out where we wanted to go with the idea of the documentary,” explained Langenkamp. “During that time we made our way to six different horror conventions to meet and interview fans from all over the place. We ended up having somewhere between 100-150 interviews so you can imagine how hard it was to go through all of those and picking what we were going to use for our documentary.”
“In terms of what my role in the documentary ended up being, you could say I was sort of a petulant teenager wanting to know why she wasn’t as popular as the other kids. Freddy’s fandom has been huge over the years to the point where he’s about as well-known as Santa Claus. So my thinking is ‘Why not Nancy? Why Freddy?.’ It’s all very tongue in cheek so I hope fans understand that and don’t think I’m actually complaining because I’ve been very appreciative of the fan support I’ve had over the years,” added Langenkamp.