Love it or hate it, Jason Goes to Hell was unlike any of the previous entries in the Friday franchise, and we recently sat down with the talented and easy-going screenwriter (and sometime actor) Dean Lorey who gives Camp Crystal Lake Online some insight into working on Jason Goes to Hell, his current projects, and what frightens him.
1) Jason Goes to Hell is a sharp departure from the rest of the films in the series, with the ‘body-hopping’ elements being introduced to the Jason Voorhees legend for the first time. How much of that was in place before you got involved with the film?
All of it. The body hopping idea was introduced by Adam Marcus (the director) in his early outlines.
2) You share screenwriting credit with Jay Huguely on the film. How much of Huguely’s screenplay remained in the finished film, and how much was material you wrote?
The first drafts of the script were written by Jay Huguely and he incorporated Adam’s body hopping concept. However, his script was very different from the finished film. Originally, his script centered around the character of Elias, Jason’s brother. Jason only appeared as a child in the very beginning of the movie. My main contribution was to make the movie about Jason and his attempt to be reborn and to create the character of Creighton Duke (originally called Anderson Duke, but the name didn’t clear.)
3) JGTH makes no mention of the events in Part 8 (thankfully). Did you go back and screen the other films in the series when you were writing the script (for a sense of continuity), or did you just run with it and try to do something totally different?
It was Adam and Sean’s conceit to ignore the previous films and start fresh, which is why we didn’t pick up from where eight left off. The downside was we ended up with a movie that didn’t feel very much like a part of the series. The upside was that we could explore some new territory.
4) You also played a coroner in the film who quickly gets introduced to the business end of a medical probe. Was that character written for you specifically?
Yeah, I wrote that for me to play. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get killed by Jason?
5) Being both the screenwriter and an actor in the film, what was the experience like on-set for you?
Terrifying. You have no idea how hard acting in front of a camera and crew is until you do it yourself. Richard Gant (who played the coroner) was an extremely nice guy who made it as easy on me as possible, but I was dying during every take. I can barely stand to even see myself in it now. I still have no idea why I didn’t hold up my hands and fight when Jason carried me over to the table before sticking the probe in my head. What the hell was I thinking? It was fun to do but I’m more than happy to leave acting in the hands of the professionals.
6) Did you keep any souviniers from the production (costumes, props, etc.)?
Not really except for a box of buttons that my wife and I gave out to kids at Halloween, after we ran out of candy.
7) Do you still stay in touch with any cast and crew members from JGTH?
Adam and I are friends. I keep in touch with Sean and Noel Cunningham, as well as David Handman, the editor. He’s cutting episodes of Survivor now. Probably the closest relationship I have from the movie is my wife Elizabeth. She worked in the Art Department and we’ve now been married for eight years and have a couple of kids together.
8) When is the last time you saw the movie?
A year or so ago, when Adam and I did the commentary for the DVD. We had a blast watching it and doing the commentary, which took place in a sound studio called “Margarita Mix”, so named because they keep a fresh supply of margaritas flowing during the sessions. The sound guy kept bitching at me stop clinking the ice in the glass because it was messing up his recording. Somehow we muddled through.
9) You appeared as an actor in another film you wrote, Major Payne. Is acting something you enjoy, and plan on doing more of in the future?
Probably not. My nerves can’t take it. Todd Farmer (who wrote Jason X) loved doing his cameo, but he looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin. I look like Stone Cold’s dumb runt brother they keep locked under the stairs, so I’m not overly eager to preserve myself on film for future generations to mock.
10) Is being a writer something you have always wanted to do for a living?
Always. Ever since I was a little kid, I wrote. My parents were very encouraging, faithfully reading every dopey short story and telling me how much they liked them, even though they were terrible. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t write because, basically, I have no other skills. You don’t want to see me try to install a light fixture or hammer a nail. Trust me.
11) You have done quite a bit of work with Damon Wayans over the years, in both film (Major Payne) and television (My Wife and Kids). What’s your relationship with Damon like?
I love Damon. He’s a great friend and writing partner. We usually write every day for at least a couple hours. Our work ethic is very similar — hit the ground running, work hard and fast for a few hours and then go home and do other things. I can’t say enough good things about the guy.
12) What other upcoming projects do you have in the works?
The next season of My Wife And Kids. Damon and I also wrote Homey The Clown, The Movie which is scheduled to shoot next summer for Fox. We’re also working on another comedy. Todd Farmer and I (also a good friend) are writing a thriller that we’re both really digging and hope to finish soon. I’ve been pretty busy.
13) Any last words for the fans reading this?
I hope they check out your new website. I haven’t known you long, but you seem like a guy who really has it together. Good luck!