Always a fan-favorite of the series, Friday the 13th Part 2 wasn’t without it’s share of controversy. For 24 years, many fans have been under the impression there was only one Jason in the film, due to the way the film’s credits read. Warrington Gillette was given sole credit as “Jason”, while actor/stuntman Steve Daskawisz (who now goes by the surname of Dash) was billed as “Jason Stunt Double”. Reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. Actually, Dash did almost every scene as Jason in the film (except for the window crash at the end and a few inserts of hands and feet). If there’s a scene with Jason in “The Bag”, it was Dash. Steve has recently resurfaced, his story being told in the two Friday the 13th books released this year (Making Friday the 13th and Crystal Lake Memories, due out in October), and he has also begun hitting the road and meeting eager fans at conventions. A terrific guy who takes no crap from anyone (would you expect anything less from a former NY cop?), it was our pleasure here at Camp Crystal Lake Online to chat with Steve about his work in the film and what’s he up to these days.
Many thanks to “The Real Jason” for the interview!
1) How did you get started in the business as an actor/stuntman?
Actually, I started out doing comedy when I was 7. My mother had me on a stage show, a contest type show, and I won it doing an impersonation of Jerry Lewis. I went into the Army and started doing USO shows as an actor and doing plays and stuff like that. And when I got out of the Army, I had a choice: I was going to be an actor or a cop. I met my wife and decided to become a cop and settle down. They put me in the 17th Precinct in Manhattan, which is the theatre district. We had a call where an advertising agency was burglarized and when we got there, the guy told me I was a good-looking guy and should be doing modeling and commercials. He sent me to a photgrapher and I got my pictures taken. I had an unfortunate accident with the police department, and I retired on disiability. Not by my choice, but by theirs; I had a fractured skull and amnesia. So I was out for a while, and then I got back in shape and had a stationery store in Long Island and one of my customers was the director of a local communtiy theatre who offered me a part in a new play, where I did a French accent. I had a great review in Newsday and ended getting a few calls and did some more plays, and then decided to do it for real. I started making the rounds, and the first movie I ever did was Wolfen, where I was an extra. I beat the pavement for a long time until I finally got a job on a soap opera called Ryan’s Hope, and from there I kept pounding the pavement until I got my SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) card and landed a job on a movie called Nighthawks, where I met (stunt coordinator) Cliff Cudney. He asked me if I wanted to be a stuntman, and I said “No, I’m an actor”, but we hit it off and before you know it, I’m a stuntman. The rest is history.
2) How many films have you worked on throughout your career?
3) Any one in particular that stands out above the rest?
We had a lot of fun on Nighthawks, which I was on about a month. But really the film that I enjoyed the most where it was fun and games was Friday, no question about it. We had a lot of laughs. When you have one of the lead roles in the film, you can pretty much do what you want. We had a lot of latitude, the things that we did. So yeah, Friday was the best for me.
4) How did you get the job of Jason in Friday the 13th Part 2?
About 2 weeks after Friday the 13th Part 2 (which was called Jason at the time) started shooting, I got a call from stunt coordinator Cliff Cudney saying “we’ve got big problems up here…the guy they hired to play Jason can’t do the stunts he said he could, and I know you can.” I said ok and went up to Conneticut, and that’s how I got the job.
5) What was filming like? Was it a pleasant shoot?
It really was a great experience, because it was a challenge.
6) Despite the way the film was creditied, how much of your work as Jason actually ended up onscreen?
The only thing I didn’t do was the going through the window at the end of the movie, and I didn’t do the walking through the water or the hand holding the knife that was shot from behind. That was a PA. All the action scenes, where you see Jason wearing the bag was me.
7) Apparently, the chase scene and struggle with Amy Steel in the final reel left you with some very real injuries. What happened?
When she tried to kill me with the machete, Cliff wanted to use a stunt-double to do it, but Steve Miner wanted her to do the scene herself. Amy didn’t want to do it (laughs) but he talked her into it. She was scared shitless of me through the whole movie anyway, she really was. She’s a great actress. But I ended up with 13 stitches and a trip to the hospital. The other time was when I was chasing her in the woods. She was running down the road and I was supposed to dive out after her and try and grab her, but she was so scared and ran so fast that she ran up to the film truck before I jumped out. I was like 20 feet behind her and they kept having to tell her to slow down, the shot didn’t look good. We did that shot about 6 or 7 times and one time I landed right on top of the pick axe and broke my ribs. So I went to the hospital, they taped up my ribs and I went back to work. When Carl Fullerton put the machete apparatus through my shoulder, it broke off one time, and I got burned when he soldered it. Over a period of four weeks of shooting, I was in pretty bad shape when we wrapped.
8) In Friday the 13th Part III, after the recap of Part 2 we see Jason crawling away along the floor of his lair. Was that you?
No, that wasn’t me. My credit was in the film because of the flashback scenes from Part 2 they used.
9) Did they ask you to come back for Part III?
Yes they did. As a matter of fact, they did call me and asked me to do it, and I said I would, but they wanted me to pay for for my way out there to LA where they were shooting it, and my own per diem, my own hotel and everything else. I had just gotten a job on Guiding Light with Kevin Bacon, and I didn’t think the movie was going to do anything, so I passed. Had I known then what I know now, I would have paid my own way out there and probably would have been in Part 4, Part 5…like Robert Englund did with Freddy.
10) How difficult was it wearing “The Bag” on your head during the action scenes?
When I got on set, I knew what I had to do: First thing I did was put on the costume, put the bag over my head, put the shoes on and trained in the woods for three days getting used to running with one eye. That’s when we realized that the bag would flop back and forth, so thats when we came up with the idea of using double-faced tape inside the mask to keep it tight to my face.
11) Did you keep anything from the film (props, scripts, etc.)?
No I didn’t. I had no idea.
12) Have you stayed in touch with anyone from the cast and crew of Part 2??
Other then Cliff Cudney and a couple of stunt guys, no I have not.
13) Any last words for the fans reading this interview?
I love the fans. It’s amazing to me how dedicated they are, and they’re nice people. I’ve probably met 10,000 fans at these connventions I’ve done and 99% of them are dynamite. There are a few wackos out there, but there are wacksos in everything. For the most part they’re very intelligent and ask good questions and I enjoy answering them.