Appearing in numerous film and television roles, Vincent Guastaferro played the role of mail-order laser scope wielding Deputy Rick Cologne in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. We spoke with him recently about his experiences during the making of the film, and what his current projects are.
1)It’s been 17 years since Jason Lives hit the big screen. When’s the last time you saw the movie?
Since my wife and I are both in it we’ve developed a corny tradition and watch it once a year usually on Friday the 13th. We also always leave a goofy phone message quoting lines from the movie for (director) Tom McLoughlin.
2) Was it a pleasant shoot for you?
It was only my second movie and my first supporting role. I was excited to have the role and to be working with a director I liked and already trusted; Tom had directed a play I was in a year earlier. It was the first time I traveled to a location in another state and stayed in a hotel to do a movie. It was the first time I received a per diem and was booked long enough to make some good money. I was overwhelmed by the size of it all, the fact that a 100 people flew or drove somewhere and assembled as a small army and set out to accomplish a given goal in a given amount of time; the collaboration with experts from each department working together and deferring when necessary to get the job done. It was the first big movie learning experience for me and so has a special place in my heart. Being friends with Tom helped because I was a around when he wrote it and later was invited to the editing room as well as had to do voice over looping. I learned a lot about the movie making process from inception to premier on this film. I see it as one of the foundation blocks of my career. It made me fall in love with the movie making process. That being said, pleasant isn’t a word I’d use to characterize this shoot. Georgia is hot and muggy, we got tick bites – I was hospitalized overnight, our lodging was a dinky roadside motel on a highway exit and the only visible signs of life were a gas station and a Waffle House. Good food was hard to find. Our line producer was a little tight with the budget and in some cases made poor decisions that required compromise but fortunately, Tom is a genius and found a creative way around every snag especially those imposed by some kind of production restraint. In retrospect I later realized I was in a low budget horror movie that was always intended to be on the studio’s back burner because the genre, while lucrative, sometimes embarrasses them. But as I said above, at the time, all that ‘stuff’ was overshadowed by the awesome experience I was having.
3) There were definitely elements of humor in Jason Lives not found in any of the previous films. Was this something that appealed to you when you first read the script that the filmmakers were trying to do something different with Part VI?
Everything that was fresh and innovative about Part VI was Tom Mcloughlin’s doing. 2) The studios simply mandate, “We had a hit, let’s make another.” Then they say, “Let’s get somebody who has ideas on how to make it fresh.” Tom did a few things that hadn’t been done in a Friday movie before. He knew that by now the audience had certain expectations. He sought to make it more accessible by adding several things not seen in the previous movies. A sense of humor; for example we all have to laugh when Megan is describing the most horrible thing on earth to the other counselors and then a school bus full of screaming kids pulls up. Not only the humor but also, I think it’s the first Friday that uses young kids that are not the intended victims. Tom also incorporated contemporary rock music instead of just using a generic horror track; i.e., he used Alice Cooper’s song for the movie. And lastly, I think it was the first time a Friday movie used a big vehicular stunt; the mobile home crash was a huge thing for a movie of this size. So, in summary, humor, contemporary rock music, stunts, and the use of children were the new elements that Tom brought to this chapter to make it different. I personally think he succeeded and raised the mark. All the subsequent Friday’s were of a higher production value than those prior to part VI.
4) What was the mood on-set with the cast and crew? Was this to be a fresh, new stand-alone film or just the 6th installment in the franchise, and therefore just another paycheck?
Like any other movie it the mood goes through many changes. The mood at first was excitement, after a few weeks of tick fever and such the mood was that of a hard working crew, and near the end it of the shoot it became all about meeting deadlines but once met the pervasive feeling is joy. It always in when a movie is done. As far as fresh and innovative, remember they were all intended to be stand- alone. It wasn’t it is like now with the Matrix, Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings where they plan the sequel in advance and shoot it concurrently. Back then no one knew if a movie would be enough of a hit to warrant a sequel. For us, there was a point of pride; no one wanted to be in the Friday that killed the franchise. Tom wanted our movie to be good enough to make the studio want another. Obviously he succeeded.
5) Tom McLoughlin’s original script had some very graphic scenes in it, many of which didn’t make the final cut. Did you personally have any apprehensiveness about the violence in the film?
I had no apprehension about the violence in the film and in retrospect I think it was tame. Compared to what I’ve seen since the Friday movies, especially Tom’s are down right civil. Tom never let the camera linger on a bleeding throat or anything like that, he always shocked the audience on the cut, with effective juxtaposition of the images. I don’t know of any scenes that were cut simply because they were too graphic. If a scene didn’t make the movie it’s probably because it didn’t forward the plot. I know for a fact that Tom had to add a kill once we got back to L.A. That’s how my wife got involved, he called me and said he needed to shoot another death scene and asked if my wife would do it. Hence, the sequence in the park with Cindy and Roger trying to escape on the motor scooter and the double skewering by Jason.
6) Were they’re any of your scenes that were cut from the final release?
The only scene of mine lost in the final cut was the one I previously described to you. It didn’t make it for a few reasons. The main reason is it didn’t forward the plot. We had no logic supporting that Jason would go to the jailhouse looking for Tommy. A secondary reason is, I am a grown-up and the audience is inured to seeing Jason mindlessly slay teens.
7) Did you keep any souvenirs from the set (props, costumes, etc.)?
No costumes or props. The only souvenir I kept from this movie is the long-standing friendship I’ve maintained with Tom and Nancy McLoughlin.
8) Do you still stay in touch with any cast or crew members from the movie?
I am a lifelong friend of tom and Nancy McLoughlin. I still occasionally run into the man who played the sheriff, David Kagen. And of course, I married Cynthia Kania the year we made that movie, 1986.
9) You’ve played everything from Sgt. Agostini on NYPD Blue to Al Capone, and worked with film directors like Gary Marshall, David Mamet and Woody Allen. How does your work on Jason Lives fit in with the rest of the films in your resume? Is it something you’re proud to have done or something you like to leave off your resume, so to speak?
I see it as one of the foundation blocks of my career. It is and will remain on my resume and I have no embarrassment about having done it at all. Additionally, I’m proud to have certain director’s names on my resume and Tom’s name deserves to be listed among the other luminaries you mention in your question.
10) Friday the 13th fans are notorious for their dedication. How do you feel about the fans approaching you for autographs and what not?
They are indeed dedicated as is indicated by your own obsession with it. I appreciate anyone who will take the time to say they’ve seen something I’m in and comment on it. Especially Friday, that was along time ago and if someone remembers me, I know that person really is a fan. I never deny a fan an autograph or a courteous exchange.
11) What projects do you have in the works right now?
I just finished filming an action movie with Val Kilmer called SPARTAN, it’s a Secret Service thriller written and directed by David Mamet.
12) You’ve done film, television and theater work at various points during your career. What is your favorite medium to work in, and why?
Movies. I like the size of the collaboration. For every movie I’ve worked on I have made at least one friend. I’ve come away educated further as to what it is that all the different tradesmen and experts do to help create movie magic. I have learned so much about acting from every star I’ve worked with and learned to enjoy the particular challenges of film acting. I’ve learned equally as much about the technology from every member of the crew I’ve had anything to do with. I am the type that shows active interest and my associations have rewarded me with knowledge and insight. I enjoy the post-production process, editing, scoring, Foley sound effects, and looping, etc. And, most of all, I love the public opening of movies because after the hoopla of the premier you get to go to a mall or Cineplex like a regular patron, sit with and feel the audiences reaction to something you’ve said or done in the movie. It’s an awesome feeling.
13) Any last words for the fans?
Go see movies. Enjoy them. Remember they are make believe and intended to entertain you. If you don’t like something exercise your freedom of choice and either walk out or change the channel. Expressing your appreciation or dislike for a project is your way of helping determine what kind of movie gets made.