How Friday the 13th's new girl went mano a mano with Jason

Whitney (Amanda Righetti) and Clay (Jared Padalecki) search for Jason in Friday the 13th.

Not a whole hell of a lot of people saw Friday the 13th star Amanda Righetti's previous foray into the realm of big-screen horror, the direct-to-DVD sequel Return to House on Haunted Hill. But chances are that fans will turn out in droves for Righetti's current project, director Marcus Nispel's reboot of the classic slasher franchise.

Righetti (The Mentalist) stars as Whitney, a young woman who has the misfortune of finding herself at Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) is about to go on a killing spree. Fortunately, Whitney's a fighter, and help is on the way in the form of her brother, Clay (Supernatural's Jared Padalecki). Friday the 13th opens nationwide on, you guessed it, Friday, Feb. 13. SCI FI Wire spoke exclusively with Righetti about making the film, and the following are edited excerpts from that interview.

The original Friday the 13th came out before you were even born. So did the title have any meaning to you whatsoever when this film came your way?

Righetti: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Even though the original movie came out before I was born, I was still very much aware of Friday the 13th as a franchise. I remember seeing the film. I was very young when I saw it, and, of course, when the film was offered to me, I ended up going back and revisiting the original. And I did research about Marcus Nispel's past movies. So it was definitely on my radar.

How tough was the shoot? How much more screaming than talking did you end up doing?

Righetti: In some ways I think I was crying and screaming more than I was speaking. There was a lot of that. It was definitely very challenging in that aspect, and it was also very challenging physically. It was kind of an endurance game. There was a lot of running and falling and dealing with a lot of bruises and aches and pains. But I think, ... I hope it's something that people are going to enjoy seeing. We had a great time doing it, though. We had a lot of fun.

Whitney no doubt has at least one big showdown with Jason. How did that go, and what kind of experience did you have working with Derek Mears?

Righetti: Oh, God, Derek is such a great guy. He's got such a great sense about himself, and he's done a lot of stunt work, and he knows his spatial relationships with people when he's doing stunts. He's so aware of where you are and how to handle it and rehearsing it to make sure that nobody gets hurt. It was so refreshing to work with someone that was so on top of it, because sometimes things were so chaotic that it was like, "Go, go, go, go!", and to know that I could trust Derek to have both of our best interests in mind with safety, it was just really refreshing to work with him. And he's a total sweetheart.

What's your gut instinct about the film?

Righetti: I have seen such small clips of it. I did see the opening, which was really cool. From what I know, the beginning is pretty funny, which takes you off guard. So from what I have seen it looks cool, but I haven't seen it as a whole yet. I'm praying that it turns out well.

If this is a hit, how open would you be to returning for a sequel?

Righetti: Hey, if [producers} Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are a part of it, I would love to do it. I really enjoyed working with those guys. If they'll have me, I'd love to.

Do you worry about the possibility of becoming a scream queen?

Righetti: Sure. I think I sometimes battle with that, with the back and forth of "Oh, God, you don't want to be pigeonholed, but it's also such a great franchise, and there's something really exciting about being a part of it." So I have trepidations about it sometimes, and other times I'm totally thrilled by it.

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