Friday the 13th's Jared Padalecki: Not a D-bag

Jared Padalecki, who plays a new character named Clay in the upcoming reboot of Friday the 13th, told reporters that he's happy to play practically the only male character who's neither a hockey-masked serial killer nor a douchebag.

"I like to think that it was just me not being a douchebag, yeah," Padalecki said with tongue in cheek in a group interview in Beverly Hills, Calif., over the weekend. "No, it was nice. ... I've been the kind of douchey character, so it was nice to have a little vacation from it."

Padalecki plays a man who searches for his sister, Whitney (Amanda Righetti), in the small town of Crystal Lake. Whitney went camping with some friends six weeks earlier and hasn't been seen or heard from since. Padalecki finds himself on the run from the resident psycho who lives in the woods: Jason Voorhees, played by Derek Mears.

Following is an edited version of our interview with Padalecki, who was charming, self-effacing and cheerful despite our rude questions. Friday the 13th opens Feb. 13. (Possible spoilers ahead!)

We were on set watching you get your face smashed into the bus glass. Was that you?

Padalecki: Yeah. Do you know that really cut me up?


Padalecki: It was my forehead. That was actually funny, because they were doing that head-through-the-bus-window thing, and I was, like, how is this staying? And they're like, "Well, there's ... an inch of clear plastic or whatever [underneath]. ... So make sure you don't hit it." I was like, "OK." And so we kind of did it, and I hit it, and ... I knew my face was going to smash the glass. It was candy glass or whatever. Everybody did it before me to appease me and ease my concerns. But then we did it, and I was like, "I think [touches his forehead for blood] ... " And ... they ... looked at me. I had fake blood all over me anyway, and they're like, "No, no, no, you're good." And I was like, "You're sure? ... OK, whatever." And sure enough, we go back and wash, and I have like a little gash on my forehead. Yeah. So I cried and, you know, I sued, I sued for a sequel. Saturday the 14th? Comes out next year [laughs].

Did you do a lot of your own stunts?

Padalecki: I didn't. And that wasn't even so much a stunt. That was just sort of stage fighting. My stunt guy, Chris Gant, is just awesome, and he did the stuff that really required guts and know-how. ... To steal from, I think Harrison Ford, "I run, jump and fall." You know what I mean? Like, I'll turn my head, but getting thrown around and smashing through this and getting thrown into that, that they have paid guys for that are a lot tougher than I am. ...

Did you see the original Friday the 13th?

Padalecki: I did. I saw the original, actually, when I was in middle school. A buddy of mine who, we sort of liked to camp and liked scary stories. It was kind of a group of like three or four of us. Like trying to scare each other. It was kind of the time of life, you know, you're in middle school, and you're like, "Yeah, like, let's tell scary stories," and stuff like that. Um, and we actually watched that and The Exorcist in one night, so, yeah. ...

I guess what sort of excited me about trying to scare myself back then is kind of what excites me about seeing a scary movie now. It's just that really quick instant where you know you're safe, but it's kind of fun to entertain the idea of, you know, of being in grave danger. ...


There's a question in the film of ultimately who lives and who dies.

Padalecki: Yeah, yeah, see, that's good. I like that it kind of kept everybody guessing. We were just talking about that. You know, when it kind of gets down to the core of people that are left, and ... who's going to live, who's going to die, you're not really sure, and I like that.

I like that, because this movie's been done so many times. Not just Friday the 13th, but horror movies in general with a scary killer like Jason Voorhees, but it's easy to go like [points], "OK, gone, goner, goner. Maybe, going to live for sure. His name's above the title, he's going to live, or whatever. George Clooney, he's going to live." But, no, ... I like the level of [actors] that they used. ... We've all worked, and ... we know our way in front of a camera, but it's not like, oh, well, you know, Jake Gyllenhaal's in it, he's going to live. Yeah. ...

Working with the director, Marcus Nispel?

Padalecki: He has to be the cop, he has to be the cop, and he works hard, I guess is what it is. It's like, "Slow down. I want to take it easy a little bit." But he's a hard worker, and ... you almost lose yourself for a second, but yeah, the three of them [Nispel and producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form] really were a joy to work with. That sounds like such a cheesy [thing], like, "They were a joy to work with," but they were really fun. It was fun to go out drinking, and it was fun to ... be there. ...

Did any of your ideas make it into the film?

Padalecki: [Joking] No, they were all shot down. No. Probably. Even little things, like blocking changes. Like, "Well, what if I'm not here right there, because I'm doing this?" Or ... "Why would I say this when ... ?" But, yeah, ... it was just minor changes. ...

One of the ideas with horror movies, and movies in general, you have these red herrings. ... "What is this?" Like, "Why would I pick up a dead fox? Can't I just look at the dead ... ?" You know? It's like, let's not do that. ... And the writers were great, and they were like, "All right, well, give us a chance to think," and voila! They'd come back, and you're like, "Perfect, let's do it." So it was a really fun process. ...

What was it like to act in such an iconic movie?

Padalecki: It was great. It was fun, when you think about it, but essentially no different. ... When I go to work, I try to just do my work, you know? ...

Ultimately, as exciting as it is to be a part of an icon of a franchise, it's also really frustrating [that] there are people that are just going to not like it for the sake of not liking it. ... There are people that are just going to be so loyal to ... the original, they're going to be like, "I don't want to see that, bulls--t, Michael Bay and Jared, and he's a pretty boy with blah, blah, blah." So whatever. Like, I try to take the good with the bad, and I do my work, and I just hope it turns out well.

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