Robert Englund speaks in “Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story.” Photo courtesy of Cinedigm
LOS ANGELES, May 30 (UPI) — Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in eight movies and the TV series Freddy’s Nightmares, has an idea for a remake of Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
Englund, 75, shared his pitch in an interview about the documentary Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story, premiering June 6.
“I’d like to switch genders and perhaps play the Priscilla Pointer role,” Englund told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. “She’s the cynical skeptical therapist in the group session who doesn’t believe they’re all having a common nightmare, a collective nightmare.”
The third Freddy Krueger outing features a group of teenagers in a sleep clinic who discover dream powers they can use to battle Freddy.
Original Nightmare heroine Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) returns to help them, while Dr. Simms (Pointer) looks for medical explanations for the nightmares about Freddy.
“I think it would be great that I don’t believe there’s a Freddy Krueger, that there’s this nightmare occurring,” Englund said. “I think it would be kind of fun for the fans.”
In the films, Freddy was a child killer burned to death by a vigilante mob. He returned to haunt the mob’s children in their nightmares, which required Englund to spend hours in the makeup chair having burn scars applied.
A 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street remake starred Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. Englund has ruled out wearing the makeup again for another movie himself.
“No, I don’t want to don the makeup anymore,” Englund said. “I’m too old. I couldn’t do fight scenes.”
As the documentary shows, Freddy fans did get to see Englund in full Freddy makeup for a 2022 appearance at London Film and Comic-Con. Robert Kurtzman, who worked with England on Nightmares 5 and 7, applied his makeup for photo opportunities.
“There’s photos of me kissing babies as Freddy Krueger,” Englund said. “This was well, well past my ‘sell by’ date on Nightmare on Elm Street, so I didn’t feel as possessive of the character or that I had to protect it.”
Englund did not stay in character for the London convention. He said he still met fans as himself, the actor, simply wearing his famous makeup. Nor did Englund wear Freddy’s signature striped sweater or glove with knives.
“I felt it was the right choice for the fans to have an opportunity to have a picture with Robert England in the Freddy makeup,” Englund said. “I didn’t dress up as Freddy because there are so many Freddy cosplay people,”
Freddy was a regular Fangoria cover model and made Nightmare on Elm Street one of the most successful horror franchises. Englund pointed out that each entry features a female survivor who summons the strength to overcome Freddy’s fear.
“I know that Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis predated the 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street,” Englund said. “I’m really proud of the fact that in all of our films, we have a really strong female protagonist, a hero girl, a survivor girl.”
Englund has spoken about Freddy at length throughout his career, including horror convention appearances, and the four-hour documentary, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, which covers every entry in the saga before the remake.
For Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares, it was important to Englund that the film shine a light on his entire body of work. Directors Christopher Griffiths and Gary Smart agreed with Englund, and that’s what sold him on discussing his career.
“It was really the story of an actor who has had 50 years in Hollywood,” Englund said. “We sure didn’t shy away from horror, fantasy and science-fiction work that I’ve done, or game voiceovers and things.”
Before landing the role of Freddy, Englund had a breakthrough role on TV’s V as one of the nice aliens, Willie. And before that, Englund appeared in the bodybuilding drama Stay Hungry, the surfing movie Big Wednesday and the horror film Eaten Alive.
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares also addresses Englund’s near misses with Star Wars and Apocalypse Now. He didn’t get a role in either movie.
However, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill happened to be staying on Englund’s sofa after Englund came home from an audition for the role of Han Solo.
“His agent gets a little upset with me because she may have already submitted him,” Englund said. “I think I was the one that told him about it. I know he got on the phone that afternoon when I told him about it and called his agent.”
Englund said he has no regrets about the roles he did not get to play, adding that said he cannot remember who gave him advice about rejection, but it stuck with him his entire career.
“When you’re on your third or fourth callback, even if you don’t get the part, you have to celebrate,” Englund said. “The writer, the director, the producer, the casting agent, somebody in that room liked you enough to bring you back or actually wanted you for the role.”
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares follows Englund to the present, including his The Goldbergs appearance as Freddy, and the 2014 horror film The Last Showing, of which he is particularly proud.
In The Last Showing, Englund plays a projectionist who traps a couple (Finn Jones and Emily Berrington) in a midnight showing. The sinister projectionist is making his own horror movie in the theater with a cast of patrons and theater staff who did not sign up for it.
“It was a very veiled kind of homage to Brian De Palma,” Englund said of the Phil Hawkins-directed film. “It’s kind of like a ’70s Brian De Palma movie, in a way.”
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares will stream on Screambox and be available for rent or purchase on digital video-on-demand services.