I conducted this interview with Douglas Tait a few months ago and he is one of the nicest guys. Not only did he answer my questions in great detail, but he was generous enough to send me autographed pics of him as Jason Voorhees. For those that do not know how Mr. Tait fits into the Friday the 13th world, he played Jason Voorhees at the very end of Freddy vs Jason when Jason walks out of the lake holding Freddy's head.
It mwould appear that it took little time to shoot that final scene, but in fact there was a lot more that went into capturing the final "wink" to the audience on which maniac beat who.
Douglas Tait Interview
(F13TH FRANCHISE) How did you get started working in the film industry and what was your primary goal? Was your goal to act, produce or direct?
(DOUG TAIT) My primary goal when I started was always to act. I loved performing, and I started working at Universal Studios in High school playing Frankenstein and other Classic Movie Monsters, and that is what got me started in acting behind masks and makeup. I became obsessed with playing monsters at an early age. Most recently I have gotten into producing films that I am in. I produced the film One By One: Deaths Door which stars Tony Todd and myself.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) How did you get involved in the Freddy vs Jason production? Had you worked with any of the crew from Freddy vs Jason previously?
(DOUG TAIT) I got involved by going through casting. I had gone to several auditions, and call backs and was being considered for the part. Ronny Yu wanted a taller leaner Jason Vorhees. I actually feel bad for Kane Hodder, If I was Kane I would have been upset also if a Director would cast someone else when I had played Jason in so many prior films. Anyway, after weeks had gone by I was told they hired Ken, so I sadly moved on. Then almost a year later they called me for the reshoot.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) How many days were you on set for filming and what was the typical amount of time and preparation you needed for your scene? What kind of makeup appliances and props were needed for the Jason outift that you were to wear?
(DOUG TAIT) I was on the film for a couple days. The water sequence took a lot of preparation. They realized that when I got wet, I looked too skinny in the clothes, so they had to bulk me up with pads and extra clothing so it would look like I was still big. Being with all this extra weight, one eye covered, a machete in one hand, Freddy’s head in another hand, and being totally submerged in water, made that scene very difficult. Also, Ronny Yu wanted me to walk like I was walking on land. He wanted it to look like I could walk through the water without it making me rise to the surface. To do this effect, they had a rope tied under water that I held onto with my left hand (with Freddy’s severed head in it also), and I held myself down on the ground so I could pull myself and walk forward.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) What was your experience working with Director Ronny Yu and also Robert England? Are there any funny or interesting behind the scene stories that you woud like to share?
(DOUG TAIT) Working with Robert Englund and Ronny Yu was great. Robert Englund was a class act. He was such a great guy, and we talked about his character, and how he was a huge influence on my acting behind prosthetic fx makeup. It was a dream come true to work with him. I actually have an emberassing story about Ronny Yu. When I came in to meet him, he was showing me the Jason movements he wanted and he was hunched over and dragging his leg, so I copied him several times, and he kept saying no, no, like this… and he did the same thing. Finally he got called to another room and he limped out. I realized that he had a bad leg and I was imitating it, I felt so terrible.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) The scene that you are known to be playing Jason is at the very end of the film where Jason emerges from the water with Freddy’s head in his hand. Is that truly the only scene you played Jason? If that is the only scene, were you supposed to appear in other scenes as Jason at one point, but eventually were not needed?
(DOUG TAIT) Unfortunately for me, it was the only scene I was hired to do. The test audiences were confused about the original ending, they thought Jason Ritter’s character was becoming Jason. You can see it in the deleted scenes, that is why they decided to reshoot the ending. Originally I was being considered for playing the role of Jason in the entire film. It was actually between me and Ken. When they took the film to Canada, I was out of luck. There was no way they were going to pay for my flight and hotel stay when Ken was a local. Also, Ken is older than me and he was a lot more established in the business than I was at the time.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) Do you know the circumstances as to why you had to be brought in to play Jason for your scene(s)? Was Ken Kirzinger just not available or were there other reasons?
(DOUG TAIT) I heard different information about why Ken didn’t do the shoot. At the time I was told that they were saving money by hiring me locally for the reshoot. Later on I heard he was on another project and couldn’t get out. I am not sure which is the right answer. Maybe Ken would know…
(F13TH FRANCHISE) What was your overall experience like on filming Freddy vs Jason? Was it an enjoyable and free spirited set and crew?
(DOUG TAIT) It was a great experience working on Freddy vs. Jason. It was my first big Feature film, and I was only 24 at the time. I had a person onset who’s only job was to hold my Machete, (She never worked cause I wouldn’t let go of it!) I remember standing in the water with Freddy’s head in my hand thinking: Wow, I am working with Robert Englund and behind the mask of Jason Vorhees! Both of them scared the hell out of me as a kid and they are the two biggest Horror icons of all time!
(F13TH FRANCHISE) Did you watch Freddy vs Jason and if so, what is your thoughts on the film? Do you follow the franchise at all and have any thoughts to share with the fans?
(DOUG TAIT) I have watched Freddy Vs. Jason several times, and I like it a lot. I really like the blending of the two iconic worlds that these two are from. I think it was well done and I still enjoy watching it. I have always been a fan of the franchise and I feel very privelaged to have been a part of it. I wish I could have done more, but at least I got to experience what I did.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) You recently began attending conventions. What has that experience been like and what do you think of all of the fans that attend to see their favorite actors and artists?
(DOUG TAIT) I wrote off conventions in the past and just recently started attending them. I started to get calls for my character in Star Trek and I enjoyed the experience. I used to think conventions were for actors who no longer had a career, but I was wrong. So I hooked up with the best signing agent, Sean Clark at Convention All Stars, and the rest is history. Interacting with fans has been the greatest thing I could have ever done, and I love it. I will always do conventions to stay close to the great fans out there. I have a fan who wants me to play Michael Myers in the next Halloween and he built a Facebook Fan site and made a slideshow of my monster pictures, it is very flattering. I will be at Weekend Of Horrors this weekend and HorrorHound Weekend next month.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) What do you have in the works right now in Hollywood and what is that one project that you would really like to get done in the industry before it is all said and done?
(DOUG TAIT) I am working on a Horror as we speak, playing an Alien creature who lands at a campsite in the mountains of a small town and I wreak Havoc on the campers and town. Soon I start the new TV Series Teen Wolf, I play the Uber Violent Werewolf in the series, and I just got offered a Lead Monster role in the Hansel And Gretel remake starring Jeremy Renner. The monster will be a huge practical Beast, (NO CGI) and it will be Directed by Tommy Wirkola of Dead Snow.
(F13TH FRANCHISE) You recently were on set to film scenes for Knights Of Badassdom,’ starring Steve Zahn. Larry Zerner, who was in Friday the 13th Part 3, was also asked to film a scene for the film. Did you happen to be filming the same day he was? Did you two meet and if so, did you two discuss anything related to Friday the 13th or films in general?
(DOUG TAIT) Knights Of Badassdom is going to be a cult Horror masterpiece, it is Directed by the talented Joe Lynch and he was great to work with. Unfortunately Larry shot his scenes after I had already left Spokane Washington where the movie was filmed.
Big thanks goes to Douglas for sharing his experiences and photos. Make sure to check out his Facebook page to keep up with all news on his career!