New Line Cinema Interviews Freddy vs Jason Propmaster

When Freddy vs Jason was preparing to be released in theater in August 2003, New Line Cinema interviewed the Prop Master for the film, Graham Coutts, for the official website of the film, That website doesn't exist anymore, except to redirect people to the store for the film, but the interview posted their at that time was pretty interesting. The interview was held to help promote Freddy vs Jason and lend some behind the scenes insight into the making of the film. One of the more interesting things found out during the interview about Graham is that he also worked on Friday The 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan!

New Line Cinema Interview With Graham Coutts
NewLine: How did you get involved with Freddy Vs Jason?
Graham Coutts: I’ve worked on many films over the past 20 years with the Designer John Willett.

NL: Did you have free reign or did you work closely with the cast and the production designer/wardrobe designer?
GC: You never have free rein, everything involves collaboration and approval, however, I think the Designer has a high degree of confidence in my ability.

NL: Did you use the same molds and designs from earlier Nightmare and Jason films, or did you start the mask/machete/Freddy Glove from scratch?
GC: The effects make-up department designed and built the Jason mask. The machete was designed by John Willett and the many versions were constructed to my specifications by our special effects department and my props builder, Charlie Grant. Freddy’s glove was designed and built from scratch with reference to previous gloves by my armourer Lem le Mercier. In total there were approximately 8-10 metal and 20 rubber machetes for various “gags” and 6 copper/steel and 6 plastic gloves as well as special replaceable blades for a variety of uses.

NL: Did you have a prop from the film that was your favorite?
GC: The comatose patient room was probably the most fun to work with.
The machete is just a machete except it’s big. Originally a scabbard was designed for Jason too, but that disappeared in the first camera tests because it interrupted the silhouette of Jason. With the glove we unfortunately had to reinvent the wheel since we were unable to obtain an actual sample of an early glove. By “Mark IV” we achieved a near perfect fit, with the little finger, being the biggest problem to overcome. Robert Englund is quite particular of the fit and mechanics of the operation and I think we were able to satisfy him.

NL: What other films have you worked on, and is there anyone you would love to work with in the future?
GC: I’ve done one other Friday 13th, “Jason Takes Manhattan”. Other than that, lots of features. I just finished “Scary Movie 3″ with David Zucker directing and that was a good experience.

NL: Have you always been a prop master and how did you get into the business? Can you share a little bit of your professional history with us?
GC: I started as a Set Dresser in network television here in Canada in 1979 and from there went to my first position as Props Master in 1986 on a feature called “Housekeeping” directed by Bill Forsyth and starring Christine Lahti.

NL: What kind of design research is involved in preparing for a film like Freddy Vs Jason?
GC: I suppose watching 1 to 10 and 1 to 7. Seriously, I do try to be realistic with every project, so in this case we researched everything from 1950’s summer camps to sleep therapy clinics.

NL: What influences your work the most?
GC: The script, the director, the budget.

NL: Freddy Vs Jason is a dark thrasher film, is there anything humorous that happened while working on Freddy Vs Jason that you can tell us about?
GC: Our 1st AD, Robert Wong, liked to run through a preliminary blocking of the scene we were about to shoot based on his discussion with the director and primarily for the benefit of the stand-ins and Director of Photography. The further into production we got, the more elaborate these blockings became with Robert giving us a detailed interpretation of how the action would play out by assuming all of the various roles with dialogue and action. During the blocking of the scene where Freddy brands another actor with “Freddy’s Back”, Robert is throwing himself around the room as if it were Freddy and the kid. He threw himself against the window and onto the floor and at the peak of the action he throws himself against a wall. Suddenly with a horrible look of pain on his face he runs from the set and reaches down to lift the camera dolly. Well it turns out he has a bad shoulder and in his energetic action had dislocated it. Ouch!

Source: Friday The 13th Props Museum
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