Looking Back: Friday The 13th 2009 To Originally Have Tommy Jarvis And No Mrs. Voorhees?

While news on the new Friday The 13th sequel is sorely lacking as of late, there were those rumors of a found footage sequel and the announcement of a 3-D film that has got the web buzzing. In the mean time, there has been no solid news for a new Jason Voorhees adventure. To give fans an idea of what the process was for developing Friday The 13th 2009, we thought it would be fun to back track and take a look at the news that was produced for the development of the film. For those fans that followed the news and rumors for the franchise reboot, it was indeed an interesting road to get the newest Jason Voorhees tale into theaters.

There was a lot of confusion for fans going into 2007 as Quentin Tarantino had been pursued by Warner Bros. to possibly write and direct a new Friday The 13th film and then there were whispers that Paramount Pictures had re-entered the mix for creating a new re-imagining of the Friday The 13th film franchise. Below is a very detailed and interesting interview conducted by Chud.com in early January 2007 in which a lot of the problems that delayed the last Friday The 13th film are plainly laid out. There has always been confusion on the topic of why Paramount Pictures had to be involved and the answers given below make it very clear.

Can you imagine a back story that did not include Mrs. Voorhees or a drowning Jason? How about no Friday The 13th in the title for the movie again, or the possibility of Tommy Jarvis returning to the franchise?

From Chud.com (January 2007)

Fuller and Form were approached by New Line to do a remake of Friday the 13th, and they couldn’t have been more excited. “I said, ‘I love Jason Voorhees,’” Form told me. “Those are movies I lived on when I was younger.”

There was one obstacle – New Line only owned the sequels, and not the first film. Plus, Paramount retained the rights to the title Friday the 13th. “So we were put in a box – we couldn’t use anything from the first one,” said Form. “So we started going down the road of making a Friday the 13th movie that didn’t include anything from part one.”

Says Fuller: “We had to create our own backstory.” That would mean no Mrs. Voorhees or drowned Jason – although the truth of the matter is that most people don’t have any idea that the first Friday had Jason’s MOM doing all the killings, Fuller and Form feel that the original history is important to keep in some way.

All of that seemed moot until Paramount came knocking and said that they wanted to play. MTV Films came on board as well, and suddenly everything was changed – they had the rights to the title and to the first film.

“The box is completely open – we can use 1, 2 or 3,” Form says. “The title will be Friday the 13th. So we’re now going to bring in a new writer, [Jonathan] Liebesman [director of the Texas Chainsaw prequel] is going to direct, and we’re going to pull from the first three movies.”

Fuller says that the film won’t be The Best of Jason Voorhees, but they’re free to pick and choose elements that they like the best. And their Jason will wear the hockey mask, even though he first got it in the third film. Form told me, “I think there are moments we want to address, like how does the hockey mask happen. It’ll happen differently in our movie than in the third one. Where is Jason from, why do these killings happen, and what is Crystal Lake?”

And then Bradley Fuller dropped the bomb on me: “And how does Tommy Jarvis fit in?”

“You’re going to have Tommy Jarvis?” I just about shouted.

Fuller laughed. “You got all excited.”

Fuller warned me that nothing is certain yet, including Tommy Jarvis, but it’s one of the many things they’re talking about. Says Form: “[Y]ou want the movie to feel real. When the killing gets over the top, it can feel campy, and we don’t want that. And with a machete and the way Jason kills, there’s a fine line. We want it to feel real, and he is a brutal killer. We’re dancing with that; we’ll put all of these elements together.”

One of the other main elements they’re still wrestling with is Jason’s origin. In the original Friday, young, retarded Jason Voorhees is drowned due to camp counselor negligence, prompting his mom to go on a murder spree. In one of the most famous images in the series, a dead Jason leaps out of Crystal Lake and claims a victim – but it’s all a Carrie rip-off dream. Yet somehow Jason shows up in Part II as a big, grown and ostensibly living man (if a guy who can take a hatchet to the face and not be slowed down can be considered to be living, that is. Still, he’s fleshy and pink).

Fuller says that Jason’s origin is the big sticking point for them right now. “We talk about that for hours on end. How do you do that and not make it seem cheesy? If you don’t do that well, they’re not along for the ride of the movie. In some ways, you’re better off not addressing it – which I don’t think we’re going to do – or you come up with a writer and a group of people who sit in a room and come up with an idea so brilliant that it works, and that’s what we’re striving to do. Every discussion about this movie – you talk about the kills, you talk about the hot chicks, you talk about the nudity, you talk about Crystal Lake – but at the end of the day, the question is, ‘Is there a supernatural element to this movie?’ Is Jason a demon? I think you can’t figure out any of the other things until you figure that out.”