The Saga Of Kane Hodder Not Playing Jason Voorhees In 'Freddy vs Jason'

Although it has been well over ten years since Freddy vs Jason was released in theaters, many of our readers and fans abroad still wonder if the film would have been even better if Kane Hodder had been allowed to play Jason Voorhees. Of course, there was a big controversy over the decision to not cast Kane in the iconic role back in 2002 when it was revealed he would not be returning. The World Wide Web was really still in it's infancy and there was a lot of miscommunication and misinformation spreading throughout chat rooms and message forums about what really happened. Kane was pretty vocal about the decision in magazine interviews, and to this day, he still has not received an answer to why he was not invited back to play the role.

Throughout the years, many involved in the production of Freddy vs Jason would point back and forth to who made the call to not have Kane return to play. Some would say it was director Ronny Yu who made the call, while others say executives at New Line Cinema made the final decision. By now, the majority of Friday The 13th fans have read Crystal Lake Memories or watched the documentary of the same name and are more familiar with the circumstances surrounding the decision. In the horror community, this was huge deal at the time and even today people still are confused as to what happened.

To give some clarity to what may have happened during this casting controversy, we have broken down a section of Crystal Lake Memories and condensed some key points of the interviews conducted by Peter Bracke. Please read below to see how some of the people involved in the film felt about Kane not being cast and the reasoning for him not being brought onto production from a number of different perspectives and point of views.

From Crystal Lake Memories
Casting the role of Jason was another matter. It was New Line’s decision to hire a new actor for the role. It was not a consensus. A lot of people, including me, thought they should have stayed with Kane Hodder. But the studio wanted to try something different, to make it fresh. To me, it was done for no good reason. But, at some point, the people that write the checks get the cut, if you know what I mean. Having said that, I think Ken Kirzinger did a terrific job. I like Ken, and I like Kane. Still, and this is nothing against Ken, I feel that it was a mistake to not go with Kane. Of all the people who had anything to do with Freddy vs. Jason, Kane was the one that I think was not treated as well as he should have been.

Way back in March of 2002, I got one of the first Freddy vs. Jason scripts once it had been given the green-light. And I thought, “We’re looking good here now. If they are giving me the script, obviously they want me to play the character.” And this came from New Line directly. I even had a meeting with an executive there, as well as a great talk with Ronny Yu—at least, I thought it went very well. Maybe that was just a meeting to satisfy whomever. Then I was made an offer. One of the producers of the film called and said, “We want you to do it, but we don’t have much money and this is what we can offer.” And he gave me a number. My only question was, “Does that include residuals? Was this a buyout situation?” The answer was, “I’m not sure. Let me check on that.”

They tried to tell me that they wanted someone with more expressive eyes and all this stuff.

MATTHEW BARRY, Casting Director:
Kane came in and said, “This means a lot to me. I have a lot of fans. Don’t take this away from me.” But in the end, you always have to do what’s best for the film, and Ronny thought recasting Jason would be the right thing to do. And, to be honest, so did I. Kane was physically too big. He didn’t fit the image that Ronny was going for. Ronny wanted to focus on Jason’s eyes. And he felt Kane was a little too cartoon-y in the last few films. It was about movement, too, at least compared to the other films, where Jason just kind of walks around like Frankenstein. There’s a lot more to him in this one.

RONNY YU, Director:
I had no problem with Kane. He did fantastic work. But the studio thought it was a good idea to change. They were thinking that this is a whole new franchise, and another new actor to play Jason could give the movie a little different flavor, including updating his costume and look. Ultimately, it was not my call—it was really New Line’s. Although I agreed it was a great idea because then we could inject new ideas into Freddy vs. Jason.

Eventually they had an open casting call—I know a lot of people who went in on it. They ended up hiring a Canadian stuntman. So what does that tell you? They wanted someone with more expressive eyes, or someone who was cheaper and more convenient?

It seems as though there were creative and financial motivations behind recasting Jason Voorhees for Freddy vs Jason and perhaps the biggest point of contention in the situation is loyalty and honesty towards a true champion of the franchise.
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