Robert Englund, the renowned actor known for his portrayal of the iconic horror character Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, is the subject of an upcoming documentary titled “Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story.” Scheduled to be released on June 6, the documentary delves into Englund’s remarkable journey in the world of cinema, where he has not only played Freddy Krueger but also directed films, lent his voice to video game characters, and acted in numerous movies and shows.
Despite his impressive body of work, Englund remains modest about his legacy, attributing his success to being a character actor who has been fortunate throughout his career.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Englund’s story unfolds during the early stages of his career when he found himself in close proximity to blockbuster movies of the 1970s. He once read for the role of Han Solo in the legendary “Star Wars” franchise and even encouraged his roommate Mark Hamill to audition for the role of Luke Skywalker.
Englund also played a part in transforming Pasadena, California into a Midwest street by gathering dead leaves for John Carpenter’s classic horror film “Halloween.” However, it was his role as Willie in the alien franchise “V,” which aired from 1983 to 1985, that provided Englund with his breakthrough opportunity.
While filming “V,” Englund auditioned for the role of a burned child killer in Wes Craven’s horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The low-budget movie became a hit, leading to a string of sequels, and Englund was pleased to witness the growing recognition and respect for the horror genre. He believes that horror is the punk rock of cinema, with its own unique cultural significance, and he appreciates how horror movies brought pulp and melodrama to the forefront.
Englund last portrayed Freddy Krueger on film in 2003’s successful crossover film “Freddy vs. Jason.” However, in 2010, the character was recast with Jackie Earle Haley in the remake of the original 1984 “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Despite the financial success of the remake, fans criticized it as a low point in the series, and subsequent films were not made.
Englund, although grateful for the horror community’s loyalty, holds no animosity towards Haley’s portrayal of Freddy. He believes that the decision to depict Freddy as a child molester instead of a child killer in the remake veered too far into darkness, leaving no room for the character’s signature personality to shine.
Inevitably, during the conversation with Englund, thoughts turn to the future of the franchise. While he hasn’t written any of the films, he contemplates how to bring “A Nightmare on Elm Street” into the modern era. Englund suggests incorporating technology and culture into the story, envisioning a scenario where Freddy haunts the subconscious of an influencer and exploits those who follow her.
When asked if he would consider reprising the role of Freddy for the right script, Englund candidly admits that he is now too old and physically limited to perform the demanding fight scenes. He cites health issues such as a bad neck, bad back, and arthritis in his right wrist. Nonetheless, he expresses his desire to make a cameo appearance if given the opportunity.
Englund even shares his choice for a modern-day Freddy Krueger, expressing admiration for Kevin Bacon. Englund believes that Bacon, known for his respect for the genre and physical acting abilities, would bring an intriguing presence to the role, capturing the essence of Freddy in his movements and the power of silence.
Freddy Krueger, the villainous character, is renowned for his memorable one-liners and puns, which have become synonymous with