Why isn't Jessica Biel scared of Leatherface? The star of ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' tells EW.com about filming the slasher pic

By Brian Hiatt
Updated October 20, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Jessica Biel: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Movie - 2003)

  • Movie

Pious ”7th Heaven” fans who still want Jessica Biel punished for that oh-so-rebellious, skin-baring Gear photo shoot may take comfort from ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake. When Biel’s character isn’t shrieking and running for her life, she’s watching her friends get slaughtered by the maniacal, chainsaw-packin’ Leatherface. But for Biel, 21, scoring her biggest movie role to date was clearly worth the trauma. The actress still occasionally known as Mary Camden tells EW.com about learning to scream, being ”Punk’d,” and fighting vampires in the in-production sequel ”Blade: Trinity.”

So, what comparisons can you draw between Leatherface’s family and the Camdens?
None whatsoever! [laughs] Leatherface’s family — well, let’s say they’re having a couple of problems. Camdens don’t kill people! We don’t do that.

When you spend that much time filming horrible stuff day after day, what effect does that have on you?
Not much of one. I know that sounds kind of odd. When you work so hard, it’s so physically and emotionally exhausting that’s it easy to let it go. Just to go home and sleep as long as you can, then get up and do it again. No nightmares.

Watching the finished product, are you able to be scared?
I was not frightened the one time I’ve seen it so far, because I was being really critical of my own performance. The first time you see it, you watch yourself; you watch your choices and what they chose in editing. I really couldn’t enjoy it as a whole, so I was not scared. I think I’d be able to be scared after I’d seen it a couple times, then I could watch it as a whole instead of dissecting every moment and critically analyzing it.

How’d you handle having to scream so much?
I lost my voice a lot. Screaming is not easy. It’s hard on your vocal cords and it’s tiring. It’s hard to get a really guttural primal scream instead of a little yelp or something. You can warm your voice up and down a little with scales, but if you want that real, afraid scream that comes from the depth of your soul, you just gotta blow out your cords. We had to do so much looping — lots of breathing and running and gasping and screaming.

Isn’t it dangerous to have to spend so much time in the proximity of a chainsaw?
Not when you have a huge special effects team grabbing it away from you every second. I never really felt in any danger. But once I punched it by accident and ripped the skin on my knuckles. A lot of the times we were using a real chainsaw with a bicycle chain — or a rubber chainsaw if it was getting really close.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Movie - 2003)

  • Movie
  • R
  • 98 minutes
  • Marcus Nispel