'It’s kind of crazy, but it’s definitely something I would love to do'
Following the huge box office success of the Jamie Lee Curtis-starring Halloween sequel, you might imagine that stars of other horror franchises are keeping an eye on their phones in the hope of being asked to reprise their roles in a reboot. And, according to A Nightmare on Elm Street actress Heather Langenkamp, you’d be right.
“I’m sitting here like any other scream queen in Hollywood, hoping that they revive their franchise,” says Langenkamp, with a laugh. “I’m not alone! I know of lots of other horror heroines who have this little bit of spring in their step thinking about the chance of perhaps being in [new versions of] the movies that they helped make famous as young people. It’s kind of crazy, but it’s definitely something I would love to do.”
Lankenkamp originated the role of the Freddy Krueger-battling high schooler Nancy Thompson in the late writer-director Wes Craven’s original 1984 film and played the part again in 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, before finally portraying a version of herself in 1994’s meta-shocker Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Robert Englund played Krueger in all three films, and starred as the dream-dwelling maniac in eight movies in all, including 2003’s monster mash-up Freddy vs. Jason. In the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street the actor was replaced by Jackie Earle Haley, while Rooney Mara played “Nancy Holbrook.” But Englund recently played Freddy in an episode of The Goldbergs and seems willing to do so again on the big screen, if the project did justice to Craven’s creation.
“I see Robert all the time, we were just together in Baltimore (at a convention),” says Langenkamp. “He actually spoke for a quite a while at one of the panel discussions that we did about his yearning [to play Freddy], but also his commitment to always putting the best face on Freddy’s legacy. You know, he travels the world making fans happy with his presence and his charm. I think he’s probably the best advocate for how important Freddy is in our horror community, how Freddy Krueger changed the genre to be this incredible juggernaut of money-making for Hollywood. I do believe that Robert Englund and all the ’80s monsters really changed film history and I think they deserve even more recognition than they get. If the way to do that would be to have a Freddy movie for Robert Englund at this incredible point in his own life, I think it would be fantastic.”
Langenkamp isn’t just sitting around waiting for the call to play Nancy again. The actress is speaking with EW over the phone from AFX Studio, the effects company she runs with her Oscar-winning makeup artist husband, David LeRoy Anderson, which just wrapped work on the most recent season of American Horror Story. Langenkamp is also directing a short film called Washed Away, which he hopes to premiere early next year.
“I wouldn’t call it a horror movie, but it’s definitely a ghost story,” she says. “I have my final day of shooting this week and hopefully I’ll have that out in January. People out there are saying, ‘Oh, I’d hire women directors, if there were women directors.’ I decided I’d better go out and make something and show how much I want to direct. I used all my proceeds from the conventions that I did in the last two years to invest in my own little short film. I’m excited for people to see it.”
While it might be a little premature to suggest that Langenkamp could direct an Elm Street film, she wouldn’t be the first woman to do so. That blood-streaked glass ceiling was broken by Rachel Talalay, who oversaw 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and in recent years has become an in-demand TV director, helming episodes of Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Flash, and, most recently, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
“Rachel [is] a trailblazer,” says Langenkamp. “Rachel not only was the first director, but she literally was part of New Line Cinema (the company which produced the franchise) from some of the earliest days. In fact, in the beginning, she worked in the accounting office. So, she’s a real inspiration, a woman finding her place, and moving her way up little by little by little by little, and then getting an amazing opportunity and taking it.”
So, will we see Heather Langenkamp playing Nancy Thompson again? According to the actress, your guess is currently as good as hers.
“I haven’t [heard anything about a new film],” she says. “I certainly keep up with friends at New Line Cinema, and so I would expect if Warner Bros. or New Line Cinema — whoever — would put something like that together, I would imagine that I would know. So, the fact that I don’t know leads me to believe that it’s probably not in the works.
“Of course, I love the character so much, and she’s definitely part of me, and as I grow old, she grows old inside. Every time Wes Craven used to call, and ask if I would be interested in playing Nancy one last time, I would often be incredibly excited about it. But I don’t know what forces in Hollywood are planning on that remake, or that rematch between Nancy and Freddy. I’m like my own fans. I just think, Wow, that would be neat!”