An Exclusive Interview with Kane Hodder

On his latest thriller BTK and more

Every horror fan knows Kane Hodder. He’s played Jason Vorhees, Ed Gein, the hatchet-wielding maniac Victor Crowley, and now the infamous serial killer Dennis Rader, better known as BTK. I talked with Kane while on his drive to the airport for parts unknown and discussed BTK and the rest of his cinematic madmen. Kane, you’ve played a number of notable villains, real and unreal, on screen and now you’re tackling the BTK killer. How much research went into the role?

Kane Hodder: Actually, I didn’t have to do much research on BTK or even Ed Gein, because one of my hobbies is reading true crime. Serial killers in particular. I had known the whole story of BTK just by reading about it and watching his courtroom interviews and all that.

Shock: Now, you’ve been brutal before, but in BTK you’re especially sadistic. How do you distance yourself from the violence of the characters you usually portray?

Hodder: Well, it’s not a very great distance in general between myself and the violent characters. It might sound kind of stupid to say that, but I think that in overall personality I’m closer to that violent persona than most of the population so it doesn’t take me very long to get to that. Once I do it on camera, it’s kind of like a release of tension. It’s almost like getting in a fight. Afterward you’re so calm. I mean, its just always been easy to go in and out of it for me, it always has been. It’s just a bit stranger playing a character that really did these things instead of someone that came out of someone’s imagination like Jason or Victor Crowley.

Shock: How close does the film get to the real story?

Hodder: We followed a lot of the real story, especially with Dennis Rader himself and what he did for a job and his background and stuff like that. It’s pretty accurate. Some of the kills take some pretty good license because, to be honest with you, some of the stuff he did I would even have trouble putting on film and that’s saying something if something would bother me. There were certain things that he did after the killing that I don’t think I could have done and I’m a violent motherf**ker.

Shock: This is probably your most emotional role to date and you sort of touched on this before, but how did you prepare yourself to play someone like Dennis Rader?

Hodder: There was nothing really in-depth. [Dennis] was one of those guys that was likable some of the time. A lot of people just loved the guy! It was almost like playing two characters in the same movie. I have to do scenes that I’m pretty likable, kind of funny, and not weird like with Ed Gein, because everyone who knew him always thought he was weird. With Dennis, you had one side of him that people really enjoyed and he seemed pretty pleasant, but the other side was his dark side. I welcomed doing that because I think if I’m not in a bad mood or angry that I can be fairly likable. I don’t often play a good guy, like almost never, which is fine with me because I think playing the bad guy is more fun. To be able to something like that was just a great challenge. I do certain things to get to the real emotional stuff, like if I have to cry and stuff like that, I usually use music. I’m not a trained actor, I never had any training whatsoever. So if I’m able to do any of these things convincingly is because I spent years watching quality actors work. I was the stunt coordinator on Monster with Charlize Theron and I worked with her everyday on set because of the physical stuff. Just watching her work, going to some really dark, terrible places, I learned by observing. It’s better than learning by being taught, because you can develop your own style instead of learning someone else’s style. If people respond to my performances at all it has to be because of watching people like her.

Shock: Speaking of which, what do you like better stunt coordinating or acting?

Hodder: Oh, boy. You know, I went into this business to do stunts and there is one aspect of performing stunts that I love and always have. But then you have the character portrayals where you can do so much with words and emotions. I never really went into the business to be an actor, but once I got a taste of that, I really wanted to do that. It took a long time to play a part that was somewhat meaty, but Adam Green gave me a nice little part to play in Hatchet as the father, and based on that I’ve gotten all these other fantastic roles and I just feel really fortunate.

Shock: On the set of some of your other films, you did certain things to scare the actors, to keep them on edge, most notably in Hatchet. Did you do anything similar on BTK?

Hodder: I did. A little bit, yes. But it was different. In Hatchet and things like that, I’m so imposing with whatever makeup I have on that its scary as hell just to look at me. And that’s when I’ll do things to make the actors think I might have a screw loose. They start thinking “Aww shit, now I have to do my kill scene and this guy’s for real!” But with BTK, what I did more of was physically scaring and startling the actor. There is a perfect example of it in the scene with Mike [Feifer]‘s wife, who I also killed in Ed Gein, much the same way by strangulation. She’s in her house alone, talking on the phone, and right when she hangs up the phone all of sudden you hear a big bang and she jumps for real. That was one of those cases where I scared the hell out of her by slamming one of those cabinets in the kitchen. So its a legitimate reaction, and you can tell that it really scared her. I did stuff like that, mostly for my own enjoyment, which is kind of mean, but it helps keep them on edge and I think it helps their performance, too.

Shock: I’m curious, what did you think of the Friday the 13th remake, or have you not seen it yet?

Hodder: I haven’t seen it yet, but I intend too because I’m a horror fan. I definitely have to see how Derek [Mears] did, because Derek’s a friend. Even though I think I should be wearing the mask, I still want to see how he did and he wants me to give him my thoughts because it’s not an easy part to play as people have found out. They think “Oh, you just need a big guy and he has to do some violent things,” but it’s not as easy as it sounds because most guys overact. You can tell by the way they’re standing that they’re trying to look scary and that totally runs it for me. So I want to see if Derek looks more natural than the other guys. But I’m going to have to see it because I love horror movies, even if I think I should have been in them or not.

Shock: Personally, I think he did alright. It was certainly a different type of Jason but Derek handled himself that right way, I think.

Hodder: I often wondered how the running aspect was going to go over, because I never thought Jason should run. Some people told me they don’t mind it, and other people said they hate it because it takes all the anticipation away. Now you know he’s going to catch them because he’s going to run. As ludicrous as it was, I would never run and I’d catch the bastards anyway.

Shock: Speaking of catching the bastards, besides BTK, what have you coming up that we can look forward to?

Hodder: Well, I just finished a movie in Arizona called Sickle, where I played the title character. I have one coming out in November called Old Habits Die Hard, that I did in Nashville. I got one coming out next month on DVD, also from Barnholtz Entertainment called Born, where I played a Catholic Cardinal. And there are a few things in the works for the next few months, hopefully including Hatchet 2.

For more on that sequel, as well as Hodder’s work on Frozen click here! BTK is now available on DVD via Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Source: Jose Prendes