Dick Wieand’s contribution to the Friday the 13th franchise is arguably one of the most controversial. With Jason Voorhees having finally been laid to rest in The Final Chapter, a new spree of gruesome murders begin in much the same vein, but the culprit is eventually revealed as disturbed paramedic Roy, whose son was butchered by a fellow mental patient, causing Roy to adopt the legend of Jason to exact vengeance on those around him.
Dick Wiend talks about his role in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.
How did you approach the role of Roy in Danny Steinmann’s Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, and did you make yourself familiar with the previous four films beforehand? What was your intention with how you would perform the character, especially as it would be revealed that you were the killer?
I really knew next to nothing about the Friday films when I started. Casting said, “All the kids will love you.” That’s all I knew. In terms of approach, I was own my own. The script offered no help and Danny and I never discussed character or the finer points of acting. First, I had to figure out who Roy was imitating. I had seen part one and thought it a pretty decent film. I rented Part 3 to find out who this Jason character had matured to. Now, the problem was how does Roy get so upset that I must take out my vengeance à la Jason? My son’s death had better be a catastrophic event that sends me over the top, otherwise the unmasking scene won’t play. I wasn’t even sure how we were going to do the final scene since it was not, as yet, part of the script. It’s odd that in the 4:3 DVD version you can see Joey’s bloody body at the bottom of the screen as I’m kneeling over him in my ‘go crazy’ close up, but in the 16:9 widescreen DVD his body is cropped out. We should always watch films in their original format!!
How did you feel about the explicit nature of the nudity and violence, particularly regarding the death of Roy’s son, Joey, the movie’s most vulnerable character?
A slasher film is a slasher film. Without violence there is nothing. I love horror and sci-fi films, but I have never been a fan of the slasher genre. I first saw the film at the cast and crew screening. I took a date to this screening – an actress, the daughter of an actor and a real babe. After the screening I said hello to some people and we left. My date said nothing about the film the rest of the night. I made no points with her at all.
How many scenes in the film did you perform in, as the parts where Roy wears Jason’s mask were mainly played by Tom Morga? Do you think that the killer’s identity was well hidden throughout the film?
How many scenes? I really don’t know. I just remember there was little coverage and very few takes. I recall being angry since the stunt situation had not come up at the auditions or in conversations with my agent or casting. As shooting progressed, I called the stunt coordinator to ask could I be more involved, since the majority of the stunt work was not dangerous and I was on the payroll the whole time anyway. I got the cold shoulder. He really blew me off. My agent explained the stunt coordinator’s job was to keep stunt men working, not actors. Whether the killer’s identity was well hidden must be left to others to decide.
How would you describe your time on set and would you say that the making of the film was an enjoyable experience?
I think the cast was juiced about being in a Friday film. The crew was under pressure to get the thing done and, I thought, very efficient. The cast did an excellent job considering the speed with which the film was shot. I had signed an agreement with the producers that I would not divulge to anyone what was on the missing final pages of the script. People I worked with in the ‘Roy’ scenes had no idea I was the killer. I kept my mouth shut and stayed in my trailer most of the time I wasn’t needed. When the time came for the cast to know they would know.
So little is known of director Danny Steinmann, aside from his background in adult movies. How would you describe him and your working relationship with him?
Danny Steinmann had a tough schedule to maintain. I believe he thought well of me since he let me do my thing and didn’t interfere. Some directors (Eastwood) are like that. If I were off base in the part I’m sure he would have given me some notes.
Many fans have dismissed A New Beginning due to them feeling cheated by the lack of the ‘real’ Jason. Do you think it was wise for the filmmakers to experiment with the formula or should the killer have remained Jason (bearing in mind he wasn’t even the killer in the first film)?
I don’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of the franchise but many of the fans I meet consider A New Beginning their favorite Friday film because it IS different. The fans are incredible – they amaze me. They know all the intricacies of Part V and seem to get a kick out of it. I am also surprised to find that most of the fans are in their 20s. I don’t know whether it was or wasn’t a good idea to mess with the formula, but consider the differences between Ari’s Jason, Steve’s Jason, the 3-D Jason of Richard Brooker, Ted White’s Jason and the Roy/Jason of Part V. The only two who were alike, up to that point, were Richard and Ted.
How much of an impact did A New Beginning have on your life and your career and do you regret your involvement? Have you watched the movie since and, if so, what is your opinion of it?
I tried to run away from this film for a long time. I knew that Friday the 13th wasn’t a springboard to anything and it would be best to avoid it and move on. I didn’t even include it on my résumé. I did Good Morning America, where Ari, Warrington, Richard, Ted, C.J. and I all met for the first time. Whenever a new Friday film would be released, magazines would have articles like “The Men Who Played Jason”. Then, the phone calls and the mail would start. I found the film hard to escape. I don’t think Part V has had any impact on my career, positive or negative, but, at the time, I thought it might. I do mostly commercials now and work as a photographer. How do I feel about the film now? Hey, it is what it is. Lately, I’ve been invited to a few conventions on the east coast and have been blown away by the response. The fans know the difference between Roy Burns and Jason, yet they come to meet Roy, who mimics Jason. The fans have certainly made it something special to me.”