Following in the tradition that first began with Friday the 13th‘s Ned, Stu Charno was cast as practical joker Ted in Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2. This would mark the feature debut for the New York-based actor, who would go on to appear in John Carpenter’s Christine two years later.
Recently, I spoke with Stu Charno regarding his work on the movie for a magazine article and these were the parts of the interview that remained unpublished.
How did you become involved with Friday the 13th Part 2?
I had JUST begun to work as an actor, and was sent on an audition.
What was your first impressions of Steve Miner?
He seemed to be very relaxed. Either he was, or he was a good actor.
What kind of advice were you given when preparing for the role?
I was told to watch the first film, which I did a few times, but as a new actor, it was best for me to just say the words the way I would say them if I were just talking my usual way, which was mostly all I could do anyway.
How much input did you have on your character and did Steve Miner allow you to improvise?
Steve knew that I had a ‘comical spirit,’ so he would just say, “Stu, tell a joke…” And I instantly came up with one. If we all laughed, he’d put it in. Steve seemed to know, just how much rope to give me to explore, without letting go of the necessary control.
Your character Ted is the resident ‘practical joker,’ like Ned before and Shelley afterwards, yet you lived. How does it feel to be one of the few survivors of a Friday the 13th movie? Would you rather have died in some gruesome way?
In the movie Christine, I played Don Vandenberg – one of the bad guys who smashed up the car – and in the script, I was killed by being crushed by a car coming down on me. After the director, John Carpenter yelled, “cut”, I laid on the ground for a while, feeling like a little kid, pretending to have died. Some actor are great at that kind of scene. I felt like I sukt. John later told me that they didn’t use it as shot, because the way they shot it, it looked like I was waiting for the car to come down on me. He may have told the truth.
Anyway, I’m glad that Ted wasn’t killed in some gruesome way – besides, now I’m the guy who didn’t get killed, because he wanted to get even MORE drunk. I think that’s a good lesson for us all. I’ve been drunk since 1981, just to avoid getting chopped up by monsters.
Was it ever discussed what happened to your character? In the novelization, Ted goes home with the waitress. Was this in the original scriptor was it ever discussed?
I think the novelization was written after the film, but the ‘waitress’ and I WERE in love. I will truly always love her. I just can’t remember her name and I feel terrible about that.
Friday the 13th Part 2 was Steve Miner’s directorial debut. For a first time filmmaker how confident and organised did he seem?
This is the first time I heard that Friday the 13th Part 2, was his directorial debut! I’m surprised. To me, he seemed as relaxed and certain as could be.
What would you say were Steve Miner’s strengths and weaknesses as a director and collaborator? Was he easy to approach?
Y’know, as someone at the time new to acting, I was just playing ‘follow the leader.’ They told me to do something, and I brought it to life as best as I could. I think that one of Steve’s strengths is to encourage the actor to feel free to create. I certainly did. Out of that, come unexpected things, and some of the most interesting to watch.
Can you shed any light on the Warrington Gillette/Steve Dash problem, where Warrington was replaced as Jason during filming but still recieved screen credit?
I like both Steve and Warrington very much. Warrington and I shared credit on the same screen. Everyone did their job and we were done. Centuries later, Warrington found out he might be able to make a few bucks on this, so he did. Later Steve found out Warrington was doing this, and, in Steve’s inimitable way, called Warrington a “chicken shit mother fucker,” as loudly and as publically as he could. Needless to say, Warrington had to give Mr. Dash some room to make a few bucks too. I’m hoping that the seas have calmed down by now.
The MPAA butchered much of the effects, resulting in many fans claiming that Part 2 was too tame. What kind of gore was cut out and how do you feel it altered the movie?
I was in the goreless section. Nobody had to do special effects or stunts for me, so I just wasn’t privvy to what went on in that realm.
Part 2 was the movie to introduce Jason as the killer. Surely no one at that time had any idea how popular the character would one day become? Twenty-six years later, how well do you feel the movie has aged?
I think that only the fans can say that. A film either comes to life for them, or not. This one continues to delight audiences, over and over. I’m regularly approached and told that his Friday the 13th is one of the best, or THE best ever. To me that means it aged well.
Would you ever work with Steve Miner again? What if there was a chance to bring Ted back, would you return to the series after all these years?
Never… well… okay…
You know, I would love to do that. The character Ted continues to be one of my favorites to inhabit, and to see him as a grown-up now, knowing what he must now know… what did or would that do to him? Can he still be what he once was? Does he really have to have a gruesome death? Can he still get drunk? Is he an enlightened pot head now?
I wonder if we’ll ever find out…
So, if they want to hire Steve Miner to do another one of these, my bags are already packed…
Smiles n’ vertical head shakes.