Steve Daskawisz (Jason stunt double; Friday the 13th Part 2)


How did you first become involved with Friday the 13th Part 2?

“I was out of work because Screen Actor’s Guild was on strike at the time. My friend Cliff Cudney was working on a film called Jason. They had gotten permission from SAG to continue to shoot before the strike started. He called me and said that he was doing the film and that the guy they hired to play the role of Jason told them (production) that he could do his own stunts, which he couldn’t when it came down to shooting the actual film. He was supposed to crash through a window at the end of the film and when it was time to shoot, he chickened out by saying that he had a headache because the makeup of the Jason face. They knew they were in trouble and needed to find a Jason fast. Cliff called and I responded. I was the right size to fit the costume so off we went. He got the axe and I got the job.”

The MPAA was rather brutal to the movie. You were present for most of the murders, but the gore was severely edited. How bloody were the effects initially and how do you think it affected the overall flow of the movie?
“You’re right when you say that the effects were very brutal. But from an acting point of view I didn’t think so and couldn’t understand all the concern with it. When I saw the final cut I was somewhat disappointed because I thought a lot of work on the effects guys and Steve Miner to make it look good had to be cut. I was not involved in any of the discussions but heard rumours about the rating thing and could sense a concern in Steve Miner. I felt bad for them when all was said and done.”

Which was your favourite murder and why?
“My favourite scene was not one of the kill scenes even though I enjoyed the kill scene with the wheelchair going backward down a staircase and the machete in the back of the guys head. My favourite scene was in the beginning when Ginny & Paul come back to the house and I am hiding in the living room and I pop up, that was the best. The fight scene that followed was great. A lot of it was cut and that is a shame because a lot of work went into that scene.”

What kind of advice did Steve Miner give you when preparing for the role? Were you told to study the movements of the killer from the first film? How difficult was it acting with no dialogue and your face hidden behind a mask?
“I have to tell you that Steve was great when it came to each scene, he would tell me what was happening leading up to the scene to give me a sense of the moment. As far as the acting thing with the bag over my head. I paid no attention to it (the bag) at all. I acted anyway. I acted like a Jason (or a creature) would act. Or at least what I thought they would act like. You have to remember that I was an actor that did stunts.”

You visited the hospital several times during the shoot. What happened and was it due to safety precautions being neglected or just unfortunate accidents?
“Accidents can happen at any time on a shoot. That is why they call it an accident because that is exactly what it is, an accident. It is no ones fault it happens. I get a little touchy with the question because it seems that someone is always looking to point a finger and put the blame on someone. It’s not like that at all. I take fully responsibility when something goes wrong that I am doing. The first time I got hurt was when we were shooting the chase scene and I dove out of the woods to try and catch Ginny as she was running. We had to shoot that scene many times to get the timing right so that it looked like I was real close to catching her. In doing that Steve wanted to make it look real good and he was the one calling the shots on the shot. He felt at times that Ginny (Amy Steele) was running to fast and other times he felt that the shot of me flying through the air at her didn’t quite get it. To make it look good it took about 10 tries. We had dug out the ground of the spot where I suppose to land to soften up the ground. I landed in the right spot every time except once. That one miss broke 4 ribs. I was carrying a pitchfork and somehow I landed with the pitchfork under my chest instead of at my side that did it. My mistake. The other time was when Ginny came at me with the machete in Jason’s lair with my mother’s head on the table and Ginny pretending to be my mother. I was supposed to block the swing of the machete with an axe. Either Amy missed the block or I missed the block is still up for debate but who cares. As a result I got 13 stitches in my middle finger. When it happened I thought I lost the finger but I didn’t.”

Friday the 13th Part 2 was Steve Miner’s directorial debut. Did he seem confident and organised or was he easy to approach?
??”When I first met Steve Miner & Dennis Murphy (the producer) I had a feeling that both were in charge. I knew Steve was the director and had no idea it was his first movie. I got a sense that he had been doing it a long time because of the way he carried himself. I had an immediate respect for him in the role of a director. The only contact I ever had with Steve was when we were working. He spent a lot of time with Frank Mancuso of Paramount, Dennis Murphy and Amy Steele when we were not shooting. Actually I felt like Steve didn’t care much for me and that was OK.”

What would you say were Steve Miner’s strengths and weaknesses as a filmmaker and would you work with him again in the future?
“Steve Miner paid a lot of attention to Amy Steele during the shoot and I think that is why she was as good as she was in the movie. I saw him talk to her many times before we shot a scene. I have no idea what they were talking about but the way the scene turned out when he yelled cut print made me think he was telling her what to expect would happen during the scene and what he wanted when it was over. He’d tell me one time while we were shooting that he liked the way I loped around looking for Ginny. It made me feel good.”



About the Author

Christian Sellers

Writer for UK horror magazine GoreZone ( and moderator of Friday the 13th interview/news site

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