Laguna Beach resident Robert Englund, turned down for the role of Luke Skywalker in 1977, made his mark as the arguably even more iconic Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, the pizza-faced, finger-knived, sweater-and-hat-wearing child murderer who roams the dreamworld stalking the descendants of the pissed-off parents who killed him. Englund played Freddy in eight feature films, one TV series, an ill-conceived rock 'n' roll album (“Freddy's Greatest Hits” — yes, I have a copy), and a music video with the Fat Boys.
For a while, Englund was trying to push the idea of a Freddy prequel, allowing him to play the character without prosthetics. As this backstory had already been pretty much covered on both the TV series “Freddy's Nightmares” and the sixth Freddy movie Freddy's Dead, it's hardly surprising that this idea never gained traction. A second Freddy versus Jason movie was supposed to be in the works too, featuring Bruce Campbell's “Ash” character from The Evil Dead, but that never happened onscreen, though a comic-book version recently came out.
Now, however, word comes down that the franchise will continue without Englund altogether. The inevitable Nightmare on Elm Street remake is now in development (alongside a Friday the 13th reboot), and the role is going to be recast.
Big deal, right? They already kicked Kane Hodder to the curb as Jason, and Michael Myers and Leatherface were already played by numerous different actors over the course of their cinematic incarnations (and the most recent Leatherface, Andrew Bryniarski, was arguably the best actor behind that particular mask). But Freddy is different, more than just an unstoppable masked killing machine. Englund's performance defined the character, who was articulate, smart, lecherous, and a wiseass. Recasting Freddy is more like doing a Psycho movie without Anthony Perkins…
Oh yeah. Right.