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Nightmare on Elm Street Reboot Writer Says The Director Screwed Up His Script

March 20, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

The 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street reboot was an utter mess, but writer Eric Heisserer is putting that blame on the director. Heisserer posted to Twitter for an extended discussion of what went wrong with the film.

“Oh man. What a lesson for me in first movies made,” Heisserer said. “…I wish the script I’d written, with the two New Line execs as shepherds, would have been the movie…the draft that we thought was going to be shot was different in many ways, some big and some subtle. This happens a lot, but I still have memories of arriving to set and recognizing nothing from the script on the shooting schedule. On my first day on set, a crew member told me, ‘In this intro scene for the two leads, we decided there wasn’t enough dialogue for them at this party so we took some dialogue from page 87 and put it here.’ In case you were wondering, this is NOT how it works. And that was one of so many things I saw undone.”

He added, “One of the New Line guys and I worked hard to sidestep tropes in the script. An example: Freddy appearing while two characters are driving in a car. ‘The trope we’ve seen a thousand times is: Freddy is standing in the middle of the road, and they have to swerve. Let’s be smarter.’ And we were. He can appear anywhere, and we have the advantage that you don’t know which of the two is dreaming — driver, or passenger. So, we had Freddy rise up in the back seat, taunt Quentin (driving) as he gores Nancy through the chair, blood spraying the windshield, Nancy screaming at Quentin WAKE UP and he snaps to realize he’d drifted off while driving and the two crash the car into a tree. Now they both have concussions, to complicate matters when they realize the way to kill him is to fall asleep and then wake up once they have hold of Freddy. What do I see on set that night? Freddy standing in the middle of the road. There are a thousand reasons why things like this happen, but with the right team in place, you have collaborators who plus up the project versus make it a different thing than what it was originally designed to be.”

Heisserer also noted that the film was turned into a sequel for the purposes of a script credit, noting, “And with so many scenes that pay homage to Wes Craven, and a story that stayed closed to the original, you’d think it would be considered a remake by everyone involved. But nope. For credit purposes, another writer got it classified as a sequel. Which infuriates me even now. Why? Because it meant Wes Craven was not given story credit. For characters and a world he invented. For a plot twist akin to Psycho that was his idea — you don’t realize Nancy is the heroine for the first act. I petitioned to have him included and lost. All of this a really long-winded way of saying: Yes, this should be remade. I’m not advocating my script from back then, but just have it made by people who have a love and expertise of not just NOES but horror. There are some amazing voices today for it.”

Kyle Gallner, who played Quentin, confirmed Heisserer’s account, saying, “The script I was sent originally was a lot different and much darker than the script I was given when I got to Chicago to actually shoot. It was the movie I thought we were going to make. I’m assuming that was Heisserer’s version. I really liked that version. I was pretty surprised when I sat down in my hotel room the night I got there and read the new draft. That was quite an interesting shoot that one… I wish there was a world where Heisserer’s version also existed. It would have been cool to see that one up on screen.”

The film was a big miss with critics and despite being somewhat financially successful ($115.6 million on a $35 million budget), plans for a sequel were scrapped.