The Hitcher - Fangoria Set Report

 
Source: Fangoria
November 1, 2006

On the heels of their second installment in the new TEXAS CHAINSAW
MASSACRE series, the Platinum Dunes team returned to their rural Texas
shooting location earlier this year to lens one of 2007’s more surprising
horror remakes, THE HITCHER. The 1986 desert slasher-thriller is a
cult favorite among Fango fans, but perhaps not an obvious choice for
a Michael Bay-produced big-budget retelling. Still, the cast and crew are
eager to discuss the new shape THE HITCHER has taken for this
interpretation, opening February 9 from Rogue Pictures.
 
Filling the shoes of Rutger Hauer in the role of the maniacal John Ryder
is respected British actor Sean (SILENT HILL) Bean. Admittedly not a
full-tilt gorehound, the actor is nonetheless very impressed by the project.
“I’d seen THE HITCHER before,” he tells Fango. “At first, I was a little
concerned that we wouldn’t want to just recreate that film, and that this
needed to be a fresh start, a new approach. When I read the script [by
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS’ Jake Wade Wall and VIRTUOSITY’s Eric Bernt],
I could see that was the case. I found it very exciting…page-turning.”
 
The most notable shift in this version is the fact that young motorist
Jim Halsey, played in the original by C. Thomas Howell, has been
supplanted as the key protagonist by a female character. Sophia Bush
may be familiar to horror fans via STAY ALIVE, but the bulk of her work
has been much more family-friendly. “I don’t worry about that,” says the
actress, who plays Grace in THE HITCHER. “I’m do things because I enjoy
them, not because I’m going to worry about what other people think.” In
fact, she was so excited to work on THE HITCHER, she demanded to
perform her own dangerous automotive stunt, doing a 400-foot spinning
skid on a rainy highway for one of the film’s climactic chase scenes.
 
Though things have definitely changed, the Jim Halsey character is still here,
now played by confessed longtime splatter fan (and Fango reader) Zachary
Knighton. “I’m so geeked out about it,” he raves. “My agent gave me a
call and said I was going to audition for THE HITCHER. I said, ‘Don’t
explain; I know what THE HITCHER is.’ ”
 
Fango was lucky enough to visit the set during one of the film’s most
gut-wrenching moments. Fans of the original will recall a memorable John
Ryder trick involving two semi trucks, heavy chains and a helpless victim.
First-time horror director Dave Meyers chats with us as he watches over the
set preparation, which includes some genuinely shocking, visceral FX work
by the unmatchable KNB EFX Group. “The whole film has been going great,”
Meyers says. “Everyone involved is amazing. We’ve all been really lucky…
except, you know, for this person.”
 
By all accounts, THE HITCHER looks like it stands to deliver plenty of the
grisly intensity that made the original so memorable. Relaxing after a
particularly intense segment, Bean reflects on the sheer viciousness of
his character. “The other day, there was a set with bodies, throats slit…
and I was like, ‘Oh shit. Did I do that?’ ” Look for more on-set HITCHER
coverage in Fango beginning with issue #259, on sale in December.
—Zack Carlson

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