Exclusive Interview: Ken Kirzinger Talks Rusty Nail and Jason Voorhees


Here's a lesson from Joy Ride 3: Roadkill. Don't mess with Rusty Nail. It never ends well. The trucker with a sadistic streak is up to his old tricks again when he targets a group of streetcar racers on their way to a rally. In the most graphic of the Joy Ride series, Rusty cranks up the pain and bloodshed as he teaches these young guns the importance of road etiquette.

During a break from filming one of Rusty's kills, actor Ken Kirzinger spoke to FEARnet about putting his own stamp on Rusty Nail, the character's motivations and possibly returning to Camp Crystal Lake. 

You played Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason, and he has a certain demeanor. How did you approach Rusty Nail?


I watched the other two Joyrides. When I read the script, I felt like Rusty had more character in this one. I wanted to play that up. I wanted to give Rusty a little bit more depth as a character. You'll see he has more personality now. I was thinking about this. He's kind of a cross between Freddy and Jason. There's the big, hulking Jason aspect and the quippy like Freddy. It's like you blended them into Rusty.


One of Rusty's distinctive traits is his voice. Did you have to practice that a bit?


I did. I was never going to be identical to the original actor. I needed to make it my own and do a voice I could sustain. One of my biggest fears was not being consistent with the voice. I worked on it before I came on board  and I think I have my own Rusty voice down.


How does Rusty stand out from other horror icons? What makes him so menacing and frightening?


He blends in. He's a trucker on the road. He could be in any truck. He could be anywhere, anytime, in any part of the world. I developed a bit of a backstory for Rusty. He comes up with such ingenious ways of killing people. Maybe he dropped out of society and became a trucker because he knew that was the best way to blend in. It's a low-stress life. Maybe he was stressed out in his previous life and when people cross him, that stress builds.


Why did Rusty target this particular group of kids? There's always some warped morality issue.


It is a skewed sense of justice that Rusty has. He perceives a slight and he doesn't turn to the law or other people. He deals with it himself. That's where it comes from. He feels he is above the law, that he is smarter than the law and that he is unstoppable. He has this confidence that all these killers have. "Nobody can stop me." This time, they cut him off on the highway.


There's plenty of creative bloodshed in this movie. What death sticks out for you?


We have a scene where a girl is strapped to the top of the truck. She ends up sort of being cut in half by hitting a bridge. There's a lot of build-up to that. I think that is terrifying, to be immobilized, to see it coming from a long way away, and just have to deal with it until the very bitter end. It's a nice, gory death.


Your stunt double was just called to stand in for you, but you were once one yourself. How much of your own stunts are you doing?


I did stunt work for 27 years. I've had a lot of injuries, so that was the first half of my life. The second half of my life, I want to do other things. I'm trying to make my body last, so I'm really taking care of it. I don't mind having a stunt double. There are stunts I would like to do, though.


What are your feelings on a Joyride 4?


I've really enjoyed working with director Declan O'Brien. He's the hardest working director I've ever worked with, and that's in 30 years. He brings a tremendous wealth of filmmaking experience. If he was involved, I would not hesitate one bit to come back for a sequel.


We have to turn back to the Friday the 13th franchise. They've announced another movie and a TV series. Would you like to become involved and reprise that role?


In the series? I don't know. It would be interesting to see what they were going to do with it. Certainly, they would have to go much more into the life of Jason. I wrote a treatment, a homage, to the fans that I would love to see get made into a comic book and maybe into a movie. I call it "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Stan." Stan is the ultimate Freddy and Jason fan and wants to become like them. It's about the journey he takes in becoming an immortal killer himself.


Hopefully New Line and Paramount are paying attention.


I've put the word out there. I ran into a Horror Hound artist at the last convention I was at. I mentioned it to him. I'm sure I'll be meeting up with Horror Hound at some point. I'd love to see it as a comic book, much like Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Tying in an established character is so hard with all the licensing agreements. To bring in a new character like this and do it for the fans would be amazing. Stan has to research their lives. He has to go back to Crystal Lake. He has to go back to Elm Street. We discover new things about the characters. Besides the great kills, that's what the fans want.