‘Friday the 13th’ Interview: The Fearless First Jason Ari Lehman Part I

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With today being Friday the 13th, we’re bringing you Friday Freaks Part I of our exclusive interview with the film series’ first Jason Ari Lehman.

Ari Lehman as young Jason in ‘Friday the 13th’- Courtesy of Paramount Pictures


In October, we were stunned by the remarkable convention, Scarefest. Held annually in Lexington Kentucky, last year’s effort featured the largest gathering of Friday the 13th celebrates ever assembled. It’s here where we got a quick interview with Ari Lehman, the man who plays young Jason in Sean Cunningham’s 1980 original classic.

Sitting on the interview a few months, we’ve waited for the perfect time to bring you guys the goods – the next Friday the 13th! And guys….THAT DAY IS TODAY!

So lock your cabin doors, look out the window, and get ready for one hell of a camp first story as we interview the fearless First Jason, Ari


Sean S. Cunningham ‘Friday the 13th’- Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1428 Elm: Can you talk about the first time you became interested in acting. We’re you thrust into it or?

Ari Lehman: You know, that’s a great story. ‘Star Wars’ came out and my dad took me to the premiere in Time Square. The first day it came out. And..

1428: Oh wow, that’s amazing.

AL: Yeah, this is a great dad moment for my dad. I’ll never forget him for doing that. Not only that, he had gotten tickets ahead of time. So there was this long line and we went to the front of the line. They let us in. I was like “Dad, do you know these people?” and he was like “Yeah” haha.

More from Friday the 13th

So I saw ‘Star Wars’. As soon as, you know, those words came up on the screen and all the going of into space stuff made me so inspired. So I said I want to be in a movie. I want to be an actor. And I did a lot of plays in school. So yeah I was very much into it. My parents really had nothing to do with my decision to then show up at the YMCA when Sean Cunningham, the great director, who was auditioning for a movie he was doing called ‘Manny’s Orphans.’ Which is about a rag tag group of orphans who win their orphanage back from the Mob in a soccer tournament.

So Sean was hoping the soccer movie would be the big thing for him. But back in the day, there weren’t even any soccer moms, so that was a different time. So ultimately, he calls me up and says “We have this much time and this much budget. You really need to get down here. One thing, can you swim?’ I go “Yeah I can swim.” So he says “Great, you got the part.” So that’s the real story, always take your swimming lessons.