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

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Betsy Palmer in ‘Friday the 13th’-Courtesy of Paramount

1428: Haha yeah don t skip those. You never know when Jason will pull you overboard. So I know originally Sean wanted his son Noel to do the part. And I know his wife refused to let him. Can you talk about..

AL: I mean I wasn’t there for that. Ultimately what I heard was, Sean said ” How about Noel?” and his wife said “No.” And then Steve Minor said “How about Ari?” Steve just liked me. I lived close to where Sean had his office in Westport Connecticut. I also think it had to do with my height. Some of the other child actors had grown in the past year or so but I was still pretty small.

1428: So I’m assuming that the lake was pretty cold. Can you talk about your experience shooting the iconic ending to Friday the 13th?

AL: It was sort of cold. But I grew up in Connecticut, swimming in Long Island all the time. So to me, it wasn’t too cold. But poor Adrianne (Alice) sitting in the boat, in that air. And then I pull her in the water. The first time, she was having none of it. She ended up falling out of the boat. So that must have been gold, in the sense that she must have not been ready for it. So I jump out a little before. The cameras are rolling and people really weren’t ready for the veracity for which I jumped out of the water. So everybody was taken back a little bit. I know Adrianne was a bit shocked herself. So they did a second take.

1428: So speaking about how viscous it was when you can out of the water. It really puts a final stamp of awesome on the film. Leaving the theater, I’m sure it was one of the biggest moments of the film that had everyone talking. Can you talk about the direction Sean Cunningham gave you in one of Friday the 13th’s most memorable scenes.

AL: You know that’s a good question. So, Sean’s really good at working with kids. He’s done a lot of movies with kids. He’s really good at making you feel important and empowered, but not too much. Sean’s great with direction without yelling. But you know, he wants what he wants. And you want to please him as a director. He does it with body language and by choosing his words carefully.

So he says “When you go under water, you won’t be able to hear me say action. So YOU’RE the director. When you see the bubbles clear, that’s action. So you just jump out of the waters.” And I’m thinking “Wow! I’m a director.” See, he chose his words very well.


Was that interview killer or what!? While elaborating on classic tales, giving fans great detail, Ari was a hoot to talk to. He’s energetic, funny, and passionate about the series. And this is just Part I!

So, if you’re enjoying our interview with Friday the 13th’s Ari Lehman, don’t go anywhere yet. Tomorrow we’ll premiere Part II of the interview. Also, we new posts on the series already, more to follow before day’s end. Best kills? We have that. 10 Things You Didn’t Know about he original? We have that too. And so much more so. Friday Freaks, the killer content has just started.

Next: ‘Friday the 13th’: The 10 Best Kills In The Fright Franchise

So, are you enjoying our conversation with first Jason Ari Lehman?

Love ‘Friday the 13th’? Watching the original to celebrate! Let the other Crystal Lake Camp Counselors know what you think in the comment section below.