Although most iconic slasher films emerged from the 1980’s, there are still a few modern classics that left a serious impression on the sub-genre. One of those modern classics is Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon starring Nathan Baesel. The film is not only a cult classic, but it changes the way we view famous slasher franchises, such as Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street. Plus, the mask itself is pretty incredible.
With the film’s ten year anniversary coming up next month, we were beyond excited to speak with the man behind the mask! Nathan Baesel discusses his career, his iconic role, and, yes, the long-awaited sequel…or prequel…for Behind the Mask!
HorrorGeekLife – Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Nathan! Please tell me, how did you get started in the film industry? Was this what you always wanted to do?
Nathan Baesel – I considered majoring in Geology, Philosophy and World Religions briefly during college but getting pats on the back for something that’s always come to me so easily was too enticing to pass up. Basically I’m lazy and I harnessed the kinetic energy of back patting to guide me along through my acting career.
HorrorGeekLife – Oh wow, those are definitely a stretch from acting. Are there any films or filmmakers that help inspire your work?
Nathan Baesel – I don’t know. I’m not particularly drawn to anyone’s entire body of work. I can be really critical. But I’ve gotten much less critical the longer I’ve been away from acting professionally so I’m able to enjoy films a lot more now than when I was caught up in Industry concerns. Generally, I’m drawn to work that surprises me and generally that’s work from people who are driven to surprise themselves.
HorrorGeekLife – Since taking time off from acting, you’ve been working quite a bit behind the scenes of reality shows such as Storage Wars, 1000 Ways to Die and Badlands, Texas. Do you now have a preference of being off the camera versus on?
Nathan Baesel – I don’t enjoy acting much anymore. I teach acting now and that’s FAR more interesting to me than doing acting. I love observing (and being a facilitator of) someone who courageously steps into the unknown to affect and be affected by their partner without imposing their agenda on what a scene should end up looking like. That’s really hard to do and I appreciate those who attempt it.
HorrorGeekLife – Before the hiatus, you worked on several shows, including Invasion, Numb3rs and Without a Trace, as well as the film 20 Years After. Considering most of your acting roles weren’t in horror, it is pretty amazing that Behind the Mask is considered a cult classic. If you did get back into acting, would you consider venturing back into the horror genre?
Nathan Baesel – I’ve been tied down for years working in reality tv which has been very rewarding but doesn’t leave a lot of free time to get away and pursue other things. The best I’ve managed is to zip off to conventions now and again. Touching base in that way with the genre and fans of the genre is invigorating.
HorrorGeekLife – No doubt fans appreciate the opportunity to meet you. What is it like to have portrayed a character that is considered an iconic slasher?
Nathan Baesel – Uhh, it’s pretty cool? I don’t really hear/read words like that when people speak/write them so mostly it goes over my head. If you’re interviewing me 20 years from now I might start to believe at that point.
HorrorGeekLife – Well, I already look forward to it! Of course, I have to ask about the possible prequel/sequel. Fans have begged for another film and rumors are circulating after an entry appeared on IMDb. Do you believe that another film is possible?
Nathan Baesel – I do believe. More now than ever before. And there may be word on that soon…
HorrorGeekLife – Okay, I’m officially excited and can’t wait to hear more! In the meantime, are there any other projects you’d like us to know about?
Nathan Baesel – There’s a link below for my acting studio which has been so rewarding for me since its opening a few months back. I’m proud that we’ve constructed something really ambitious and yet totally grounded in being of service. It’s the kind of instruction I would have thrived in when I was learning and building my skill set, challenging yet completely supportive. There’s nothing you can’t get done when those conditions are met.
Also, I just signed on to attend Sinister Creature Con in Sacramento in October. It’s a great convention and the fans are too cool. I’m really looking forward to it.
HorrorGeekLife – Great, I’ll be sure to provide links for readers below! Lastly, do you enjoy watching horror films? If so, which are your favorites?
Nathan Baesel – I love watching horror but do it pretty sparingly because I get scared easily. I’m not kidding. Like high pitched screaming and such. I avoid most horror films in theaters for that reason opting instead for embarrassing myself in the privacy of my own home.
HorrorGeekLife – That’s definitely a fun, yet unexpected, bit of trivia! Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. It was an honor!