Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre introduced audiences to Leatherface and marked the beginning of a slew of sequels and remakes. Now, nearly 50 years after the original, Netflix offers a new take on the franchise, using the recipe of Halloween (2018) by ignoring previous entries and directly following the first film.
In Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) we learn that Leatherface has been residing at an orphanage in a small town square, shut off from society. When a group of new generation teens invades the ghost town in Harlow with hopes of revitalizing it, they cause Leatherface’s caregiver to kick the can, sending the chainsaw-wielding maniac out of retirement.
For the first time, this film brings back Sally Hardesty, final girl from the original massacre who was first portrayed by the late Marilyn Burns. The sole survivor is now a Texas ranger who’s out for revenge on Leatherface for terrorizing her and killing her friends that night back in ’74.
Stepping into the role of Sally this time is Irish actor Olwen Fouéré, who you may recognize from other horror films like Sea Fever and Mandy. We had the opportunity to interview Olwen about the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre and what it was like going toe-to-toe, er chainsaw-to-gun with one of horror’s most recognizable and frightening killers.
A Q&A with Olwen Fouéré
Thanks for joining us to discuss your part as Sally Hardesty in the brand new Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) on Netflix! Stepping into such an important role, that the fans truly love, is always a challenge and you put on a terrific performance. Tell us how you got involved with the project?
Thanks for your kind words on the performance! I was offered the role by the first directors of the project, Ryan and Andy Tohill. I had worked with Ryan before and was delighted to be offered it. Although bizarrely, and maybe unknown to them, I had been asked to do a self-tape months before for an entirely different role which I wasn’t interested in.
Are you a fan of Tobe Hooper’s original from 1974? Were there any scenes that stood out to you most in that film?
I became a fan of the 1974 original through working on this one. At the time, whenever I saw it in the late seventies, I dismissed it as just another slasher movie. Looking at it now, so many years since it was made, it is more like an arthouse film of today and it has become a kind of masterpiece. The scenes that stay with me are the ones in the van with the Sawyer hitchhiker, the dinner scene, and of course, the chainsaw dance at the end. I’ve also grown very close to Sally Hardesty through watching Marilyn Burns. Marilyn had a very compelling energy along with being physically stunningly beautiful. Although, I do think she was asked to do too much screaming to be believable, but I guess that’s what a ’scream queen” has to do.
What characteristics of Marilyn Burns’ version of Sally Hardesty were you hoping to hit? And in what areas did you put your own spin on the character?
I did study Marilyn Burns’ performance but I focussed more on her look. I knew I would have to create my own version of Sally 50 years on from what happened. I only make one reference to her performance, which occurs when I am stalking Leatherface, as my appearance in the film is fairly brief. Probably too brief given the expectations around Sally’s return.
Can you tell us what the reference is?
It’s the scream/laugh out in the street just before I say to Leatherface “Remember me now?”.
I have to say, I was a big fan of Sally’s style in the film! Did you play a part in creating her new look?
I agree, I loved her style, and yes I had a part in that. I had a great relationship with the costume designer, Olga Mekikchieva, who was absolutely brilliant. We also knew that Sally was a Texas Ranger and it soon became clear that she was pretty close to being the archetypal cowboy of the film.
A lot of fans are seeing similarities between the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in the new Halloween films and Sally’s character, who we haven’t seen since the original, coming back to take on Leatherface. Why do you think horror fans root so hard for these final girls?
I haven’t seen the Halloween films so I can’t really comment on them but I think, overall, people identify with the survivor. What is interesting is that Jamie Lee Curtis and I are of roughly the same age, so perhaps we are now entering the era of the “final woman” as opposed to the “final girl”.
What are your thoughts on the current trend of modernized sequels and taking the story back to the original?
I think it’s fascinating. Those original films have created their own mythology and, as with the Greeks in drama, people want to go back to the source again and again.
Without giving too much away, what was your favorite scene you filmed in this new sequel?
That moment in the street where I reference Marilyn’s performance. I was also given a brilliant final line that didn’t make it into the movie so I’m gonna say it here “…never bring a chainsaw to a gunfight…”
Why do you think Leatherface is such an iconic character in the horror genre? What makes him so scary in the new film?
I think the main thing is his silence, his unpredictability, and the fact that we never see his face. So he becomes more of a force than a person. When I think of him as a person I feel sorry for him.
For the final question, I have to ask, what’s your favorite scary movie?
Ha! I’m not really a fan of scary movies but I think the scariest movie I’ve seen is the very first The Omen.
Stream Texas Chainsaw Massacre now on Netflix and follow @olwenfouere on Instagram.