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Friday The 13th Reboot Actor On Why Jason Is Actually A Sympathetic Character - Exclusive

Swamp Thing may look like a monster, but he's actually the hero. In fact, much of the DC character's original comic book run written by Len Wein and drawn by Bernie Wrightson focuses on that very purple prose idea that "the true monster is man." Naturally, the 2019 TV series Swamp Thing also gives us plenty of reasons to both trust and empathize with him.

It's not too difficult to feel for Swamp Thing. We come into his story believing he was once a man named Alec Holland (Andy Bean) who'd been mortally injured and transformed into giant, green beast who lurks the swamps of Marais, Louisiana. Swamp Thing is battling mysterious evils and trying to work with and care for Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed). So in all those ways Derek Mears, the actor who plays Swamp Thing, has plenty to work with when cultivating a sympathetic character.

However, Mears has played other, less sympathetic monsters over the years. Perhaps most notably, Mears donned the iconic hockey mask and skulked around Crystal Lake as Jason Voorhees in the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th.

Looper recently sat down with Mears to figure out if, unlike other slasher movie monsters like Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers, Jason can be viewed as sympathetic. 

Here's why Jason Voorhees just wants to be left alone

"I did a lot of research, when I played Jason, about child psychology," said Mears in an exclusive interview with Looper. "Being that he saw his mother get murdered in front of him at such a young age, I explored what the psychological ramifications were — that kid was rejected by society and his only love is from his mother."

According to Mears, long-time fans of the Friday the 13th series picked on the subtle humanity and isolation of his take on Jason. 

"I'm really happy that people picked up the emotion for some of the kills, the passion behind them," said Mears. "It's almost like a Vietnam flashback or a flashback to a tragedy where these kids, rather than just killing them willy-nilly, it's almost like these kids have just killed his mother. They didn't, but in his mind, that's what it is. They just killed his mother, his only source to love."

It's absolutely true within Friday the 13th continuity that Jason Voorhees is alone most of his life. Because of his physically noticeable disability, he's ignored by the counsellors at Crystal Lake and mocked by his fellow campers ... until his mother Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor) goes on a killing spree herself, resulting in her death.

When it comes to that type of trauma, Mears sees a kind of universality in Jason's pain. "We all have that. You're not trying to be tough. You're not trying to show them, 'I want to beat you up.' We have that raw emotion of pain and anger that, 'You've hurt something that I love,' and you want to unleash that on whoever did that to stop [them]. And that's the approach I did with Jason, where he wants to be left alone."

The complete Friday the 13th boxset is currently available through Shout Factory, and Swamp Thing is airing now on the CW.