Top 10 Actors Who Should Play Freddy in “Nightmare” Remake

Who will bring fresh blood to this classic icon of horror?

Cries of excitement and cries of dread were audible up and down the Internet on Wednesday when New Line Cinema announced their intensions to reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise—again! Tapped to pen the screenplay: Orphan scribe David Leslie Johnson.

News of this reboot (or is it a re-reboot?) comes just five years after the disastrous 2010 remake directed by Samuel Bayer, which was deemed an abomination by critics and fans alike. Jackie Earle Haley did an effective job portraying Freddy Krueger (the role made iconic by Robert Englund), but was hobbled by an atrocious script and a sleek but soulless production.


While a good script will go a long way towards undoing the damage done in 2010 (pressure’s on Johnson!) finding the perfect Freddy Krueger will be absolutely crucial. New Line needs to find someone capable of upholding Freddy’s legacy while introducing some fresh ideas in order to bring the franchise into the 21st Century.

While no casting news has been announced, I’d like to let New Line know that I’m available to play Freddy Krueger in the remake. Sure, I’m not really a “known actor”, but I would love to immerse myself in the character I grew up with, the fiend who made me the horror fan I am today.

If, however, the producers of the Nightmare reboot are set on hiring an actor with “bankable cache”, I’ve put together a short list of potential candidates who I firmly believe can knock it out of the park as Freddy. Enjoy!


Top 10 Actors Who Should Play Freddy in Nightmare Remake

Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Enemy)


We know from Donnie Darko that Gyllenhaal can be creepy, and from Nightcrawler that he can be intense as hell. The actor seems primed to break out of his comfort zone by embracing a character both evil and charismatic.


Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X, The Illusionist)


Don’t think Edward Norton is scary enough to play Freddy Krueger? Obviously, you’ve never seen American History X. The way he handled his role in Fight Club also proves he can handle the inherent complexities involved in portraying the Clawed-One.


Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy franchise, Always Watching)


Former contortionist and creature actor Doug Jones has a physical presence that would make for an outstanding Freddy Krueger. With his lanky frame, long arms, and inhuman movements, Freddy would be truly terrifying to behold. Jones is probably best known for playing the ghastly Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth.


Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Maniac, Grand Piano)


If you can’t shake the image of Elijah Wood as the diminutive adventurer Frodo Baggins, then clearly you haven’t seen 2012’s remake of Maniac; Wood’s portrayal of Frank is nothing short of hardcore, proving he’s got the talent and the balls necessary to tackle Freddy Krueger.


John Leguizamo (Spawn, Land of the Dead, The Happening)


In Spawn (1997) Leguizamo plays an unnerving evil clown named The Violator who’s terrifying and madcap, a villain who takes extreme pleasure in taunting his victims. Since Krueger is that same mix of frightening and zany, Leguizamo would have no problem stepping into his shoes.


Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Red Eye, Retreat)


Just like Freddy, Cillian Murphy can be downright charming—but there’s something sinister behind those ice-blue eyes that really gets under our skin.


Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Fargo, Con Air)


Just look at those teeth! Buscemi has an aura about him that makes him appear the consummate underdog, but imagine how chilling he’d be with charred skin and a claw! Buscemi also has that perfect amount of madcap to play chaotic Freddy Krueger.


Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Snatch, The Wolfman)


Del Toro has a knack for playing serious villains with just a hint of comic relief. Plus, his low talking, almost mumbled vocal style would be perfectly unnerving as Freddy Krueger. There’s a quiet intensity about Del Toro that’s instantly captivating.


Michael Biehn (Aliens, The Divide, The Victim)


While everyone loved Corporal Hicks in Aliens, Biehn’s turns in The Divide and The Victim prove he can be one nasty motherfucker when he wants to be. He’s got those burning eyes and an imposing presence that would be perfect for Freddy Krueger.


Timothy Olyphant (A Perfect Getaway, Dreamcatcher, The Crazies)


Olyphant is another one of those rare actors who can be simultaneously charming and unnerving, with piercing eyes and a quiet rage bubbling beneath the surface. He’s like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at a moment’s notice. He also flashes that wicked smile that’s just totally Krueger.

Which actors do you believe have the chops to play Freddy Krueger? Sound off in the Comments section!

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24 Comments on this post.

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  • Dub
    7 August 2015 at 1:15 am - Reply

    How about a little Ralph Fiennes? (Red Dragon, Harry Potter)

    • Josh Millican
      7 August 2015 at 1:42 am - Reply

      Good one!

  • Michael L
    7 August 2015 at 2:12 am - Reply

    I like many of these names, but the problem is many of these actors will be outside of the budget of most horror movies.

  • Joe
    7 August 2015 at 3:08 am - Reply

    Johnny Depp, duh!! I mean, he was in the original and all!

    • GENO
      7 August 2015 at 11:22 am - Reply


      • Rob Nelson
        7 August 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

        But he does such great hat-acting….

  • Wendell
    7 August 2015 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Some good picks, here. I would love to see what Doug Jones, or Jake Gyllenhaal could do with the role. Love that you included Leguizamo, too. His performance in Spawn is truly underrated. He’s underrated, period. Great work!

  • jessica
    7 August 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

    hell no on all! It should be an unknown. Robert should direct it or at least pick the person to play his iconic role. I have seen Roberto Lombardi play him in some internet shorts and he’s fantastic! also chuck visger is an official freddy impersonator by Robert himself! I have video to prove it. Chuck has also had mark patton,lisa Wilcox,joann willet,shon Greenblatt,kim meyer and a few others say he’s an official freddy.

  • GENO
    7 August 2015 at 11:21 am - Reply


  • Chris Palmer
    7 August 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

    See the problem you are having is you are trying to use actors you know…use an …UN-known actor…this way you won’t have any pre convictions of the way he should act…you want to be surprised by the actors talent. Give an actor their own interpretation as to how to play the part…or you have the…SAME OLD MOVIE…new actor…new franchise…think about it

    • Josh Millican
      7 August 2015 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      Chris, you’re totally right. However, it’s much more fun to play a hypothetical game like this with big name actors. If I was seriously involved in the casting process, by criteria would be much more realistic.

  • Tim Miller
    7 August 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I’m going to go really out of the box and suggest a girl play Freddy, or Freddie. I don’t know who. I think there are a lot of up and coming indie actresses who could do the part justice. I just don’t see casting a guy as Freddy again bringing anything new to the table.

    • Josh Millican
      7 August 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      I wracked my brain for a female actress who I could imagine as Frederica Krueger, but no one jumped to mind. Even now I’m having trouble imagining anyone specific. The problem is, Hollywood rewards actresses for playing victims and sex objects, so there aren’t a lot of awesome women anti-heroes.

      • Tim Miller
        7 August 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

        I bet you Ellie Church could pull it off.

        • Josh Millican
          7 August 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

          Ooh, good one!

  • Diana Jones
    7 August 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Tie between these 3 because I am curious as to what they would look like actually wearing Freddy makeup and costumes. Doug Jones, Cillian Murphy and Elijah Wood.

    7 August 2015 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    WTF O__O

  • jen
    7 August 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    No one will ever top Robert Englund as Freddy leave it be.

    • Josh Millican
      7 August 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      A lot of people share your attitude, but I think all true horror fans need to give it a chance before instantly writing it off. Remember, John Carpenter’s The Thing is a remake. Also, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Gary Oldman all did fantastic jobs playing Dracula. It’s not a competition. Personally, I think it would be worse to let the franchise pitter out and die. Robert can’t live forever, and I’m willing to bet $1M that he’s sick as hell of playing Freddy anyway!

  • Chris Palmer
    8 August 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    what you need is an actor…you would never think would be in that kind of roll…there are a lot of actors out there that you would…NEVER think would be in that kind of roll…don’t look in the box…look out of the box…under the box…same premise different franchise…change it up a little bit…surprise everyone…take the tale and change it up a little bit????

  • Jeff
    10 August 2015 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Interesting list, but I have a couple thoughts…
    Voice is very important, I wouldn’t want just a gravely voice, but I wouldn’t want “instantly recognizable” normal either. Imagine a great makeup, costume, great overall look…and then Bruce Willis’s voice trickles out, no.
    Of the short actors you mention here, Jackie Haley is better than them already and that failed, Fred shouldn’t look like a dwarf.
    Fiennes is intriguing, but so locked into the Potter character already. I have some seemingly obvious ones, as well as a couple not so obvious.

    Robert Knepper – could be home run
    Mads Michelson – accent could be issue
    Willem Dafoe – perhaps too obvious
    Bryan Cranston – intriguing

    some not so obvious…

    Matthew McConaughey
    Alexander Skarsgard
    Jason Lee
    Ben Foster – intensity and talent, if I were casting, this is who I’d go after first

  • Source of Robert England “Older Freddy” Hoax Revealed
    11 August 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

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  • Closet Horror Fan
    11 August 2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Love these choices actually. They are surprising and fun! I might add Vincent D’Onofrio (is he too obvious?) or James Franco into the mix. Someone mentioned the possibility of female actors, which is an interesting tangent (Jessica Lange, Frances McDormand, or Tilda Swinton anyone?).

  • Thomas
    18 September 2016 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I believe James Marsters would make a great Freddy kreuger. His facial expressions are very similar to Robert Englund’s.