One of the benefits of being a character actor is that you tend to disappear into a role, no matter what type of film you might appear in. Genre icon Robert Englund gained a huge following for his performance of Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street films, but despite that legacy, he still hopes he's remembered for his large body of work as opposed to only one role.
"Well I like to think of myself, and this is what I want in my obituary, as a veteran character actor, because veteran really implies you've done a lot, and I think I'm coming up here," Englund told PopCulture.com. "I think I'm between 75 and 80 films now. I don't brag about that because I get drunk with Lance Henriksen, and he's done 150 movies, you know. We were doing our toast to Bill Paxton a while back and I realized just how many movies Lance has been in."
The actor belongs in a distinct category of genre actors who have amassed dozens of roles in a variety of films who also regularly attend conventions together to interact with their fanbase. Henriksen belongs alongside Englund in this category, having starred in films like Aliens, Near Dark and Pumpkinhead.
An actor might accept a role in a film due to their interest in a script or filmmakers involved, but they do also sometimes accept a role merely for the paycheck.
"God almighty, and [Henriksen] calls some of them alimony movies," Englund joked. "But still, you know, that's the life of a working actor. That's what we are. We're players, we're troubadours."
Englund's breakthrough role in A Nightmare on Elm Street came in the early '80s, but before taking the role, the actor already amassed an impressive resume.
"I spent the entire '70s as an A-list sidekick and best friend, you know," Englund shared. "I worked with everybody from Henry Fonda to Barbara Streisand to Susan Sarandon to Jeff Bridges, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sally Field. I mean I think I just quoted six Oscars right there."
The opportunity to play a variety of characters has led him towards taking a role in the upcoming Nightworld, in which he plays, as he describes, a "fussy little Eastern European contemporary Van Helsing."
Nightworld hits VOD and select theaters on October 20.