For over 40 years, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has held a special spot in the hearts of horror fans, although not all of the movies in this series have been huge hits. For instance, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was completed in 1994 and screened at a few film festivals. It was eventually re-edited and released under the new title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in 1997, but it didn’t fare too well, earning $141,000 from 23 theaters. That movie’s other claim to fame is it featured Renee Zelwegger in one of her first starring roles, and two decades later, the actress is finally speaking about her experiences on this movie.
Renee Zelwegger also starred alongside another up and coming young talent, Matthew McConaughey, and both stars had their breakout roles just a few years later in 1996, Renee Zelwegger with Jerry Maguire and Matthew McConaughey with A Time to Kill. Yahoo! Movies recently spoke with Renee Zelwegger, who looked back with fondness on shooting this low-budget horror movie. Here’s what she had to say below, claiming the movie provided the “best workout ever.”
“Best workout ever. Yeah, a live chainsaw, that’s a motivation to get running, run fast. It was very low-budget, so we all shared a tiny Winnebago that the producer of the film – it belonged to him, it was his personal camper. So, you know, makeup was in the front seats and there was a table in the middle for hair, and there was a tiny little curtain by the bathroom. That was where you put your prom dress and your flower on.”
Both actors even shared the same talent agency, and they reportedly pressured the studio to delay the release until after each of their respective breakout movies. The agency even threatened to sue Sony, who had the distribution rights, claiming their clients’ newfound fame was being exploited to promote this horror sequel. Despite all of that, the actress has fond memories of her time on the set of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
“And friends, friends for life. McConaughey, Robert Jacks, who played Leatherface. He’s passed now, but he was one of my favorites. It was ridiculous. How we pulled that off, I have no idea. I’m sure none of it was legal. Anything we did was a little bit dangerous But what an experience. It was kamikaze filmmaking.”
As for the future of this franchise, there is a new prequel that doesn’t have a release date yet, but will take a different approach to this franchise. Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor and Jessica Madsen star as four teenagers who escape from a mental institution, all of whom have an affinity for wielding chainsaws. They kidnap a young nurse (Vanessa Grasse) as they make their escape, with a local sheriff (Stephen Dorff) trying to track them down. By the end of the movie, one of these teenagers will ultimately be revealed as the iconic Leatherface.