Look who's on Elm St.

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Jackie Earle Haley is the new Freddy Krueger. The actor will star as the icon- ic screen villain in New Line's redo of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," being produced by Platinum Dunes.

The original "Nightmare," released in 1984, helped establish the studio and spawned a slew of movies. Robert Englund played Krueger, a serial child killer murdered by angry parents who returns to terrorize teens in their dreams.

His burned face, razor glove and red and dark-green sweater became instantly recognizable images as well as de rigeuer Halloween costumes.

Samuel Bayer is directing the relaunch, which was written by Wesley Strick. The pic begins lensing May 5 in Chicago.

Platinum Dunes' Andrew Form, Brad Fuller and Michael Bay are producing, and John Rickard is co-producing. Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter are overseeing.

The role caps a whirlwind couple of years for Haley, who made a splash during the 1970s as a child star in "Bad News Bears," then faded in the early 1990s. He left the business, working odd jobs in Texas.

Haley burst back in a big way in 2006, earning an Academy Award nomination for playing a sex offender in Todd Field's "Little Children" at New Line. He then appeared in "Semi-Pro" with Will Ferrell, also at New Line, and in the indie drama "Winged Creatures."

This year, he received praise for his portrayal of Rorschach in the recent "Watchmen," and next appears in Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island."

"Looking at his performance in 'Watchmen,' here's a guy playing a character under a mask, yet you feel tremendous empathy for him," Bayer said. "And in 'Nightmare,' he is going to be under prosthetic makeup. You have to feel something for the character. The greatest villains are multi-dimensional, and I think he will bring that to the character."

Bayer, who called his take on Krueger "Nosferatu meets Ed Gein," is not afraid that Haley will get typecast like Englund. "It's what you bring to the material," he said. "He's a well-rounded actor who will not be stereotyped by this. If anything, he'll be celebrated for it."

The deal almost didn't happen because of scheduling issues. Haley, repped by CAA and Leslie Allan-Rice Management, also is working on the Fox drama pilot "Human Target," which led to conflicting dates. (partialdiff)
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