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The Crazy Story of How ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ Found Its New Leatherface

Texas Chainsaw 3D Dan Yeager Leatherface
Lionsgate

It’s not easy to find an actor to play Leatherface. For one, he was very memorably played by Gunnar Hansen in the 1974 original, ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.’ For another, the actor needs to look the part. So how do you go about finding someone who’s big, imposing and can act their way through a leather mask? Sometimes you just need to look right outside your house. And that’s exactly how ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D‘ found Dan Yeager, their new Leatherface.

We spoke to Yeager recently, a polite and charming fellow, nothing like the character he plays in the film nor the intimidating physical presence you see above. So how does this nice guy with no acting experience get the role of Leatherface. Through our talk, we put together a brief little oral history explaining how exactly this came to be:

‘Texas Chainsaw’ producer Carl Mazzocone: [Dan and I] became friends and he was helping me with my house.

Yeager: We spent many weekends working on construction projects together, never talking about acting or anything like that.

Mazzocone: I had invited him to my holiday party.

Director John Luessenhop: I was staring at a six foot, six inch man, with this huge brow, really scary eyes who had this “I’m on an island, just taking in this room” quality about him. I wasn’t sure if he was the nicest guy in the world or a serial killer. I was mesmerized.

Yeager: I met John at Charles’ Christmas party and he kept looking over at me and finally he said, “I think I’m looking at Leatherface.”

Mazzocone: When John told me he wanted Dan to play Leatherface, I had a little trepidation, because he was my friend, and he had limited acting credits.

Yeager: It was kind of a physical casting. I got the impression, they didn’t expect a lot acting-wise from me.

Mazzocone: Having gone through the experience of the film, I can’t imagine this movie without Dan Yeager.

So there you have it. Sometimes, all it takes is to be working construction at a guy’s house and to get invited to a party and all the sudden, you’re starring as a horror icon in an upcoming movie.

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