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The Residents Of Elm Street
Five, six, grab your crucifix…

Standing in stark contrast to Freddy Krueger is the small coterie of teenagers who become his quarry. In casting the young people who are caught in Freddy's web of nightmares and deceit, the filmmakers set out to find fresh faces that would bring authenticity to their experience.

One of the first to be cast was newcomer Rooney Mara in the central role of Nancy, an introspective artist who works as a waitress at the diner where the other kids hang out. In some ways the most avidly pursued by Freddy, she becomes their best hope for stopping him and breaking the cycle of murders.

"Sam likes to describe Nancy as the loneliest girl in the world,” says Mara, who emphasizes that, though they share the same name, her Nancy is very different from the Nancy played by Heather Langenkamp in the 1984 film. "My character keeps to herself; she's socially awkward and timid and really doesn't know how to connect with people. Even as a child, she was probably a little bit different than the other kids, which draws Freddy to her in a perverse way.”

As the nightmare killer begins to stalk Nancy and some of her high school friends, she detects unseen connections between them and identifies the same touchstones—the bladed glove, the sinister voice, the scarred face—in their increasingly violent dreams. In trying to understand the very real danger of the man that is hunting them, Nancy is forced out of her shell. "Throughout the movie you see her grow,” Mara asserts. "She forms a connection with Quentin and learns how to open up and reach out to people. As their situation gets worse, you see what Nancy is made of. She really becomes a strong woman.”

"Rooney has something that is absolutely special,” Bayer states. "The camera loves her, and she has a really introspective quality. I think she's a great heroine; I really love her.”

Quentin, who forms a tentative connection with Nancy as their situation grows more dire, is played by Kyle Gallner, who notes that his character stays awake with the help of pharmaceuticals. "He pops Adderall, and he steals adrenaline from the hospital,” Gallner relates. "He's a mess, more jittery and a more ‘out there' than Nancy is. She's genuinely tired, while Quentin is irritable and strung out on top of that.”

Gallner feels the characters move toward strength as their encounters with Freddy accelerate. "They're not like lambs sent to the slaughter,” he observes. "They're actually people dealing with their problems who just happen to have this other very big problem thrown into their lap. You want these kids to get through this and win.”

Fuller comments, "Kyle is compassionate and smart and brought so much humanity and relatability to Quentin.”

Katie Cassidy plays Kris, a beautiful and outgoing blonde who comes to suspect that something much more bizarre is happening than merely random dreams. "Emotionally, Kris is run through the entire gamut in this film,” Cassidy offers. "She is literally dragged through hell, having to crawl through dark, claustrophobic tunnels. She's always crying and freaking out as her nightmares of Freddy bleed into her everyday life. Kris suspects there's something that connects her with the others; she even confronts her mother about it, but no one's talking.”

Kellan Lutz plays Dean, Kris's new boyfriend, who is the first to put the others on alert about Freddy. "He's a character who you can tell has a lot of issues just by looking at him,” says the actor. "He's extremely disturbed by the dreams and determined not to go to sleep, so he's on pills to stay awake. He comes to this diner to drink coffee with the hope he won't fall asleep, but ends up falling into a dreamlike state and has a terrifying encounter with Freddy.”

Thomas Dekker plays Jesse, Kris's brooding ex-boyfriend, who is in many ways blindsided by Freddy's intrusion into their l

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