Around 15 different drafts of the script were written. The final film is a hybrid of 4 of them. Eric Heisserer, who's listed as a co-writer, has stated that there's very little for him to recognize of what he's written in the final film.
Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in that film, Haley didn't, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in this remake 26 years later.
The Freddy gloves were the most protected props on the set. Previous films had issues with the gloves being stolen. Most notorious was a glove was stolen from one of the films and appeared in Evil Dead II (1987) (see trivia for that film) hanging in a shed.
When Nancy is looking for information on the other kids in her class, she comes across a classmate who posts video blogs of his experiences with Freddy. This is Aaron Yoo, who played Chewie in Friday the 13th (2009)'s remake.
The make up team wanted to make Freddy look more like an actual burn victim, and the crew had many reference photos of actual victims, which detailed how white the skin would appear after healing. They did not want the audience to "turn away in disgust" whenever Freddy appeared on screen, so they opted to take away some of the realism.
(at around 1h 23 mins) When Nancy is drowning in the blood, the blood breaks through the floor to pour into the bedroom downstairs. This is a tribute to the original's famous bed-death scene where Johnny Depp is slaughtered by Freddy, causing the room to be drenched in his blood.
Robert Englund, the actor who portrayed Freddy Krueger in all previous films in the "Nightmare" series, gave a general approval of the remake, as he felt the story could be better told in 2010 with the use of CGI and other special effects that were not available in 1984.
The casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy originally started as a rumor. During multiple interviews, Jackie acknowledged the rumors, stating that he would enjoy playing the character. He was eventually cast as Freddy.
Samuel Bayer turned down the offer to direct twice; he previously turned down several other Platinum Dunes films, including The Amityville Horror (2005) and Friday the 13th (2009). He relented after receiving a long email from producer Michael Bay, who said that doing the film would really open up his career opportunities.
When filming first began, it took the make-up team six hours to apply the Freddy make up to Jackie Earle Haley. After a while the team was able to shorten the process down to approximately three hours.
Ronee Blakley starred in Nashville (1975), which garbed her an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress, then starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) playing Nancy's mother in the original. Coincidentally, Connie Britton starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) playing Nancy's mother and then went on to star in the TV version of Nashville (2012) for she was then nominated for an Emmy. Also, both Ronee and Connie play the same self destructing country superstar in their versions of Nashville.
After the financial success of this film, the studio greenlighted production on a sequel, and Jackie Earle Haley had met with the studio to discuss his salary and possible storylines for the script. However, after the film received a universally negative reaction from critics and fans alike, these plans were abandoned.
The rumor: Jackie Earle Haley auditioned for the first A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) , and his friend Johnny Depp tagged along but was so handsome they asked him to audition, eventually giving him, not Haley, a part in the film. The truth: Jackie Earle Haley told Moviesonline, "It is possible that I auditioned for Nightmare on Elm Street and don't remember. It's also possible that I could have been sitting next to Johnny in the waiting room. That's the only thing I could figure where that started from."
Jackie Earle Haley and Rooney Mara signed up for multiple films. Jackie Earl Haley's contract was for three total films while Rooney Mara's for two. It is now nearly seven years later, and there is no indication that a sequel is ever going to happen.
There was originally an idea that one of the characters would keep a "Nightmare Map". Multiple media outlets were allowed to visit the set during filming, and by complete coincidence several of the scenes they had a front-row seat to and ideas mentioned to them by crew members never made it into the finished film. Luckily, when the movie came out ShockTillYouDrop got a chance to ask Samuel Bayer about one such now-excised portion of the film involving something called the "Nightmare Map": We had something, at one time, one of the characters - every time he went into a dream - he'd come back out and write down where he had been and that would be a clue for the other characters. It's just something that didn't translate. It's this wonderful idea that meant more on paper than it did on the screen. But I'll be selling my Nightmare Maps on Sunset Blvd. for a dollar a piece.
Jackie Earle Haley was initially apprehensive about playing Freddy, as he was intimidated by playing a character that he felt was really owned by another actor (Robert Englund). However, the idea of playing Freddy excited him so much that he decided to accept the role.
Though the film is set in the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio, they filmed in Illinois, partially due to a very generous tax credit afforded them by the state. They were able to convince two different area high schools to serve as locations for scenes in the film, but only after assuring the School board that none of the characters would be killed during a big pool scene involving 200 extras played by actual local high school students.
Warner Brothers Pictures wanted the movie to be converted to 3D in post production a few weeks before the movies release, but the producers of the film argued the film wasn't shot with 3D cameras and the 3D wouldn't be good enough. After a heated debate, the producers and Warner Brothers came to the agreement the movie wouldn't be converted to 3D.
Samuel Bayer directed such classic music videos as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blind Melon's "No Rain," and Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains," and commercials for brands like Chrysler and Nike. Nightmare on Elm Street was his first break into directing a feature-length film, but his leading man had some experience behind the commercial camera too. Jackie Earle Haley started his career as a child actor, most notably in The Bad News Bears (1976), but his awkward teen years hits his career pretty hard. So, he quit acting, moved to Texas, and made his living directing TV commercials.
According to Jay Bauman from the production company Red Letter Media, when he was hired as a stand-in for Kyle Gallner, he got to see Jackie Earl Haley put on Freddy's sweater for the first time. He said that he also got to chat with Haley about the remake and said that Haley re-watched the first Nightmare in his hotel room and called it, "The worst movie ever." Bauman says this in the commentary track on the Red Letter Media website. He was only there for a day as a stand-in as he didn't like the idea of three weeks of night shoots.
Freddy says to Quentin, "Why won't you just fucking die?!". This is possibly a nod to Freddy vs. Jason (2003) when Freddy says the line, "Why won't you die!?", to Jason Voorhees. This is also a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that neither character is ever really "dead".
The Blu-Ray contains several deleted scenes you can view in full as well as others which can only be briefly glimpsed in the other special features. The deleted material includes: Alternate opening: A burn patient (Fred Krueger) painfully dies in a hospital. Dean's alternate death: Kris hosts a garden party which ends with Dean falling to his death. Krueger confronting Kris in his candlelit lair. Krueger, as Kris, taunts Nancy as she drowns in the blood-flooded hallway. Alternate final sequence: Quentin encounters Krueger in a dilapidated church. Additional footage of Freddy killing one of the Elm Street parents in a bedroom dream sequence and an alternate ending of Freddy bursting from a sleeping Quentin.