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Derek Mears (born May 16, 1972) is a stuntman and stunt actor who has appeared in Channel 101 shows such as Time Belt, Vengeance and Wade and Eric sold a Movie, and starred in Acceptable.TV. He is best known for his role as the serial killer Jason Voorhees in the reboot of Friday the 13th.
Mears was born in Bakersfield, California, the youngest of two children. He performed improv comedy at ComedySportz in Bakersfield. He graduated from Highland High School in Bakersfield, CA in 1990.
Among his resume are films such as The Demolitionist (1995, with Dana Dru Evenson), Men in Black II (2002, with Jack Kehler, Mary Stein, Kevin Grevioux, Paige Brooks, Ransom Gates, and Gail Monian), Signs (2002), The Haunted Mansion (2003, with Wallace Shawn, Rachael Harris, and Michael McAdam), Cursed (2005, with Michelle Krusiec, Brian Avery, Joni Avery, Paul Eliopoulos, Anita Hart, Angela Meryl, Boni Yanagisawa, and Alex Chansky), two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films (2003 and 2006, with Tom Morga), World Trade Center (2006, with Jude Ciccolella, Tom Wright, Donna Murphy, Scott Leva, and Thom Williams), and The Hills Have Eyes II (2007, with Michael Bailey Smith and Jeff Kober) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Mears' also appeared in several television series such as V.I.P. (1999, with Lisa LoCicero, Faith Minton, and Karen Sheperd), ER (2000, with Lily Mariye, Joanna Miles, Scott MacDonald, and Christopher Michael), Alias (2001), Charmed, Angel, C.S.I. New York (2005, with Eugene Collier), and My Name is Earl (2006, directed by Marc Buckland), Nash Bridges, The Shield, and CSI Miami.
Mears has numerous credits both as a stuntman and as a jobbing actor. His stunt credits include the films Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Blades of Glory, and TV series such as Angel and Bones.
Mears got his breakthrough lead role in the new Friday the 13th film. He was recommended to the producers, Brad Fuller and Jason Form of Platinum Dunes, by make-up and special effects guru Scott Stoddard, who created the new look for Mears' character Jason Voorhees. Due to Mears' height at 6' 5" (1.96 m) he is one of the tallest actors who ever portrayed Jason beside Ken Kirzinger who stands at a similar height to Mears. He was nominated for an MTV Movie Award in the category for Best Villain for his portrayal of Jason Voorhees, but lost to Heath Ledger.
Mears did a lot of research on child-development to flesh out the role of Camp Crystal Lake's notorious resident serial slasher killer.
"In the script, Jason watches his mother die in front of him. So I did research on, when you're that age how do your cognitive processes happen? How is the child supposed to be developing? I found out that at that age you're starting to be integrating into society, whether it's through group sports or group activities so that you find out you're not alone. I discovered that he missed that aspect. He was already an outcast from society for looking different and being disfigured, and his only connection to love and reality is his mother."
He is contracted to return for another Friday the 13th sequel. Mears is the second actor (the first being Kane Hodder) to portray Jason in more than one film. On 19 October 2009 talked with Fangoria over his role in the sequel of Friday the 13th and his role in Predators.
He played an Orion guard in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Borderland". He received no on-screen credit for this appearance.
Mears often plays creepy or large aliens, mutants, or outsiders and is specialized in wearing werewolf and vampire prosthetics.
He filmed stunt work for the sports comedy Semi-Pro alongside stunt performers Shauna Duggins, Ian Eyre, and Stacey Carino, and the fourth installment of Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystall Skull, also alongside Shauna Duggins and Jon Braver, Lauro Chartrand, Kevin Derr, and Gary Wayton. Both films were released in 2008.
Most recently he portrayed Jason Voorhees in the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. The film features Nana Visitor as his screen mother and Trek actress Kathleen Garrett and stuntman Michael Owen.