How Friday the 13th star endured the rigors of shooting

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Amanda Righetti —one of the stars of the upcoming Friday the 13th remake—endured weeks of difficult physical and emotional acting to portray Whitney, one of several young people who encounter the machete-wielding Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears). (Possible spoilers ahead!)

"It was a lot of that," Righetti (TV's The Mentalist) said in an interview over the weekend in Beverly Hills, Calif. "But, you know, I think, now that I see the final product, it was worth it. I mean, it was definitely worth it. And I kind of knew going into it that it was going to be a little bit of an endurance game, and there was going to be a lot of very physical things demanded of me."

In one scene, Righetti has to crawl on her hands and knees to escape Jason inside an overturned school bus. "Oh yes, that was the icing-the-knees night," she recalled with a smile.

Other times, she had to sit chained in the corner of an underground room, screaming for help. "Being down underneath the house ... depended on the days," she said. "Sometimes ... my voice would start going out or things like that. A lot of the screaming sometimes was tough. But I think the bus was the biggest ... day. That was really a rough one."

Knowing that the shoot would require a lot of running, screaming and scrabbling around—not to mention weeks of night filming—Righetti prepared herself as best she could. "Before we started shooting, I worked with a personal trainer for a few months and ... really started pushing my body hard to get it in a place that I could endure, you know, a lot of running and things like that," she said, adding: "In terms of physicality, it was just making sure that I was stretched out and ... didn't induce injury on myself. ... And, emotionally, it just depended on each day. It depended on what was required of me for the day."

It was also tough to get into the frame of mind of a terrorized young woman, Righetti said, though the physical rigors helped. "When you're getting kind of beat up all day, every day, there's a little bit more to tap into," she said, adding: "I felt like I had something to go to."

On certain days, Righetti said, "I was swimming in the abyss of my life a little bit, yeah. But, yeah, there were days it was a little bit of a black cloud following me around. But rightly so. It's harder, I think, for me as an actor, to be in that space and break it and then try to get back. It was ... more practical for me to maintain it throughout the day."

Friday the 13th opens Feb. 13.