Parties and Watersnakes!
The John Dunn Interview

Interview by Jeff Hayes

Jeff Hayes catches up with everyone's favorite bully, John Dunn, in the original 2000 interview...

You all remember "Kenny," the camper who loved to shoot his mouth off at Cousin Ricky and pick-on innocent little Angela! Of course that is why he ended out being found under a canoe with a watersnake oozing from his mouth...but before that happened, he had some fun and interesting experiences at Sleepaway Camp! Now, John Dunn, the actor who portrayed "Kenny" returns to Camp with us to share his fun and bloody recollections...

How did you get involved with Sleepaway Camp? Up until that point I had been acting non-stop since I was about 5 years old. I had just recently left All My Children after a number of years, and was pretty burned out on acting. However, my manager sent me the script and suggested I read it. Needless to say, I thought it was pretty wild and figured it would be a fun shoot. In addition, Kathy Kamhi was in it and we were good friends from our All My Children days, so I read for the part. It's funny though, because after a while my manager had second thoughts about me doing the movie, but I fired her and left for "Camp Arawak".

What was it like for you being on the set of Sleepaway? I had never been to camp as a kid growing up, so for me it was my chance to just sort of let loose and have a great time. I turned 17 during the shoot so I was at the age where one likes to have a good time. Let's just say I did.

What are some experiences you remember about making this movie? Here's a few:

  • A group of us had gone into town and were hanging out at some bar shooting pool, when some very attractive local women popped by and hung out. Basically, that was not appreciated by their boyfriends so before we got our asses kicked we got the hell out of there.
  • I remember how much fun I had when we shot the softball game -- I love sports, so for me it was awesome.
  • After I had split open my hand I was rushed to some hospital in the middle of nowhere and they had no idea what to do with me
  • Felissa's mom, Joan, surprised me for my birthday with a party (although I was stoned from pain killers after my injury so it's all a blur)

Felissa told me that you had broken your hand during the canoe scene. What happened? Actually I split the top of my hand open. What happened was we were shooting the canoe scene out on the lake and we were not out far enough. I was worried about the actress I was with, so I complained that we should go out further - well, we didn't and on the very first take I flipped over the canoe and when I went in I felt my hand hit against a rock. After I came up I looked at my hand and a large chunk was missing. The water was so cold it didn't bleed at first -- about two minutes later though all hell broke loose. I now have an ugly scar on the top of my hand.

Who did you hang out with on the set most of the time? Any crushes on particular cast members? I pretty much hung out with everybody, but primarily Tom Van Dell, Rick Edrich and Kathy Kamhi. Also I hung with a few of the extras. As for crushes, I did like one of the extras and had a terrible crush on Felissa's mom, Joan. What was your reaction the first time you saw the movie? Pretty scary & I was pretty skinny. How do you feel about the movie today? I'm just amazed that it's held its own after all these years. Great experience -- definitely ahead of its time.

Has anyone ever approached you because they remembered seeing you in Sleepaway? A cousin of mine once. How did you feel when you saw the scene where Kenny was dead in the canoe? Did it freak you out? No not really, I got a kick out of the reaction of the audience. Did you have a lot of interaction with the make-up effects guy: Ed French? What was it like when he made the mold of your face? I probably shouldn't tell this story, but I will anyway. I had been at a party earlier in the day and was pretty tipsy by the time I got to Ed's apartment. Well I thought I hid it pretty well, but when they poured the mold on me I ended up getting pretty sick after a while. I freaked and they had to cut me out of the mold. About an hour later we tried again and the rest is history.

A SLEEPAWAY bond that will last forever!

What did you do when not on the set? Hung out, partied -- typical 17 year old stuff What do you do these days? I recently left HBO after almost 9 years. I was responsible for the marketing for their Series (Sex and the City, OZ, Larry Sanders...) and Sports franchises. I then decided to jump into the internet world and took a job as Vice President of Marketing for a company called On2. On2 is a worldwide leader in streaming video over the web. Your site needs to use our software -- full screen, tv quality. More importantly however, I'm happily married for almost 5 years to Alix and we just had a baby boy 4 months ago named Jack. I've sent you his photo because he looks better than I do. What is the best thing that came out of Sleepaway Camp for you? Felissa. She is by far one of the greatest people I've ever met & outside of my wife, my dearest friend.

John and Jeff at the SLEEPAWAY CAMP REUNION, APRIL 2001.

And there you have it...straight from the watersnake-infested mouth of John "Kenny" Dunn! As you can also tell from Sleepaway Camp, John is also an incredible vocalist! Felissa and I even do a tribute to him on the DVD commentary (be sure to listen for that during the canoe scene) We'd like to send John a gigantic THANKS for sharing his Sleepaway times with us!

"Hey-Bob-A-Ree-Bob" Audio Clip

A sneak peek at John's multi-platinum single: "Hey-Bob-A-Ree-Bob" from the Sleepaway Camp Soundtrack