Anthony Michal Hall Interview: Halloween Kills | Screen Rant

Anthony Michael Hall stars in the latest movie in the Halloween franchise, Halloween Kills. The actor plays Tommy Doyle, one of the kids who Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) babysits on that fateful night in 1978. The character was previously played by Brian Andrews in the original Halloween film and Paul Rudd in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Halloween Kills is now playing in theaters and available to stream on Peacock.

Related: Halloween Kills Retcons The Origins & Motives of Michael Myers

Screen Rant spoke to Hall about Halloween Kills and working with director David Gordon Green as well as his career at large and his time making movies with John Hughes.

Screen Rant: You've been part of so many iconic films. What does it mean to add the Halloween franchise to that and to share the screen with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode?

Anthony Michael Hall: Oh it's epic. It feels great. I've had the delay of the film to think about this, but it really is meaningful to me because I've never - with the exception of The Dark Knight - I've never been a part of a big franchise like this, and that was back in 07 when I shot that, so I'm just super pumped, I really am.

And I think with the delay of the last year, it's really funny, it gave me a lot of time to plug into the fan universe and how big that is. I was on YouTube a lot watching fan shows, and reaction videos, and tracking all the responses to the trailers, and the test screenings and everything, just like Halloween fans themselves, so that was a lot of fun for me. So yeah, it means a lot to me. I'm very excited about it because we know we did a great film and it's very audience friendly. It's a real ride. So, that all combines for a lot of excitement for me and I'm happy about it.

I'm curious because Michael Myers is somebody that's really freaky to a lot of people growing up. And then you're in turn on set with this guy as Michael Myers. Does it get freaky at all when you see him lurking on the set?

Anthony Michael Hall: It was a little freaky, to be honest with you. It was. But Christopher Nelson, the guy who creates his look is incredible. He has a whole team. So he would often be around James Jude [Courtney] who I had never even really spoken to during the making of the film. We've become friendly since. He's a great guy.

But you know, during the making of the film, I'll be honest, I was in my own zone, too. I was really excited because I felt David and Danny [McBride] had given me this real heroes arc as Tommy. And it's interesting if you go back to the 78 film, Tommy's actually bullied, right? By Lonnie and he's obviously victimized by the babysitter getting killed. And then Jamie's character looks after him and Kyle's character, Lindsay Wallace. So it's a nice full arc.

I think what's cool about the new film is that everybody gathers on Halloween night and they're commiserating about having been victims and survivors, hoping that there's a real turn that happens, right? Everybody decides to unify and fight and to really join forces, the community itself. That energy and the way that David sets the movie up really propels it forward and gives it such momentum. And then it just takes off. It's a freight train. There's so much action in this film, there's so much going on. So I think people who love this franchise, and this character of [Michael] Myers and obviously, Laurie, they'll be very happy. I think it's a great installment, the 12th in the series.

What were you told in terms of what Tommy Doyle is aware of, what his past is, and what he's been up to since 78?

Anthony Michael Hall: You know what's interesting, because a lot of people have asked me this question the last couple of weeks, and we really didn't discuss it, David and I. I think because the screenplay that he and Danny and Scott Teems, their partner, did was solid, it was really all there. I mean, everything you see with the opening speech at the beginning.

I think one of the things that was really very creative and very cool that they pulled off was how they were able to thread all those characters from the original, to [Halloween] 2018, to this new movie. I think even though we all have this similar arc of unifying and fighting back and becoming empowered by this as opposed to just being survivors or victims, that was there for all of us to work with.

But I also really felt excited by the way David really saw Tommy as kind of like the eye of the storm. He's leading the town and leading the charge. I've never had that kind of a specific hero's part; I was really jazzed by that. And because of the fact that it's basic good versus evil, everything was very clear for me. So, I just kind of hit the ground running and there were things that David added in the course of the shoot, like the bat, for example, that was an idea that came to him in, I think, the first or second week he's said, "I think you should have a weapon." I go, "cool." But he's such a talented guy because he can go from comedy to drama.

[There are] so many great actors in this project, and actresses, and he really carves out time to have ongoing discussions and dialogue with them and if something doesn't feel right, we can change it. He's also just very inclusive of other people's opinions in the creative process. So he'll get ideas from crew members, not just us actors. It's interesting because I've shared this with a lot of the writers that I've been speaking to, that he has that in common with John Hughes. John Hughes had all those similar qualities: a natural writer, a natural filmmaker, but at the same time, has this kind of humility and another talent for just listening and staying open to enlarge it so you might embellish a scene, you might simplify scene, you might cut things. I found that really impressive, that he was such a cool, easygoing guy that everybody got along with. He was really accessible throughout the making of the project. And then, just how he works, too by just letting things happen, going beyond what's there in the script, but the screenplay was really so good that we didn't have to digress from it too much and it was really right there.

I was wondering because it’s kind of  Tommy Doyle's movie, he really is like you said,  the eye of the storm, and I was wondering if that had evolved as you guys were working together?

Anthony Michael Hall: It did. It actually did evolve, that's a good point. Because I felt that that energy from him that he wanted me to rise to this occasion and be what you just said. I felt that and I felt very empowered by that. The other thing he did, which was really funny, was I got to the set and because of my age, my hair just getting whiter now, I just buzzed my hair. So I went for this haircut, when I got there he goes, "I love the haircut. I want to cut my hair like that." The next day I came to set, he buzzed his hair.

It was cool. He's just a great guy. I really loved it and I was genuinely fan of his and Danny McBride. I loved all those shows they did, they were just so talented with the comedy. [It was] just a great experience and it's a dream job.

What's the number one thing you want to see in Halloween Ends

Anthony Michael Hall: Okay, so I'm literally under contract, so I'm not supposed to talk about this. But I really don't know. With respect to the next one. I have no idea. All I know is, I got a little bit of intel from David and Jamie, because I happened to text David when he was in Venice with Jamie Lee a couple weeks back, when the film premiered internationally, and she said something in one of her interviews, which was a clue. I think he gave her the new script for Halloween Ends on the plane there, when when they were going to Italy. So that's the only newsworthy item I can give you. I don't know anything about it. I wish them all the best though because I'm really excited, this is going to be a hard one to top. This movie kicks ass.

It's like, "Is Laurie going to kill Michael? Does it matter? Does Michael even care about Laurie Strode?"

Anthony Michael Hall: You got it, right. It's so interesting how something so basic, this inter-relationship has really intrigued people for a long time. It's cool, it's really exciting. That's the best part, I think, knowing that an audience is there ready for it. It's really fun.

How do you think Michael catches up to people so quickly? Do you think he's full sprinting when the camera isn't on him? 

Anthony Michael Hall: That's really funny. David said one of the interviews I watched his from a few weeks ago, that there's actually very little mythology - we don't really know that much about him. And that might be part of the trick of it, you know, like fear itself. It's almost like a contagion. We're afraid of this thing we can't see. He's the stalker, he's the predator. He's the boogeyman. But it's interesting at the same time, how beloved [he is], just as much as Laurie is.

When you tap into this fan base, they are serious about it. They are so diehard. They know what every mask look like, they can tell you about every version, every sequel, the different timelines. So it's been really fun with the delay since last year of plugging into this whole world and seeing what the fans think. I'm as excited as they are. Honestly.

I read that you turned down the second Vacation movie. Is that true?

Anthony Michael Hall: I did this article interview recently and it was kind of twisted to look like that. I mean, I did regret it. I had an opportunity to do Ferris Bueller and Pretty in Pink with [John] Hughes. But it was actually kind of his fault in a way, because of the career he had given me. I was actually busy on other projects, so I wasn't able to do that. And I'm sad about that, because I really did want to work with him again.

The Rusty connection is also interesting because of the film, She's Having a Baby with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. So basically, the reason I bring it up is because Kevin and Elizabeth McGovern were essentially playing The Hughes' because at the time he was an ad guy, he was writing copy in an advertising agency. So my point of telling you all this is that he submitted the short story of Vacation to National Lampoon magazine. And that got picked up and that's where his writing career took off. He was writing short stories for a humor magazine. And then that got turned into Vacation.

So it was really kind of in the stars, how I worked with John, because he had written that first film, which I did and then I went on to meet him and work with him obviously on the other three films as a kid, Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.

I was just curious if you're actually the reason why there was a different Rusty and Audrey in every movie. 

Anthony Michael Hall: I have to tell you, I think I am because again, because I was working. I wasn't available to do the second one, which I think was the European Vacation one, so I'm to blame, I guess in part.

If you had to revisit a character you've played before, is there anyone you would want to revisit?

Anthony Michael Hall: I would say Tommy Doyle, actually, but I don't know what's going to happen him. Wink.

That's a good question. I don't know. I'm always kind of forward thinking. I'm always thinking about what's ahead. It was really funny when my management put me on The Goldbergs last year, which was great. And the first episode was the spoof of Vacation'and I thought the funniest thing was the writers decided to make Rusty the security guard at the front gate at Disneyland. So, that first episode was all about, "Rusty Griswold would not let The Goldbergs into Disneyland because they didn't have their passes" or whatever. So that was funny. And then that led to them bringing me back as a guidance counselor. So again, the Vacation jokes, they keep coming. But that was fun. I mean, that was the only time I've done that actually to revisit it. So Rusty wound up being a security guard at Disneyland. 

It's hard to think about rebooting Hughes stuff, but they are doing a Home Alone reboot, they did a newer Vacation. Is there anything that you've done where you're like, "I would not want to see that rebooted?"

Anthony Michael Hall: The thought of The Breakfast Club gets mentioned sometimes. And I think, again, because of John's writing, it's a legit concept, the possibility of that being remade, I think it might in some future date. But it's been very humbling.

That movie in particular, of all of the three that I did with John, or four with Vacation, because it's almost like group therapy when you watch that, and I think with his films, particularly what they've always endured is they keep finding younger audiences, which is pretty amazing.

And I can tell you this, the last time I did speak to John, it was very sad. But I spoke to him in 1987, he called me with John Candy on the phone. And we literally just hung out on the phone and just telling stories, and talking and laughing and making sure to laugh. And it was incredible. And he did bring it up at that time. He was toying with the idea of a sequel, kind of finding them in their adulthood with families and new careers - so that idea was of interest to him. It was something that he was contemplating.

Is there an actor or filmmaker that you have not worked with yet that you would instantly say yes to working with?

Anthony Michael Hall: Danny McBride is one of them. I love Danny. I really do. I loved all their shows. I actually auditioned for a couple things, Eastbound & Down and one of the other ones. I love that guy. I think he's great. There's so many. He comes to mind, because that question has been brought to my attention the last couple of weeks. He’s somebody I would love to work with.

I’d love to do more comedies. I've always loved [Adam] Sandler, I think he's great. I love Will Ferrell. I love all the comedians. SNL is such an interesting thing, it was such a great training ground. The men and the women of the show have been great, like Kate McKinnon, there's so many talented people that have done that show and do it well. So, I would love to do some comedies in the near future. That'd be fun too.

What role did you audition for in Eastbound & Down?

I honestly can't remember which part it was. But I remember auditioning for one, if not two of their shows because I love their stuff. They were great. And they're very just cool guys, too. I remember when I sat down with David [Gordon Green] a couple years back, he was telling me that they recently moved back to South Carolina, all the guys in their crews love them, they had all gone to college together. They’re just super chill, down-to-earth guys that really have fun with the work. So it was a great experience with these guys.

I'm awed by it. When I saw [Halloween Kills] - honestly, I was as excited as anybody to see this movie, and I saw it with my wife for the first time at Blumhouse a couple weeks ago, and she was like this [covers eyes].

[It's brutal], but fun too. I mean, from an audience perspective, it really delivered. I think fans of this franchise are gonna flip out, and I think it will attract new people, too because it's a well made film.

Next: Why Halloween Kills Is So Much More Violent Than Previous Movies



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