When we caught up with Nick Castle at this past weekend’s Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina, it was just two days after the co-writer of Escape from New York and Hook and director of The Last Starfighter and Dennis the Menace had wrapped filming of the new Halloween movie. It is easily the most anticipated horror event of 2018, where Castle will reprise his iconic role of Michael Myers 40 years after first putting on the killer’s mask in John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, and the man who is The Shape of evil told us he is honestly proud to be a part of the project.
In a very candid conversation, Castle spoke highly of the team that’s taking us all back to Haddonfield, lead by director David Gordon Green with a script he co-wrote with his Roughhouse Pictures producing partner and UNC School of the Arts classmate Danny McBride. He said the set of the new film reminded him a lot of what it felt like to be on the set of the original. And he confirms that the number one goal of this new production is to capture the essence of the classic Halloween and honor its hallowed legacy.
Read on the first official interview with Nick Castle following his filming of Halloween 2018, as we discuss the return of Michael Myers!
Did you ever think that 40 years later you would be putting the mask back on?
Well absolutely not. No. I didn’t even know this was a movie until probably five months ago or something like that, so not really. I’m not doing any movies in general, but since I do this kind of work (conventions), it was interesting to keep abreast of what the franchise is up to.
And I was very curious to see what Danny McBride’s position would be in this, because I do really love him as a comic voice.
Yeah, I do too. Everything he does is hilarious.
Yeah, it’s so funny.
And David Gordon Green is such a renowned and (critically) respected director right now. I don’t know if all the fans recognize what a big deal it is for Halloween to land him.
Oh yeah, he’s a great young filmmaker, and prolific for his age, you know. He’s done a lot of work.
He (Green) told me when he got this offered to him, he didn’t know what to make of it to begin with, but then he went, ‘How can I turn this down? But now that I’m saying I’m going to do it, I really have to make sure I do it right.’
You mentioned in the Q&A about how they’re really trying to maintain that atmosphere of the original. So when you were on set, it really felt like they were consciously trying to tap into that minimalist dread of the first film?
Yes. And it’s very neighborhood-centric, you know, like the first one. It feels a lot like (the first film). There are a lot of things coinciding (in the new film) that feel like clever ways to introduce a kind of déjà vu of the first one, without feeling like it’s being copied. The script had some very clever people working on it.
That’s the impression I’ve been getting from what little information that has been made public, that it’s a continuation but it’s probably going to hit some similar beats that we might recognize. I’ve said that this is like the Star Wars of horror, because they’re making the new Star Wars films but they’ve brought some legacy characters and actors back. With you and Jamie back, I’ve likened it to that (Star Wars). Do you see a kind of parallel there in a way?
Yeah, I think you’re right. These anniversaries, too, tend to drive some of these productions, and you’ve got to watch out for that, that it’s not just a marketing ploy. Especially for this movie, that has such a loving fan base, you first and foremost want to honor that, as a fellow filmmaker, and you certainly don’t want to thumb your nose at it, because that’s just going to come back and bite you in the ass.
They were very clear on wanting to find the tone that was in the first one. It was the first thing out of their mouths really: ‘We want to do it like John did it.’
They had a lot of practical challenges making it 40 years later, in terms of where people were, what they’re doing, the kind of assumption of the interim period, and I think a lot of that went towards deciding when to start the film, in a way disregarding the subsequent sequels. It’s a difficult thing they’re trying to do. It is difficult. When you’re given a project that has within it certain limitations of what went on before, you have to follow a trail through that, it can get very – it can plod along and it can be just about plot.
What I like about this (new film) is they’ve got some really good young actors. They fleshed out their roles. They fleshed out the relationship of Jamie’s character with her daughter and her granddaughter, so you’ve got that whole generational thing going.
And they made some choices that I think are really bold choices about who these people are and why they are the way they are now. So I’m really looking forward it. I have high hopes. Like I said in the panel, you never know until you put it all together and put it out there and have a few people look at it.
But from what you’ve seen, you feel like the fans are going to be happy?
Yes. I can be unabashedly proud to be a part of it, and tell the fans I think they’re in pretty good hands. It’s kind of like fans are making the movie.
That sounds great. And again, that’s what is happening with Star Wars where these guys that grew up with it are now making the new films.
What was the biggest difference for you from 40 years ago on that set to now on this set?
When you say that question, what comes to mind is the opposite of that. This was a remark that Jamie had and I had at the same time almost, we were going, ‘God, this feels so much like the first movie. It’s like everyone is in a family here’. (They are) young people – they’re not quite as young as we were when we did that, but pretty close – and they all worked together from film school, they have connections (with each other) and it feels like they have a very cohesive group.
They’re also doing it on a shoestring budget, for Hollywood standards, and that has its own challenges and rewards in a way.
But again, that (low budget) in itself kind of honors the original doesn’t it?
(laughs) Yes it does. But as far as differences are concerned, I’m a lot older. (laughs)
Well we’re all super excited for this film and when it was announced that you were coming back, it just got us all even more excited. Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Thanks. That was fun.
The new film was also discussed during Castle’s Q&A at Mad Monster Party, and you can read our full report from it here.
Nick Castle returns as Michael Myers when the new Halloween arrives in theaters on October 19, 2018.
For more Halloween news, follow @HalloweenDaily.