[Interview] Tristian Eggerling on Playing Young Lonnie Elam in ‘Halloween Kills’
Among the legacy characters from John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween who are featured once again this year’s highly anticipated sequel Halloween Kills is Lonnie Elam, who is played by two actors new to the franchise, Robert Longstreet as adult Lonnie and Tristian Eggerling, who plays young Lonnie in the very key flashback scenes in the film.
We recently talked to Eggerling via email just after he attended the Hollywood costume party premiere of Halloween Kills, looking quite killer himself in a cool Mr. Bones candy mascot costume. Tristian told us all about his experiences on the set, taking over such an iconic character, joining the Halloween franchise legacy, and much more.
You can read our full exclusive interview with Tristian Eggerling on playing Young Lonnie Elam in Halloween Kills below.
Because we are Halloween Daily News, where “every day is Halloween,” we always like to start off with a few questions about Halloween itself. So, what does the holiday mean to you? Do you and your family celebrate Halloween? Is it something you look forward to and like to go big for, or do you prefer to lay low until it’s over?
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Costumes, candy, and cool weather! All my favorites. I usually ask my mom to help create my costume so it’s one of a kind. One of the best costumes I remember was when I was a mummy. It was literally handmade from hundreds of shredded pieces of fabric…I even had a head bandage. My family decorates the house and yard, and we kick off the month with a very serious evening of pumpkin carving. My Dad is a chef, so things get pretty serious. My brother and I come up with a design challenge and my Dad delivers! One time he carved this crazy pumpkin with a ghost pumpkin inside that looked like its brains.
What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
I am allergic to nuts, so at the end of trick or treating my friends always trade out the candy with nuts with me. It works out great because they like the candy with nuts, and I get more of my favorite candy like Twix and Kit Kat!
What’s your favorite Halloween costume?
Speaking of favorite candy….I think my new favorite costume is the one I wore to the premiere of Halloween Kills!! It was custom made by an amazing costume designer named Shirlee Idzakovich, and was inspired by the popular Mr. Bones candy from the 1970s that spilled out of Lonnie’s pumpkin in Halloween Kills. I even bought the newer version of Mr. Bones candy to hand out at the after party for fun!
When did you first become interested in acting?
I was very young actually when I starting acting. I got to set visit my brother Gabe when he was working and it looked like so much fun. The first job I booked was Modern Family. Ironically, the character was allergic to strawberries and there was this crazy scene with an epi-pen. Epi-pens don’t scare me…I have to carry one with me all the time, so it was easier to relate to that particular scene.
Do you like scary movies? If so, what is your favorite scary movie?
So I’m going to tell on myself but, I’ve never watched super scary movies. The Halloween trailers are enough to freak me out at night. I love suspenseful mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, and I watch action adventure mostly. However, now that I have seen Halloween Kills and the original Halloween, I am wanting to go back and start watching classic horror films like Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Twilight Zone.
Had you seen and/or were you familiar with the character “Michael Myers” and the original 1978 Halloween (or any of the previous films in the franchise) prior to working on Halloween Kills?
I believe everyone is familiar with Michael Myers right?! He’s been scaring kids for decades! It was much easier for me to watch Halloween Kills than the original Halloween if you can believe that. Maybe because I learned so much of the behind-the-scenes tricks, that my mind was watching the film from a different place.
How did you get the role of Young Lonnie Elam in Halloween Kills? Can you walk us through your audition process and when you learned that you would be in the movie?
So it was a unique first audition because the sides weren’t really from the script, nor was the character, so researching backstory was off the table. There was also quite a bit of physical movement but that’s not good when you are on camera, so I had my brother coach me through it. He always pushes me to my fullest extent. Next was a call back to Blumhouse, which involved a few scenes and then a lot of improv defending my bicycle…so the storyline was still under wraps. Finally, I got the call from my team that I booked the role of young Lonnie Elam!
How was your experience during filming? Can you describe arriving on set for the first time?
My first moments on set were to meet David Gordon Green and the producers with first looks in my new “bowl cut” hair and wardrobe. They were shooting the park scene when The Shape was on top of the car attacking Lindsey (Kyle Richards) and Marion (Nancy Stephens). It was so eerie with the dark park, the glow of the yellow lights, and seeing, I think, James Jude Courtney launch himself onto the top of the car…and that was all before I started my weeks of shooting the next day!
How did you feel seeing Michael Myers on set for the first time? Did you meet or interact with the actor (Airon Armstrong in your scenes, I believe) who played Michael Myers before or after filming? If so, what was he like?
Airon Armstrong was so cool to work with. First, he would block the scene and work with me on safety and stunts. Then he turned into The Shape to stalk me down the streets and sidewalks. With the night atmosphere and his slow creepy stride, I never understood how he kept up with my sprinting.
Did you get to meet Robert Longstreet, who plays an older version of your character Lonnie Elam? Did either of you meet the original “Lonnie,” Brent Le Page? And did you get to meet Dylan Arnold, who plays Lonnie’s son, Cameron? If so, what was that like?
Yes, I did get to hang out with Robert Longstreet and Dylan Arnold. We even took a family photo together outside of our trailers. Mr. Longstreet was always cracking jokes about our family lineage and laughing, and Dylan is super chill. They are both inspiring to talk to and watch in action. Very talented guys for sure. I have never met Brent Le Page, though that would be a cool opportunity.
What other cast members did you get to work with that you can talk about?
My scenes were mainly with The Shape played by Airon Armstrong. I also got to work with Thomas Mann and Jim Cummings who played Young Hawkins and Pete McCabe in the flashbacks.
Do you remember any special directions or unique interaction you had with director David Gordon Green?
I will never forget working with DDG! He is very approachable and fun to talk with. After we got a solid take of each scene, he would invite me to video village and we would watch playbacks and then go back to set. Then he would say “let’s just play around with the scene” and it was all improv and wild lines. He would just start talking and I would play off of his voice…like a pulse. It was insane and it felt real. I learned so much working with him. He also took the time to hang out with me and share stories about the details of writing the script and including cool props from the original Halloween.
What was the most challenging part of filming Halloween Kills?
I don’t scream very loud apparently! I’m a low-key guy. I even had to do more screaming in ADR, but that was a great time because I got to meet Nick Castle. Another challenge but a fun one was how physical the role was. I think my on-set Lonnie mantra was run-scream-fall-plead.
What is your favorite memory from the set?
There are so many cool memories, I don’t think I could choose one. The spooky atmosphere of night shooting, walking through the stage seeing how they recreated Michael Myers’ house, seeing the old station wagon and hearing stories told about the Easter eggs hidden in the film, getting to perform my own stunts, hanging out and talking with DDG, the cast and the crew…I could go on and on!
“Lonnie Elam” is of course a well known character from the original 1978 Halloween. Did you (or do you now) realize the significance of this character being brought back in the new film?
When I was told I booked the role of Lonnie and found out that Mob Rules was code for Halloween Kills, I was really excited but didn’t know how important the role was until I first walked onto set. Everyone was saying “and here’s our young Lonnie!” Immediately I realized that the flashback scenes were a respectful nod to the original film Halloween. It did take me a while to get used to fans shouting out to me “Hey Lonnie, get you’re a** away from there.” But I do understand the hype now, and I’m honored to be a part of this massive franchise.
What can you tell us about Lonnie, from your perspective?
When I studied the original Lonnie from 1978, he was known as a bully, but in my Halloween Kills experience is ironically either being bullied or attacked. It feels pretty incredible to know I helped set up his character development of the present Lonnie and the gravity of his past memories. These memories are an important part of his decision making in Halloween Kills.
Do you plan to watch Halloween Kills, and if so, how do you have any special plans for how you’ll see it for the first time?
Blumhouse invited me and my team to a private screening last month. It felt iconic to watch on the big screen at Blumhouse. I had a second opportunity to see the film at the premiere this week. It was such a different experience to hear the audiences’ reactions in the moment. A truly surreal experience for me! It. Is. So. Scary! Get prepared for an angry Shape against an angry mob!!
It has been a long two years since filming wrapped, but the film’s release is finally here, and you are now a part of this 43-year-old franchise with 12 films (so far) and a massive global fanbase. How does it feel knowing that you are now a part of this legacy?
Finally, right?! It’s hard to wrap my head around it sometimes. Everyone knows the Halloween franchise! The fans know so many details and facts, that I’m blown away. Listening to Jamie Lee Curtis and DGG talk about the legacy is inspiring. It’s crazy how someone from any generation connects and has a story to tell about Halloween. So having been on set, shooting an original character with many of the OG’s, feels like the best story of all.
Halloween Kills is out now in theaters and on Peacock.
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See all of our Halloween Kills coverage here!
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