J. Gaven Wilde plays the new character Dennis in Halloween Kills, where he got wear the iconic Silver Shamrock skull mask while trick or treating at the Myers House, and he has been busy on a lot of other very cool projects since his time in Haddonfield, including roles in Bad Candy and Blumhouse’s upcoming The Black Phone, so we were excited to catch up with Gaven recently to talk about it all.
In our exclusive new video interview, Wilde discusses his journey to this point, from Hawkins as an extra on Stranger Things to playing a young Danny McBride in The Righteous Gemstones, to co-writing his own upcoming horror film, and of course celebrating Halloween itself.
Revealing that he originally auditioned for a different role (young Lonnie Elam), Gaven tells HDN, “We were reading the script. At the time, it was under the name Mob Rules, and we read it and we were like, this is really weird. This sounds familiar. The scene that I auditioned for was the scene where the police officer pulls up next to the kids, and tells them, ‘Have you seen a man in a mask?’ It’s the flashback. We were like, I don’t know why, but sounds really familiar, like it’s been done before, but whatever. So we auditioned for it. They told us it was in the 1970s, so I asked my neighbor to borrow an older shirt of his from the ’70s. I did the audition, and I got a callback for it, just like The Gemstones.
“So they wanted me to go to Wilmington (North Carolina) for the callback, and I was sitting in the waiting room, and it was funny because you could hear everybody auditioning, the walls were so thin. You could hear the reaction. And I was just like, please God, I’m so hoping either Danny (McBride) or David (Gordon Green) is in there, because we had so much fun together on The Gemstones. I was like, if they’re in there, I’ll be okay, because I always get so nervous before any audition. I walked in there, and there David was, and he gave me a big hug.
“David’s an awesome guy, and he’s really funny too. He likes to mess with you. So at one point, I had performed the audition a few times, and this was when they had switched it around and in fact I auditioned for Giselle’s (watch our interview here) character. I think they, at the last minute, kind of switched things around. He (Green) just was like, ‘Okay, Gaven, I want you to kind of grunt for me.’ So I was like, ‘Urrrr,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, that’s good. Just keep doing that. I like that.’ And I think he was just messing with me the entire time. I don’t think that held any importance to the audition.
“So I think that it was a week later that I found. I believe – I could be wrong, but I believe John Carpenter called my mom and said that I got the role. I’m pretty sure that it was John Carpenter that called my mom. It was a crazy, weird experience.
Though he was not a huge horror fan prior to working on Halloween Kills, Wilde told us that he has since gone back and revisited John Carpenter’s original 1978 film with a new appreciation for the genre and now realizes its place in motion picture history, even if he still can’t believe that he is now a part of that same legacy.
“I remember growing up on those movies,” he said. “I was too young to know how to change the channel or to pick a specific one, but I had known of Michael Myers for the longest time, and loved Jason Voorhees and Chucky, and all of them. So immediately when I read the first audition, I was like, this sounds like Michael Myers. But I don’t remember watching the original one.
“So when we got done filming, I went and I watched the 1970s version, and I was blown away. I was like, yeah I do remember seeing this, but now that I’m older and I can look at it from a different perspective, that movie is just gold. Truly, it’s really an amazing film. I was semi-familiar, but I had to go back and remind myself. Now I’m like, wow, I can’t believe I got to be part of that.”
Since filming wrapped on HK in the fall of 2019, Gaven has been busy building an already impressive genre resume, having appeared in a pivotal role in another Halloween horror film, this year’s Bad Candy, and more recently playing a character named Moose in another upcoming Blumhouse production, Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, and he has co-written his own project, as well, a cannibal movie called Primal Taste.
You can watch our full exclusive new interview with J. Gaven Wilde on playing Dennis in Halloween Kills, working on Bad Candy and The Black Phone, and much more below.
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