For last year's Halloween, director David Gordon Green got fans on his side when it was announced that the original Shape, Nick Castle, would be making a cameo appearance as Michael Myers in the re-enivisioned sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic. While Castle has been retired from acting and making films for several years, it seemed like those making the new Halloween were dead-set on connecting the new film to the original as much as possible. While he only appears in one scene – when Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode first encounters Myers – Castle also recorded all of the sounds of the Shape, from his breathing to the grunts from the many hits he takes in the film's no-holds-barred finale.
STARBURST: How far along in the process did you become involved with the new Halloween?
Nick Castle: About a year ago, August, I got a call from my agent who books me at horror conventions. He also represents all the other guys who played Michael Myers in the other films, and the casting people from the movie were calling him up, trying to get ideas. He suggested me, without asking me, and he called and asked, “Would you be interested? I found out that they'd be interested in you doing it, if you want to.” I knew that they were going to do a new Halloween. I didn't know what the script was, but I knew John [Carpenter] was involved. So, that was in August , and they were going to do it in October, but they delayed it a few months to work on the screenplay, and wound up shooting it, I think, in February.
The recreation of the famous on-set photo of you drinking a Dr. Pepper with the mask on suggests that shooting was pretty fun. Was it as enjoyable as that image suggests?
Oh, yeah. All that and more. First of all, it was great to be on a set again. Y'know, I'm a filmmaker, but I've been retired for a while, so I haven't been on a set, so that in and of itself was nostalgic. Met a lot of great people – very talented and warm. Got a lot of pats on the back for my own career and my own movies – a lot of fans of those. And, because I had, for the last few years, been going to these horror conventions, I know the fans, and know how much they love this genre, and I know what they would like, so some of my suggestions of revisiting these old photos and reliving some of these old moments from the original were ones that both myself and the filmmakers there wanted to do, so we had a blast with that. A lot of fun – got to meet Danny McBride, one of my favourite comedy actors, and see Jamie Lee Curtis and John again, so it couldn't have been more fun.
You're the one who recorded all of the breathing for Michael Myers in this film. What's that process like – is it kind of ridiculous, sitting in a recording booth, breathing heavily into a mask?
Well, that's basically what it is. I got an email or a call – I don't remember which – and David [Gordon Green] said, “Wouldn't it be great if you did all the breathing?” and I went, “Oh, that's great. I love that idea.” [chuckles] He said, “We'll do it in L.A., and we'll just send you to one of these post-productions houses,” and that's what we did. I went there and Ryan Turek, who was one of the producers, was there, along with the post-production group, and that was the first time I got to see the movie, too – in stops and starts. We just played through all the scenes with Michael Myers and we started by me actually putting on a mask and breathing. Then, we took that off, and I just kind of ended up breathing into my hands, instead. That's what we ended up using – it came out better than going through the mask itself. That was fun, and I got to be a part of the movie again.
Seeing all of those scenes with just the Shape – how did that prepare you for seeing the final, completed film?
Not only did David send the me the original script when I first got on, but was gracious enough to hear my thoughts on some of the scenes and things like that, so I was very much aware of the storyline. But, I was only on the set for about a week, so I saw material that was being done there, but seeing it [during post-production], it was hard to tell, because of stops and starts, but it looked like it was really working. What I really appreciated was the work they did on extending the ending of the movie. I thought that was really helpful to giving some impact to the finale.
Of all the scenes for which you recorded the sound, which required the most interpretation on your part?
Well, the entire ending. There were so many efforts – it's not just breathing, but when you're hit or when you get shot or what the character might do. Then, you leave it up to the director and the editors to decide how much of that impact they want to hear. Does it play within the setting of the scene, because it might not be as prevalent as if you're alone in a closet, hearing the Shape's menacing breathing. There's not a lot of nuance you can give to these things – you're breathing! [laughs] You just have to figure out how this is going to play – he's a tough guy, so he's not going to say, “Ouch,” out loud. You don't want it to come off as comical – let's just put it that way!
HALLOWEEN is available on Digital Download now, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on February 25th from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.