Interview: James Jude Courtney talks ‘Halloween’

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One of the biggest talking points about the new Halloween sequel is the casting of James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers. We got the chance to quiz the new Shape all about the iconic role.

Tell us about the audition process for Halloween?
It was pretty typical.  Funny thing is when Rawn Hutchinson, the stunt coordinator called me, he asked how tall I was.  Now the traditional industry answer is “how tall do you want me to be?”, but Ive known Rawn for years.  I answered that I was 6’2″, because earlier in 2017 I had been in a rather gnarly automobile accident, and the doctor at the time measured me at that height.
What I didn’t figure in was months of chiropractic care including traction, and acupuncture had actually given me back a full inch of height.  So I’m actually 6’3″….anyway, it was pretty straight forward. I went to meet casting and was put on tape.  The audition was all about movement, and the interview centered on my resume, what stunts I’d done, what characters I’d played.
When I finished, I knew I’d killed it.  That’s when it’s time to just let it go.  Well, I got to my car and wasn’t even out of the parking lot when I got a call from production asking my availability.  A few minutes later another call asking me to come back to meet David Green.  A week later I met David, Danny, Ryan Turek and a few others.
How much did you know about the Halloween series before getting the role?
You’d have to live on another planet not to be aware of this iconic series.  Knowing I was going to make films for a living, I was an ardent filmgoer, and when I saw the first Halloween while in undergrad at the University of South Carolina, I walked out of the theater knowing that this film, the original Halloween, was a game changer.
Are you a fan of horror?
I am, I am not a fanatic, because I tend to at least try to stay abreast of most genres of film.  What excites me is innovation, deep performances, new perspectives.  Horror has grown a lot and we have Halloween to thank for that.
We have two versions of The Shape in Halloween, how was the role split between yourself and Nick Castle?
I am in every scene.  Nick came in and did a few scenes, and multiple takes, camera angles being what they are, Nick and I will inhabit the same scenes.  The role is very physical which is why I or someone like me needed to fill the role for this particular show.  It was awesome to work with Nick, and to have his presence on set.  He’s a super talented man, and a quality human being.
Did Nick talk to you about any Michael Myers mannerisms?
No.  By the time he arrived I”d already been working a few weeks.  We did speak about our approach to the character, but mostly we just had fun.  He’s a very witty guy.
This film is a straight sequel to Halloween, is it believable in terms of the story for Michael to return to terrorise Laurie 40 years later?
Of course it is!
We know you may not to answer this but, did you get the chance to work with Jamie Lee Curtis?
Yes, and she’s bad to the bone!
How will this film surprise fans?
That’s a surprise!
What can you tell us about the Michael Myers mask?
Now we’re getting into top secret territory!  All I can say is Christopher Nelson, the FX Makeup artist who created the mask, doesn’t have an Oscar sitting on his mantle for nothing.  It’s powerful and masterful.
Tell us about working with Director David Gordon Green?
Awesome experience, and certainly one of the highlights of my career.  He’s super smart and creative, and fosters an environment where it’s all a dance, where creativity and ideas are encouraged.
I loved being in character, and having him shout out new direction as the camera was rolling.  David hasn’t lost touch with that magical wonder that kids possess, and he infuses that joy and enthusiasm into his work.  It’s infectious.
The fandom of Halloween is quite passionate, are you ready for the amount of attention this role will bring you?
Ha!  I’ve been asked that many times.  And the honest answer is that I don’t know what this is going to be like.  What I do know is that I have genuine love for human beings and animals, and I have a great deal of respect for the fans, and all of the talented people who have been involved in the Halloween series before me.
The cast and crew on this film was just amazing, as if we had all been a part of some brilliant Shakespearian troupe hundreds of years ago.  I really look forward to meeting the fans at cons around the world, traveling with Nick and the others.  It’s an honor to be in this place,
‘Halloween’ is produced by Blumhouse and will be released on 19th October 2018.

 

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