By Paul Downey
Halloween Kills is one of the most anticipated horror films of 2020, with the film set to bring back a host of original characters from John Carpenter’s 1978 original.
One of those characters is Lonnie Elam, who will be played by Robert Longstreet, and we got a chance to ask him a few questions about the film plus his work with Mike Flanagan on The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep.
Tell us how you got involved with The Haunting of Hill House?
“Hill House was an audition for me. I didn’t have any of the scripts or really know much about the show. My audition was the long monologue I do in the show. That experience was very much hit the ground running. It was exhilarating.”
Have you read the original novel or seen the film from 1963?
“I read The Haunting of Hill House in 8th grade English class and as a reward, our teacher showed us the movie in class right after. It was in the middle of the day with the curtains drawn and a 16mm projector clacking away in the same room but we were all frozen with fear. It was a bloodless mix of psychological and supernatural horror. I was unprepared for what a masterpiece it was. It’s still one of my all-time favorite films.”
If so, did you go into this project with any preconceived notions of what to expect?
“I had no preconceived ideas about it at all because I didn’t even know it was based on Shirley Jackson’s book. It all happened so fast.”
Tell us about working with Mike Flanagan?
“Working with Mike Flanagan has been the most thrilling and satisfying experience of my entire acting life. The fact that it continues from project to project has me pinching my self. He is so prepared and gentle that he just elevates you to do your best work. I love that man.”
Shooting a series can take considerably longer than some films, how did you find the process?
“I love the long-form and time it takes to do a tv series and on Hill House especially (because it all happened so fast for me) I was so grateful for the time to really flush out my character. The schedule was perfect and I had a few months to prepare my long monologue between shows.”
What is your favorite episode of Hill House?
“I can’t pick a favorite episode. They are all SO GOOD that picking one feels like taking love from another and I love them all.”
Did Mike approach you about Doctor Sleep soon after?
“Mike told me he had a part for me in DOCTOR SLEEP during Hill House. All directors say we’ll work together again and they mean it but it never happens due to a million reasons but four months after wrapping HILL HOUSE we were doing DOCTOR SLEEP together. Mike is unusually loyal and really wants to create a family and ensemble of actors who bring their A-game with a zero drama positive attitude that he can have a kind and safe shorthand with.
“His sets are fast-paced and highly prepared places that require intense focus but they are also kind and loving and full of laughter. It’s a magical mix and I think it shows in his final product again and again.”
What did you think about being part of the True Knot?
“I was a little afraid of the Tru Knot. Playing a child killer his the stuff I would normally turn down. Even just that subject matter in a movie or to show is something I have turned down many times. I don’t want to be around that.
“But these were ancient monsters and not human pedophiles. The predation was supernatural and not sexual and I trust Mike and Steven King because their brand of horror (as disturbing and nasty as it can get) usually has a silver vein of hope and humanity running through them. They are human dramas in extraordinary circumstances. And I do love playing bad guys and these fuckers are the worst!!!”
Have you read the Doctor Sleep novel?
“I read the DOCTOR SLEEP novel and loved it. I have loved Steven King’s writing for 40 years. He is a hero of mine.”
You have recently been announced as Lonnie Elam for Halloween Kills, tell us about this project?
“I don’t think I can say anything about HALLOWEEN KILLS except it might be the nastiest of all of them. It has some terrifying scenes in it.
The character had a minor role in 1978 original, but can we assume you will have more to do in Halloween Kills?
“Lonnie is a complicated, troubled guy who is haunted by his past. Particularly chickening out on going into Michael Myers’ house when he was a kid. I think this broke something in him that fucks with his manhood.”
Your on-screen son Cameron was part of the 2018 film, tell us about working with Dylan Arnold?
“Working with Dylan Arnold was a gift!
“He called me right off the bat when I got to North Carolina and we were talking relationship immediately and running it by David Gordon Green and really plotting our life experience together as father and son. He’s a fantastic actor and a kind and generous human. He’s way better looking than me so whoever my ex-wife was, she must have been stunning to equal it all out. Ha!!!
“I also loved working with Andi Matichak. She’s another sweet and open unpretentious human who is also a badass actor. They were so much fun to work with. I walked away loving them both.”
We get hints in Halloween (2018) that the Elam family is a bit unorthodox, is this carried through to Halloween Kills?
“The Elam family is very unorthodox. They love drugs and alcohol more than most. David said a funny thing to me about that. He said ‘Lonnie knows his wines.’ Ha!!!
“I don’t think I’m a very appropriate father but I love my son. The stories of mushrooms with Ray continue.”
Without giving anything away, what has been the best part of being in Halloween Kills?
“The best part of HALLOWEEN KILLS for me was sitting in a makeup trailer next to Michael Myers. That is a full-circle moment that had my inner teenager doing backflips. I had the same feeling in the HILL HOUSE mansion set and the overlook hotel sets on DOCTOR SLEEP.
“I got to inhabit my childhood nightmares and become a small part of the mythologies I idolized so long ago and still to this day. What a gift. It’s hard for me to get my mind around it. I’m just grateful as hell.”
How does Michael Myers rank for you in terms of horror villains?
“Michael Myers is up there with Dracula for me. He is on the very shortest list of iconic villains. A silent remorseless destroyer.”
Tell us what else you have in the pipeline for 2020?
“2020 has me working with Mike Flanagan again on a new Netflix series called MIDNIGHT MASS. Imagine me giggling like a delighted kid when I say that because that is exactly how I feel.
‘Mike Flanagan, Mike Flanagan, Mike Flanagan’.”
Doctor Sleep is currently in cinemas and Halloween Kills will be released on 16th October 2020.