Up-and-Comer of the Month: ‘Halloween’ Star Andi Matichak

     October 18, 2018

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David Gordon Green‘s long-awaited Halloween sequel carves its way into theaters this weekend and fans of the original John Carpenter classic will see some familiar faces — namely Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and everyone’s favorite bogeyman Michael Myers. This Halloween movie may ignore all the sequels but it still manages to be a family affair, introducing Judy Greer as Laurie’s daughter and newcomer Andi Matichak as Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson.

Matichak was born in Framingham, Massachusetts (same as me!) but raised predominantly in a small town outside of Chicago, so she’s a Midwest girl at heart, though these days she’s based in New York. She was a star soccer player in high school and earned a full scholarship to play college ball, though fate intervened and an opportunity to act presented itself while on a modeling trip to Greece.

Matichak has earned solid reviews for her headstrong performance in Halloween, which she saw for the first time at the Toronto International Film Festival in a theater packed with horror fans who deemed it a worthy sequel to the 1978 film. We spoke two weeks before the release of the slasher movie, which is poised to open north of $100 million worldwide. The press has been fixated on Curtis’ return to the franchise, and understandably so, but Matichak really holds her own here, and I predict big things await this talented young actress. That’s why she was the easy choice for Collider’s Up-and-Comer of the Month this October.

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Image via Universal

Enjoy our chat, and stay safe out there on Halloween, because you never know who might ring your doorbell to trick or treat…

What sparked your passion for acting and made you decide to get into this crazy business?

It actually was kind of by chance that it happened. My entire life was geared towards playing soccer. In like, second grade, I decided that I was going to play soccer at a Division 1/Top 20 school and that’s really like, what I went out to do. I ended up as a sophomore committing on a full-ride scholarship to a school that’s Division 1 and at the time was in the Top 20. That was kind of my whole game plan, and then I was graduating early from high school so I could go down for spring season and start to get my feet wet before fall when we really had to jump in. And the summer before my senior year, I modeled a little bit in high school for brands like Kohls and Target, cute little things like that. When I had the opportunity to go to Athens, Greece for three months during the summer and live there and model, I thought about it and I was like, I think that this is a great opportunity, because once I go — both of my parents were collegiate athletes — once you go to school, I mean, it’s a job. You don’t really get to do much else besides like, live and breathe soccer. So I was like, you know what, this is a great chance for me to travel, and to kind of get that out of the way, and when I come back I’ll jump right back in and get ready to go down to school.

So I went to Greece and met this man. My Dad came with me for the first 10 days of the trip, to make sure that everything was kosher, and this man approached my dad about acting. He was like, ‘I really think that Andi should act. Forget soccer, forget modeling. She should really be an actress.’ My dad’s like ‘OK, yeah, great idea!’ The two of us were like, ‘sure, let’s leave an already super-stable profession of being a female soccer player [in favor of] the even more stable profession of being an actress.’ So this man was like, ‘look, let me set up a meeting with this guy’ — and that guy ended up being one of the owners of my now-agency (Innovative Artists). I knew nothing about acting. I didn’t know if I could do it, I didn’t know if I really even liked it. But my now-agents kind of saw something in me and got me training in Chicago, and once I started to do it and started to study, I realized very, very quickly that I was good at it.

The opportunity that I had was incredible, so I had to reevaluate my passions and de-commit from my school and forego college, so that when I graduated early, instead of going down to school, I came to New York. It’s a bizarre story. This thing really fell in my lap, but I’m so grateful that it did, and it made so much sense to me once I started acting. I was just like, ‘oh, this is what I am meant to do.’ It made a lot of sense out of the way I watch movies, the way I’m observant, the way I’m empathetic. A lot of stuff was brought into focus once I started doing it. And it’s crazy to think that something that is this big of a passion in my life, I may have never found or known about, you know?

Yup. You can’t just have talent these days, you have to have luck and timing, too. I thought you were going to say that you got injured playing soccer and then turned to acting.

That happens a lot and it’s part of what went into my decision making. My Dad (Terry Matichak) played football in college and then he played in the pros, he played for Pittsburgh Steelers and his career was pretty short-lived because he got injured. It’s like, he gave everything for that profession and it was over in one play. That’s something that definitely weighed into the equation when I was making this decision, because it’s like, I don’t know what that future holds, and that is a reality.

Tell me about the audition process for Halloween and how David Gordon Green and Jason Blum discovered you for this role.

So I got the audition just like any other. It was a small, two-page scene, really basic, lots of screaming. I just got sense that it was to really just get the vibe of the character. Like I said, I’m based in New York, so I self-taped it in my apartment with one of my girlfriends, and sent it off into the big black abyss that you feel like self tapes are, and then a few weeks later I got a call and they wanted to set up a Skype interview with David Gordon Green. So we do the Skype interview and we just pretty much get to know each other, and he tells me a little bit about him, about the script, about the character and everything, and then he kind of gave me free reign to do what I want in the next set of auditions, when they gave me new scenes. So I had a whole set of new scenes to do, which had a lot of the screaming and a lot of the craziness, and then I re-taped them, and after that it was pretty much that thing of waiting. Then it’s like, you’re on a list that’s this long. OK, now the list is this long and now it’s this long, and that went on for awhile until, finally, I booked it.

Did you have to do a chemistry read with Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer to make sure you were believable as a family?

No, actually The day that they offered it to me, or the day before they offered it to me, I met with David. I was supposed to screen test originally and then I didn’t, but instead, David was going to be in New York for the premiere of Stronger, so I met with David then in person. And after the meeting, I saw him later that night at the Stronger premiere that he invited me to, and he introduced me to somebody as ‘the girl who’s doing the movie with him’ and that was the first confirmation of anything, and I almost passed out. Like, fully almost passed out. I was in complete shock. So that was kind of it. I knew that Jamie was involved already and that Judy was also already cast, but no, we didn’t chem read together.  But once we got to the set, we did a lot of rehearsal.

How did you celebrate?

When David told me that night, I also didn’t have an official offer, so I was a little skeptical. I was just like, ‘OK, let’s just wait until it officially comes in and then we’ll celebrate it.’ So the next day I actually got the call that I’d booked it when I was upstate with my boyfriend on a hike with our dogs. I got the call and it was really surreal. It felt like a dream. I don’t know a better way to explain it. Hearing the news was everything that I’d worked really hard for over the years, and it felt like it was finally paying off. Once I hung up the phone it was nice because we just had that moment by ourselves in the woods and we were about to let it sink in and enjoy it. I didn’t tell my family for another hour and once I did we had four phones having FaceTime on each phone with champagne trying to best to celebrate via cyberworld.

Given that we’re in the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, do you feel that this Halloween is more relevant than past installments given that it follows three generations of strong women fighting back against a man?

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Image via Instagram/@AndiMatichak

I wouldn’t say that it’s more relevant now, I feel like it’s always been relevant. One of the things that is so incredible, and that is a testament to that, is that David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley wrote this script before the #MeToo movement really began. It just goes to show you that this issue didn’t just pop-up. It’s kind of been going on for a long time, and it’s always timely. It’s incredible being in a film that has three strong women at completely different ages in their lives who each see the world in a different way. It’s a really incredible juxtaposition between the three throughout the film, mixed with their relationship. It’s pretty compelling.

I just hadn’t seen the Halloween sequels really address PTSD in depth the way this one does, and I think that adds a really rich thematic element to this movie.

Yeah, it was really cool because what they did was they pretty much just picked up 40 years after the original. They just sat there and kind of thought, ‘where would she be 40 years later to the day? Where would we find her?’ Jamie describes it by saying that the day after, Laurie would be back in school on November 1 with a band-aid on her arm. Nobody talks about it, nobody gave her any help with that. It’s kind of like, ‘get back in the game, kid. You’re fine.’ What effect does that have on somebody, and where realistically would we find her after 40 years? This is where David, Jeff and Danny kind of found her.

How do you think that this film is different from the original, and how does it compliment the original?

I think it compliments the original one because we have the great John Carpenter involved, and Jamie Lee Curtis as  well. Something that they do really well, which is part of the reasoning that they stripped away the other sequels, is to just get back to the simplicity of what this masked killer was. He didn’t really have a motive, he doesn’t really even have a face, he’s just behind the mask. He kills at random for who-knows-what reason. Going back to that simplicity, to me, made it really terrifying. And the other thing they do really well is build tension. That’s something that John Carpenter pioneered in a lot of ways — building tension in a really gut-wrenching way. So slowly, and so satisfyingly. How it differs is the idea that this is a modern adaptation/sequel, and you have a voice like David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, and everybody has a unique voice. Even our DP tells the story visually in a really interesting way. It’s different than John Carpenter’s way, but that’s the beauty of filmmaking. It allows artists from so many different backgrounds to put their stamp on something.

In a recent interview, Jason Blum said that there “100%” will be Halloween sequels if this one is successful, which it’s shaping up to be. So is Allyson positioned to serve as the new Laurie Strode — or at least the new lead — in this franchise going forward?

Well, ‘Allyson is the new Laurie Strode’ is an incredibly large statement. I would say that she’s definitely not the new Laurie Strode. I’d say that she emulates a lot of her, but they are different in so many ways. You can never compare anybody to Laurie Strode because she’s so iconic. So it’s even flattering to have Allyson’s name in the same sentence. I’m just really so grateful to be in this franchise and a part of this legacy that Blumhouse and Universal have allowed me to step into, and I am down for whatever role they want me to play. I feel like I’m forever kind of indebted to them and this incredible Halloween family, and I’m game for anything.

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Image via Universal

Are there any actors who you admire, or whose careers you’d like to emulate?

There are so many actors and actresses and different filmmakers whose careers I’d love to emulate but more so who I’d love to work with. I mean, everybody’s career is so different, but I think it was a Hollywood Reporter roundtable and I think it was Laura Dern who said her advice to young actors is to ‘keep your eyes on your own paper.’ I love that quote because it’s really true — everybody’s path is so different.The projects that get put in front of you are part luck and part go-getting. I’d just say there are so many actors and actresses and filmmakers and writers and producers who I’d want to work with. People like Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks and Betty Gilpin from GLOW. What she has done with her career is incredible. GLOW is just so good.

Do you have a dream role? Is there a part you’re dying to play?

It kind of goes back to my last answer. There are so many. I don’t know if there’s one role in particular, but I dream of working with certain people. David Gordon Green was at the top of my list of people who I’d hoped to one day work with. I never thought it’d be a horror film, but I’m really grateful it was. Others like Greta Gerwig and David Fincher and Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh. There are just so many people I have on that list of dream collaborators.

What has been the biggest pinch-me moment of your career so far?

I think when Jamie Lee Curtis texted me and it was my first time ever speaking to her. I got a text from her welcoming me to the franchise and it was like, ‘hey, this is Jamie Lee Curtis’ and I was like ‘hold on while I throw up, because this is insane.’ It was very cool of her.

Would you want to follow in her footsteps and become a scream queen like her, or are you wary of that label?

I think it would be an honor and it has definitely shaped her career. It’s been a really big part of it and I don’t think there’s anything bad to say about that. If that honor would be bestowed upon me, I would gladly accept it.

What’s next for you, Andi?

There is a film project right now, but I cannot discuss exactly what it is. But you’ll know very soon.

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Image via Universal

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