The phrase “horror icon” gets thrown around a lot, but when you’re talking about Michael Myers, the label fits. The slasher villain has carved his way through cinematic nightmares for the last forty years, ever since John Carpenter‘s seminal 1978 horror classic Halloween. He’s seen sequels, reboots and remakes aplenty, and the beloved character was just reborn once again in David Gordon Green‘s 2018 sequel and to do it right, Green and the folks at Blumhouse recruited original actor Nick Castle to get back behind the mask for a cameo. While stuntman James Jude Courtney does a phenomenal job as Myers in the bulk of the film, Castle stepped in for a loving nod to the original, reuniting with Jamie Lee Curtis for a special moment in one of the best sequels of the franchise.
With Halloween now available on Blu-ray and Digital, I recently hopped on the phone with Castle to talk about returning for a cameo as the horror legend, passing the knife and mask to stuntman James Jude Courtney, why shooting the film felt so much like the original, and revisiting the 1978 film for the first time in decades. He also talked about if he wants to make another cameo in the future, and more.
Well, congratulations. This movie sure went over like gangbusters.
NICK CASTLE: Yeah, didn’t it? That was a surprise, and a welcome surprise. I’m so happy for the filmmakers, Jamie, and everybody, the company. Everyone did a great job.
Yeah, absolutely. You can tell there was a lot of love in it.
CASTLE: Yeah, yeah, really was.
I’m curious from your perspective, the industry and technology of filmmaking has changed so much since the first film. How much did that change the feeling on set, and the actual elements of making a film?
CASTLE: Oh, interesting. Yeah, no, not much, actually. In fact, and Jamie made this point too, it’s still very similar. First of all, just the personalities involved, that use of a filmmaker. It was comparable to our gang back in ’78, and done for this studio on a very modest budget, like ours. Well, ours was a minuscule budget.
The one thing that changes, of course, you’re doing it digitally, and you have a little bit more freedom to roll the camera and not have to worry about how many takes you’re doing. But that helps quite a bit for directors, especially. But really, fundamentally very similar. And of course, a lot of the effects that they were doing were all practical effects, and makeup effects and things like that. Not a lot of digital work and stuff like that being done to enhance the movie. So yeah, very similar.
I know there were a few days there where you, John, and Jamie, were all there at the same time, and sort the gang was back together on set .. ..on the anniversary year of when that first film came out. What was did that experience mean for you?
CASTLE: I keep in touch with John. He’s still a close friend. So I see him from time to time. And so it wasn’t a surprise or necessarily a reunion to see John there, but it was fun to see him on the set. And we got to giggle about me being around doing this crazy stuff. It was neat to see Jamie. I hadn’t seen her in a couple years. I’d seen her at a recent horror convention, one of the only appearances she did where she was signing autographs for her favorite charity. And she’s always a delight to talk to, and see. The idea of amassing some of the gang from 40 years ago was not lost on any of us. It was just a lot of fun. And it was so nice to see how the crew really honored the first one, and enjoyed the ride along with the three of us.
I know you’ve talked, over the years, quite a lot about your memories from the making of the original film. But I’m curious, from making this one last year, what’s your favorite memory from the set?
CASTLE: Let’s see. I can’t think of anything in particular, other than it was odd to put on the mask again and actually be in front of a camera. And I was there for a week. And I think we weren’t sure how much I was gonna do, or when they were gonna get around to the one scene that they knew they wanted me to be in. And it wound up being the last day of the week at 2:00 in the morning. Everyone’s getting tired. And that shot… I don’t know if you know the shot. It’s almost a reflection of the shape in a mirror when Jamie first sees him in the movie. And I had to be frozen there, because not only did they have to shoot from a long distance, but I had to be in the right position at the right [time]… ’cause it really was a reflection in a mirror.
So that probably is the one moment I remember like, “Jesus, this is hard to do. I’m glad I didn’t have to do this the whole movie. Thank God for James Jude Courtney.”
Oh he’s killer, too. He did such great work. How was it watching him bring his flavor to that performance?
CASTLE: Oh, it was a lot of fun. First of all, he’s just such a lovely guy. And he talked about how he had looked at the movie, and studied me, and kinda channeled me, and has this whole thing that he talks about, about how he referenced the original performance. But he gave it his whole talent, his thing. His role, I think, comes up as stronger and more believable than the original guy. But maybe that’s what 40 years in a hospital does to people. So I think he did a great job with that. It’s interesting, also, ’cause I got those pictures of the two of us having the same mask on at the same time. And they’re the same mask. But you threw ’em on different people, and they look different. So it’s like a very… and you have different personalities behind those masks, because you’re just a guy walkin’ around with a suit, and a rubber face. That was great.
I was lucky enough to visit the set during one of the press days. And when we spoke to you on site, you mentioned that you hadn’t seen the original in 20 years. Did the process of making this ever encourage you to finally go back and watch it?
CASTLE: Oh, yeah, I did! I went back and took a look, and I just… what happens is I have gone for the last, I don’t know, half dozen years to horror conventions. And there’s fans there that just love the movie to death — they have so many questions. They wanna know this, and they wanna know that. And frankly, I wasn’t remembering half the things they were talking about.
Someone’s like, “How did you walk across… when you were chasing Jamie, and you turned at the banister, and you cross your leg, and what is that?” And I said, “I have no idea what you’re talking [about].” So I have to go back. I went back and took a look at it. And I was happy to see it again, ’cause I can see why it has lasting power. It just kind of all worked. The characters were well-drawn. And John just did a fantastic job, very simple but straightforward, but in a very artistic way.
So yeah, it was fun to go back, and to revisit it. And I didn’t know this. In the performance, I guess just the angular… I was 145 pounds, man. And the way my face was, I had kinda stretched, I think, the mask a little bit. So it does have its own character. And in fact, someone told me there’s a… in the world of fandom, there’s a thing called the “Castle Stretch”, or something like that, which indicates that’s the captain instead of the other guys in the other sequels. It’s a fun thing, I know, for fans to do. And it’s more fun for me, as well.
Given this experience, if and when Blumhouse decides they wanna make a sequel, would you wanna come back for another cameo?
CASTLE: Oh, I’d love it, yeah. I would love it. Especially if, assuming John’s involved, and Jamie, and hopefully David, too, ’cause I just really respected and enjoyed working with him. And Danny [McBride], by the way, too. What fun was it to meet him, boy. So, yeah, yes. Yes is the final vote for me.