The original Halloween from the mind of John Carpenter and late producer Debra Hill is still a landmark in the horror genre that now celebrates its fortieth year with a new sequel.
In David Gordon Green’s recent effort, we return to Haddonfield, Illinois and are introduced to an adult Laurie Strode. Laurie’s been a woman haunted by the demon of her past and has waited for her time to fight back. Her clan’s expanded with her daughter played by Judy Greer and newcomer Andi Matichak, the young granddaughter who seems to be the chosen one groomed to be the next “Final Girl” in the retconned franchise.
So far, Halloween‘s making a literal financial killing at the box office and it’s mainly due to the return of fan favorite iconic killer, Michael Myers, who’s now being portrayed by James Jude Courtney, a professional stuntman who’s always had a deep passion and love for film, in front of and behind the camera.
His introduction as “The Shape” has been hailed as savage, and brutal, but there’s a method to Courtney’s ability to become a killer, and that’s to not have any method at all. As a fan who was born in October of 1978, the characters and the Halloween series as a whole has always been a large part of the darkest area of my heart, and talking to James was nothing but another honor. So read on to see what he had to say about the new film and how he gets into the mindset to play Michael.
James, this is so awesome to be able to finally speak to you.
James Jude Courtney: Well, I have been looking forward to this.
So let’s start with the moment that you found out that you received the part of Michael Myers? How did that happen and what was your reaction?
James Jude Courtney: Well, it all happened due to Ron Hutchinson, who’s a stunt coordinator I’ve known for thirty years. He called and said, “Would you like to do Halloween?” He told me that he read the script and that they needed a good stuntman, and there really weren’t a ton of guys around.
David [Gordon Green] was very specific when it came to the size and age of the character, so I fit the bill. I went down to South Carolina where I’m from and met the casting person who put me on tape. It was a long interview. I got a call from Blumhouse in Los Angeles that day to see if I was available. Then I got another call from Blumhouse before I even got to the interstate.
Sometimes that’s the kiss of death, so I tried to not really think about it. I put my focus on my work and toward the end of November, I got the call. The thing is, Rob, I train my body and mind to be like Special Forces guys, where they’re stressed out when they’re not working but grow super calm when they receive a mission. That’s what I do.
When I get something I get super calm, super deep and super quiet. When I went to the audition I let it go afterward, so I didn’t even think of the magnitude of the character I was becoming. I was just switched on until we wrapped principal photography and got to think about how awesome it all was.
I understand exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to your emotional levels. I was in the military myself and it all makes total sense.
James Jude Courtney: I think it’s something only a select few would understand. I think the military knows that and athletes as well.