A Roundtable Chat with Rob Zombie, Rob Zombie interview, Halloween remake

A Roundtable Chat with Rob Zombie, Halloween

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Although Bullz-Eye can't always score one-on-one interviews with everyone with whom they'd like to chat -- there just aren't enough minutes in the day, you know? -- it's nice that, on many occasions, we're given the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with someone who we've wanted to chat with. Therefore, when we were given the chance to get in on such a discussion with musician and director Rob Zombie about his upcoming remake of "Halloween," our immediate response was, "Oh, we are so totally there." And while we were asked to keep as close to the topic at hand as possible (which only makes sense, given that that's why we were speaking with him in the first place), we did, thankfully, still manage to slide in a few questions on other matters, like, say, "Dude, when the hell are you putting out another album?" before things drew to a close.

Reporter: How're you doing, Rob?

Rob Zombie: Good, how's it going?

Reporter: Good. Everything went well at Comic-Con?

Rob Zombie: Oh, yeah. I'm in and out. I couldn't stay, unfortunately, because I was in the middle of mixing the movie, so I had to make it a quick trip.

Reporter: I just have a really quick question.

Rob Zombie: Sure.

Reporter: How much pressure is on you from the studio and the fans of the original to stay true to John Carpenter and Debra Hill's story?

Rob Zombie: As far as from the studio, no pressure. In fact, the studio, if anything, wanted it to be as different as possible. So they weren't concerned about staying true to John Carpenter at all. And the fans...y'know, the fans are all over the place. Everyone's got a different opinion, so there was really no particular focused pressure from the fans. Everyone wanted something different.

Reporter: I just wanted to check in with you to see what...you had a conversation and (got) John Carpenter's blessing. What was that conversation like?

Rob Zombie: It was pretty short. I just called John, basically, just to tell him first. That was really the point of my phone call, so that he was the first person to hear about it. I've known John for about 10 years, and he's a great guy, and out of respect for him, I just wanted him to be the first person who knew, essentially. And the conversation was pretty short, y'know? We probably talked about some other crap. But he said, "Hey, great, go for it! Do your thing, man!" John's pretty easy going.

A Roundtable Chat with Rob ZombieReporter: What sets your film apart from all of the other horror remakes that are out?

Rob Zombie: Well, I haven't seen all of the other horror remakes, so I can't really comment specifically, but the main thing I was trying to do, from the remakes that I have seen...I wasn't trying to make the same movie that already existed. I think a lot of these movies...they look and sound and feel and unfold exactly like the original, except that, sometimes, they just have different actors. And I wanted to make something that...it's kind of hard to explain when you haven't seen the movie yet, but retain as much of what I thought was the essence of what made "Halloween" great, but make it a completely different movie, so you don't just sit there feeling like, "Been there, done that." And by adding a lot of stuff with young Michael and the early years in Smith's Grove, that really makes it like a totally different animal.

Bullz-Eye: Was Malcolm McDowell your dream casting for Dr. Loomis, and was there a specific previous role of his that made you feel like he'd be perfect for this role?

Rob Zombie: Yeah, Malcolm was my first and, really, only choice, because I've found that one thing you've gotta do is not really have a back-up plan. In life, I find that when you've got a back-up plan, that's the one you get stuck with. You know, if you want to be in a band, don't have a good job, because you'll never be in a band; you'll always have a good job. So my plan was, I wanted Malcom, and I didn't want anybody else. And when things were falling apart and it seemed like for a second maybe we wouldn't get Malcolm, I never gave anybody an out to go elsewhere. I went, "No, it has to be Malcolm or nobody." My favorite movie of all time is "A Clockwork Orange," and I think Malcolm is absolutely brilliant in that, and, y'know, that was really the main reason. Not that there was really anything in that film that was specific to Dr. Loomis, but a brilliant actor is a brilliant actor, so I had no fear that he would be perfect.

Reporter: Since we're on casting, Danielle Harris was both in "Halloween 4" and "Halloween 5." Did you like those films, and is that a reason that you put her in the movie?

Rob Zombie: No, actually, I kinda held that against her for a long time. She came in and read for the part...a lot of people come in and read, and I don't even know that they're coming in; they just show up...and I wasn't actually there when she came in. And they're, like, "Oh, Danielle Harris came in." I was, like, "Eh, I don't wanna get her, because she was in the other movies." But I didn't want to be a jerk, so I watched her tape...and I thought she was great! I thought she was the best person. I thought, well, I can't hold that against her. I didn't want to get anyone that had been in the other films, because I didn't want it to seem like it was a wink to the audience, or that we were doing a tribute. I just wanted our film to be serious, and I didn't want it to seem like we were doing anything like that. But she was so good that I couldn't deny it, so that's why I cast her. But my original reaction was to not cast her because of those movies...which seems strange, but it's true.

Reporter: Was using such young actors like Scout (Taylor-Compton) or the boy that plays young Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch)...did you want them to see the original if they hadn't seen the original, or come in totally fresh?

Rob Zombie: I wanted everyone to come in totally fresh, because that's the only way. I think that maybe that's one of the problems with some of the remakes. I don't know. But Malcolm McDowell had never seen the original. And anyone who hadn't seen it, I told them not to watch it, because I didn't want them to come in thinking that I wanted them to imitate what had gone before, because nobody...y'know, what usually makes the original great is that they didn't have anything to go on. They created a character. And I wanted Scout and Daeg to create a fresh...well, I mean, young Michael Myers, he had nothing to go, because young Michael Myers was nothing in the first movie. It didn't matter. It was more for Scout, and I didn't want her to...I don't even know if she's seen "Halloween." I never actually talked to her about it, but I'm sure she has. But I didn't want her in any way, shape, or form to be doing a Jamie Lee Curtis thing. I wanted her to do her thing.

Reporter: It seems that, when I was a kid growing up, reading "Fangoria," you'd go into a horror movie pretty much cold, and you wouldn't know much about it, and everything was a surprise. And it seems that, nowadays, there's so much information on the internet, and there's just minutiae -- "Rob Zombie ate a banana on the 'Halloween' set today, and we've got photos of it!" -- and I'm just wondering if that's frustrating to you as a filmmaker. I mean, you seem pretty open with the press and the public and all that, but does it frustrate you that your every move has been so scrutinized?

Rob Zombie: It doesn't really frustrate me, because I just know that's just the way things are, but I think it ultimately is a bad thing just in the sense that I think that a lot of the fans themselves ruin the experience for themselves in advance. For that reason, they go in, and they go, "Well, I already read the script, and I know every plot twist, and I know every possible thing that could possibly happen." I go, "And let me guess: it wasn't a shocker to you when you saw the movie." If you know everything, then...I mean, I remember as a kid going to see everything from "Halloween" to "Jaws," and I literally walked in, I didn't know anything. Nothing. I assumed that there was a shark in the movie, but I wasn't even sure. "Close Encounters," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," I had no idea what any of those...even "Star Wars!" I remember going to see "Star Wars," I didn't have a fucking clue what it was. I knew it was, like, a science fiction movie, but that was it. And then you just sit there, and you're just blown away. But, now, everybody's scrutinizing, like you said. I've been trying to keep some things a secret, which then leads to all the people speculating that you're lying about stuff, but, really, it's just an attempt to try and protect some element of surprise for the viewer, because they...I know it's just because they're fans, but they sort of ultimately ruin it for themselves in the long run.

"Malcolm (McDowell) was my first and, really, only choice (to play Dr. Loomis), because I've found that one thing you've gotta do is not really have a back-up plan. And when things were falling apart and it seemed like for a second maybe we wouldn't get Malcolm, I never gave anybody an out to go elsewhere. I went, 'No, it has to be Malcolm or nobody.'"

Reporter: I think it's the blessing and the curse of the internet.

Rob Zombie: Well, yeah, and, unfortunately, at least half the information that you read all the time is just false...but what are you gonna do?

Reporter: Would you be open to continuing the series, or are you kind of done with it after this?

Rob Zombie: I'm done. Yeah. I did what I wanted to do: I came in and made a movie that I thought was a self-contained film, and now I'm walking away.

Reporter: What made you want to do this version of "Halloween"?

Rob Zombie: Nothing made me want to do it. It never even crossed my mind. It was something that came to me. I think sometimes people think that I thought of this idea and searched this out, but I had a meeting one day with Bob Weinstein at Dimension, and he brought it up. I didn't even know why he wanted to meet me or what it was about, and he brought up "Halloween," that they owned the "Halloween" franchise and they wanted to do another "Halloween" movie. But they didn't know what they wanted to do. They didn't bring up a remake or anything; they didn't know what they wanted to do. I know they had seven or eight scripts for "Pt. 9" that they weren't happy with, and I didn't really know if I wanted to get involved, because I thought, basically, that the series had run its course, and it seemed kind of tired to me. And then I went away and thought about it for a long time, and thought, "Well, what seems exciting is starting over." Just bringing a new life to the whole thing, rather than just continuing on. I mean, I wouldn't do a "Pt. 9;" that would seem, like, crazy. But once I thought about it for a long time and came up with a way that I would do it, that's when it started becoming exciting.

Reporter: With half the movie being prequel and half the movie being remake, was it your decision to call it "Halloween," or was it always going to be called "Halloween" from the beginning?

Rob Zombie: It was always my intention to call it "Halloween." In fact, I wouldn't do it if was called anything else, because I thought any other title would confuse people. Any other title would seem like a sequel, and I didn't want people thinking it was "Pt. 9," because when a movie gets to "Pt. 9," it just screams "direct-to-video piece of crap." You can't help but think that. It's just not possible to think anything else. So I was very definitive that it had to be called "Halloween," because I thought that anything else would devalue the project.

Reporter: Was it difficult for you to work off of someone else's idea and the restriction that that has, as opposed to working on a wholly original one, as you're used to doing?

Rob Zombie: I didn't really have any restrictions, because no one was really putting any pressure on me. Except myself, nobody really cared how or what I...they weren't concerned with retaining anything. If I had said, "Oh, there's no Dr. Loomis, and there's no Laurie Strode," I don't think anyone would've even argued with me. It was more that I was putting the pressure on myself to try and figure out what I wanted to keep from the original and what I didn't. So, no. Obviously, it's trickier, because when something is 100 percent brand new, no one has any preconceived ideas about what it is. But the one thing that I have in common with everybody is that I'm a huge fan myself, so I kept trying to come from that point of view, like, "What would make me happy?" What elements would I like to keep? What elements would I like to see expanded? And I had to work off my own gut as to what was the proper thing to do.

Reporter: Are you concerned that the film is opening up in the summer, as opposed to October?

Rob Zombie: No, to me...I mean, it's opening up Aug. 31, which, y'know, by the weekend, we're already in September. And it seems like these days, for the most part, all the Halloween stuff is in stores by the last week of August. You know how every holiday pre-dates itself. But, no, I'm fine with it. I mean, if it was in July or June, I would be more worried. But Aug. 31 is essentially...we're there. So...it is what it is.

Reporter: Some people say that Rob Zombie horror isn't accessible to the general public, so did you have to compromise anything for the studio to make "Halloween" more accessible?

Rob Zombie: No. I mean, it's funny, everyone thinks...obviously, people don't know, but everyone seems to think that the studio is somehow this big scary monster that controls what you do, and maybe it's that for some people, but, no, nobody was ever telling me anything! I pretty much did what I wanted to do at all times...y'know, I cast who I wanted to cast and did what I wanted to do. And that's all you can do. You can't do anything except for what you feel is the right thing to do. You can't make a movie that you feel is more accessible. I mean, I don't even know what that means. I've been hearing that all my life, even when I was doing music, when people were going, "Oh, well, if you just change that, it would be more accessible." And I go, "Well, I don't even know what that means, so I'm just gonna do whatever I fucking do, and if it works, it works, and, what else can I do?" 'Cause that's the way it goes. And you can tell when someone's trying to make something "accessible," because it usually feels really...fake. And that's not gonna work.

A Roundtable Chat with Rob Zombie

Reporter: It seems like a lot of the buzz is concerned the fact that Michael Myers, in the original, was very much some sort of just a force of evil -- he was the boogeyman, and he's called "The Shape" -- and now it seems that you're making him very real. He's got that classic serial-killer childhood, with the animal abuse and things like that. I was just wondering what was behind the decision to make him more of a real person.

Rob Zombie: Well, he's not...well, I mean, the thing is, everyone's assuming all that, for one. I just felt that the essential thing with "Halloween" was that I wanted Michael Myers, who I felt was the key ingredient to the whole series, to be more important, and not just be a guy in a mask, hiding in the shadows. I wanted him to be more front and center because, to me, that's the great thing about the movie. But with that said, people seem to have some misconception that everything's explained, and that's just not the case. In the original, he kills Judith and he just kind of stands there, and that's the end. And his parents go, "Michael?" And that's basically all you get. Here, we get pieces of his life, but they don't explain anything. You just kind of get glimpses of what it's about without really an explanation. Because I still...ultimately, he grows up to be Michael Myers as we know him. So he's not running around like this sort of human guy that we now understand, or something like that.

Bullz-Eye: Given the number of cameos in the film, did you have a wish-list of your all-time favorite horror stars you were pulling from? And was there anyone who you tried to get who opted not to participate?

Rob Zombie: Um, I don't think there was anybody that I wanted to get who isn't in the film that I can think of. And the great thing is that I tried not to use...it appears like I'm trying to make cameos from all these people, but I actually try to do with all these. Well, the first thing I try to do is, I think that they're all really good actors. A lot of these people, like Ken Foree, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, they're very, very underrated actors, because they've spent most of their career in these sort of films. But they're incredible actors. They're just great. And in the moments that they're on film, I do my best to visually hide them, so you don't go, "Hey, there's so-and-so!" Because I want them to function as any actor would function. They're not there to get a reaction from the crowd as their real-life personality. I just think there are a lot of people like, like Dee Wallace. I've always loved Dee Wallace, in everything I've seen her, so it was very exciting to have her in the movie. Different people like that. It was great.

Bullz-Eye: Did anyone from the original film approach you about trying to get a cameo?

Rob Zombie: The only person that I had a little conversation with about that was P.J. Soles, because she's really the only person from the original that I know. But it just wasn't the right thing to do. Because that, to me, is a cameo. That's where the movie stops and you go, "Oh, look, someone from the original! Isn't that, uh, distracting?"

Reporter: You could have her say, "Totally."

Rob Zombie: As much as I love P.J., and she's wonderful, that's why I put her in "(The Devil's) Rejects," it just wasn't right for this film.

Reporter: How was casting in general? Was it an easy film to cast, or did you go through a lot of people, and did it take a lot of time?

Rob Zombie: It was an easy film to cast, except for Laurie Strode. The kid who plays young Michael Myers -- Daeg, who's fantastic -- he was the only kid I ever wanted. All the other kids came in, and some of the other kids were really, really good actors. This one kid, Skylar (Gisondo), who plays Tommy Doyle, he was incredible. He just wasn't the right type that I was looking for. And Scout, who plays Laurie, was literally the first person I wanted, but I couldn't convince anybody that she was right, so we literally auditioned everybody in the fucking world. I always knew I was going to get her, but it was this long, drawn-out process, an exercise in nonsense, and then I eventually cast her, and she's phenomenal, and everybody loves her now. But I just think that everybody had built up this Laurie Strode mythology so big in their heads that they couldn't see, that they couldn't cast the movie after awhile. They were too confused by it. And I just saw her, and I go, "She's fucking great." She's got that quality. She's 17, she feels real, she's sympathetic, she's a great actress. She just had all the qualities that you want: someone who just feels really fresh, like how Jamie Lee Curtis felt in the first film. Just a fresh new presence. And I just knew it the second I saw her.

"I think that a lot of the fans themselves ruin the experience for themselves in advance. They go in, and they go, 'Well, I already read the script, and I know every plot twist, and I know every possible thing that could possibly happen.' I go, 'And let me guess: it wasn't a shocker to you when you saw the movie.'"

Reporter: Can we expect to see any of your influence on the soundtrack, or is it all of the original?

Rob Zombie: I didn't do any of the music for this at all. Tyler Bates did the score, which is a combination of recreating some of the classic John Carpenter themes, from the opening scene to the stalking, like the "duh...DUH duh!" stuff. I get involved in the sense of telling him where I want to go in a scene's music, but I don't get involved in the music side. It's nice to have a fresh perspective as far as composing.

Reporter: What was the hardest day of shooting or scene for you?

Rob Zombie: There was no particular day that was overly difficult. There's a scene in Smith's Grove, the scene where Michael escapes, that became a difficult day, just because we had a lot of people jammed in a small space. Sometimes it's just physical limitations. There was no one particular scene, but the hardest scenes to film are anything that we shot in Pasadena, because we were shooting a lot of night in Pasadena -- where they shot the original film -- but they kept wanting to shut us down at 11 o'clock at night. So it would just get dark, and then, three hours later, they're shutting us down. So those scenes were stressful, because you always felt like you were under the gun

Reporter: In the original, Laurie is very much the archetype of the final girl. She calls herself a girl scout and all that. How much have you changed that sort of character, since it's 30 years later and society has changed? Basically, what kind of final girl do we expect from your version of the film?

Rob Zombie: I'm not really sure how different. I mean, as I guess Jamie Lee felt real for the '70s, I feel Scout feels real for now. And that was one great thing about her being 17: I could deal with her, get inside her head, and figure out what a 17-year-old should do, rather than a 32-year-old playing a 17-year-old. I know, it seems really fake to have an actual 17-year-old on set as your 17-year-old. But, like, if there was something in wardrobe and she'd be, like, "Eh, do I have to wear these sneakers?" I'm, like, "Why?" "These look like something a little kid would wear." That's a superficial element, but, I don't know, it's hard to say. I think she's still the modern equivalent of that character. Maybe not quite as much of the "oh, I'm the wallflower," and the drabby, drab clothes that nobody likes. Not quite as extreme as they played her up in the original, but, y'know, she's still the good girl, I guess, but with a little more spunk. Because I made everybody spunkier, especially the little kids. Tommy Doyle, in particular, is a very precocious, smart kid. He's not so much of a little (affects kid's voice) "Are we gonna carve pumpkins?" When I met Skylar, who plays Tommy, he's 10, and he's incredibly smart and knows everything. So why do I want to dumb him down and go, "Here, no, play, like, a dumb 10-year-old?" Why don't I just make him as smart and well-spoken as this kid is? Y'know, 10-year-olds aren't as nave as they used to be. So we kind of had to amp up everybody. In fact, it seems like Tommy and Lindsey have the one-up on Laurie and Annie at all times, anyway.

Reporter: Following up on that question, did you try and avoid, say, the virginal, classic slasher-film girl?

Rob Zombie: Yeah, we don't really get into that at all. There's a brief second...every once in awhile, I would revive a weird offshoot of them talking about Ben Traymer or some weird bit of business. But, yeah, she's not, like, I don't really play her that way.

Reporter: Is this the first film that you didn't have problems with the ratings board, or are you having problems with the ratings board now?

Rob Zombie: No, we have an "R" rating. This was probably the easiest, unless there were things happening that I didn't hear about, perhaps. But this was the easiest trip through the ratings board yet. And I think perhaps maybe that has something to do with...I don't know, a lot of the films that have been going through there lately, the so-called "torture porn," I don't know if those have made my life easier on a certain level, or if it's just because...I have a feeling that, somehow, it being Michael Myers made it easier, because it's, like, this recognizable, iconic monster? So maybe it made our journey through, to me, the movie, I thought it was going to have more trouble, but I don't know. It was not as much of a nightmare as usual.

Reporter: The original film is more about the suspense and tension; does that mean that you've kind of ratcheted up the violence a little bit here?

Rob Zombie: It's kind of an element of both, you know? I mean, everybody seems concerned that this has somehow gotten really gory, and it hasn't, because I don't really like really gory movies, anyway. I like, you know, I like movies where there's violence that plays very real, because I hate fake violence in movies. I don't really understand it; I like things to seem real. But there's no extreme things of heads exploding or being chopped off. There's none of that type of stuff. It's more like real violence mixed with suspenseful-type things. It's kind of a combination of everything, but it's not some kind of, like, gory bloodbath or anything.

Reporter: You've stated in previous interviews -- I believe it was MTV -- that you were always bothered by the scene in the original where Michael is driving the station wagon, so you made the necessary changes. Are there any other details that you felt needed to be changed or updated in order to fit your vision?

Rob Zombie: I mean, it never really bothered me, truthfully. The funny thing is, only when I was watching the film, then thinking that I was going to make it also, did I start thinking about these things. You know, I, like everyone else, just watched the movie for the movie, and as a fan, I never was bothered by anything in the original. Nothing. I took it all at face value for what it was; it didn't bother me at all. But as I was constructing my story, I'm, like, "Well, the kid's been incarcerated since he was 10 years old in a maximum-security mental facility. He probably doesn't know how to drive a car; it doesn't make any sense." So I took it out. And, like, his mask, you know how, in the original, how he just robbed the hardware store and happens to steal that mask? I kind of wanted the mask to be connected to something. And just different elements like that, that I thought were cool things that could maybe have a little bit of a deeper meaning.

Reporter: When I was a kid, I actually read the "Halloween" novelization, that I picked up at a used book store, and it actually delves a lot more into the Michael/Loomis relationship, when Michael was incarcerated. Do you explore that relationship more, and show more of Michael at the sanitarium, before he escapes?

Rob Zombie: Oh, yeah, I mean, there's a section in the sanitarium where it goes through his time there, and that's one of the main things we get here: not just the young days of Michael, but the young days of Dr. Loomis, moreso. Because, y'know, when Dr. Loomis comes to Haddonfield, he's saying, "Oh, I did this, I tried to keep him locked up, I tried to reach him," and he talks about all the things he tried to do, but we never saw any of that happen. So that, to me, was interesting, watching Dr. Loomis's journey with this kid, because I was trying to think of it realistically. If this was real, in real life, a Dr. Loomis being put in charge of a Michael Myers is kind of a big deal. That would be a very significant case, and he would become a significant person, and I wanted to deal with that some.

"It was always my intention to call it 'Halloween.' In fact, I wouldn't do it if was called anything else, because I thought any other title would confuse people. Any other title would seem like a sequel, and I didn't want people thinking it was 'Pt. 9,' because when a movie gets to 'Pt. 9,' it just screams 'direct-to-video piece of crap.'"

Reporter: Did you have to go great lengths to have to protect the plot secrets and things like that? I mean, what did you have to do to kind of keep things from leaking? Because, so far, you've done a pretty good job!

Rob Zombie: I didn't really do anything. Nothing in particular. I figured, you can't really protect anything. As soon as you start handing people scripts, that's the end of that, 'cause you don't know where the hell they go. So there was really nothing I could do. I just got lucky, I guess.

Reporter: Does it bother you when stuff starts leaking out, and you're, like, "Oh, I wish people wouldn't know this or that about the film?"

Rob Zombie: Well, yeah. It doesn't really bother me, but I think, ultimately, I wish you could keep things more of a secret, just so the movie could play for people in a fresher way. We kind of touched on that earlier. There's no way to keep...y'know, if the fans are enthusiastic, they're enthusiastic. That's not a bad thing. It's just that, sometimes, you wish you could have them watch it fresh. The people I can keep away from it are my friends and family; I don't let them see it until it's 100 percent done. Everybody else I know is working on it, so I want someone's fresh response! (laughs)

Reporter: Well, it's kind of a pointless exercise to just compare the two films, anyway. I think that, with remakes, you have to treat each film as its own entity, because, I mean, people are going to say, "Oh, Carpenter did this, and Carpenter did that." But what can you say to my readers that's a "Well, this is what I did," that's going to be different and that's going to get you into theaters to see it?

Rob Zombie: Well, I think that one thing...it's really hard to explain how it's different until you see it, because words don't really mean anything, because no matter what I say, people are gonna picture it as they see it in their mind. But, really, when you watch this movie, the opening scene takes you so far away from what you've seen that you go, "Oh! Totally different world! Totally different movie!" And, then, you kind of...the first act of the movie is young Michael, the second act is basically Smith's Grove, and the third act is Haddonfield. So it's not really that you're so deep into this movie and into this world before you start seeing things that are more familiar; familiar beats that I put in here and there. I myself felt like, OK, a remake has to be two things: it has to be so different that you want to watch it, yet you want to see some familiar things, because if nothing's familiar, then, of course, everyone would say, "Well, then, why did you even bother calling it 'Halloween'?" You know? Because I wasn't even getting pressure from the studio to keep the white mask. If I had gotten rid of that, no one would've even complained. Those are the things that I held on to.

Reporter: Should we expect Rob Zombie's "Sleepaway Camp" or any other remakes in the future?

Rob Zombie: Nah, I don't think so.

Bullz-Eye: You said that Scout was pretty much your first choice. Was there a particular project that you'd seen her in that you'd liked, or did she just audition?

A Roundtable Chat with Rob ZombieRob Zombie: No, I'd never even heard of her. That's one thing when you're casting that age group. You know, when you're casting older people, you go, "Oh, I loved William Forsythe in 'Raising Arizona.'" You can have a reference point. But when they're younger, they're fresh. I didn't have a reference point. She just came in and read, and I thought she was the best.

Bullz-Eye: I was really hoping you were going to say you were a big fan of "Sleepover."

Rob Zombie: No, I still haven't seen "Sleepover"! (laughs) I keep threatening her with watching it, but I never got around to seeing it!

Reporter: So how was this shoot compared to the other shoots on your other films? Was it harder, was it easier, or can you even compare it?

Rob Zombie: They're all kind of different. They're all difficult because, well, it was easier in some senses. "Rejects" was a little harder just because we were shooting out in the desert and it was blazingly hot all the time, so that was physically kind of miserable, a lot of that movie, to shoot. It was just miserable. But, y'know, with each movie, you want to make a better movie, so you kind of create your own pressure, so that's why it gets harder.

Reporter: Would you be amenable to directing something that was written by someone else, or is it more about the entire process for you, and coming up with ideas and really kind of birthing the whole project?

Rob Zombie: I mean, I like starting with my ideas, because then it becomes this creation of your own. But if someone gave me a script that I loved, that would be great, too. It just hasn't happened yet. But maybe someday.

Reporter: Did you have any reservations about writing dialogue for the young Michael Myers?

Rob Zombie: No. That was actually one of the easiest things, because I just wanted him to be normal. That was the other thing that everybody was harping about at first, when nobody knew what they were talking about. "Oh, it's like he's this trailer trash, and he's this, and he's that." I wrote Michael as a normal kid, as kind of a likeable kid, because I thought that's what was disturbing: that you could see him do these horrible things, but, somehow, he's very likeable.

Reporter: It sounds like there have been a lot of misconceptions about the film, definitely, just from talking to you. All the internet reports and all that...it's definitely best to keep away from that kind of thing.

Rob Zombie: No, it's unfortunate that...early on, I would see something and it would be really wrong, and I thought, "Oh, I should respond to it." Then I just decided, "You know what? I can't." Because almost everything that was being said was wrong. Even as you're shooting, people are, like, "I heard that the movie got postponed." I'm, like, well, we're shooting it. We're all over the place shooting it! No matter what was happening. I think that, literally, people just go online and try to think of bad things to say and post it. Because they would say these things that just had no basis in anything, and they always like to add on there, "From a source close to the production." And I'm, like, right. If they say that, you can almost guarantee it's a lie.

"Even when I was doing music, people were going, 'Oh, well, if you just change that, it would be more accessible.' And I go, 'Well, I don't even know what that means, so I'm just gonna do whatever I fucking do, and if it works, it works, and, what else can I do?' You can tell when someone's trying to make something 'accessible,' because it usually feels really fake."

Reporter: That's why I hadn't brought up if it angers you whenever you read what people say, because I'd heard that the script leaked, but now that I'm hearing your description of what happens in the film, it doesn't seem to sound like what I had been hearing on the internet about what happens in the film, and with Michael as a kid.

Rob Zombie: Yeah, it was really weird. At some point...I never really got to the bottom of anything, because I was too busy working on the movie, and I just kind of had an internet blackout for six months, where I was, like, "I'm just not going to look at anything, because it's just too ridiculous." At some point, I think a really early version of the script got out, but by the time people were talking about it, it was already so different, because people don't seem to realize how much movies evolve and change from moment to moment or second to second. So if you're discussing something that's eight months old, it's not even worth discussing. But then, what happens, too, is, it's like the telephone game. Something may have started with a moment of truth, but by the time it goes through everybody saying, like, "Well, I heard," "Well, I heard," the things that people were discussing were so insane that I was, like, "Where did they get that from?" And they're all heatedly discussing it with each other, and there was just not one ounce of reality left. But what are you gonna do?

Reporter: What was the feel on the set? Was it really kind of intimidating when you were going back to the original house? Was it more serious, or was it lighthearted?

Rob Zombie: The vibe on the set was great. I mean, I like to keep a tone on set that...it's always different. It's different with different actors on different days, obviously. It's always gotta be fun, but people have to take what they're doing seriously. And the first scenes we shot...luckily, we shot the movie mostly, basically in order. So I got to start with young Michael and the early days. And it was really good to start with that, because those scenes, that made a big difference, because the kid who plays young Michael, Daeg, is so good that those scenes with Daeg and William Forsythe and Hannah really set the bar for what was to come. And it was really good. It just helped. Those guys really set the bar high for everyone to step up to.

Reporter: I saw Adrienne Barbeau's name listed in the cast. What kind of role does she have? I love Adrienne Barbeau, so...

Rob Zombie: She plays, well, it's just one small scene.

Bullz-Eye: So when are you going to go back to working on "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto?"

Rob Zombie: I don't know. I'm not sure where that movie's at. I know that they've been animating it, and I think they have a lot more animation done than I know, because I haven't seen it in awhile. Unfortunately, when this came up, I told everyone working on that, "Look, I gotta shut that down 'til this is done." Because I didn't want to mix the two things at the same time, because it'd be too much to try to deal with.

Reporter: But is "El Superbeasto" gonna be finished sometime in the future?

Rob Zombie: I mean, it's gotta be pretty close to being finished. I'll probably see a cut of it soon. I just didn't want to look at it 'til I'd finished "Halloween." Once I look at it, my mind will start spiraling on what I need to do to that, and I didn't want to distract myself from this until it was 100 percent done.

Reporter: It seems like there's a big trend right now in going back to these archetypical characters from the 20th century -- Batman, James Bond, now Michael Myers -- but why do you think that is? Why all this rebooting?

Rob Zombie: What I always felt was that the best movies have strong characters. That's why, with "House of 1,000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects," I wanted to create memorable things like a Captain Spaudling, who, at some point, jumps out bigger than the film itself. People will probably recognize his face and don't even know what movie he's from. And I think a lot of those movies have that, whether it's Freddy or James Bond or Frankenstein or Pinhead. And I think there were a lot of horror movies for a long time that just became about the situation, but there really wasn't a central strong figure that you would get excited about. And that's one of the things I liked so much about "Halloween." Other remakes came to me -- tons of them -- all through the years, and I said "no" to everything because I was, like, "Who cares? It's a story concept!" Not that you can't turn it into a good movie, but there's nothing in...well, I don't even want to say a name, because it sounds like I'm bagging on somebody's film, but whatever. But, like, "Halloween," you go, "Ah! Michael Myers!" He's like Frankenstein, this figure that you can deal with. But a lot of these movies just seem like, I dunno. I think that's why they go back to them: because a great character is always a great character. No matter how crappy a Batman movie might be, Batman's such a great character that you're always only one step away from a great Batman movie. Because the character's great. That's why he's been around for so long.

Reporter: When it comes to casting Sheri (Moon Zombie) in your movies, is that something she reads for, or do you normally write a role for her or have something in mind for her?

Rob Zombie: No, I always have something in mind, because, well, obviously, since we live together, as I'm working, I always draw on the people that I know. Like, the part for her, I knew I wanted her to do it, and the part that William Forsythe plays, I knew I wanted him to do it. For me, it's easier and more exciting to work that way. It's harder to write characters for people when you don't know who's going to play them. That's why the quicker I can cast people, the faster I can start twisting that around for that person. Because it's a big difference if you say, "That's Malcolm McDowell." "No, that's not Malcolm McDowell, it's another, different actor." So, yeah, it's nice to know who you're gonna deal with.

A Roundtable Chat with Rob Zombie

Reporter: Is there anybody you'd like to work with in the future?

Rob Zombie: I mean, there's millions of people. There are so many great actors.

Reporter: When did you make your decision as far as the time period in which the movie was going to take place?

Rob Zombie: Well, I purposely didn't even set it within a specific time period. There is no time period mentioned. The movie starts, and then it goes 17 years later, but 17 years from when? We never tell you. I wanted everything in the movie to look a little bit dated. It's one thing with movies now, where, if it's set in present day, exactly with what is hip right now, a year later, it seems so dated. That's why I always try to...well, "Rejects" was in the '70s, but this is kind of non-specific.

Reporter: The soundtrack features a lot of music from the late '70s and early '80s. Was that a conscious decision by you, or was that the studio who picked that?

Rob Zombie: The studio doesn't pick anything. That's another misconception. Everything that's in the movie is because I wanted it there. Those are just songs that I like. All you can do is...as a writer and director, you create the world that you know, and what you want to hear and you want to see. Someone's hair, someone's clothes, the music, the look, it all has to come from the director, because you're creating this idea that you have. And that's what distinguishes things. Maybe some people don't work that way, but you know when people do, because it's so specifically that person, you know? I can only do the things that make me excited.

"I've known John (Carpenter) for about 10 years, and he's a great guy, and out of respect for him, I just wanted him to be the first person who knew (that I was remaking 'Halloween'). And the conversation was pretty short. He said, 'Hey, great, go for it! Do your thing, man!' John's pretty easy going."

Bullz-Eye: Since no one else has asked it, are you planning to hit the studio again, now that "Halloween" is done?

Rob Zombie: I don't have any plans at the moment, no. After this, I'm going to take a break, then I'm going to back on tour again in October for awhile, then figure out what the next movie is.

Reporter: So have you pretty much resolved yourself to being a filmmaker who makes music on the side, or is it still the other way around?

Rob Zombie: It's kind of 50/50, I guess. Whichever one I'm doing is the project that dominates that moment.

Reporter: So since your initial talk with Carpenter, has he been involved in any way? Have you updated him? Or was it, "Hey, I'm doing your movie," "OK, great," and that's it?

Rob Zombie: I called him about the movie, and I called him one other time, but he wasn't home, so I talked to his wife for a long time, who was very nice. I don't know where he was; he was gone. And then I called him another time and just told him a few tidbits about what was going on. And that was about it. And, hopefully, in another week or so, I can maybe show him the movie, when we're done.

Host: Do we have any more questions?

Reporter: OK, I've got one last one, but it's not about "Halloween," if that's all right: are there any plans on returning to "Werewolf Women of the SS"? (Writer's note: Zombie wrote and directed a fake trailer for the film within Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's "Grindhouse.")

Rob Zombie: Not that I know of. Everybody was talking about making everything into a movie at some point, but I don't know if "Grindhouse" turned out the way everybody wanted, so I don't know if they're thinking that "Werewolf Women of the SS" is the next logical choice. But I do think it'd be pretty cool! (laughs)

Bullz-Eye: Oh, OK, I've got one last one, too. You're a director where, obviously, your fans are pretty obsessive, but critics often start their opinions with, "He's got a unique vision, but..." Are you concerned they're going to double up on you now, since you're basically doing a remake? Or do you really even care?

Rob Zombie: I don't care because, who cares? Critics -- it is what is, you know? If they say something good, you can't believe it, and if they say something bad, you can't believe it. It's just like anything. You just have to do what you do. And, anyways, these types of movies, for the most part, always seem to get looked upon favorably as they age. I mean, all the movies that people celebrate weren't critical faves back then. In fact, they probably all got slaughtered by the critics. But, now, it's, like, "Omigod, the classic genius of Fill-In-The-Blank!" Even shit like "The Wild Bunch" and "Bonnie and Clyde," stuff that'll always be on the Top 100 Best Movies of All Time list, got crucified by the critics. Even "It's A Wonderful Life" got crucified by the critics when it came out. So what are you gonna do? Who cares? (laughs)

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