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What it's like to reinvent Michael Myers, from the guy who did it in the Halloween reboot

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Aug. 31, 2007 saw the release of Halloween, Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s original 1978 horror classic. Written and directed by the singer-turned-filmmaker, the movie starred Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode, Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis, Daeg Faerch as the 10-year-old Michael Myers, and Tyler Mane as the adult version of the masked killer. To mark the 10th anniversary of the film, we caught up with Mane to talk about his memories of making the movie — and how he got to kill a future Oscar-winner in Zombie’s 2009 sequel, Halloween II.

Does it seem like 10 years have passed since Halloween was released?
Oh, god, it seems like just yesterday. Time has just flown, you know. The funny thing is, I got married that same weekend and it’s my 10th anniversary coming up.

Congratulations!
Well, thank you.

I was worried you were going to say that you got married that weekend and then got divorced two weeks later.
[Laughs] No, no, it’s all good!

You started off as a wrestler, how did you transition to acting?
Actually, I was wrestling in Mexico, and — have you ever seen any of those Mexican wrestling movies? The lucha libres? They’re corny, but they said, “Hey, we want you to be in one of these,” and I got the bug by doing that. I decided to take it seriously because I didn’t want to keep getting dropped on my head for the rest of my life. Then, I was up in Canada, getting ready to talk to producers about another film, and the phone rings, and it’s Rob Zombie saying, “Hey, I want you to be Michael Myers.” And I’m like, “Alright!” He explained it was going to be a backstory, and not have him as a one-dimensional character, and I was all for it, and it turned out really good.

How familiar were you with the original Halloween movies?
I’d seen them, and, of course, when Rob called me, I went back and watched all of them, except for number three, which is Season of the Witch, where Michael Myers doesn’t even appear. Watched all of them, to see what they did, and to see what I could do to kick it up a notch, and make it more than just a one-dimensional character.

Tell me about the shoot.
The shoot was fantastic. I got to work with a lot of great people. The first thing I did with Rob was Devil’s Rejects. I was only on there for a few days, so when I got to work with Rob on Halloween, I got to know him a lot better, and he’s a fantastic guy, a great director, he’s got his vision, he knows what he wants, and he put together a great team. Just working with Scout and Malcolm and everyone, it was a fantastic experience.

Everett Collection

Can you remember the first time you put on the Michael Myers mask?
Yeah. I was on set and I had the jumpsuit on. Put the mask on and was handed that huge knife. It was just so surreal. It was like, I have got to make these kills be fantastic. It was just an amazing feeling, to bring that character back t life.

Speaking of kills, in the film Michael murders a lot of people played by quite well known actors, including Danny Trejo, Dee Wallace, Ken Foree, and Kristina Klebe, who has since appeared in Proxy and Don’t Kill It, among other projects. Do you have a favorite memory of “killing” any of these people?
Yeah. I go to drop the TV on Danny Trejo, and I was carrying the TV down the hallway over my head, and I hit a water sprinkler, and it started to fall, and because it was a real TV — they didn’t take the guts out of it or anything — it started to fall, and I’m in those slippers, and I tried to catch it.

Rob was like, “What are you doing? If the TV’s falling, get out of the way!” I go, “They told me this is the only TV!” And he goes, “Is that right? Is this the only TV?” And they go, “Yeah.” “So, why the Hell is it so heavy?” “Because we didn’t have time to take the guts out.” And I’m like, “I told you, Rob! I was trying to save you some money!” So, yeah, that was a funny moment.

You returned for Halloween II. What do you remember about that?
It was just fantastic to reunite with everybody. It was like family, you know. We filmed here in Georgia. That’s one of the reasons I ended up getting a second place here and starting my production company, Mane Entertainment, because of the tax incentives here. But one of my favorite kills in that whole movie was when I killed the nurse in the opening, and she went on to win an Oscar. So I guess I am probably the only serial killer that I know that has actually killed an Oscar-winner.

Who was that?
Octavia Spencer, who won for The Help. She is such a sweetheart. The scene was, I’m stabbing her behind the nurse’s booth. Of course, I’m not stabbing her, I ended up stabbing a sandbag, and Rob was like, “Go for it!” I think I stabbed that thing about 30 times as hard as I could and he’s going, “Give me one more!” I sunk it in and that made it into the movie. It was one of the vicious-est-looking kills and one of my favorites.

Did you talk with Rob about the possibility of making a third movie?
You know, I think he was two-and-done. They talked to me about doing a third one. Scout and I were lined up to do it, but they were going to use a different director. And it just didn’t come to fruition. So, now, they’re talking about doing something else. All the best of luck to them.

You mentioned your production company earlier. What are you working on at the moment?
We’re just doing our own thing and keeping the ball going. Our first film was Compound Fracture, which was a supernatural-thriller that we’re getting ready to rerelease soon. Right now, we’re in post on our second picture, which is called Penance Lane. It’s kind of a horror-thriller. We’ve got a lot of great people in it. Scout’s in it. John Schneider’s in it. Booker T, the wrestler, is in it. Dallas Page is in it. Daniel Roebuck is in it. So, there’s a lot of really top people and it’s a lot of fun.

Watch the trailer for Rob Zombie’s Halloween, above.