Donald Pleasence’s psychiatrist character Dr. Loomis was a hugely important part of John Carpenter‘s original Halloween and the actor would reprise the role in four of the franchise’s sequels before his passing in 1995. When David Gordon Green was developing his just-released Halloween with cowriters Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley the director initially planned on featuring Loomis onscreen at the start of the film, with a look-alike helping to recreate the end of Carpenter’s 1978 classic.
“There was a more involved Loomis notion in a couple of drafts that we did,” says Green. “At one point in the script, we had an opening setup that included the end of the original Halloween in a kind of aerial restaged version. Our art director, coincidentally, on this movie, looks exactly like Donald Pleasence. So, we were like, We’ll just get him to do it, and we’ll do this thing, and we’ll recreate it. Like, Who’s so lucky on their own movie set to have a look-alike of the guy from 40 years ago? [Laughs] It was actually Carpenter’s idea, saying, ‘You don’t need to get people up to speed like that. Just drop them in on your movie.'”
Green did make sure that Loomis is featured in the film, casting a comedian named Colin Mahan to mimic Pleasence’s distinctive voice at one point in the movie.
“We had a voice-a-like, who was a stand-up comic, that used to do Donald Pleasence impersonations,” says Green. “One of our executive producers had just heard it randomly and said, ‘You’ve got to check this guy out.’ We thought, maybe just a little illustration [of Loomis], like one of the courtroom drawings, courtroom sketch, and then a voice-a-like to give us some consideration of the history and the character.”
Watch the trailer for the new Halloween, above.