Jamie Lee Curtis and new 'Halloween' team on which sequels they've ignored, and how they brought back the late Donald Pleasence

Will Lerner
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Since the release of Halloween in 1978, nine films have followed in the series, with varying levels of unsuccess. The last attempt to revive the franchise came under Rob Zombie’s supervision in 2007, but it was plagued by poor reviews and, following Zombie’s 2009 sequel, Michael Myers’s murder-happy franchise has been dormant. That all changed in 2016, when Miramax, Jason Blum, and original director John Carpenter announced they were teaming to produce a new installment.

Months later, Pineapple Express filmmaker David Gordon Green and longtime collaborator and Vice Principals star Danny McBride came on board to write a script and Jamie Lee Curtis agreed to return as Laurie Strode. But with all the films and the convoluted story lines over the past 40 years, the filmmakers made a bold choice: The 2018 release will ignore decades of mayhem and serve as a direct sequel to the events in the 1978 classic.

Curtis, Green, Blum, and longtime Halloween producer Malek Akkad spoke to Yahoo Entertainment at the San Diego Comic-Con 2018 about the newest iteration (watch above).

Watch: Halloween (2018) trailer:

“It really had to do with the integrity of Laurie,” Curtis told us, admitting she was excited to return to the franchise that launched her career. “Where Laurie was and what kind of story they were trying to tell. And I love that they sort of omitted and released the other sequels to live as their own worlds. But that we were only going from 1978 to 2018. And it felt very powerful.

“It really is a movie about trauma and the power you can take back from someone. Not unlike many women all around the world who have started to say, ‘You no longer control the narrative.’ … That’s a powerful statement for a woman. And I think by the end of the movie, you will see that Laurie has taken back her own narrative.”

Only two actors from the first film are returning for the 2018 go-round: Curtis and Nick Castle (Michael Meyers/The Shape). But Green teased that the movie will bring back the late Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis. In a matter of speaking. Literally.

“We have a Donald Pleasence soundalike,” the director said. “Because obviously he’s no longer with us, but having someone that could mimic his voice was a fun challenge. And we nailed it, I think. If I do say so myself. And then there’s a couple other [nods to the past films]. There’s a vocal cameo you may or may not notice till the end credits.”

The late Donald Pleasence’s character, Dr. Loomis, will return to the Halloween franchise via a soundalike, according to director David Gordon Green. (Photo: Compass International Pictures/Everett Collection)

While Carpenter’s involvement in the sequels has waxed and waned, he told Deadline in 2017 that Green and McBride “blew me away. I might even do the music. Maybe. It could be kind of cool.” Carpenter is indeed working on the score for the film. According to Green and Blum, Carpenter’s involvement was essential to them.

“I don’t think I would have done it [without Carpenter’s blessing],” Green said. “He’s been a big part of this, … he’s doing the score for the film right now, that’s why he’s not [in San Diego for Comic-Con]. I needed him.”

“I think [not getting Carpenter’s OK] would have stopped us,” noted Blum. “John asked me very specifically, ‘Do I have approvals?’ And then the answer [was], ‘You don’t have approvals, but if you don’t like it, we’re not going to keep going either.’ I think there might have been a movie, but we wouldn’t have been involved either if John wasn’t happy.”

The director of the original  Halloween movie, John Carpenter, will bring his music stylings to the score of the 2018 film. (Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

For Akkad, producing Halloween films has been a family affair. His father, Moustapha Akkad, produced every Halloween film up to his death in 2005We asked the younger Akkad how felt about this new movie ejecting all those other films from the canon.

“I have to admit, I was surprised,” Akkad shared. “And maybe it took me a little bit, a little convincing, but [Gordon Green] is a very convincing guy. … As this sort of started taking momentum, it made more and more sense. So my initial reaction was maybe not 100 percent onboard. And then very quickly, in a matter of a week, after in-depth conversations with everybody, I [felt] this is awesome.

“We had been trying for almost seven years [and dealing with] various stops and starts and different writers,” Akkad continued. “At the time, John wasn’t involved with those [attempts] so it would have [been made] in some other universe, but once we got settled with Miramax and Blumhouse we sort of had a freedom again to really look at it. One of the first calls I made was to John, and fortunately he was onboard and supportive, and that’s the way it should be.”

Curtis, however, told us that she might have signed on with or without John Carpenter’s blessing.

“John has a life way outside of Halloween,” she told us. “I don’t know if you know, his concert tour is coming back and he’s going to be playing the Palladium on Halloween night. He has a beautiful career.”

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