Anthony Michael Hall Talks ‘Halloween Kills’ and His Showdown with Michael Myers [Exclusive]


Tommy Doyle swings a big bat in Halloween Kills, determined to capture and kill infamous Haddonfield boogeyman Michael Myers. Anthony Michael Hall steps into the iconic role of Tommy, commanding the screen with a menacing presence that is sometimes scarier than the evil lurking underneath that iconic William Shatner mask. We recently caught up with Mike Hall to talk about his role in the latest Halloween sequel, which picks up directly where the last installment left off.

While Michael Myers is blazing through an army of firemen after escaping the fiery hell that has become the Strode home, Mike Hall’s Tommy Doyle is on stage at the local bar, recanting his tale of survival from over 40 years ago during a Halloween open mic night. It isn’t long before Tommy hears the news that Michael Myers is back on the streets of his home town, in the midst of a gruesome slaughter that has already claimed several victims. Picking up what is sure to become an iconic piece of Halloween lore, Doyle removes the bat from the back wall of the bar, becoming the de facto leader for a mob of angry locals who literally want to torch Michael Myers and erase him from existence.

Anthony Michael Hall steps in for original Halloween actor Brian Andrews, who portrayed Tommy Doyle as a young school boy in the 1978 John Carpenter classic. When the casting was first announced, many wondered why Brian Andrews wasn’t returning to the franchise, unlike his counterpart Kyle Richards, who does reprise her iconic role as Lindsey Wallace in Halloween Kills. Murmurs that Andrews wouldn’t return rattled the fanbase. Until they learned that Hall was stepping into the role. Perhaps he was one of the few actor who would be embraced by the otherwise prickly, hardcore Halloween fans. Mike Hall’s presence in the movie came with a buzz of energy and excitement around it that is warranted.

RELATED: Halloween Kills Axed Original Michael Myers Actor Nick Castle’s Cameo

Anthony Michael Hall is nothing short of a Hollywood legend. He starred in some of the ’80s biggest hit movies. And is fondly remembered for his collaborations with John Hughes that include National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. He has also worked with Tim Burton, portraying the fan favorite role of Jim in Edward Scissorhands, and he appeared in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, playing DC Comics character Mike Engle. Genre fans are especially fond of Mike Hall for his work in the hugely popular TV series The Dead Zone. He more recently appeared on The Goldbergs.

So despite Brian Andrews not returning to the role of Tommy Doyle, fans welcomed Mike Hall into the Halloween franchise with open arms. We talk with the iconic actor about that aspect of making this long anticipated sequel. We also touch on his work with John Hughes, and his feelings towards a possible Edward Scissorhands reboot.

Anthony Micheal Hall Halloween Kills photo

It seems like everybody working on these new Halloween movies are such huge fans of the franchise. When you come in, and you have this iconic baseball bat…Do you get to keep that? Or do these Blumhouse guys scramble to steal that from you and take it for their own collection?

Mike Hall: (Laughs) Props reclaims everything. There’s my quote. Yeah, you gotta give stuff back. But I was honored. I was on it. It was an idea that [director David Gordon Green] came up with and…I don’t want to get into any spoilers, but it was it was great. It was great.

I know some of the dudes that worked on this movie. I bet money they went back into the props room and stole that bat.

Mike Hall: That’s why I made sure props had it. ‘All right. Good!’ Once the crew has it back in their hands, they’re good.

The Halloween fan base is so intense. And crazy. And here you are, taking over a role that many people wanted to see occupied by the original actor.

Mike Hall: So crazy.

The hardcore fans were a little upset that Brian Andrews was getting replaced. But they did a three-sixty when they heard you had been cast as Tommy. They got really excited. You are one of the few actors that could have pulled that off, getting embraced within this longstanding legacy.

Mike Hall: Thanks man, that’s great to hear. I appreciate it. No, listen, I’m excited, part of what’s been so cool for me, in this two year wait, and there’s an extra year of waiting, because we did the movie in 2019, right? It was like from last September to this October, it’s just learning that, tuning into the fan base. Watching reaction videos and fan-based sites on Youtube and reading and learning how big it is. It’s incredible. It is a massive fan base and it’s…It can be compared, if anything, to, like the Star Wars or the Star Trek franchise, right? Just beloved. Part of what’s been fun for me is learning that. And kind of getting hip and educated on the universe of all these films. Because as you know, Halloween fans are very specific, man. They’ll tell you straight up what worked, what didn’t. They know all the details of the props and the masks. You know what I mean? As it’s all evolved and that’s incredible. That kind of love for it is incredible. So that’s my biggest takeaway from this…Is that excitement, I feel I’ve never been more pumped to be a part of a movie. And also to know that there’s an audience waiting. That anticipation is awesome, you know, it’s just a great feeling.

I’m such a huge fan of your work myself. It was great to see you shake up this franchise, and have people get excited that Mike Hall is back as this bat-swinging badass.

Mike Hall: I appreciate it, I appreciate it. I’m just glad to be a part of it, you know? And I think another huge take away for me was just seeing the artistry, and how cool David Gordon Green was and Jamie Lee, Danny McBride, the whole team, Jason Blum. The whole crew that they have, that’s been with Danny and David for years. It was just a real pleasure, because you’re dealing with total pros. But there was also that added level of excitement and passion and everybody knew that this one mattered, because obviously the 2018 movie was a huge success. And we want to keep improving. So, it was incredible. That buzz was electric and you could feel that on the set. Even with people that had already worked on previous versions of it. That was awesome, very tangible too.

I don’t want to pinpoint which sequels fans don’t like so much. But coming in and building something new, and knowing that it sticks around forever. These movies do not go away. Some have cool kills, but the story surrounding it might not be that great. Here, you guys had an opportunity to really come in and craft something special that stands outside of the kills. Take the slasher element away, and we still want to spend time with Tommy Doyle.

Mike Hall: Those are very valid points. I hear that. And fans are very vocal about all these aspects that you are articulating. I also feel like it…Just hats off to David Gordon Green, because the guy is amazing. If you look back, and think of these shows that he and Danny did, how funny they were. And yet the production values were like a good movie or top looking tv show right? So they’ve always been excellent. They’re dealing with comedy. The fact that they could go so effortlessly into this, and then that movie made $255 million dollars. It was just a great reimagining of it. Yet they were loyal to the things that fans wanted to see with Laurie and her family. The story’s obviously of that family and the whole thing with the myth of Myers. What he represents to the people. So there was that healthy respect for the work. And I could feel that every day. That’s cool, because it’s like being on a great team when you’re a kid, right? You’re playing baseball, you’re on a basketball team. You want to feel that level of excitement from the teammates. So that was a big added bonus too, in this case, because that was all built in. People all really felt that on set.

You get to build a character that can stand outside of the Halloween franchise, if that makes sense. Like, if we’re watching Tommy Doyle in a movie where Michael Myers doesn’t show up, we’re still going to be invested and centered on what Tommy’s story is.

Mike Hall: Well, that’s the thing, too….I want to speak to that. That’s a great point, because it reminds me of the bigger thing that they pulled off. Which is brilliant. How they were able to thread it from 1978 to 2018. It’s incredible how they threaded that to the present. And now, you’ll see this universe expands with all these beloved characters from the ’78 version. But what’s awesome is, he makes room for those characters and others. There is a couple. A doctor and a nurse who are very intrinsic to the opening. There’s a bar owner played by Brian Mays, who’s actually a bar owner from Austin, Texas, that runs with David. So the very kind of Fellini way David cast him as the bar owner in the movie, right? He puts him in, and he’s awesome. When you see the film, you love that guy. That’s the thing I loved about David, Danny and Scott, what they’re writing. They effortless do that, right? They kind of expand on the core group, reintroduced the returning characters, and also introduce others. It’s really cool, because it’s all for the benefit of the timeline of the story, Right? So it doesn’t slow anything up. It makes it better.

You brought up something about the bartender. Have you ever seen {Snow Angels?

Mike Hall: No. Is that something he was in?

Well, no…David Gordon Green directed that….

Mike Hall: Ok, I haven’t seen that one.

He has a bartender in there, who’s walking around in the background, through several shots and just for fun…David Gordon Green has him dressed up as Freddy Krueger.

Mike Hall: Oh, that’s awesome.

Yeah, that’s the funny thing…It’s a heavy drama with a little bit of humor in it, maybe. But it’s not a horror movie by any stretch. So why does it have horror Easter eggs? He did it just for fun.

Mike Hall: He did it for whoever was watching that person in the background, right? Like, this is another point I want to make. You did remind me of what I didn’t expect. In other words, he is just a brilliant writer, a great collaborator. When you’re working with a guy like that, who has a natural joy, like he’s always laughing and smiling…David has that great ability to keep moving, keep it flowing. He takes other people’s ideas. He collaborates. He builds upon that. He doesn’t personalize it or get offended. You know what I mean? But he also sticks to the vision of what he’s doing. So this one was just incredible, because it was just like a thrill ride, start to finish, the making of the movie. I don’t want to give anything away, but it just goes all-out for an hour and 45 minutes.

I was shocked when I saw the trailer they released. Because it is non-stop. And it seemingly gives so much away.

Mike Hall: Yeah, I’ve seen them all. That was the one about two months ago, right?

Yes. The trailer reveals so many big kills in its three-minute runtime.

Mike Hall: But that’s the thing, that’s what you just said…You just hit the nail on the head. Exactly, there’s still so much more to come.

I want to bring up Danny McBride, the way he writes dialogue. He’s like Quentin Tarantino or Woody Allen. It is so much his voice. Like when you hear an actor doing Woody Allen dialogue, it sounds like Woody Allen. Danny McBride has that same kind of voice in his writing. You just know that’s him speaking no matter whose mouth it is coming out of.

Mike Hall: That is very interesting. A very cool compliment. Yeah, I guess so, because you know what? I found it very effortless. I think the way they write as a team, David and Danny…But you know, first of all…I’m a huge Danny fan. I’ve always loved this guy. And the work those two have done together. Eastbound and Down. Vice Principals. I really love those shows. I was so stoked to work with Danny. You’re right. I think that there absolutely is a really naturalistic kind of rhythm and fun, to sit there and…Obviously you always see the humor. They’re always able to put that in there as well. One of the things I wanted to convey to you…It’s just that I’m so pumped in being a part of this franchise. But at the same time, like, the anticipation for this movie? It’s such a huge thing that there is this energy for it. You know what I mean? That people are looking forward to it. I’m really pumped because it’s just not stopping. And I’m really proud of what David did. I think it really is, like Jamie’s called it Number Two. I think it’s a masterpiece. Because, you see that there is a balance of all the elements that we’ve discussed. The myth of Myers, what people expect from him pacing the action. It’s all there with this movie. At the same time, they allow it to be an ensemble actress film, too. That’s where they’re incredible. They carve out all of those plans, even within the context of this movie and its theme, you know? Well, it’s incredible.

I’ve done a little bit of my own research. This is true. I’m not just saying it because I am on the phone with you. But a lot of people who, perhaps, aren’t too into horror movies, are excited to go see Halloween Kills solely because you are one of the main players in it.

Mike Hall: Oh, that’s nice. That’s nice. I welcome that. That’s a nice compliment. I hope so. But people should just experience the thrill ride.}

I’ve heard numerous people go, ‘Anthony Michael Hall is in that? I’m definitely going to see that.’ People love you, Mike Hall.

Mike Hall: That makes me feel great. Thanks, buddy. Thank you. Well, that’s like, it just reminds me of like…Even though I just saw the movie with my wife privately…I don’t want to give anything away…But it’s just such a fun ride. And I left the theater thinking…And we’re both looking at each other, like, “Wasn’t that like coming off a roller coaster?” You know? That’s like…What the hell just happened? I didn’t know I needed that.

Halloween Ends is gearing up to shoot in the new year. I suppose you can’t even give us a hint at what to expect from that? Are you coming back? Will we see Tommy Doyle again?

Mike Hall: Sir. Unfortunately. I can’t. I have a sacred contract with Mr. Blum, David and Danny and everybody, so I wouldn’t do that. Yeah, I’m not allowed to.

You, along with Kyle Richards, and a few of the other characters. We don’t want to see you guys knocked out. We want the OGs to return for the third and final chapter.

Mike Hall: I plead the fifth. Unfortunately I can’t comment on any of that. But it’s just…It was awesome. Like I said, it was awesome to work with them. And there really was that vibe on set, like we talked about. You know, and then the other thing too…It’s just the excitement of being a part of something that people are looking forward to. It’s great, because they will not be put out, it’s going to be cool.

Speaking on the subject of legacy sequels, and working with john Hughes…The fact that there was already a TV show of Weird science…Has there ever been any talks about doing a Weird Science legacy sequel where Lisa comes back into Gary and Wyatt’s lives?

Mike Hall: Not, not that. But I’ll tell you something that’s interesting. When I was a kid still, I was 19…And 1987 was the last time, unfortunately, that I got to speak with John Hughes. He called me with john Candy on the phone. And what happened was about an hour and a half conversation. Which was just awesome. As you can imagine. I’m just listening to both of them. Oh yeah, they called me. I was just blown away that these guys called me. So, we’re kind of like hanging out on the phone basically. And they made me laugh. They were so funny. Full stories. It was just really great. But one of the things that did come up, was john mentioned doing a sequel to The Breakfast Club at that time that. I can be transparent about that, because that did happen. And I think he…The only thing I remember him saying is, he thought it would be interesting to see them in their early middle age. You know? And where they kind of wound up. So here I sit at 53, I’m looking up at John, like, ‘Wow.’ That was amazing, you know? And the fact is, even though I was such a kid, I was only a pup, I was 15, 16 working with John. But the fact that he was only in his early mid-thirties? He was so accomplished and such a cool guy. That’s the thing I like people to know about. He was just such a great guy. That work was so much fun. You know? I mean, it just kept it fun as the director, which was great.

When I see how much he accomplished by his 30s, I am blown away. It is so inspiring and always takes my breath away.

Mike Hall: I agree. Me too, because I reflect on it now that I’m…You know, this age, 53, it’s amazing.

There’s not a lot of footage of him working on set with you, is there? Not that we’ve ever seen.

Mike Hall: No, but I can just define it for you. I mean, he was…Here’s how he was…He always wore high-tops every day. He’s always casual, you know? He always was kind of smoking cigarettes between takes, but he had great conversations with us all. He really took the time to develop the characters. And you know, that’s something like a cliche, when actors talk about directors, who are great directors…But he really did care that much. Like, he carved out time for us to rehearse, which also meant time for us just to talk about each other’s work, and the characters, and what we were doing as a team, you know? So, he did a lot of really cool sort of interpersonal things that I consider talent right there. God given abilities to collaborate, to be that open and at the same time, get so much out of people. Because he was already giving us all so much. But he would get that much more from us because he was just very inclusive in his thinking and allowing good things to happen, or allowing you seem to be funnier adding something, you know? So you always had that kind of spirit. Which was really impressive. And then it just had a great effect on all his work?

Do you think its a little too precious to go back now and do The Breakfast Club 2 as a true legacy sequel? Was there any evidence that he wrote any of that, in script form or notes, or just an outline?

Mike Hall: I don’t know that answer, but I know that he left hundreds of notebooks behind. John was very accomplished. Even when we were doing The Breakfast Club, all I can tell you…A quick story….He came to me. We’re about two weeks into it, and we’re on a break in the hallway. ‘I started working on something last night.’ I’m thinking, ‘What?’ Because we’re working 12 hour days. So the night before on The Breakfast Club, he started and wrote the first act of Weird Science. He wrote like 30 pages after we wrapped, and he went home, that was amazing. You know, so very prolific? The other thing I would tell you about his writing, which is really, I think indicative of something cool, but as artists and creative people that we should aspire to, is the idea of maintaining inspiration. So his writing room in their house, it was like just a bedroom. But it was really wall to ceiling, ceiling to floor , in12in records. It was like a record storage, and then there’s the corner by the window, with his old desk top where he would write. So the idea is that he surrounded himself with music, and wrote all those cues and kind of really, he cultivated such a good awareness of music and how to apply it to film. The universal gave him a label at that time. So he had a huge music collection, and the record label because he was really great and very talented with hiring great music coordinators, music producers, putting together great soundtracks for the film and that was always kind of written into it. And then he would add upon it, which was cool.

Further speaking about legacy sequels, along the lines of Halloween Ends and Halloween Kills…I know Timothy Chalamet did the Edward Scissorhands commercial. There was so much buzz afterwards, about him coming in and being Edward Scissorhands…Has there ever been any talk about you guys all coming back to do Edward Scissorhands 2?

Mike Hall: No. But there’s another guy. Tim Burton is up there. And also Christopher Nolan. Tim Burton, another total genius. Like, I love to work with that guy. I’ve never heard anything about that….But as you know, he and Depp went on to make another seven movies together or whatever. I love Tim Burton. I mean, I think he’s a true genius, because he has a real signature, right? Like his films only looked like his films. Very, so, absolutely, yeah. So, I love that idea. Timothy Chalamet is a very talented young man. He’s a very terrific actor. I’m sure he could do.

Did you see this commercial he did?

Mike Hall: I did. I thought that was fun. Yeah, it was cool. They don’t need my old ass in there.

Fans want the real deal. If they do Edward Scissorhands 2, fans definitely want Mike Hall and Winona Ryder back.

Mike Hall: You’re very kind. I’m ready, man. I’ll tell you this quick story, which is great. I worked with Danny Trejo on this western about 10 years ago in Romania. It was called Dead in Tombstone? Right? With this really interesting, talented European director named Roel Reiné. He was great. Anyway, one thing Danny said one day…He was great. We’re just shooting the shit before shooting, sitting outside the trailer, you know? Danny says, ‘I’m like a mechanic. I go where the work is?’ That’s awesome. Because that resonates with me. Because I’ve always had the same outlook, you know? You’re very blessed for whatever you get to work on as an actor. I feel very fortunate that I’ve had a long run. It’s hard work. And it’s always an uphill battle, because you’re kind of hand to mouth year round. But you never really rely on anything. So to that extent, it makes you work hard, because it’s really the work in-between the jobs. That’s the work, just maintaining and staying present. Accessing things, and working for projects, you know, that kind of stuff. So it’s all good. It’s all been a good development for me personally, in my career. So I look at it, this is like another level, because I’ve never been more pumped about a movie. This is pretty cool.

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