Once Halloween (2018) became the franchise’s highest-grossing chapter, producer Jason Blum and filmmaker David Gordon Green had the wind at their backs as they set out to complete a new trilogy. With the second installment, Halloween Kills, on the verge of a day-and-date release, the two collaborators are now looking back at the “impossible task” of uniting Halloween (1978) fans, including John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, with a new generation of horror buffs by way of Halloween (2018).
“It was daunting because John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and everyone are very emotional about this franchise and have lots of feelings about it. David, most of all,” Blum tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And Jamie was hesitant, too. And John was hesitant, too. And everyone felt great about not only what David pulled off but how he pulled it off. So when we came into [Halloween Kills], everyone was more relaxed, having fun, looser and trusting of each other. You create better things when the people involved trust each other.”
The concluding film in the trilogy, Halloween Ends, is currently on track to begin shooting in January 2022, and Green is quite excited about his newly added twist ending.
“[Halloween Ends is] very different in tone from Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, and I think that’s part of my self-indulgence. I very often jump around in genres and explore different themes and characters through movies,” Green shares. “I just came up with a new twist ending on the ending that existed a couple weeks ago, and that’s something that only I hold the piece of paper that has those words on it. So no spoilers here.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Blum and Green also discuss how relevant Kills has become since they wrapped production in November 2019. Then Green goes on to explain why he turned several bit parts from the 2018 Halloween into fully realized characters in Kills.
So I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m slighting Halloween (2018), but Halloween Kills feels like a more confident movie. What did the two of you learn from the 2018 film that you were able to apply to Kills?
David Gordon Green: I would say trust of the fanbase. On the first one, we entered with almost an impossible task. Can we invite the very passionate fans of the original John Carpenter film to appreciate the fact that we’re here to honor the narrative that they’ve setup? And then invite a new generation that may or may not be familiar with that and let them feel like they’re able to walk into this narrative and not be confused or lost. It’s a tricky line, and the fact that we found our success in that film — and that we were able to come together and agree to make more of these movies — now we can just jump in and not have to burden ourselves with any exposition or setup. We can just appreciate the fact that we’ve reinstated Michael Myers and Laurie Strode in their conflict, and just like any great good-versus-evil storytelling, we can just let them both unleash.
Jason, what did you learn from the 2018 Halloween as a producer?
Jason Blum: I think it’s what David said in a different way. I think all of us were more confident. It was daunting because John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and everyone are very emotional about this franchise and have lots of feelings about it. David, most of all. And Jamie was hesitant, too. And John was hesitant, too. The first movie, David did such a good job leading the ship of a bunch of very independent, spirited folks.
Blum & Green: (Laugh.)
Blum: John was really in and out the entire time; he wasn’t sure. And everyone felt great about not only what David pulled off but how he pulled it off. So when we came into [Halloween Kills], everyone was more relaxed, having fun, looser and trusting of each other. You create better things when the people involved trust each other. Things go better, and so maybe that’s what you’re seeing. But I still think the first movie is absolutely as good as the second.
Blum & Green: (Laugh.)
David, there are actors with bit parts in the previous Halloween that are full-fledged characters in Kills. There are quick references to events in the last film that are actually depicted on screen in Kills. I know you had some idea of where you’d take things if Halloween (2018) was successful, but did you have more of a plan than you let on?
Green: We had a lot of ideas of where we would go, but I’d say the specificity of it is a good bit of advice for actors. Some of these actors showed up for a bit part, a walk-on, a line here or there, and when you show up and you deliver and you’re great, it makes the director’s job so much easier. So when I’m working on the next sequel and I realize that there’s a character I need to include for the narrative and I’m thinking about the connective tissue between the two movies, I’m going to go to the person that made my life easier, not the pain in the ass. So it’s really fun to be able to reallocate actors in movie to movie or show to movie or whatever. But the impression that people make on me, I feel like I end up starting to write with them in mind, just knowing that I can lean on them. Making these movies, as fun as it is, it’s very stressful, and there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders to deliver. And when you’ve got an actor or actress with that type of charisma, authenticity and naturalism, then I want to continue the journey with them.
After the last 18 months, it was nice to see people unite against a greater threat in Halloween Kills, but then the hospital riot quickly explored the downside of that as mob mentality and mob justice can result. Have the last 18 months affected your perception of that story point?
Blum: I think the last 18 months have changed my perception on just about everything, including all three Halloween movies, but I don’t know if I can really articulate how it changed my perception about that particular aspect of the movie. If anything, online, with everyone being isolated, the mob mentality and jumping on truths and untruths, it happens more quickly now. And as a result of being so isolated, people cling to each other, digitally, over the last 18 months more than they ever have. And I think the movie is a physical manifestation of that, so maybe that’s one way it has.
Green: It is interesting to have shot this movie two years ago, and then, last year, when the movie was supposed to come out, I was like, “Oh, this movie feels kind of relevant and topical now, which is kind of interesting considering we had written it two years ago.” And then now, even more so. So I do feel it’s exactly what Jason said. It’s difficult to decipher what’s real and what’s not. You can enter a situation with the best of intentions, and then once that animal mentality of a mob can take over, those intentions can get really blurry. And if there’s anything this movie does have to say that’s relevant, it’s where that line is blurred between good and evil.
What can you guys say about Halloween Ends at this point? Is the script in good shape? Are you gearing up soon?
Blum: We’re gearing up to shoot in January, and the movie is going to be great.
Blum & Green: (Laugh.)
Green: Yes, it is. It’s very different in tone from Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, and I think that’s part of my self-indulgence. I very often jump around in genres and explore different themes and characters through movies. So I’ve made a point for my own interest as a fan to take different technical approaches to each of the three in this trilogy. So I’m excited to show you guys what we’re working on, but we’re just cooking it up right now. I’m sure it will evolve. I just came up with a new twist ending on the ending that existed a couple weeks ago, and that’s something that only I hold the piece of paper that has those words on it. So no spoilers here.
Halloween Kills is now playing in movie theaters.