Interview: Halloween II’s Malcolm McDowell


On Loomis for a new generation

Left for what we thought was dead at the end of 2007’s Halloween remake, Dr. Loomis shows his resilience and opportunistic nature in Halloween II. Actor Malcolm McDowell sat down with the press earlier this week to talk about reprising the role and collaborating once again with writer-director Rob Zombie.

Question: Your feelings about journalists in the movie are interesting.

Malcolm McDowell: [in character] Did you mention journalist and intelligence all in the same sentence? I love the relationship between him and the PR lady. She was brilliant. It was fun and I thought it was time too bring in a little comedy into Halloween. I also didn’t want to play Loomis like I did before. Why bother doing it again so I made up another character just to fuck with all the minds of the aficionados of the Halloween series.

Q: It was a good call because you needed some relief?

McDowell: That’s what I figured because I knew that Rob would do his dark violent thing. Loomis is always in a limo. You’re talking about drug addicts all depressed and Loomis is living the high life.

Q: Have you ever done an interview or a talk show left thinking “what the f**k” like your character does in the movie?

McDowell: Oh yes!

Q: Did the Loomis character come from you or Rob?

McDowell: I’d have to say it’s somewhere from both of us. Most of it is actually improvised. Is the bookstore scene still in it?

Q: Yeah, you mean the guy who wants to shoot you?

McDowell: Yeah. Originally he was just supposed to throw some fake blood at me. We did it that way and then Rob goes, “You know let’s up it.” He was right.

Q: Do you work out specifically what’s happened with Loomis’ life between the first film and now or do you go with what’s on the page.

McDowell: I’m an English actor. It’s like learn your lines, get on and do it. It’s really not rocket science Acting is so stupid and so easy in a way it’s stupid.

Q: Doing interviews is the hard part of it right?

McDowell: Well this is much more difficult because you have to put yourself out there and have to have a couple of really intelligent thoughts. I’ve been doing it so long that that main thing is to have some fun. Keep it light. Have some fun. Don’t take it too seriously and move on. That’s been the philosophy of my career.

Q: You must have really enjoyed working with Rob to come back for a second film with him.

McDowell: I love Rob. Great guy and very talented. I think he’s going to have some really wonderful movies. He’s at the beginning of his career really in terms of being a director. He’s at the beginning. He’s done a lot of horror movies and it’s time now to move on.

Q: Would you work with him again?

McDowell: I’d do anything with him. He’s got the talent to do whatever he wants to do. He happens to be very good at this – horror and directing. He’s very good at scaring the living daylights out of you.

Q: What scares you?

McDowell: I’m not into horror films. I like more psychology movies. Things like The Manchurian Candidate, I’m talking about the original. I haven’t seen Jonathan’s [Demme]. Clockwork Orange is a good example. It’s a psychology horror film really. There’s no blood or gore in it you know.

Q: Do you think Loomis wrote the book to be a celebrity or was he trying to help people?

McDowell: He’s a doctor and not a really very good one obviously. He’s had one patient for 17 years who breaks out and kills half the town. How good of a doctor can he be? He’s in love with what most Americans are in love with – celebrity. That’s one thing that I thought would be kind of amusing is to have this doctor who is of course an ego maniac. Have we met a doctor who wasn’t? I think it’s fun to play on that and also I just didn’t’ want to play the same character I played in the other one. If that’s confusing than good. That’s all I can say. That’s good because I don’t think people want to see the same thing gurgitated up again. Obviously some do though. The people who really love Halloween don’t really think there are some perimeters you should cross, but hey, rules are there to be broken. I thought it’d be fun to really make him a total asshole because I felt in this particular script it needed some light moments – something you could laugh at. He’s such a buffoon. He’s such an asshole that you can actually laugh at it.

Q: The scene with Weird Al was great.

McDowell: Hello Mr. Weird. He is awesome and that was all ad-libbed. He suddenly looked at me and went zap [imitating what he did with his hands]. He was really out there. That was my most fun scene to shoot I think. It was great fun.

Q: I know you said you weren’t a fan of horror, but did you see the Carpenter films?

McDowell: No, I haven’t seen them yet, but I will at some point. I’m not a great fan of horror films. I guess you sort of picked that up, although I will say I was absolutely terrified when I had nothing to do for an hour or two [on set waiting] for the lights. I went looking for something to do and I found a DVD of one of Rob’s movies Devil’s Rejects. I thought, oh I’ll just pop that in. I’m sitting there in the dark in the middle of wherever it was and I was absolutely shitting myself. That was a really scary movie – fantastic though.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

McDowell: I just finished Entourage, the last two episodes of the season. Those will be very good. They’re wonderful scenes.

Q: You play an asshole again.

McDowell: I think he’s just a survivor. There were four scenes and they were really great scenes so that’s why I went back to do it. I think I’m going to be back the next season too. I think because of a plot point, but I don’t want to give that away.

Source: Heather Newgen, Ryan Rotten