DVD Talk Limited Edition
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Inglewood, Ca.
The Ninth Life of HALLOWEEN
The Shape of things to come is that Michael Myers will return in advance of next Halloween. You heard it here first: “We’re shooting for a fall 2004 release,” says producer Malek Akkad. “Ideally, we’d like to get it out in August or September. So obviously that means we’ve really got to go, go, go.”
Akkad is giving out tidbits of HALLOWEEN 9 information outside a conference hall where his father, legendary HALLOWEEN honcho Moustapha Akkad, is signing autographs, posing for pictures and being good-naturedly vague in the face of a barrage of fan questions as part of the recent HALLOWEEN Returns to Haddonfield convention, honoring the 25th anniversary of the John Carpenter classic’s release.
“These films have always been made for you,” the elder Akkad tells the packed room. “Your feedback, your suggestions and, yes, your criticisms will always be welcome. But there are certain things about the new film that I will not tell you, because I think you will agree that we all want to be surprised.”
The veteran producer also acknowledges the creator of the film that started it all. “John Carpenter is an enormous talent, and it is to his credit, talent and vision that HALLOWEEN has become something special in the hearts and minds of so many millions of fans. Being here before you on this, the 25th anniversary of HALLOWEEN, is one of the happiest moments in my life.”
The younger Akkad, who has taken an ever-increasing role in the care and feeding of the HALLOWEEN franchise since the fourth film, obligingly offers Fango some meat on the next installment—though like his father, he stops short of spilling any definitive beans. However, he is candid in saying that the startup process for Michael’s ninth adventure was delayed by a couple of months due to Dimension Films’ insistence on turning the project into a Michael-vs.-Pinhead story. Reportedly both Carpenter and Clive Barker have been approached about participating. “That idea did come from Dimension, and I can honestly say that I was against it from day one,” Akkad reveals. “As soon as it was proposed, my father said no. But then it kept going back and forth for a couple of months and we lost a lot of time. There was also some casual talk at one point about a possible MICHAEL VS. LEATHERFACE or a MICHAEL VS. JASON storyline. But in the wake of FREDDY VS. JASON, any other teamup is just going to look derivative. And besides, when it comes to Michael, we don’t feel we have to jump on any matchup bandwagon.”
Akkad also reports that, while the company does have a couple of story ideas it is toying with for HALLOWEEN 9, the major creative elements have yet to be firmed up. “We have no director set at this point, and there are not any clear front-runners right now,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to mention any names because we are still talking to people, but I can tell you that there are some real interesting names in the mix.”
The producer acknowledges that, at this relatively late day, they are also still considering scriptwriters for the project. “Right now we’re looking at a couple of pairs of writing teams, but I can tell you that we are not considering the writers of FREDDY VS. JASON. At this point, we’re close to making a decision, and we’re hopeful that we will have a first draft of HALLOWEEN 9 by mid-December. I can also say that, as in the past, we’re trying to emulate the tone and the feel of the first film while at the same time hopefully bringing something fresh and new to the concept. I’ve always fought for less gore and more suspense in the HALLOWEEN films. I haven’t always gotten what I wanted, but in an ideal world, those are the elements that I believe work best.”
There has been a rumor afoot, fueled by the nostalgia surrounding the 25th anniversary, that HALLOWEEN 9 might be shot in the same South Pasadena neighborhoods where the original was filmed. Akkad is a big fan of revisiting the past, but “nothing is set in stone at this point in regards to location. We did have an amazing experience shooting in Vancouver [on HALLOWEEN: H20 and HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION] and I’m all for going back there.”
Casting has obviously not begun at this point, but the producer willingly talks in generalities about certain roles and actors. One of these is the Freddie character played by rapper Busta Rhymes, who first died and then, through the miracle of reshoots, survived to the end of RESURRECTION. “We’re not sure whether Freddie will be back or not,” says Akkad. “We haven’t ruled it out, and there has been talk of Busta doing some kind of cameo. When it comes to playing Michael, it’s a pretty safe bet that if we go to Vancouver, Brad Loree [from RESURRECTION] would do it. At one point, Kane Hodder talked to us about taking on the character, but Kane has been Jason and we want to keep Michael pure in terms of the actors who portray him.”
The producer also addresses the speculation that the new film might see a character similar to Dr. Sam Loomis (the late Donald Pleasence) arriving on the scene to do battle with Michael. “I can’t really divulge that, but I can say that it is something that we are looking at,” says Akkad, who also laughingly denies that Laurie Strode will be revived after her demise in RESURRECTION. “Laurie will not be back in HALLOWEEN 9,” he says. “Jamie [Lee Curtis] has been in four of these, and I think she’s had it. But hey, she’s Michael’s sister and she would seem to share Michael’s supernatural powers. So who’s to say that just because she fell to her death from a multistory building, she might not reappear at some point in the future? But in the next film, definitely not.”
Much has been made over the years of the feud between Carpenter and Akkad that has seen the director drop out of the HALLOWEEN universe. The younger Akkad is willing to address the rumor that, in recent years, the director and producer have buried the hatchet and actively engaged in conversations with an eye toward working together on future projects. “First of all, the rumors that there was ever a hatchet to be buried were very much overblown,” he says. “They’ve always held each other in the highest esteem and, as you heard my father say a few minutes ago, he gives all the credit in the world to John. There was never a feud between them. They have definitely been speaking on a friendly level for some time now, throwing ideas back and forth. I’m with most people in that I would love to see John come back and do another HALLOWEEN movie, though at this point, no conversations along those lines have happened.”
Finally, Akkad puts to death the growing urban legend, fueled by an off-the-cuff remark by Pleasence, that there will be 22 films in total before Michael Myers finally calls it a day. “There will not be 22 HALLOWEEN movies,” he laughs. “I don’t believe we’ll make 20. To be perfectly honest, I think there are only another two or three in the series. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to what the audiences will bear. It’s like I’ve said before: The only thing that will kill Michael Myers is if he dies at the box office.”
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