Horror Month – June 2015
“[Working] with the established ‘adult’ actors and hearing stories of show business was an experience I’ll cherish forever”
What was your experiences like working on Halloween 5?
I had a complete BLAST making “Halloween 5”. Not only was it my first movie, but it was only my second professional job. There was alot of learning on the job, but everyone was so wonderful and took me under their wing to make it a great introduction to movie-making.
What was your relationship like with co-star and horror icon Danielle Harris?
Danielle and I spent alot of time together during the filming, obviously. It actually started a week before shooting began. They brought us to Salt Lake City for a week of rehearsals and we spent the entire week bonding and forming a great friendship. In the original script, my character spent most of the film on a bicycle, so they bought bikes for me and Danielle to spend as much time on as we could (the car chase was supposed to involve my bike getting hit and then Jamie taking it for the chase through the woods – more on that later). So between that, schoolroom time with our tutor and rehearsals with speech therapists (stuttering lessons for me / sign language for her), we became fast friends. And I think that closeness comes across on screen.
Your chase scene with the shape aka Michael Myers was truly terrifying – how was it filming this scene?
The car chase was obviously a large part of the film, and took the longest to shoot. As I said before, it initially involved a bicycle, but that element was cut before filming began. Instead, they had us running in the field with Don Shanks (aka Michael Myers) driving at us. So when you watch the movie, that’s really us running in front of the car, not stunt doubles.
As an adult, I cannot believe I actually did that. I trusted Don implicitly, but even so: that was an accident waiting to happen. The way it was filmed was: I was running in the field and Don was driving the car about 20mph about 20 feet to the right of me and we ran/drove into a large mirror.
The camera was off to the left filming the mirror, so the angles of everything made it look like the car was right behind me. TRIVIA: watch the car chase again and you’ll notice that in a few shots, they forgot to reverse the image, so it looks like Michael is in the passenger seat, and there’s no driver. Once you see that, it’s all you will notice!!!
What was it like working on a horror movie set at such a young age?
In many ways, filming a horror movie is no different than any other acting job. Once the cameras stop rolling; everyone is joking, so how an that be scary? On to of that, because we were children, everyone was even more careful to make sure we were taken care of and never scared. Don would always take the mask off between takes so we never lost sight of the actor behind the character. After eating dinner with the man, it’s hard to be scared when we went back to set.
What is your best memory from working on the film?
My fondest memories are mainly just remembering the camaraderie of communal dinners and show business excitement. Remember: this was my first movie, so sitting at dinner with the established ‘adult’ actors and hearing stories of show business was an experience I’ll cherish forever. Especially being around Donald Pleasance. I only wish I was able to have those conversation with him now as adult, where I can truly appreciate the legend I had such access to.
The Halloween franchise and its cast members are in my eyes legends – what has your experiences been with fans?
The fans are AMAZING and I love meeting and talking to every single one. Conventions are like Christmas to me. I am so blessed to be a part of such an iconic series that people have such passion about, and I never take that lightly. The fact that I am still talking about Billy almost thirty years later to people who care SO MUCH about him and the entire franchise fills me with such a sense of pride and honor. That’s why we are in this business: to truly connect and tell stories that people want to hear.
Are you a fan of horror films yourself?
I have only recently started a binge of watching horror movies. Obviously, I have seen all the “Halloween” movies, but I was not well versed in the other series. A few months ago, I watched all the “Elm Street” movies and am now working my way through the “Friday The 13th” films. I am really enjoying the more campy horror films of the 80’s and 90’s. But my favorite horror film of all time has to be “Carrie”.
If you could play a role from any movie which would it be any why?
I’m gonna cop out and say that my perfect movie role has yet to be written. That said, I am a HUGE Neil Simon fan and would love to have played Elliot Garfield in “The Goodbye Girl”. It’s such a fun role and clearly, others agree, since Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for it.
What is your favourite film of all time?
I have to say that my favorite movie of all time is “All About Eve”. Just a wonderfully written film acted and directed to perfection. If you have not seen it: RUN HOME AND WATCH IT NOW.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I have a bunch of concerts coming up and a few other fun things on the horizon. Please follow me on twitter (@JeffreyLandman) to find out more.
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