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H2 SET REPORT PART 2: PRODUCER MALEK AKKAD!

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It’s the late night hours of April 7th, and myself along with several other journalists are out in a field in Newborn, Georgia watching dozens of cop cars out front and a helicopter hovering above. Yep, looks like everyone’s out for Michael Myers! Malek Akkad, producer and protector of the HALLOWEEN franchise takes a quick cigarette break in between shots to talk to us about the new HALLOWEEN movie, H2, due out in theaters August 28th.

First things first. Rob Zombie said he was completely done with Myers and company after finishing the last movie, yet here we are again watching him direct scenes a few yards ahead of us for another brand new HALLOWEEN movie. Why’d Rob Zombie come back?

“Rob did such a great job on the first one and thankfully it was very successful,” says Akkad. “And of course, the idea of a sequel came up, and I personally would’ve loved to do something with Rob again where he could’ve taken his characters a little further and kind of wrapped up his whole vision, and that’s fortunately what we were able to do.”


How far did the alternate HALLOWEEN sequel get before Rob came back? “We starting out trying to just look at how we could go into sort of the normal sequel. We actually had a couple of writers do a draft and we weren’t happy with it at all.” Akkad’s speaking of course of French director’s Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. “I liked INSIDE. And I met the guys and I found them – it wasn’t them as much as - it’s just Rob, we wanted Rob back. And it wasn’t necessarily a good fit, because Rob’s sensibility, what he brings to it, you just can’t get that (with any other filmmaker) and these guys were French, so there was something lost in translation somehow. (Laughs) Obviously Halloween is a very American sort of tradition & Michael Myers is an American kind of icon. Rob gets that and what he’s done in this film, which I love is he’s really hit on the Halloween holiday itself. So, it’s not just a “slasher” film, he brought in the element of the holiday, which is great.”


Judging from what we’ve seen on set, it seems that this time around Zombie has complete control over which direction he wants to take all of these characters that were established in the first HALLOWEEN, something that Akkad is incredibly supportive of. “The fact that he was doing a remake, maybe there were some constraints, he felt that there were certain elements he had to be true to. And he also was able to flesh it out in his own way, but in this one, I think he’s really taking it in his whole own direction. It’s packed. It’s so many elements, so many character arcs going, and it’s really satisfying to see where he takes each character and how he resolves each character. He’s brought new elements into the franchise that we’ve never seen before.”

One of the most surprising elements is the character arc of Michael Myers himself, something that no other filmmaker has ever tried to play around with on any of the previous HALLOWEEN films. Akkad elaborates, “I obviously put a lot of trust into Rob after the first one, and one thing that stood out, we’d gotten into the habit of using a stuntman for Michael. And he was insistent on using an actor, which I agree with 100 percent. So, we got an actor, and that brought a lot of different textures to Michael, a lot of subtleties. Tyler obviously is fantastic. So after seeing that and seeing what Rob had done with it, yeah, I trusted him 100 percent and I told him when we started this, ‘Don’t feel hindered by any of the sort of ‘rules’ that we’ve had in the past. I want this to be your vision and feel free to really express that vision.’ He’s taken it into new ways, and I think its good. I think we needed it. I think we needed to break out from the rules that have been established over the course of the franchise. Like “you can only do this”, “he only goes after this person.” It’s a whole new side to Michael. A whole new look to Michael. I’m really thrilled with what he’s doing with this.”


It seems all the alumni from the previous film are also thrilled by Zombie’s vision for H2. Every one of the principle characters is back for the sequel. “The great thing is is that everyone really enjoys working with Rob,” explains Akkad. “It wasn’t even a problem with anyone. We’d just say Rob’s coming back, he wants you back, and the deal was done. He inspires everyone from the cast through out the crew so passionately. He cares so much about getting what he wants and this has been a really tough shoot. He’s stayed in it and he’s really fought for what he wants, and I really appreciate that.”

This writer couldn’t help but point out that H2 marks Danielle Harris’s 4th appearance in a HALLOWEEN film. We asked Malek his thoughts on Harris and her continued popularity amongst HALLOWEEN fans. “Danielle is amazing. I adore her. She’s a fan favorite for a good reason, because she pays attention to the fans and responds to them. And actually she’s now up to her 4th HALLOWEEN movie, so she’s equal to Jamie Lee Curtis. So her and Jamie are neck to neck. But I love working with Danielle, such a good sport, and there’s good reason why she’s remained a fan favorite.”


We also brought up all the cool stuff we got to see in Wayne Toth’s FX trailer earlier in the evening. “Wayne Toth & his FX crew - they’ve been doing such an amazing job. They’re taking it to a whole other level. Because normally it’s just Michael and a knife and he’s taking it to a whole new level in terms of the newer mask, new FX. If you compare this to any of the other Halloween’s, it just takes it way beyond what anyone’s seen or done and that’s really exciting.”


The HALLOWEEN franchise has always had it’s die-hard supporters, and they’re not afraid to get vocal about what they hear or see on-line. We asked Akkad if the fan feedback ever affects Zombie during the filmmaking process. “I highly doubt it. This is a Rob Zombie film and I believe in that 100 percent. I want to give him all the tools he needs. He writes a story that he feels he wants to tell, and ultimately we want the fans to love it, but you can get in a trap if you start trying to please everybody. There’s going to be the diehards that are just never going to be happy unless it’s frame by frame the John Carpenter version. The one thing we talked about before we did the last one was we didn’t want it to be a frame by frame version of the original. He wanted it to be something completely different, so it’s not that comparison. This is Rob’s version, and this one takes that even further. Ultimately, of course I hope the fans love it and I’m sure they will.”

And what can we expect in the future from the HALLOWEEN franchise? “Like last time, on the DVD there will be Rob’s “let it all hang out” version (Laughs)” And as far as another sequel? “Our deal with Dimension is that ultimately they can opt to do another one. I think Rob has ended it in a way that is very satisfying, very complete. It feels like these 2 films are really Rob’s take. We’ll address it if we see the possibilities of going forward later. The potential’s there.”

-Robg.

CHECK BACK EVERY DAY THIS WEEK FOR A NEW REPORT FROM THE SET OF H2: HALLOWEEN 2!



Rob Zombie returns to write and direct HALLOWEEN 2, which stars Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Brad Dourif, Sherri Moon Zombie, Danielle Harris, Brea Grant, Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams, Margot Kidder, Daniel Roebuck, Chase Wright Vanek, Dayton Callie, Richard Brake, Matt Bush, Howard Hesseman, Bill Fagerbakke, Ezra Buzzington, Jeff Daniel Phillips & Mark Christopher Lawrence. H2 hits theaters this August 28th!

Check out his first extensive interview on HALLOWEEN 2, exclusively here on ICONS by clicking either image below:



And make sure to read what is arguably Rob Zombie's most extensive on-line interview about making the first HALLOWEEN by clicking the frame below!


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    I love holloween

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