Michael Myers, otherwise known as “The Shape,” is the stoic antagonist in the Halloween slasher film franchise. The character has appeared in ten different versions based on the original 1978 John Carpenter film. In 2018, director David Gordon Green decided to resurrect the series. Jamie Lee Curtis reprised the role of Laurie Strode.
The original actor who played Michael Myers didn’t reprise his role though. This time, Myers is played by actor and stuntman James Jude Courtney, and you won’t believe what he looks like behind the blood-chilling mask.
James Jude Courtney Tried to Avoid Jamie Lee Curtis On Set
Understandably, Courtney and Curtis didn’t pal around very much while on set. Courtney and Curtis’ characters aren’t exactly friendly, so in order to make their emotions as genuine as possible, they generally avoided each other while on set.
Courtney claims that he made the conscious decision to avoid Curtis during filming as she was already “standoffish” towards him. She didn’t want to develop a friendly relationship that might end up impacting their performance onscreen. He claims, “They let me know that when she gets in in the morning, and she gets the wig on, she’s in character, and she’s in character all day long.”
Putting On The Mask For The First Time Was An Experience
It was a big deal the first time that Courtney put on the Michael Myers mask. Courtney recalls that something strange happened the first time that he tried o the mask. He told Halloween Daily News, “This thing happened to me inside […] I had already created the energy, I already knew the space, but man that was like after-burns, dude.”
On top of that, he felt the 40 years of history behind the mask and didn’t want to disrespect the film’s legacy or disappoint the fans. However, upon putting on the mask, he described it as being “perfect for killing.”
He Learned How To Kill People From A Professional
In the film, Michael Myers murders his victims in gruesome ways. To get into character, Courtney learned these “skills” from a rather unlikely source. Courtney claims, “I learned how to kill from a mafia hitman who lived with me when he got out of prison.”
Courtney says that his hitman roommate gave him some pointers on how killing actually goes down and Courtney took them to heart. He even prides himself on his skills saying, “I’ve been complimented many times here on set on how efficiently I kill.”
He Wasn’t Expecting The Role
The role of Michael Myers actually fell into Courtney’s lap. He had no intention of playing the role and probably wouldn’t have landed it if it weren’t for the help from a friend. Apparently, veteran stunt coordinator, Rawn Hutchinson, had worked on the Rob Zombie reboots and thought Courtney would be perfect for the 2018 film.
Encouraged by Hutchinson, Courtney tried out for the part and got a call about his availability before he had even left the parking lot. He then received another call from producers in Los Angeles asking Courtney if he would be willing to go back to meet the director Gordon Green himself.
Michael Myers Is Played By Two Actors
While Courtney may have have been the primary actor and stuntman for the role of Michael Myers, he wasn’t the only actor playing the part. Nick Castle, the actor that played the character in the original 1978 Halloween came in and did a few scenes. Courtney was thankful to work with Castle who he described as being “a super talented man, and a quality human being.”
While Castle was responsible for recording the Michael Myers breathing sounds, he was also physically featured in the scene when the character Laurie Strode comes face-to-face with Myers for the first time in 40 years.
Courtney Has Always Been A Fan Of Halloween
According to Courtney, the two films that stuck out to him while attending the University of South Carolina were Rocky and Halloween. After seeing the film in theaters he recalls thinking, “There’s a whole new paradigm being created right now. So I remember it very, very well.”
He went on to say about the franchise, “When the new ones come out you go see them. It’s just a part of my life. You know what I mean?” Yet, he never imagined that he would ever have the opportunity to step into the role of “The Shape.”
Behind The Mask
After seeing Courtney only with the mask on, it’s quite surprising to see what he looks like in real life — quite the contrast to the character of Michael Myers! Nevertheless, he couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to play “The Shape,” one of the horror genre’s most iconic villains.
Courtney opened up about the role saying, “Right now I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” Luckily for him, it looks like he may reprise the role for a sequel, as the 2018 film did extremely well.
The Pennywise Actor Is From A Famous Family
2017’s It features young Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård, who plays the role of the film’s horrifying villain Pennywise the Dancing Clown. His last name might sound familiar, as he comes he comes from a long line of Hollywood royalty. His father is Stellan Skarsgård, who has been in films such as Goodwill Hunting, Breaking the Waves, and the Thor series.
Skarsgård also has seven siblings who are all actors although his brother Alexander is most known in the United States for his major roles in True Blood and Big Little Lies. His other brother, Gustav, is also known for playing Floki on History Channel’s hit series Vikings.
Being From A Famous Family Gave Him Trouble In School
Since his father, Stellan, is such a well-known actor in Sweden, Skarsgård was frequently bullied in school for being his son. Skarsgård claimed, “When I started working in Sweden, there were people that really wanted to hate me […] Kids in the schoolyard would be like, ‘You think you’re so cool because your dad is Stellan Skarsgård, huh?’ And I’m like, ‘No? Not at all.’ But I would get into fights over it.”
While some jealous people in the industry still like to say that he got a lot of his roles because of his father, it’s clear that his acting speaks for itself.
He Didn’t Always Want To Be An Actor
In 2017, Skarsgård admitted to Interview magazine that following in the footsteps of his family members and becoming an actor wasn’t always appealing. Instead, he thought that he might want to become a doctor like his mother and brother Samuel. However, in his last few years of high school, he read some scripts that really spoke to him and pushed him in the direction of becoming an actor.
One film, in particular, was Hannes Holme’s film Behind Blue Skies. After auditioning and not getting the role, Skarsgård talked to the director personally about his desire to be in the film, eventually landing the part.
He Made Kids Cry On The Set Of It
There’s no denying that Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise is about as scary as it gets in the movie. Yet, apparently, he was equally as frightening to some young actors while on set. He recalls that at one point they filmed a scene with a group of kid extras that hadn’t seen Skarsgård in his costume yet.
When he came out as Pennywise, he scared some kids in the group so much that a few of them even began to cry in the middle of the take. Even though he apologized to the kids after, it became obvious that Skarsgård was right for the role.
His Brother Helped Him Develop His Signature Pennywise Smile
While growing up in an acting family may have caused him some grief as a kid, it has also helped him with his career. He even credits his brother Gustav with helping him develop his signature, spine-chilling Pennywise smile.
He told CinemaBlend, “Well, it’s a funny story because my older brother Gustaf, who is an actor as well, he had this ability to point his lip in a very strange way […] I dunno how I understood that I could do it as well.” So, from a young age, he developed this creepy smile that he would use to scare his sibling and later utilized it for his character Pennywise.
He Auditioned For The Role In Full Clown Regalia
Knowing that many people who score big roles do so by standing out, Skarsgård decided to audition for the role in full clown makeup. He says, “I had my girlfriend put on the makeup the morning of, and then I drove through Hollywood in full clown face” […] I was like, this is really humiliating—the epitome of the Auditioning Actor in L.A. But I’m happy I stuck with it.”
He got the part, with director Andrés Muschietti saying. “Bill has this incredible balance between childlike features [and] something that can be very disturbing […] I wanted him to bring that to the equation.”
He Was Scared Of Disrespecting Tim Curry’s Previous Portrayal Of Pennywise
Before the 2017 film, the role of Pennywise belonged to Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries of the same name. Tim Curry’s performance has since been considered iconic and is largely what Skarsgård based his own performance on.
He recalls his feelings going into the role, admitting that, “I had a few sleepless nights and these really terrifying feelings of anxiety where I was like, ‘Holy [expletive], I’m taking on this iconic character. What if I can’t pull it off?” Luckily for Skarsgård, his portrayal of the character was widely accepted and the film was a major success.
He Had A Clown Coach
Besides going off of Curry’s original performance as Pennywise, Skarsgård sought out professional help to make the character as frightening and believable as possible. According to The New York Times, preparing for the role took a lot of time and energy on Skarsgård’s part.
Becoming a horrifying entity that takes the form of an evil clown to feed off of children and their fear doesn’t come naturally for the majority of people. So, on top of makeup and costume testing, Skarsgård even worked with a clown coach to make sure he was getting the subtleties of being a clown down.
He’s Looking Forward To Future Projects
While Skarsgård managed to give audiences nightmares as Pennywise, his appearance is shocking without his costume. Yet, after playing such a dark role, he notes that he doesn’t want to typecast as Pennywise.
He claims that “I want to be able to do different roles. Pennywise looks and sounds so different from me that I could do a rom-com next, and people probably wouldn’t even know I was the same guy.” However, it appears that his next role is another Stephen King-inspired TV series for Hulu, although not as Pennywise.
Most Of His Personal Life Is Still Unknown
Since Skarsgård is still a relatively new name in Hollywood, not much is known about his personal life compared to other major actors. Yet, in 2016, he was seen with Swedish actress Alida Morberg who was identified as his girlfriend. However, it appears that the two were not trying to keep their relationship a secret, as she was seen attending the premiere of Allegiant.
Of course, since the two are actors, they’re usually separated for their work, although it appears that Morberg is getting more and more roles in the United States. It may only be a matter of time until she achieves Hollywood stardom as well.
Skarsgård Wasn’t The First Choice For Pennywise
Even though we couldn’t imagine It without him, Skarsgård wasn’t Hollywood’s first choice for the role of Pennywise. Originally, the film was set to be directed by Cary Fukunaga with Will Poulter of The Revenant and We’re the Millers as Pennywise. Fukunaga left the project about a year later and was replaced by director Andy Muschietti, and Poulter left the film soon after.
According to Muschietti, he believed Poulter would have been great for the role, yet Poulter expressed that he was becoming less and less interested in the role. Muschietti respected his decision although was excited to find a new Pennywise himself.
Playing Pennywise Gave Skarsgård Nightmares
Unsurprisingly, playing a character as dark and evil as Pennywise, had some negative effects on Skarsgård’s mental health. While getting into character was difficult enough at the start, what he really had a hard time with was leaving the character behind. After wrapping up filming and returning to Stockholm, Skarsgård said he was essentially tortured by the character.
He claimed that “For the following two weeks I would have these really disturbing dreams about Pennywise. It was very strange, it was almost like a really slow exorcism to completely let go of him.” He didn’t have much recovery time either, as he began filming for the sequel not long after.
It: Chapter 2
While playing Pennywise took a toll on Skarsgård, he reported that he is fully ready to jump in and start working on the sequel: It: Chapter 2. He notes that there’s a lot more to explore in the character [of] Pennywise […] I think that the second [movie] would …delve deeper into who he is and what he is. So, I’m really looking forward to [delving] deeper into that.”
He told People that he enjoys playing the character so much and that it’s time for him to get back into the clown costume to terrify the world once again.
Bonnie Aarons Is One Stunning Nun
Sticking with the theme of modern horror villains, how many in recent years have given you nightmares like Valak the Nun from The Conjuring film universe? Played by Bonnie Aarons, the character was so popular she even got her own movie.
Without makeup on, Aarons is stunning, with sharp features that make it hard to look away. Somehow, she was never considered Hollywood-pretty though and ended up becoming a horror film staple. The good news is Aaron loves playing the bad guy.
The Nun’s First Appearance Came In The Conjuring 2
As an integral part of The Conjuring franchise, we had forgotten that Valak the Nun didn’t make her frightening debut until the 2016 sequel. Aaron’s was so terrifying in the role that Universal Pictures quickly gave her a self-titled film of her own.
The Nun, which came out in 2018, earned $53 million on its opening weekend. It ended its theatrical run with $117 million. Produced for just $22 million, it’s safe to assume Aarons will be playing the character again soon.
The Director Didn’t Want Another Actress Playing The Nun
When Corin Hardy was hired to direct The Nun, his first thought was, “I hope we’ve made sure that the actress who originally played her is available.” The director had no interest in making the film if Bonnie Aarons wasn’t returning.
Replacing Aarons would have made some sense, too. The actress had only appeared briefly in her previous cameos. The studio could have wanted a bigger name to lead her own movie. Hardy didn’t want to change anything though, and his instincts proved right.
The Conjuring 2 Wasn’t Aaron’s First Horror Film
Before donning the iconic makeup of Valak and cementing herself in horror history, Bonnie Aarons was struggling to find her footing in the genre. In 2007, she made an appearance in I Know Who Killed Me, a psychological thriller starring Lindsay Lohan.
Two years later she made another small appearance in a Sam Raimi horror film. In 2010 she was given a bigger role playing a military general in Dahmer vs. Gacy. None of the movies prepared her for the sudden fame she gained in 2016.
Aarons Believes Horror Movies Are Good For Your Health
Bonnie Aarons landed in the perfect role for herself as the Nun. She loves scaring people and believes that getting scared is actually good for your health. At the premiere for It she even said the adrenaline rush it produces helps with depression.
Of course, sometimes she scares people just to scare them. While filming The Nun, she said that in between takes she would scare co-star Taissa Farmiga just to keep her on edge. That’s not very nice!
Taissa Farmiga Didn’t Enjoy Being Scared
Taissa Farmiga was terrified of Bonnie Aarons while filming The Nun. She said sometimes she would just have to not look at the actress, telling her, “Bonnie, I love you, but I’m just not going to look at your right now. It’s too much.”
Farmiga isn’t the only person who had problems with Aarons in makeup. YouTube was forced to remove a six second trailer for the movie because, as Cosmopolitan reported, it was, “so effing scary.”
Aarons Stole Scenes From Naomi Watts In Mulholland Dr.
Do you remember the film Mulholland Dr.? Directed by David Lynch and released in 2001, film critics hailed it as one of the greatest films ever made. If you saw it, you probably remember “The Bum” in one scene that steals the show.
Funnily enough, when Aarons was cast in the role, she had no idea she was going to be used to scare people. When she saw the film for the first time, she admitted she even scared herself!
She’s Starred In More Than Just Scary Movies
Bonnie Aaron may be most famous for her horror roles, but she has let herself be pigeonholed. In fact, we’re sure you’ve seen her without makeup before, you just don’t realize it.
In David O. Russell’s The Fighter she played Bonnie. Working for Russell again a few years later, she played a character’s mother in The Silver Linings Playbook. Most memorably, she played a “teenager” addicted to drugs in a public service announcement. Her comedic timing is spot on.
She Has A Lighter Side
If you can’t handle scary movies and don’t like heavy dramas, Aarons has you covered. In The Princess Diaries, she was able to show off her lighter side as Baroness Joy von Troken.
Sure, the Baroness is the villain in the film, but she still gets to show off some of her comedic chops. Aarons reprised the character for the second film in the franchise, where she says she wore more makeup than as the Nun.
Producers Thought She Wasn’t Pretty Enough For Hollywood
The entertainment industry is brutal. When Aarons began her career she was shocked to find out she wasn’t considered pretty enough for Hollywood. Some professionals even told her she needed to find another line of work entirely.
Aarons is happy she refused to listen. She thinks her sharp features have helped her snag more interesting roles than she would have otherwise been considered for. David Lynch even said he cast her in Mulholland Dr. because he was looking for the most incredible face he could find.
She’s Critical Of The People Around Her
When Bonnie Aarons isn’t scaring the pants off audiences, she spends time judging them online in her vlog. The actress regularly posts And You Know Who You Are episodes to YouTube.
In the self-produced vlog, Aarons gives her brutal opinions on the kinds of people she views as the most annoying. Some memorable episodes include “Are You Deranged?” and “Are You A Didactic Imbecile?” She makes the videos to, “help make the world a better place by encouraging those people who need a little correction.”
The Nun Is Leading To Bigger And Bigger Roles For Aarons
Getting pushed into the spotlight as Valak has done wonders for Aaron’s career. Now in the spotlight, she has major roles in several projects coming up, including Wizardream.
Although she signed on for the film before The Nun came out, the horror movie’s success has turned it into a more high profile project. She has not signed onto any new projects, post hit movie. Our bet is she’s looking for the perfect one to help take her career to the next level.
Mark Steger Has Played Many Villains And Monsters
Actor Mark Steger has had roles in films and television shows like I Am Legend, Stranger Things (he plays the monster!), The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, and American Horror Story. But perhaps his most terrifying role to date was that of Charles Barlow/Judas in the 2012 film The Pact.
As Charles Barlow, Steger appeared gaunt and unhealthy as he contorted his body into unnatural positions. He sneaks around the house’s hidden passageways and spies on others from behind hidden peepholes.
Mark Steger As Stranger Things‘ Demogorgon
As we’ve already seen, Mark Steger is a magician when it comes to being transformed from a handsome, normal-looking guy into a creep or monster. This is very apparent in the television series Stranger Things, where he plays the hideous Demogorgon.
In an interview with Horror Geek Life, Steger described what it’s like to be the Demogorgon. “It’s odd, for me it’s different because nobody recognizes me. I go to conventions and stuff and it takes people a minute to figure out who I am if they know I’m associated with the project.” He continued, “a lot of people didn’t know who I was unless I actually worked directly with them and they saw me without the animatronic head on.”
From A Murderous Lunatic To The Demogorgon To… The Easter Bunny
Mark Steger also got to play the bizarre part of Bunny Man in a dark 2016 film called Holidays. This role required lots of makeup expertise, which Steger has said is “an inspiration.”
In his interview with Horror Geek Life, Steger said, “Autonomous F/X did the makeup for that and I thought it was a really great design, and once I see that it inspires me, as well. And that was really creepy makeup, that was just, it’s so wrong.” With a laugh, he continued: “It’s really ugly, it’s like seeing one of those pictures of a dog in a kennel that’s been abused and it’s all mangy and it looks really sad, it kind of had that feel to it.”
You Can’t See Ken Kirzingers Smile Behind Jason’s Hockey Mask
Playing mass murderer Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason really showed the world the dark side of Ken Kirzinger. Thankfully, when he finally took the hockey mask off, his lighter side was revealed along with his award winning smile.
About his very small contribution to the Friday the 13th franchise, Kirzinger said it’s his favorite role and, “Little did I know what an iconic character I was lucky enough to get.” Oddly enough, he got his first taste of the franchise as a stunt double in Jason Takes Manhattan.
Takako Fuji From The Grudge Played The Role Six Times
If you’ve ever seen a Grudge movie you’ve probably had nightmares about Kayako, the pale ghost. In real life there is nothing scary about actress Takako Fuji, who has played the role six times in both Japan and the United States.
Even though the American versions were panned by critics, Kayako left an undeniable mark on audiences. The actress believes it’s because ghosts in Japan are less like zombies and demons. Instead, they are more connected to emotions and feelings.
Bonnie Morgan Didn’t Need CGI For The Ring
When filmmakers in the United States decided to adapt Ringu for American audiences, they intended to use CGI to make Samara contort her body into ridiculous shapes. Then they found Bonnie Morgan.
Morgan was a friend of the stunt coordinator, who passed her name onto the crew. Bonnie, who is beautiful in real life remembers, “The spider walk originated on my living room floor, and we shot some footage of it and the director could not have been more excited.”
Playing Pinhead Kept Paul T. Taylor Alive
Paul T. Taylor’s name probably doesn’t sound very familiar. The character actor made his debut in Sin City in 2005 before taking a long break from Hollywood to deal with his health. When he returned, he became Pinhead in Judgement.
Before taking on the role, the dashing man was a big fan of the character from his several previous films. Many actors have donned the makeup of Pinhead, but only Paul T. Taylor looks this good out of it.
Jonathan Breck Isn’t Really A Creeper At All
Any fan of horror films from the early 2000s has a soft spot for the Jeepers Creepers franchise. The over-the-top horror films star Jonathan Breck as the Creeper, a creature that gets to hunt one night out of the year every 22 years.
Breck, who is a giant teddy bear in real life, has played the part in three films. The first two were released theatrically. The third, and hopefully last one, debuted on SyFy Channel in 2017.