Michele Dawson Interview: Halloween Ends
Two of horror’s most iconic figures are facing off one final time in Halloween Ends. The third and last installment in David Gordon Green’s sequel trilogy picks up four years after the events of its predecessor as Laurie Strode and her granddaughter Allyson attempt to move on from their traumatic past, only to have it dredged up again when Michael Myers resurfaces once again.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to lead the cast of Halloween Ends alongside fellow franchise vets Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, and James Jude Courtney, as well as newcomer Rohan Campbell. Shifting the focus to Campbell’s troubled young Corey Cunningham, Green’s finale takes some bold swings to subvert fans’ expectations while also putting a definitive stop to Laurie and Michael’s decades-long feud.
In honor of the film’s release, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with star Michele Dawson to discuss Halloween Ends, getting to work alongside Andi Matichak, recreating one of the franchise’s most iconic kills, and more.
Warning: Some SPOILERS lie ahead for Halloween Ends.
Michele Dawson Breaks Down Halloween Ends
Screen Rant: The Halloween franchise is one of the most iconic in any history. What about Halloween Ends really caught your interest?
Michele Dawson: Well, to be quite honest, I actually did not know it was Halloween Ends, I didn’t know that it was even a part of the Halloween franchise when I came on board…but I was super excited about it, because I really connected with the character. I just knew she was going to be a lot of fun to play, but obviously, once I did find out that it was part of the Halloween franchise, I couldn’t have been more excited, because this is one of the most revered horror films in Hollywood history, if not the most. So to get to be a part of this, and to get to be a part of the end, which is the perfect bookmark to the beginning one in 1978, and now I’m in the end, which is, once again, they just bookmark each other perfectly. So I’m over the moon to be a part of this.
Deb is such a fun supporting character throughout the film. What was it getting to the heart of her?
Michele Dawson: I had so much fun creating her character. So, when I first got her audition sides, I just played with them, I just had so much fun with them. I used a prop in my audition, and that helped me kind of find her, and when you watch the movie, you do see that I play with some props here and there, and playing with that just gave me this level of sass to her. Then, once I sort of grabbed that sassiness from her in that scene, I just tried to carry it throughout all the other scenes, just to make her as fun as possible.
Given that this film does have a lot of very serious moments, did you find it challenging to balance its tone with the sassy nature of the character?
Michele Dawson: No, not really. I kind of treated each scene separately, and it was nice, because Deb got to show a lot of colors. Obviously, we see a wide range of colors from her, but, I just carried the heart and core of her with me, and to each moment as they came.
What was it like developing your rapport with Andi for the film? You two share the most of your screen time together, and you have great banter throughout.
Michele Dawson: Yeah, she was so fun. Right away, we spent a lot of time together in the hair and makeup trailer every day that we shot, so I would sit next to her for an hour and a half to two hours, getting ready each day, so it was nice to be able to kind of establish that. Then, once we got on set, everything was just there, and she was so easy to work with, such a fun person to be on set with, I just really enjoyed connecting with her, and bouncing back and forth lines with her.
Do you remember any one scene being filmed or being rehearsed with her that you felt that chemistry just really click with one another?
Michele Dawson: Oh, yeah, for sure. I think of two. So, the very first scene that we did together, it was actually both of our first days on set, I think she had filmed maybe a little bit the day before, but this was like her first full day, and it was my first full day, so both of us were kind of having our first big days together, and that was a nice little bonding experience. We were holding each other’s hands, you can’t see that part, but there’s one scene where there’s a crowd, and we’re kind of holding each other’s hands as we walk and enter to sit somewhere, and so that obviously brought a nice little connection.
Then, another scene is obviously when we’re together at work, and we have a nice little scene together, and that one was just so much fun, my character, I would not say that she should be nominated for friend of the year. She definitely has her own agenda going, but if you know the scene I’m talking about when we’re at work together, but that was another really fun moment to just get to play lines, toss the ball back and forth to each other, even though she kind of hogs the ball just a little bit.
I do want to dive into some spoiler territory. Obviously, Deb doesn’t make it to the end. But, as a fan of the franchise, it’s actually pretty amazing getting to see that iconic kill from the original Halloween in this one. Did you notice those parallels when you were filming the scene or when you saw what was going to happen?
Michele Dawson: Yes, when I first came on to the movie, the director and I had a conversation, and he actually mentioned that to me, that that was the reference. So, right away, I knew and went back, watched the original, got a full appreciation for it, and I could not be more excited to have that as part of Deb’s journey.
How did it feel in that moment, filming it and knowing that this was the reference?
Michele Dawson: You know, I tried not to let my head go there, of the importance of this scene for all the fans, but tried to just kind of settle myself in doing the good work and being present with my fellow actors in that scene, and just kind of living and breathing in that scene for what it was in all of its terrifying glory.
I’ve talked with James, and he is a lovely human being. How was that for you to see that switch on set from him being this very personable guy to this just monster going around killing people?
Michele Dawson: Sure. Well, for the sake of spoilers, and people who haven’t seen the movie yet, I definitely have an encounter with that mask, which is absolutely terrifying and frightening to see that mask coming at me. But I really don’t want to like give anything away, because I know that there’s still so many people who haven’t seen the movie yet, and I don’t want to like ruin any surprises. Because, as we know, there’s so many surprises in the movie, and I really don’t want to ruin any of them for all the tens of millions of fans.
So, how have you felt seeing the response to Halloween Ends now that it’s out? It’s been very divisive, among both critics and audiences.
Michele Dawson: To be quite honest, I feel like I’ve kind of been so busy, I haven’t been reading too many critical things. I’ve been overwhelmed, actually, with all the love and support that I’ve gotten through my Instagram. I’ve been really receiving incredibly sweet DMs and comments on my posts of people enjoying Nurse Deb, and enjoying the movie, but I haven’t really been surfing too hard for other critical comments.
Jamie Lee Curtis always talks about how she’s not a fan of the horror genre, even though she is well-known as one of the faces of it. Were you a fan of the horror genre before coming on to this?
Michele Dawson: Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know what it was when I auditioned, I actually I did not even realize it was a horror movie, because that one very dramatic scene that we’d seen in all the trailers was not a part of my audition sides. So, I actually had no idea what the genre was. For me, though, I would not call myself a huge horror fan, previously, I’m someone who scares easily, so in general, I watch a lot of comedies and things of that nature. But, now that I know how things are made with this horror genre, I have a whole new appreciation for it, and once I found out that I was cast and going to be a part of this franchise, I dove in and started watching them, and so I have a whole new appreciation now.
Do you have a favorite Halloween movie outside of this or the original?
Michele Dawson: I loved the 2018, David’s first reboot one. I love that one, I feel like it’s phenomenal, so I would say that one and then the original, the 1978, those two are my top two, for sure.
About Halloween Ends
Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell; The Hardy Boys, Virgin River), is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.
Check out our other interviews with:
Jamie Lee Curtis David Gordon Green Andi Matichak & Rohan Campbell Kyle Richards James Jude Courtney
Halloween Ends is now in theaters and streaming on Peacock.