It’s not unusual to find a big name actor who got their start in horror. A popular genre, horror has proven an effective springboard for future superstars like Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Bacon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jason Alexander and so many others. Among these names is Marvel superstar Paul Rudd, who went toe to toe with Michael Myers long before donning his Ant-Man suit. But even now some 30 years on, the specter of The Shape still follows him closely.
When Halloween first stalked its way into theaters in 1978, nobody, not even its filmmakers, could have foreseen the impact it would have on the horror genre. A still effective example of slow burn terror, Halloween is still considered one of the greatest horror films ever made with its superb example of slow burn terror, subtle scares, and memorable characters.
One of Halloween’s most memorable characters was Tommy Doyle, the young boy Jamie Lee Curtis’ character is babysitting. Tommy serves as a stand in for the audience. He’s aware of the killer’s presence eve as the teen stars go about their usual routines. This caused audiences to connect closely with the character of Tommy, so it was only natural for him to eventually return to the screen. That’s where Paul Rudd comes in.
Tommy Doyle would eventually do battle with Michael Myers again in 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Paul Rudd, fresh off of Clueless, would bring the charater to life. While a frightened victim in the original, this new Tommy was a hero, standing beside Dr. Loomis as they did battle with The Shape. On paper, it sounds pretty good. But, as history will tell us, the 6th Halloween film isn’t exactly good.
There aren’t one but two cuts of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; the original theatrical cut and a producer’s cut. Both have virtues, both have problems, and both are very bad. The theatrical cut was an incomprehensible mess, which bombed during its initial release. The film wasn’t a hit, and ended up being the last entry of the original series before it was rebooted with Halloween H20. Paul Rudd’s career took off shortly after, but he’s never shied from his time in the series. He did after-all have the privilege of acting alongside Donald Pleasence before he passed. After Ant-Man, Rudd has achieved the status of superstar. Fitting it should happen just as Myers returned to the screen.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel was in many ways as big a hit as the original, revitalizing the series and becoming the highest grossing slasher film in history. Given that, it’s not surprising we’re a sequel, and that some familiar faces are returning to the screen. Among those faces is Tommy Doyle, who once more will do battle with The Shape. When it was announced that Doyle would return, many hoped that the now superstar Rudd might take the role. Unfortunately this was not the case.
Rudd was reportedly approached to be in Halloween Kills, and may have actually been interested in the part. But as is often the case in Hollywood, his work on Ghostbusters: Afterlife made appearing in Halloween impossible. Instead, Green and company would reach out to Anthony Michael Hall, the famed member of the Brat Pack who starred in such classics as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science. One might think that Paul Rudd’s Halloween story is over, but there’s a fun little epilogue to his odyssey through Haddonfield.
Paul Rudd continued his Halloween legacy with a sweet gesture to Anthony Michael Hall. Although he wasn’t present at the time, Hall would later be told by director David Gordon Green about a message from his predecessor.
So one day, David Gordon Green texts me when I’m off – I wasn’t shooting that day – and he goes, ‘Yeah, I got a call from Paul Rudd, and he sends his best and he gave you his blessings – he’s really excited that you’re playing the part.’ I never met Paul Rudd but I thought that was really nice.Anthony Michael Hall
Many times actors will look back on first movies with disdain. DiCaprio won’t be caught singing praises for his Critters III debut anytime soon. For someone like Rudd to appreciate the opportunities Halloween granted him, enough to reach out to a fellow actor taking his place, is a sign of humility, and appreciation. It’s clear the memory of Michael Myers hasn’t faded from Rudd’s life too much. Hopefully this isn’t the end of Rudd’s Halloween story, as it would be nice to see Rudd meet Hall in person. Moreso than that, Halloween exists in many different iterations and follows many different timelines. Tommy Doyle’s original story from Halloween 6 was never concluded, but that doesn’t mean it never will be. If that’s the case, perhaps Paul Rudd may someday meet The Shape once more.
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