‘Halloween’: Michael Myers Actor Coached by Real Hitman: ‘That’s Not How You Kill People’

The quiet, stalkerish walk, the mask, and the expressionless kills are Michael Myers’ trademark in Halloween. Since 1978, seven actors have played the killing machine, with the most recent being James Jude Courtney in the 2018 revival.

He’s gone up against Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode and the rest of her clan. A fan of John Carpenter’s original film, Courtney sought to recapture some of the energy Nick Castle brought to the role. But he also received acting advice from a former professional hitman.

'Halloween' actor James Jude Courtney at Monsterpalooza, 2019 with Michael Myers cosplayer.
James Jude Courtney and Michael Myers cosplayer | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘Halloween’ actor James Jude Courtney applied hitman’s advice to Michael Myers

Welcoming Courtney into the Halloween film franchise fold was not difficult for the horror masters at Blumhouse. He’d already established himself as a stunt person, and he impressed the casting team with his Michael Myers audition. But Courtney found an unconventional acting coach in the form of an ex contract killer.

During a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, he described how he first met the man while filming 1993’s The Hit List. He taught Courtney a lesson about how not to kill people.

“Years ago, I met a real hit man through a mutual acquaintance — he wanted his life story written, so he was living with me,” he shared. “He had just left a safe house and served in a penitentiary up in the Northwest. I absorbed his life just by hanging out with him every day. I took him to see a film I was in called The Hit List. We walked out of the screening, and he said to me, ‘Jimmy, it’s a really nice movie, but that’s not how you kill people.’”

And then he told Courtney that he would show him how it’s done. It wasn’t literal, hands-on instruction, but instead an explanation of how to move slyly and with “efficiency.” He injected his portrayal of Michael Myers with that energy.

Courtney expounded on the topic when chatting with We’ve Got This Covered in 2018. “He was a martial artist, as am I, so we were already playing around with swords and stuff. He really taught me how to be a killer and a predator. There’s no catchy dialogue or mugging for the camera, and I definitely brought that to the character,” he said.

Courtney plays The Shape in all 3 ‘Halloween’ reboot films

OG Nick Castle had a small cameo in 2018’s Halloween, and Courtney was happy to share the spotlight with him. Though he’s taken over as Michael for the current trilogy of films, the two are now good friends.

Fans will see the 6’3 actor don the mask once again in Halloween Kills and in 2022’s Halloween Ends. The second sequel will take Michael back to Haddonfield, and in the final one, he’ll have one last showdown with Curtis’ Laurie. After that, there is still a slight possibility that Blumhouse will continue with the series.

Halloween Kills arrives in theaters on Oct. 15, and Michael takes another stab at it in Halloween Ends on Oct. 14, 2022. Be on the lookout for Courtney’s stoic, predator-like moves.

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