Nat Brehmer/ HorrorBid: How did you become involved with Halloween?
Tony Moran: Yeah, yeah. What happened was my agent had called me and said “hey, you know, I’m sorry it’s been slow. Not finding interviews for your age group…” and you know, all of that. And she said “but, you know, I got this low budget, b-flick horror film and Jamie Lee Curtis is in it and it’s called Halloween… and you play some psycho.” So I’m like “…okay.” You know, I was a pretty serious actor at the time. But I say “well, who’s Jamie Lee Curtis?” Because I didn’t know who she was. I was 21 and she was only 20. And she told me who she was, and she was just starting out and I said “I don’t want to do that.” I asked her “what’s the budget?” and she told me something like 300-350,000. And I’m like “I don’t want to do this shit.” I just told her “no, I don’t want to do it.” And she said “well, you know, Donald Pleasance is in it.” And I said “fuck you, he is not.” And she goes “yeah, I swear to God he’s in it.” And I still go “he is not!” Because I was a huge fan of his. And I can’t figure… why would he be doing something like that? And she says, “no, he is signed on. He’s got one of the lead roles. And then she had me. Now my curiosity was up. But I mean, she told me it was a B-flick horror movie called ‘Halloween.’ I mean, you gotta look at that objectively, Nat. Because like… how corny can you get? Calling a horror film ‘Halloween?’ How corny? And she didn’t even know I had to wear a mask, by the way. She didn’t even know. She just told me I had to play some psycho. But I said “Ok, I’ll do it.” And that was on a… Tuesday I think. And the interview was on Friday morning in Hollywood in a, you know, a really ghetto part of Hollywood. I had to play a psycho, so I didn’t sleep, didn’t shave, didn’t shower and I went off to the interview. Went to the place where it was and it was in a creepy place off of an alley upstairs. Wooden stairs and the paint was peeling and all that stuff. And I knocked on the door and they said come in and I looked to the right and there was this guy, clean-cut, well-dressed and said his name was Irwin Yablans. I shook hands with him, and he points across the room to the couch. It was just one room, like a studio apartment type of set-up. And there’s this guy in a T-shirt and jeans with a pony-tail and long hair. He says “that’s the director, John Carpenter.” I’m thinking to myself “oh, fuck. This is such bullshit. This is such fucking bullshit. You know, I was so fucking ashamed of myself. You know what I mean? And we talked for about 20 minutes, I don’t know what it was. Then I go home and I could care less if I got the job or not. I was just curious, and it was for dirt money. I mean, nothing. It wasn’t like I was going to make any money. But in the end my agent calls and says “you got the job!” And I’m like “whoopty-fucking-do.” You know. But that’s how I got it.
HB: What is your favorite or most interesting moment from the filming of Halloween?
TM: Meeting Jamie Lee Curtis. Her wardrobe chick came up to me and said “Oh, Jamie wants to meet you. She’s down the hall…” we were in a house, you know. “She’s in the vanity room down the hall.” So I met her and I can’t really get into that.
HB: Did you find it difficult during your scenes to act while wearing the mask?
TM: Yeah. It’s very, very uncomfortable and I had a lot of hair at the time. Real thick, kinda longish hair. And the wardrobe lady suggested to me because the mask was 100% latex. Which I didn’t know until I got it. They came up to me and said “you gotta wear this.” “What? Are you out of your… what do you mean, I gotta wear this? What is this?” Anyway, the wardrobe chick said I should put Vaseline in my hair because the latex was like Velcro. And when the mask gets ripped off or taken of period, it’s going to hurt. So I had to put Vaseline in my hair. And you couldn’t really breathe in it. There was no… it just had little pinholes for breathing and that was about it. It’s an extremely uncomfortable thing to do, yeah.
HB: Were you a fan of horror films prior to your involvement with Halloween?
TM: Well yeah. You know, I was. I mean not like obsessed with them. I mean Psycho is my favorite movie of all time. And it still is.
HB: Yeah. That’s one of those ones that just survives all technical revolution. Still holds up.
TM: Right, right. And you know, you may not have a question, but you may want this because it is kind of funny. Once the filming was done, I’m in my apartment and I go get the mail, and there’s an invitation to go to the premiere. I mean, I didn’t tell anyone in my acting workshop, or anything like that, that I was doing this part and shit. You know, I didn’t really get into it because I was really embarrassed. And here’s this invitation to go to premiere for Halloween. And I just laughed. I just threw the invitation away. Didn’t even go. Sometimes, you know, I’m not the smartest tool in the shed. Who knew? You know what I mean? Who knew?
HB: Right, yeah, I think I’ll jump ahead to this question then. When did you first become aware of the success of Halloween and what a cultural phenomenon it had become?
TM: Yeah. Great question. What happened was the movie came out and I figured maybe a week or two at the drive-in and that would be about it. But this movie Halloween just kept playing and playing. Wouldn’t go away. I had no real interest in seeing it, but it just wouldn’t go away. So I said “Cathy, maybe you want to go see it? Just see what it’s like?” She goes “yeah, why not.” And so we go and see it in the San Fernando Valley in California and the place is packed. So I’m watching it. And I keep watching it. Keep watching it. Finally going “Damn, this is a pretty damn good movie!” And that’s how it happened. That’s how I saw it. And that’s how I became aware.
HB: To this day, you still have the distinction of being the only actor to portray the character while prominently unmasked. How do you feel about being known as the face of Michael Myers?
TM: Oh, you know, now I’m just completely humbled and thrilled by the whole thing. It’s really humbling. Just… humbling is the best, first word I can use. That’s the first and most important word I can use. I’m just really thrilled by it. I’m glad. I’m really happy about it. Not just for me, but for everyone else and all the fans. They dig it. I mean, they really dig it. And that’s what I dig. For me, myself, it’s great and all that. But I don’t really get off on it. But for the fans, that’s what I really dig. That’s why I do the conventions.
HB: I get it. It was a movie that made me want to do movies and I’m sure there are a thousand other people with a thousand similar stories and I love that. Such a community.
TM: Yeah. It became a brilliant film.
HB: When the sequel came about, were you ever approached at all?
TM: Yeah, I was. My agent had called me and she had asked me and told me about it. We decided I didn’t want to wear a mask and all that. The production company said, “well, look, do you mind if we use some footage from 1 of you and put it into 2? And we’ll pay you.” And I’m like “Hell yeah. I’ll take that all day long.” So, yeah. That’s how that happened.
HB: Having played a significant role in the first film, what is your opinion on the series that followed? Did you see any of the sequels or the remake?
TM: No. (laughs). I’ve seen bits and pieces of the sequels, literally by accident, for just a few minutes. And I will definitely not watch Zombie’s remake. I don’t really support that. It’s like getting stabbed in the heart.
HB: You’ve said that when you were contacted by a fan to appear in the movie BEG that you had received many similar requests over the years. What was it about this fan that made you say yes?
TM: Yeah, and, well Nat it started off as a short. It didn’t start off as a feature. And it was the way the guy came across, he seemed really genuine. He didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t. he had never done anything before. And he had said that he had written this with this especially in mind. Michael Myers was his favorite. Halloween was his favorite. And he came across so genuine that I contacted him back. Later on when I told him the story he said he just freaked when I contacted him back. Especially when I called him and shit. So and then what happened was he sent me the script and it was brilliant. Really brilliant for a short. And in the script someone was supposed to play my wife. Maybe you have all that.
HB: I’ve heard, yeah, about getting P.J. Soles.
TM: Yeah, what happened was he had tried to get her. And he got turned down stone cold and I told Kevin, look she’s a friend of mine. She’ll do it. I’ll handle it, don’t worry about it. So I called her up, we were real good friends. So I sent her the script and she read it and called me back, said “this is great.”
HB: I actually had no idea that he had tried to contact her already
TM: Oh… yeah. Kevin had tried to contact her agent and her manager and they’d just said, “No, she’s not interested.” And that’s kind of how I went about getting Tony Todd and Michael Berryman also, because I was good friends with them. That’s how that happened.
HB: Yeah a really great cast got put together for that. Your character in BEG is sort of a hardened detective. Did you do any research or watch any particular films to prepare for this role?
TM: Nope. Not really. I had extensive training when I was younger and it was in such a way that I didn’t really need to do research. And I also knew that we were going to be filming with real cops. In the movie, those are real cops. And real cop cars and a real precinct that we filmed in and everything. So I knew who to turn to if I needed any help with the technical things like holding the gun and all that. But as far as the character goes, that’s all me. I didn’t need anyone to train me about that.
HB: Did you find it at all difficult or odd to work on a film again after so long?
TM: Well, it didn’t feel odd in the sense of acting. That came back like riding a bike. After Halloween I did a lot if TV work, guest roles and stuff like that, into my early thirties. And then I split and went underground and left the business. So as far as acting goes, that’s just in my blood and always will be there and that’s sort of that. But you know… it was really exciting. I was excited for it. But it wasn’t odd.
HB: Any idea when the film will be made widely available?
TM: No. I really don’t. and that’s a whole different story that… it’s very frustrating. Because I was contacted by a distributing faciliatator. A professional distributor. Like I had told Kevin MacDonald, my friend, the director of BEG, that Beg is going to turn into other things. It’s going to snowball if we do this right. After we finished filming the short, we decided to make it a feature and there were all these actors he wanted and I said “don’t worry about it, I’ll try and pull them in. We can afford them.” And we did. So it did consequently turn into a new project called The Witching Hour, sort of a horror anthology. And we have on film William Forsythe, Tony Todd and Michael Madsen. So we have that on film. This facilitator found me through IMDb and emailed me and I called him and we talked. I set it up. And that was in the middle of last year. Around this time maybe. Maybe may or june. He was all hot to go on this, I mean this was what he does for a living. He’s not a poser. I told him about The Witching Hour and all that . He said “what I want to do is present this at the American Film Market this year.” Which is at the end of the year. And we couldn’t get enough money together for a lawyer to look over the paper. And some other things. So we missed that chance. Now, well now I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. I have no idea. We blew our chance and, uh, quite frankly it wasn’t my fault.
HB: I know there’s still a lot of buzz and a lot of critical acclaim for it.
TM: There is. And it’s a shame because it’s really good. It’s a tribute to the traditional 80s slasher films. It’s got a mask in it as well. I’ve got a mask of Michael Myers, in black and white, on my left cap. And a mask of the killer in BEG on my right cap. It’s kind of a legacy. It’s the first movie I’ve done since Halloween. So I don’t know what’s going to happen, Nat. It’s really frustrating, I’ll tell you that. I sacrificed my life for that movie.
HB: I really, really hope for the best with it. What are you working on at the moment? Any particular projects you want fans to be on the lookout for?
TM: Yeah, not right now I don’t. not at this moment I don’t. I got some things I’m working on for some other stuff in the industry. But not any films right now, no.
HB: Well, thank you so much. Really, as a Halloween fan and a horror fan it’s been great to talk to you.
TM: Yeah, you too. Absolutely.