Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
Though W.C. Fields famously preached, “Never work with animals and children,” more than half of Hollywood still does. The other half that don’t always have quite the tale behind their reasons why.
In director David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN, recently escaped serial killer with no conscience Michael Meyers passes by a baby in the living room of a home whose owner he just killed. And, despite a moment spent pondering killing it (which assuredly garners a huge audience reaction), he leaves the baby alive and crying.
While HALLOWEEN’s non-utilization of a real baby is a far cry (pun intended) from Clint Eastwood’s use of a distractingly fake one in AMERICAN SNIPER, there’s an equally good story as to the answer of how that scene came to fruition – and also how it was executed.
At the film’s recent Los Angeles press day, the affable director told a small handful of reporters (us included) that it’s a good example of the curve balls film production can throw.
We rehearsed thought we had all figured out and at the last minute, we thought there’s this boring gap here. The baby idea happened on set. Why would a baby crib be in the living room of the house? But the art director had the idea at the last minute. “There’s this blank space. What’s the narrative there? What’s the story?” So we scrambled and found a little mobile.
The scene that was previously envisioned was far less of an arresting moment.
It was going to be her husband asleep on the sofa. But it was like, “Who gives a sh*t about her husband sleeping on the sofa? Whatever.” But a baby crying? There’s an ethical choice here.
As to who did the sound live on the set? Green spilled the anecdote.
The sound of the baby crying? Jamie Lee. When we got really close, we used a real baby cry. But as we’re coming around, you can hear the hear the baby cry softly in the background – that’s her.
Curtis later modestly added that she didn’t have to perform the cries for more than one take.
It was like 30 seconds. I’m a virtuoso.
HALLOWEEN is now playing.