Halloween Ends: Michele Dawson on Nurse Deb Audition, Curtis & More
Michele Dawson is always looking to challenge herself physically in all her roles. She's appeared in many TV shows, including Criminal Minds, We Are Angels, Ben & Betsy, and Michele & Michael's Variety Show. The actress spoke to Bleeding Cool about her biggest opportunity in Universal's Halloween Ends, playing Nurse Deb, her audition, working with director David Gordon Green, franchise star Jamie Lee Curtis, what she loves about the horror genre, and the type of roles she wants.
Bleeding Cool: When you heard about the opportunity for 'Halloween Ends,' what went through your mind?
Dawson: Before I was cast, I had submitted myself to an acting site, and the movie was under a fake name at the time. When I got cast and auditioned for the role, I didn't even know it was a part of the 'Halloween' franchise. I actually didn't even know until after I agreed to be in the movie, and I was reading my scenes, and I was like, "Oh my goodness! This is 'Halloween!' This is huge!" So I was over-the-moon excited. Obviously, actors are excited any time they book a role in a feature film. The role [of Nurse Deb] was something I had connected to initially when I auditioned, and I knew it would be a lot of fun. To find out that its part of this famous Hollywood franchise was super exciting.
Did you follow films before just discovering what the project ended up being?
I am a bit scaredy cat, so I hadn't seen the previous 'Halloween' films before getting the role. My mind plays tricks on me, and I can imagine things in the dark [laughs]. As soon as I booked it, I jumped in and started with the 1978 'Halloween' and started binging and enjoying them, developing a new appreciation and love for the franchise.
When you spoke to the director, what was the mindset he told you to approach 'Halloween Ends' after seeing the films?
He gave me some things I could refer to from previous Halloweens that would be sprinkled into my character. I enjoyed taking those pieces; from there, we enjoyed playing on set. He'd give me some notes, and it was a very collaborative effort on set. We would add little bits, take away a little bit, and try different things. It was very playful and so much fun. I love working with David, and he's the best.
How do you like working in the horror genre?
It's so much fun! [laughs] I am a very physically active person who enjoys combining my acting and physicality into roles. It's a dream for me, and I feel like you get that opportunity in horror films a lot. You get to run, fall, all these different physical things. For me, it's just a whole another element of fun to be able to play in that way.
Were you able to pick the brain of Jamie and was anything thing you talked about?
She's so fun and witty. She brings confidence to everyone around her on set. Honestly, I was a little starstruck [laughs]. I would be sitting a couple of feet away from her, but I was in my zone and let her do her thing. I enjoyed being in her presence, but I wasn't around her long enough that I felt comfortable prying too much. I tried to respect her space, and I appreciated and enjoyed getting to watch and learn from someone who has as much experience as she does. It was a joy to be around her.
What can you tell me about your character and how she fits within 'Halloween?'
Nurse Deb was so much fun for me to play. She's a character that is young enough to be naive about some things. At the same time, she's instinctually aggressive and very fearless, and she can also be a bit duplicitous.
Is this feature film dramatically different than your normal work on TV?
I treat all roles the same way, whether it's a short film, TV, or a feature film. I am all in with the role and the project. There are subtle differences between genres; if it was a multi-cam TV show, it would be played differently than something more dramatic. With horror, you get this opportunity to be as real as possible and make things tap into that subtle realness. At the same time, you also have the opportunity to go full force when it comes to being in those moments where you are frightened and genuinely horrified. Then you get to have more fun and be bigger with it.
Was there any other franchises or specific genre you hope to be a part of in the future?
I feel like I'm just starting out, and there's so much I want to do. Since I enjoy being physical in roles, I would love to do some Marvel and action. I can also incorporate not only the physicality, but it would be fun to do things with more comedic elements, whether that's a full comedy or what Marvel does, where they sprinkle the comedy into the action. That would be a dream for me.