On Howie Mandel’s podcast, Rob Zombie discussed the terrible experience he had working with the Weinsteins on the Halloween movies
Writer/director Rob Zombie has been very open about the fact that he didn’t enjoy working with The Weinstein Company on his remake of Halloween and the follow-up Halloween II – and he tells some great stories about the nightmare of working with the Weinsteins, particularly Bob Weinstein, on the new episode of the Howie Mandel Does Stuff podcast.
Zombie said he tries to make movies on a budget of $4 million or less now because he has more creative control on projects like that, executives don’t get involved as much. But the Halloween movies had higher budgets and executives that were very invested in making new entries in a popular franchise. Zombie told Mandel that working with the Weinsteins was, “craziness all the time, where like someone gives you definite notes on Friday but you know by Monday they forgot about them. So I came up with this trick,… you know, they have your shooting schedule for the day, I made sure (the Weinsteins) were always one day behind what I was shooting. I don’t know how I tricked them, but they were like, ‘This is what we want done on day ten’, blah blah blah. No problem. I’d already shot day ten, I was shooting day eleven while they were yelling at me about day ten. … (Their complaints weren’t) based on dailies, it was just based on crazy ideas, ‘I was thinking last night it should be this suddenly’. Sometimes the ideas got so crazy. … The ideas would go insane and then I would just think, ‘Okay, I have to realize I’m dealing with a crazy person and then answer that way.’ (Bob was) very cuckoo. We would get into these big fights and scream at each other and he loved it. That’s how he liked to communicate. … It was horrible. It was three years of that. By the end of it I was insane because it was like being in Crazy World. And it was all done with negative energy all the time. They would find a way to upset every single actor. … It was just chaos. I think the basic mindset they had was that every director and every actor is an idiot and, ‘The movie can only be good if we save it because everyone in this town is stupid but us.’ … When Bob watched the movie when it was done, he calls me and goes, ‘I hate every single f*cking frame of this movie. You have to fire your editor, he’s a f*cking idiot, he doesn’t know what he’s f*cking doing.’ This is what it was like every single day, and he calls a lot. At first you try to appease it, but you can’t appease it because it’s just crazy. He wants to fire my editor, who was fantastic, and we hired another editor – it’s not that I didn’t like him, but I didn’t need him. So we had this other editor who had been an Academy Award nominated editor, but I didn’t need him, so I put him in another room and he just sort of hung out doing stuff. Making coffee, hanging around at a ridiculous rate he was getting paid, and I continued working with my editor. Then the day the movie came out, Bob calls me at 10am. He goes, ‘It doesn’t look good. This thing’s a f*cking disaster.’ It’s 10am, are any theatres even open anywhere yet? And then he calls me a couple hours later, ‘We’re adding more screenings. This thing’s going through the roof!’ But then Harvey calls Bob and goes, ‘It you had listened to me, we coulda done double!’ So then they start fighting. The number one record-breaking weekend isn’t good enough because I was talking to some people in their office who were like, ‘Oh, it’s a nightmare here right now. They’re fighting. They’re screaming at each other over why it’s not sixty million.’“
Zombie’s Halloween opened at $31 million over Labor Day weekend and held the record for having the highest September opening until 2021, when the record was taken by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Zombie gave an example of the ideas Bob Weinstein would send in: “One of the best ideas he came up with… I was on set shooting, because he would call me the whole time I’m shooting, all night long, constantly. He was like, ‘I think Michael Myers should have a necklace of severed ears.’ I go, ‘Well, besides the fact that I hate that idea, we’re so deep into shooting, how do we get that… continuity… this is dumb on every level. Where does he get them? How does he have them? Why does he have them in this scene, but he doesn’t…’ and that’s when I start going, ‘I’m not sure they know how movies are made. They don’t understand we’re shooting out of sequence, we shot that, we left that set, we’re not going back, we tore it down.’“
Another example was when Weinstein had an assistant bring Zombie several pages of shots he wanted him to get one day, in addition to those that were already on the day’s shot list. It would have been impossible to get Weinstein’s suggested shots because, “We don’t have any of these sets or actors or wardrobe, so I don’t know how he’s going to rise from a cemetery that doesn’t exist here at the mental hospital set.“
Zombie had such a bad time making Halloween, he only did Halloween II to make sure he wouldn’t have to work with the Weinsteins anymore beyond that. “I go to make the sequel, which I refused to do at first because I just wanted out of my contract because I wanted to kill myself. I had a three picture deal (with the Weinsteins), then a couple years later they had fired twelve different directors for Halloween II so I came back. ‘I’ll direct it if you let me out of the third picture. So I don’t have to do three pictures. Let me out of the deal and I’ll do it.’ So I go to shoot that and Bob comes to the set. He’s showing me the trailer for my Halloween, as if I’ve never seen it, and he goes, ‘Every frame of this movie’s f*cking genius.’ This is the same guy who said, ‘Every frame in this movie I f*cking hate.’“
Before Zombie returned for Halloween II, the agents of other directors who were pursuing the job would call and ask what they could expect from the Weinsteins. Zombie’s answer: “Here’s what to expect: they’re gonna hate everything you do and they will fire you. I’m sorry, but that’s what’s going to happen. But first they’re going to reduce you to tears, unless you’re screaming, ‘F*ck you, motherf*cker!’ back in their face.“
So that’s how Rob Zombie felt about working with the Weinsteins. You can hear more about that situation and a lot more interesting stories by clicking over to the podcast episode.
What do you think of Zombie’s Halloween movies? Were they worth all the trouble the filmmaker went through? Share your thoughts on all this by leaving a comment below.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/halloween-rob-zombie-weinsteins/