Exactly 25 years ago today, Danielle Harris took over the "Halloween" franchise from Jamie Lee Curtis -- starring in "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" when she was just 10!
Now 36, Harris has become a bona fide "Scream Queen," starring in Rob Zombie's reimagining of the horror classic, its sequel, the "Hatchet" films and the upcoming "See No Evil II."
On her first horror movie's 25th anniversary, toofab's Brian Particelli talked to Danielle about growing up with Michael Myers, her upcoming wedding and offers up a challenge for Jamie Lee!
toofab: Can you believe it's been 25 years since the release of "Halloween 4"? Does it make you feel old?
Danielle: It doesn't make me feel that old, I was only 11 years old 25 years ago! It actually feels just about right. I feel like I've had many changes in my career over the years. It's kind of a celebratory year for me with the anniversary of my first movie and now my transitioning into directing and getting married!
toofab: You took over the franchise from Jamie Lee Curtis, was that a lot of pressure for a 10 year old?
Danielle: I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen, I was just really excited to go to Utah (where we shot the film) and stay in a hotel for 6 weeks! I was more concerned about when I was gonna get to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory on my day off than the pressures of taking over the franchise. I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what "franchise" meant!
toofab: What was it like celebrating your birthday on the set of Halloween 4? Does Michael Myers sing?
Danielle: I actually had every birthday on a set from 11-21 years old. There's this saying in Hollywood, "Wanna book a job? Book a vacation." For me it was more like, "Wanna book a job? Plan a b-day party!"
I think it was just different in the '90s. Movies took 3 months on average to shoot, now we're shooting in 3 weeks. It's crazy. Maybe that's why I was always celebrating on a set somewhere in the middle of the country!
toofab: Were people scaring each other on set?
Danielle: If they were, they kept me out of the loop. They worked very hard to make sure that I wasn't afraid of anything and made it fun for me so I wouldn't have serious issues as an adult. Nobody did anything like that around me on set. It was all fun and games in a child-friendly atmosphere ... with the exception of a bit of blood and some butcher knives here and there.
toofab: Was doing Rob Zombie's remake (above) and its sequel a no-brainer for you? And what about the decision to go topless?
Danielle: I really didn't have a huge part in either film, but it was a strategic move on my part. I was facing the challenge of being taken seriously as an adult actor because I was still "little Jamie Lloyd" to most people. Doing a hardcore Rob Zombie Halloween film (and the nudity didn't hurt either) was for sure a no brainer.
Suddenly this "Scream Queen" title emerged and I started getting very challenging adult roles offered to me. I'm not sure if it was my performance or my breasts, but as long as I was working and doing what I loved, I don't really care which one it was. I most likely will not be topless in another genre movie, nor have I've been asked to in a film since then. Hmmm ... maybe it wasn't my breasts!
toofab: You're getting married in January ... will this be a typical wedding or will it have some spooky elements?
Danielle: What makes you think it won't be typical??!! I'm wearing a wedding dress (it's not white, but it isn't black either), I have rented farm tables, chandeliers from trees, flower girls, a band playing The Eagles and Jim Croce and I'm getting married under a huppah by a Rabbi for God's sake.
I think it's funny that people assume I'm gonna be covered in blood walking down the aisle or something. I'm actually pretty normal considering the crazy childhood I've had and what I've been exposed to. See, not every kid that is exposed to slasher movies at a young age goes on a killing spree in their small town or has small animals dismembered in a freezer in their grandparents' basement!
toofab: You also starred in "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" (above), another '90s cult classic. Was it as fun on set as it looked in the movie?
Danielle: Absolutely. I still LOVE watching that movie. That movie to me is more pop culture than the "Halloween" films I was in!
toofab: You're currently working on "See No Evil 2," what can you tell us about that project?
Danielle: I'm sworn to secrecy, but I am completely inspired and in love with the Soska twins [the film's directors]. They are dynamic, intelligent, creative contemporaries, and not to mention a hell of a lot of fun to work with and so worthy of where they are headed.
I forced them to meet me for breakfast and pleaded with them to hire me at some point before I take my soon-to-come break in front of the camera to pursue directing.
This was by far the most challenging role I've had to date. I'm basically in almost every scene, working 15 hours days (almost 17 with travel time) and loving every minute. These studios are completely invested in the film and are there every minute of the day making sure it's the best it could be.
toofab: Lastly, who are your favorite Scream Queens?
Danielle: I don't really have any "favorites." I think we all have a mutual respect for each other, even though some are clearly better actresses and some are hired because they have great breasts.
We know how hard it is to carry a film (emotionally and physically), while being expected to be hysterically running for your life to survive all while trying not to look like complete s**t with mascara streaked cheeks and trying to hide the 5 lbs we put on from the emotional eating we do on set! It's really f@#$ing hard!
So I won't pick my "favorites." BUT, I'd sure like to get in the ring with Jamie Lee and see who survives!
Want more Halloween goodness? See more horror movie stars all grown up in the gallery above -- plus, check out our freaky facts about these other horror classics:
"The Blair Witch Project"
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