ROB ZOMBIE On Directing Ailing Actor SID HAIG's Final Performance In '3 From Hell': 'It Was Very Complicated'
October 6, 2019
Rob Zombie recently spoke with Australia's Heavy magazine about his new feature film, "3 From Hell". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On revisiting the Firefly characters, who were originally featured in 2003's "House Of 1000 Corpses" and 2005's "The Devil's Rejects":
Rob: "It was actually very easy for me, because I think out of all the movies I've done and all the characters I've created, these of all the characters just flow out of me. I don't know if they're just because they're the most like me, but I can write dialogue for these guys all day long with no problem. It's so easy. It was great. I had a blast doing it. That really wasn't my concern so much as I was wondering, 'Can the actors bring it back? Will they seem like themselves after all this time?' And they did — it was perfect."
On deciding to make a third film in the series:
Rob: "When I finished 'Devil's Rejects', I didn't think about it at all. I thought, 'That's the end of the movie. It's done. I'm not going to go back to it. I'm going to go on to other things.' But I would always think about the characters, because 'House Of 1000 Corpses' and 'Devil's Rejects', they were small movies at the time, and as the years have gone by, the characters just become more and more popular. People dress up like them for Halloween and they have tattoos and the legend of these characters keeps growing and growing. It would never go away — it would never leave my life; it was always around — and every once in a while, I'd think, 'It would be so cool to do another movie.' Then I'd be like, 'Ah, fuck it — I'm not going to do it.' It wasn't until about three years ago that I really decided to give it a try. I thought, 'I'll write the script, and if it makes sense, I'll push forward.' I wasn't going to do it if it wasn't working. I wasn't going to force it to do it, because I didn't want to ruin it... I feel like with these movies, it's my job to take the characters and do something that you weren't thinking, because I don't want them to just say the same catchphrases you were expecting and do all the same stuff you were expecting. Of course, that's what you would think, because that's all you've seen, so you would just [think], 'Oh, give me more of that.' That's why I always try to think, 'What can we do that keeps the characters the same character, but it's 15 years later. They've been isolated. They're in prison. How different would they act or be?' To me, that's what's exciting. That's why I wanted to do another movie. That's why it's not just 'Devil's Rejects II', and it's just the same shit. I'm like, 'I want to do something different.'"
On actor Sid Haig, who portrayed Captain Spaulding and who died last month at age 80 from complications from a lung infection:
Rob: "It was very complicated. When we all got together for lunch [to discuss the prospect of making '3 From Hell'], Sid seemed the same. He's, like, 6-foot-4; I don't know what the hell he weighed. He's a big guy. He seemed the same. For the next year, I was working with Lionsgate, putting the financing together, prepping the film, and I hadn't been seeing anybody... I thought, 'Everything's fine,' and then we're getting the film together and people have to come in for wardrobe fittings and different things as we're prepping, and Sid kept canceling his fittings. I didn't think anything of it at the time, and then about two or three weeks from the first week of shooting, he calls me and said the reason he had been canceling was because he was in the hospital and was very ill. It was something very, very serious. That was a huge blow. He was my friend for 20 years, and we're talking on the phone, and he was, like, 'I really want to do this movie, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be the last thing I ever do' — which is pretty heavy, to have that conversation with somebody... Then I went to visit him in the hospital, and it was pretty shocking, because he was like a skeleton. He didn't even seem like the same person. It looked like he had aged 20 years in a year... He wasn't doing well. I sat in on one of his physical therapy sessions, because he was trying to get his body moving again after surgery, and I knew, 'Okay, he can't do the script I've written anymore. There's just no way. It would literally kill him if I tried to make him do this.' I went back and started rewriting, trying to make his character's part a little easier on him, changing the scenes around so it wasn't so dynamic... By this point, we're, like, counting down the days until we start shooting. At that point, we have to tell Lionsgate how ill he is, because we'd been keeping it a secret, hoping that magically, he'd be better. But then he had go to a physical with a doctor to clear him to work on the movie, and he was denied. For a brief time, he was denied even being in the movie at all, at which point, we're like, 'I don't know what I'm doing.' Overnight, I basically rewrite the whole script and create a new character of Foxy... I was juggling things trying to make this happen, because we were so ready to go... [Eventually] Lionsgate was nice enough to let me sneak Sid on to the set, and we shot with him one morning — that one scene we got. That was basically him in a chair talking, and that was really difficult just to get that one scene. Then we just carried on. After that, I saw him out doing some convention appearances, so I thought, 'Maybe he's getting better,' even though it didn't look like he was getting better. Then, just before the premiere of the movie, he went back into intensive care. I was like, 'Uh oh. This is not good.' And it wasn't... I know for a fact that him finding his greatest success at that stage of his life was a thrill for him. He had done some legendary movies to me — things like 'Spider Baby' — but to the general public, they don't know what that movie is. For the most part, when he was in bigger movies, he didn't have huge roles — he was always shoved in the background. To step forward and really be a face of something... It's quite amazing, because at Universal Studios in Hollywood and in Florida, there's a huge 'House Of 1000 Corpses' event, so you walk around the theme park and his giant face is everywhere. It's funny to see this giant face of this actor who had retired and felt forgotten, and then when he's in his 60s, a whole new generation discovers him. I know he was happy for that."
"3 From Hell" — written and directed by Zombie — received a limited release in America on September 16. The film will be made available on Blu-ray and DVD on October 15.