Interview with Michele Dawson, Nurse Deb in Halloween Ends

Michele Dawson of Halloween Ends - Courtesy Kevin Scanlon and Persona PR
Michele Dawson of Halloween Ends - Courtesy Kevin Scanlon and Persona PR /

On October 14th, Universal Pictures is releasing the final chapter of the Halloween franchise, Halloween Ends directed by David Gordon Green (Halloween, Halloween Kills) and starring Jamie Lee Curtis.  Set four years after Halloween Kills, Laurie Strode is living with her granddaughter Alyson while finishing her memoire.  When a babysitter is accused of killing his charge, the cycle of violence starts again, leading to a final confrontation between Laurie and Michael Myers.  Michele Dawson portrays Nurse Deb, who uses her beauty to hide her determination and cunning – she is in constant motion and always one step ahead.  A natural athlete, Michele spent her formative years in competitive gymnastics, and her performances on the mat led to a love of acting which she studied at Loyola Marymount University earning a BFA.  She continues formal acting training at Stan Kirsch Studios while practicing partner acrobatics in her free time.  Michele performed all her own stunts in Halloween Ends.

Interview with Michele Dawson, who plays Nurse Deb in Halloween Ends

1428 ELM: So, my first question for you is were you a horror fan before landing the role in Halloween Ends?

MICHELE DAWSON: Ya know, I’m actually a bit of a chicken, so I get spooked pretty easily, like, I remember like as a kid, I really had a hard time staying at home by myself, like I was one of those people that would kind of turn on all the lights in all the rooms because I was so scared that something else was lurking.  I would say that I’m a tad bit more worried about the paranormal sort of horror genre than I am slashers, they’re a little more fun.

1428 ELM: So do you have a favorite horror movie?

MICHELE DAWSON: Well, I mean for me it’s the original Halloween, the 1978 one with Jamie lee Curtis, I mean, I’m definitely partial to that.

1428 ELM: So tell me about your role in Halloween Ends.

MICHELE DAWSON: I play nurse Deb, she was so much fun to play. Basically, I like to think of her as kind of like if she possessed wings, she’d try to fly.  She’s calculating, she’s driven, she’s unfiltered, she’s actually rather aggressive, which makes her someone who likes to have her way.

1428 ELM: And is she similar to you, or different from you as a person?

MICHELE DAWSON: That’s a great question! I mean, I would say that I am incredibly determined and driven similar to nurse Deb, and that I always try to make the most of a situation, not necessarily that Deb would.

1428 ELM: How is the way that Deb would do that different than you?  How would SHE make the most of a situation?

MICHELE DAWSON: Well, she can be a little duplicitous, so even though she’s young enough to be naïve, that aggressiveness instinctually comes out in her.

1428 ELM: So what was it like working with Jamie Lee Curtis?

MICHELE DAWSON: I did get to work with her, but ya know, obviously I can’t expand too much on that, but she’s SO funny, she just has this dry wit about her, and of course she’s incredibly intelligent and just being around her on this set you can just tell that she’s so at home in this world and brings this element of confidence to that.  It’s beneficial and spreads to everyone across the whole set.

1428 ELM: Do you have any stunt training, or did you just fall back on your natural athleticism and gymnastics background?

MICHELE DAWSON: I have very minimal stunt training, so the majority of it was yes, just falling back on my natural abilities and yes, I did 10 years of gymnastics growing up.  So things like knowing how to fall properly without getting injured and those sort of things always come naturally to me, just from all the training, that’s literally one of the first things that you learn when you’re training gymnastics obviously, is how to properly fall, and that’s obviously also one of the main things that you learn when you’re learning stunts.  And I’d done a couple of other short film in the past where I worked with some stunt coordinators, so I had a little cursory training that way, and then I’d also done very short cursory fight training.  So altogether I felt very comfortable with anything I did on this set with the training that I had.

1428 ELM: What’s your favorite stunt from Halloween Ends?

MICHELE DAWSON: You’ll have to wait and see; I’m going to have to say stay tuned for that one.

1428 ELM: How did you get the role for Halloween Ends?

MICHELE DAWSON: It’s actually kind of a fun story.  I submitted myself through one of the acting/casting sites and at the time it was going under another name, so I didn’t actually know what the project was, and I actually kind of thought that the name they had picked was kind of funny and I really couldn’t quite figure out what I was auditioning for. So I sent in a self-tape as most auditions are self-tape these days because of the pandemic, and then maybe like a week or 2 afterwards I got a callback. Then I did a live Zoom callback with David Horton Green, and that was really cool, and then just a couple weeks after that, mid-Dec last year, I heard that I had booked it – so that was really exciting!

1428 ELM: How long did your filming portion take?

MICHELE DAWSON: I actually filmed 5 very full days.  I was down there, you know we filmed it in Savannah, GA…

1428 ELM: Ooh Savannah, so haunted!

MICHELE DAWSON: I know, I know, so that added a while element of reality when you’re filming there, it’s a beautiful city, I love the city, but it cracks me up because when you’re walking around the streets of the city, they have things like “coffin tours” and I’m like “wow, could we be filming a horror movie in more perfect location?”

1428 ELM: Did you have any paranormal experiences while you were in Savannah?

MICHELE DAWSON: No, I didn’t, thank goodness.  I mean, I guess the good thing in a way was that a lot of our shoot was actually at night, or maybe half of my shoot was at night, which like I said, added this next level authenticity, because instead of filming on a studio in Burbank, we’re like actually in a house and filming in the middle of the night which then made it so that I was sleeping, or trying to sleep, when the sun was already out.  So maybe that’s not why I was scared, because I was on set in the middle of the night when it was dark, and in a hotel when it was light out, so maybe that’s why I didn’t experience any.

Halloween Ends Michele Dawson Interview
Halloween Ends – Courtesy Universal Pictures /

1428 ELM: What was your favorite part of filming Halloween Ends?

MICHELE DAWSON: Oh, the whole thing was so fun, it really was.  It was just a remarkable experience; I just can’t say enough about it.  Some stand out moments, obviously just being in Savannah and the element of the camaraderie of having the cast on location in the city adds another fun element because everybody is always talking about “Oh, what did you do”.  I had a couple of days off between some shots and so did other actors and so we’d talk about “oh well did you go to the whatever thing, did you go see that cemetery, where’s a good place to eat” sort of that shared experience of being away together, because I’m not sure that we worked with anybody that actually lived in Savannah.  There probably was, but the people that I worked with, I can’t think of anybody, so being on location added that fun vibe to it.

On set there was this one day that stands out in my mind, and we were in between setups and the director was being playful with me, and he’d seen my acrobatics, so he said we should have a contest doing handstands because he does yoga, and I was like oh that sounds fun! But then they were ready for us before we were able to get to it.  But there’s definitely conversation of like “oh I bet Michele could jump from this person’s shoulders to that person’s shoulders and land in a handstand – and just a lot of fun conversation about that.  I do feel like David Horgan Green owes me a headstand or handstand contest in the future.

1428 ELM: What has been your favorite project so far?

MICHELE DAWSON: This one, for sure.  This is the biggest project I’ve so far had the pleasure of working on, and just everything about it was so memorable, and it definitely has just a special place in my heart.  I met such wonderful people that I still keep in contact with and we’re checking in with each other throughout this whole process, and it’s just such a camaraderie, it really does feel like being a part of a special thing, a family, the Halloween franchise feels like a big family.

1428 ELM: And so it’s going to be kind of a family reunion when you do the premiere and the press junket?

MICHELE DAWSON: I can’t wait!  I literally just can’t wait to go to the premier.  I haven’t seen the full movie, so that’ll be my first time seeing it, so I’m super excited.

1428 ELM: Are you going to be too scared to watch?

MICHELE DAWSON: (laughs) No.  I mean, I know what’s going to happen, obviously I don’t know all the surprises myself, I know that the movie is going to be terrifying, but I’m excited for that.  I’m excited to see this epic showdown occur.  This is such a famous pairing of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, and I just can’t wait to see how it all ends, becauseI don’t know!  I can’t wait, it’s going to be, I know everything is going to be unexpected, so I can’t wait to take that ride with everybody.

1428 ELM: If Michael Myers showed up at your house, would run or fight?

MICHELE DAWSON: He’s so scary! I mean, Michael Myers, he’s an iconic horror villain.  There’s a REASON he’s iconic – he is FRIGHTENING! I’m sure that I’d have a very BIG reaction of some nature! That mask itself is next level frightening!  You got my heart racing!

1428 ELM: Will we see any more horror movies in your future?

MICHELE DAWSON: Oh I hope so.  I feel like I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I love doing things that are physical and I feel like the whole genre, there’s so many potential opportunities to be physical, so I really hope so.  I think it’s really fun to play in these worlds and experience all the range of emotions that can be experienced in horror movies.  It’s great, the element of being able to face the things that you can’t control, it’s almost like that’s kind of like what horror does for us.  It’s this way of allowing us to confront those things you can’t control.

And also just the fun and the thrills of the movies!

1428 ELM: What is one thing about you that isn’t in your bio that would surprise people?

MICHELE DAWSON: That’s a great question. Oh I thought of something, but I don’t know that I want to say it!

1428 ELM: Now you have to say it!

MICHELE DAWSON: I really don’t like elevators.  I will climb 11 flights of stairs just to avoid them.  I just don’t like them.  I don’t trust them is what it is.  I don’t trust that they’re going to operate the way they’re supposed to.  Maybe it’s a control thing for me, you’re in the thing and it’s moving you and you can’t really control it.  I really don’t like them.

1428 ELM: So how do you celebrate Halloween and Spooky Season?

MICHELE DAWSON: I mean, I’m an actress so I love dressing up. I mean any excuse to put together a character and a costume is always great for me.  Ever since I was little, Halloween always has been an opportunity to get dressed up and pretend you’re another character for whatever hours of the day.

1428 ELM: Do you have a favorite costume that you’re done?

MICHELE DAWSON: Honestly, some of my favorites were, I don’t know if you ever did this, but switching people.  So I have a best friend in college and we would swap and she would dress up like me and I would dress up like her, and the thing was, we were completely different in our styles, and so then you kind of push it a little past the norm to make everything a little bit amplified, and she was very punk and things like that, and I really enjoyed going a little bit darker with the way I dress cuz I guess in real life I’m a little more preppy in light and bright colors so it’s always super fun for me anytime I get to dress a little darker or Goth or punk, and then I think one of the elements I probably enjoyed the most about that particular costume now that I think about it, was actually more just seeing my friend dressing up as me.  I think I got more of a hoot out of that, come to think about it.  I think that’s really fun.  Then you can take the elements and you just push them a little bit further, you know what I mean?

1428 ELM: Thank you so much for talking to me, and now I’m going to go call my best friend and tell them that we’re dressing up as each other for Halloween.

MICHELE DAWSON: Yes! Do it! October 14th! Be prepared, it’s gonna be thrilling!

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Do you plan to see Halloween Ends the day it comes out to avoid spoilers?  Let me know in the comments!