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Image credit: Halloween Wiki
Throughout history, storytellers have been prized by the cultures they live in. A great storyteller captures the imagination and pulls us into the story so that we experience emotions – both good and bad – as if they’re really happening to us.
Halloweenites’ favorite stories are generally suspenseful in nature – especially those that bring us face to face with terror. And what character is more terrifying than Michael Myers, the quintessential bogeyman in Halloween H2O?
Actually, we ask ourselves: who could be more appropriate to play the role than Christopher Durand, a savvy storyteller who just happens to also be an actor and stunt man? Without uttering a single scary word, Durand uses his physical presence and uncanny acting to bring Myers’ chilling demeanor to life.
The Silent Michael Finally Speaks
In an interview, Durand reveals the origins of the Halloween franchise: “I did not see any of the other [Halloween] films. In speaking with the director, Steve Miner, we wanted the character to be right but didn’t want to mimic [previous portrayals].”
The director wanted Michael not just as a lumbering form, but appear alive and determined. Michael doesn’t run, he doesn’t rush. He’s relentless. The focus was on keeping the performance simple and clean, nothing fancy.
On the Myers character, Durand explains, “It’s your nightmare. He’s the bogeyman. He just keeps coming back and can’t be killed.”
Through expert storytelling, Durand allows us to meet the monster of our nightmares. But who is the man behind the Michael Myers mask? You might be surprised.
The Man Behind the Mask
Like Michael Myers, Durand is relentless is his pursuits. Whether that has meant learning a new hobby, such as woodworking, or living in France for a year at age 13, Durand says he has always been a very determined person.
This trait served him well when he decided to enter the movie industry. While there was, at that time, no school available to him for performing stunts, Durand, a native of Los Angeles, combined his skill in martial arts, gymnastics (which he began at 18) and rock climbing and hustled his way onto studio lots.
When necessary, Durand would sneak in or jump fences to be where the action was. He states, “Once you get your foot in the door, you learn from each other and expand.”
Since landing his first role in Cameron’s Closet in 1986, he appeared in many films, including Armageddon, Forest Gump, Star Trek: Generations, Demolition Man, The Mask, Tango and Cash, The Last Boyscout, Encino Man, The Crow, The Doors, Rapid Fire and many others.
Whatever the challenge, Durand is prepared to do whatever is necessary to succeed.
The Power of Storytelling
Durand uses stunts to provide the physical slant on storytelling. When
done properly, stunts are an important part of the overall story. Yet without a good story on which to build, stunts become meaningless, Durand believes.
Besides bringing stories to life through performing, Durand has also been involved in writing screenplays, giving him the chance to tell tales from the other side of the camera.
His love for storytelling, along with history, attracted Durand to archeology while at UCLA. He found in the artifacts the remnants of history that links the story of humanity through the ages. Regardless of the source, the power of storytelling is a strong attractor for Christopher.
A Labor of Love
Without a doubt, Durand loves his work. Working on H2O was a great experience for him for several reasons, he says, including working with the crew.
He states, “It was lots and lots of fun. One of the most fun crews and definitely a nice crew. Usually I’m in one day of the whole run and bounce around between jobs. It was nice to stick with one crew the whole time.”
For another, friends and family have been extremely supportive of his work on the film. The high level of fan support has overwhelmed Duran, he says. What’s most surprising is the diversity of the fans who come from every walk of life, from lawyers to policemen.
Halloween, the holiday, is a joyful time for Christopher. He especially loves the trick-or-treaters and “the absolute joy in the eyes of the 3-4 year olds who are so excited and innocent.”
It’s this level of joy that Durand rediscovers daily in his work. “I love my business ’cause I get to play everyday I work. It’s about creating and having fun and being with other nice people and being nice to people. Life’s too short. People have to relax a little bit.”
In unmasking the sinister Michael Myers, we find a creative, fun-loving individual who brings passion to everything he does.
The question remains: will we see him again as the notorious horror figure? We hope so. After all, there’s no stopping the bogeyman. . . or Christopher Durand.