Jamie Lee Curtis "leads by example": "Halloween Ends" star Andi Matichak on playing alongside Laurie

The new screen queen talks to Salon about wrapping up "Halloween" and working with a legend

By Alison Stine

Staff Writer

Published October 14, 2022 3:00PM (EDT)

Andi Matichak as Allyson in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)
Andi Matichak as Allyson in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)

Andi Matichak tells me a spoiler that I'm not allowed to print. But I asked, and she tells me out of the kindness of her heart. Matichak is like that: gregarious, open and full of genuine excitement for the horror film she's here to discuss, a film that, while noted for its gore, seems also to be marked by great love. 

We're talking about "Halloween Ends," the third installment of the Michael Myers trilogy from director David Gordon Green. Beginning with 2018's "Halloween," Green envisioned a straight sequel from the 1978 original film, which ignores the many movies in between. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode in Green's films, the babysitter role that launched her lauded career. In Green's 2018 film, Laurie is a grandmother, dealing with PTSD and all that can come along with it, including hypervigilance, paranoia, substance abuse and estrangement from her family; in other words, what might really happen if one had been terrorized as a teen by a serial killer.

Matichak plays Laurie's granddaughter, Allyson, in the films. In the first one, she tries to maintain a relationship with her grandmother, despite the difficulties this causes her mother, Karen (Judy Greer), but the three women come together across generations to try to kill Michael. You know how that goes. In the second film "Halloween Kills," Michael is back and sets off on a highly murderous spree. With Laurie in the hospital, Allyson again joins the fight to help and is saved from Michael by her mom Karen, who doesn't make it out of the 2021 film. 

Set four years after the last movie, "Halloween Ends" finds Laurie writing her memoir (would read), Allyson working as nurse and trying to date, and everyone in general trying to move on with their lives after Michael. But Michael — or Michael's kind of evil — isn't over.

"Halloween Ends" is being billed as, well . . . the end, at least of this installment of the murderer's saga. It's also rumored to be the last appearance of Curtis as Laurie, a scream queen and one of the original, and best, final girls. Green's trilogy has allowed Laurie to do what most final girls never get to in the movies: grow up, and Curtis, more than anyone, understands what this means to real trauma survivors. On Instagram, she posted a moving, black and white image of herself holding a photo of her as Laurie in 2018 holding a photo of Laurie as a teen girl. "This is of course is really a photograph of everyone who has survived their lives," she wrote.

Matichak understands that too. We talk the day after the "Halloween Ends" premiere. In the morning, she attended Curtis' imprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre, which she found surprisingly moving, to be able to be there for Curtis, the person Matichak calls "so authentic, through and through. She never tries to tailor herself for anyone else. It's not a persona she adopts and puts on. It's her . . . 'Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't say it mean,' is what she always says."

Matichak says what she means to Salon about Curtis, "Halloween Ends" and becoming a scream queen in her own right.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and condensed. 

What was it like for you first joining this story that has such a big history and place in horror? You're part of this trilogy forever. You'll always be a part of the "Halloween" legacy. 

"It just boiled down to the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other and learning to live in accordance with your trauma and pain."

It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I got to do three times. I didn't just get to step into a movie or a beloved franchise but like the franchise and the horror and the film that has Laurie Strode, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter involved as the heavyweights. Blumhouse, Miramax and Universal were really pioneering the game of horror and it's the place to step in. I cannot believe it. You would think that I would be better at articulating it after living this for four years, but it's difficult to really comprehend and speak on because it's so special. 

How is your character different in this film? We first see Allyson in the trilogy as a young girl. She loses her father, loses her boyfriend. But in this film, she's older and she has her own life and career as a nurse. How has she changed?

Because of a time jump of four years, you really have a space to explore what happens in that time and really craft it. We put in a lot of effort and care into figuring out how she goes from "Halloween Kills," after losing virtually everybody she loves, to where we find her in "Halloween Ends." Even though you don't see all the work that we did, you see it in the story, the way things play out and the relationships you see Allyson in. She's just at the end of the day simply and honestly a girl trying to live a life and wake up every day and feel fulfilled and happy. And be loved and love. I think that's what makes her relatable to everybody. It just boiled down to the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other and learning to live in accordance with your trauma and pain as opposed to bumping up against it.

Halloween EndsAllyson (Andi Matichak) and Corey (Rohan Campbell) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)We always think of trauma associated with Laurie, like she's been through this for years and years. But has trauma manifested in Allyson's life as well?

"Any moment in my life that I'm feeling uneasy, I just literally hear Jamie Lee Curtis."

Definitely, I mean, trauma and pain, you can't pretend it doesn't exist. You can't bundle it up, put it in a drawer, lock it away, throw away the key — it doesn't work like that. It lives in your body. It lives with you all the time. And if it's going to rear its head, especially at an anniversary time, especially when, you know, we meet Allyson at this moment in her life, where to the community, she's maybe put on a pedestal and looked at as this kind of stoic survivor. But that pain, that trauma, all of that, is underneath. And when she's presented with new characters, new relationships, it starts to put cracks in the surface and you get to see into it, to lift up and look underneath and explore that space. And David really allowed for a space to explore how it manifests in Allyson. You go on a ride with her just trying to figure it out, and remain open and not broken.

That's one of the things I love about this trilogy, too, is that there is the space, like you say, to explore trauma. It's not just that these horrible, inexplicable murders happen, but we talk about it, and we see it working through these characters' lives over decades.

You don't get that often in these movies.

I mean, I'm a huge horror fan. But you know, I want to see ramifications too. I want to see the aftermath. 

Exactly. And I think that those moments, those intimate moments, those quiet moments, allow for the gore. It allows for when the ceiling starts crashing in, it makes it more hard-hitting when you allow for quiet moments to take place. And for the exploration to try to understand because you're more invested. 

Halloween EndsStrode in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)Were there lessons that you took from working with Jamie Lee Curtis in the "Halloween" films?

She leads by example every day and anyone who comes in contact with her really feels that. The one that I go back to probably once a week, and I just hear her voice in my head say it when I need the reminder, is "Be where your feet are." She said that to me once. I was panicked about something that was happening in a couple of days, and she just grabbed me by the shoulders like hey, "Be where your feet are." Be here. Be here now. Be present. If not, you're going to take it for granted and you're going to not live in an honest way. So, just be here.

That's really good. I need to remember that too.

I know. I hear her voice all the time. Just like, "Be where your feet are, be where your feet are." Any moment in my life that I'm feeling uneasy, I just literally hear Jamie Lee Curtis.

Halloween EndsLaurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)You also worked with Judy Greer for the first two movies, who played your mom. Did you take lessons from her as well? And was it difficult not having your mother character there anymore?

It was very difficult not having Judy there for the third film, Judy, Jamie and I are all very close . . . Not having her — there was definitely a hole in in the process. If Jamie and I felt that way between us, the set felt that way, the crew felt that way. Judy is just a walking light and energy. She makes everybody smile and makes everybody better just by being around them. I learned so much from her every day, a lot about the industry and how things work and, how to approach certain things. She's been a great friend and a mentor to me. 

I can only imagine. Your character goes through the grieving process and you must feel the loss on some level as an actor as well.

"Jamie and I just kind of looked at each other, hugged and sat there for a couple minutes just taking it in and realizing that this was kind of it."

We started this journey together. And it only feels right to finish it together, in a way. I think that we honor Karen well in this film, to the best we can, but there's definitely a hole. That also informs a lot of the relationship you see between Allyson and Laurie. Tension and things that have never been said — that probably should have been said at some point — boil to the surface . . . Losing everybody, but Karen in particular, that is what brings these two women together in a sense, but also really makes them clash.

What are some of the scenes in "Halloween Ends" that were most memorable for you? And the scenes that you're most excited for people to see?

I'm so excited for you to see honestly the entire film because it is such a bold movie. It is so unexpected, and so daring, and it's a huge swing. It has a huge payoff. It is David Gordon Green personified in a movie, top to bottom, very, very cool and fun. One of the scenes that I had the best time ever filming was at a party, a dance sequence — and you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. You'll understand why it was so fun. We had a really good time with that. 

One memory that sticks out is a final scene between Laurie and Allyson that is toward the end of the film. It has a quietness and an intimacy to it that was really palpable. We finished filming that scene and Jamie and I just kind of looked at each other, hugged and sat there for a couple minutes just taking it in and realizing that this was kind of it.

Halloween EndsLaurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Corey (Rohan Campbell) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green (Ryan Green/Universal Pictures)That goes back to what we were talking about with the emotion of a gory film, that it needs to have intense emotional beats as well. As a horror actor, do you get scared? Are there things that scare you when you're filming, or scare you about horror in general?

Totally. It's so funny, I was such a little baby last night [at the premiere]. I've seen it twice and I was still screaming and cursing and jumping and covering my eyes. Luckily, I knew the parts to cover my eyes this time. Even reading the script, it doesn't get old when it's done well. So yes, I definitely still get scared. When I'm making [films], not as much because a lot of it is quite technical . . . it's more when James Jude Courtney is just wearing the mask in between takes and not taking it off and lurking in the shadows off to the side.

Yeah, that would do it. That would scare me.

That's more what sticks in your brain.

Are you drawn to horror as a performer? You've done a few thriller films: "Assimilate" and "Son," which is very scary, I think.

"Son" is the type of horror that terrifies me to the core. I remember, in the finale, I conjure the devil essentially. And [the director, Ivan Kavanagh] was like, here's your chant. And I said, OK, so if I conjure a demon, I'm bringing you down with me, just so you know.

Good luck!

We're in this together now! That type of like cult, demonic world is for me the scariest. I was never really a huge fan of horror until I booked ["Halloween"] "2018" because honestly, they scared me too much. I was, though, exposed to the community and the culture around these films. The community really drew me in because it's such a unique community of horror fans, and you realize that there are just so many subgenres within this genre. There really is something for everybody. And it's an incredibly cathartic experience. Horror is similar to comedy in the way that it's communal when you watch it. It elicits a reaction right away. So, it's really fun when you find [horror] that is making you jump and scream and laugh and cry and all these things. I do enjoy horror now. 

From an acting standpoint, it's been what I have had the opportunity to do mostly so far. Which I'm very grateful for because I've learned an incredible amount on all these films about filmmaking, setup, a lot of technical things that I otherwise wouldn't have been really privy to if it was just a straight drama, probably. It's something that just kind of happened by chance, but I feel like the universe puts things in your life for a reason. So, I feel it's gonna probably inform the rest of my career, everything I've learned.

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If your life was a horror movie, do you think you'd be a final girl?

I would like to think so.

I mean, you have a final girl name. 

I do. It's in the blood. I'm ready.

Halloween Ends is out in theaters and streaming on Peacock. Watch the trailer via YouTube below:


By Alison Stine

Alison Stine is a former staff writer at Salon. She is the author of the novels "Trashlands" and "Road Out of Winter," winner of the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, and others.

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Andi Matichak Final Girl Halloween Halloween Ends Horror Interview Jamie Lee Curtis Movies Peacock