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PJ SOLES ON DIRECTORS JOHN CARPENTER & BRIAN DE PALMA

Interview with PJ SOLES who is standing to the right of HALLOWEEN co-star Nancy Loomis
After Brian De Palma's CARRIE you worked on HALLOWEEN with director by John Carpenter... How does Carpenter’s directing style differ from Brian De Palma? 

Brian allowed as many adlibs as John but Brian was definitely in control, you know. When we did go those three weekends to his house, I was just amazed that his entire dining room, all four walls were covered with the entire movie, in storyboard form, of CARRIE...

PJ Soles with Nancy Allen with Cindy Daly behind them
Every single shot had been drawn, and penciled, by Brian... And I was just amazed. It was a “comic book” of the entire movie. So it was very pre-planned, except for those little incidents. One scene comes to mind when he pulled me in…

When Amy Irving is hanging a star in the gym, getting ready for the prom and Nancy and I are standing there, and whispering, and she’s telling me she has a secret, and I’m telling her, “Come on, tell me, I’m your best friend.” He gave us five minutes to do that scene. He said, “We’re gonna break for lunch, but if you can think of something to show that you guys are best friends, and she knows something you don’t, then go for it.” And we shot that, and got it in one take. I never thought he was going to keep that in because it went so fast. It went “Whoosh” and yet, you know, he really didn’t need to do that but he let us do it and it was fine.
An iconic PJ Soles "final moments" in John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN
John Carpenter on the other hand was very collaborative. He would talk about your character. And “What did you want to do here?” And “We’re thinking of this” and “Whatever you want to add.”

HALLOWEEN's John Carpenter
And, like in the beginning, walking out of the schoolyard, there was no dialog there; it was just directions in the script when they were walking out of the school. But he wanted to put something. And when he got it, he would say, “That was great” or, you know… He was very enthusiastic. But Brian would kind of grin and smile and move on.

For Brian it was the bigger element of how the scene was gonna look. The cinematography of it and the effect of the scene, but not so much the tiny, tiny little details even though he invited those. But for John I think it was the little tiny details that made the thing the bigger picture.

CARRIE Director Brian De Palma
So he really enjoyed the collaboration we were giving to him. And we all felt like part of the team...

At the end of the shot we all had to go out and pick up all the leaves because… there were no leaves…

And they’re on the ground and we had two big garbage bags full. We all picked up the leaves. And it’s not like we could comment on other people’s scenes but you were responsible for, in your own scenes, whatever you wanted to contribute. John was very gracious and excepting more times than not. And he’d go “That was great.” But you never got a “That was great” from Brian. You just got a smile. And an, “Okay, let’s move on.”
Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles and Nancy Loomis in HALLOWEEN
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