The Weird and Wonderful World of Anthony Michael Hall

The star of Weird Science, Halloween Kills, Reacher Season 3, and Netflix’s Trigger Warning reflects on his wide-ranging career — and what he’s planning next.

Anthony Michael Hall
Mark Binks
The Inverse Interview

If you like movies, you like Anthony Michael Hall. The 56-year-old actor has been in everything from The Breakfast Club and Edward Scissorhands to beloved franchises like Clerks and Halloween. As one of the hardest-working guys in Hollywood, he’s done it all, and in his latest role, Hall reverts to one of his classic characters: the bully.

More than three decades after he bullied Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s gothic masterpiece, Hall plays a corrupt and racist politician who meets his match in Jessica Alba’s army commando in the new Netflix original Trigger Warning.

“The character is kind of an ass,” he tells Inverse.

Thankfully, the real Hall couldn’t be more pleasant if he tried. In a wide-ranging interview, the actor discussed everything from working with John Hughes and Tim Burton to his potential involvement in the upcoming Community movie (he played a bully on that show too), to the work he’s doing through his own production company, Manhattan Films.

Check out the best bits and pieces from our conversation below.

Trigger Warning and making a Netflix movie

Anthony Michael Hall in Trigger Warning.


Trigger Warning isn’t Hall’s first Netflix original. He previously appeared in War Machine with Brad Pitt and says he was happy to return to the streamer.

“I knew that it was a Netflix film going in. So I was excited to join forces with Netflix again. It’s interesting. I just wrapped Reacher, so I’ve been working for Amazon the last year, and I have to say, both these companies, not only are they the sort of industry leaders, but they give people great resources, and they’re not meddlesome. They’re not looking over your shoulder. They’re really supportive and great to work with.”

He also praised the female team behind the movie, including Jessica Alba and director Mouly Surya.

“Another standout thing about this was also the women that were in charge. It was really all women at the helm. Jessica obviously was one of the executive producers, and she has high standards when it comes to the action and that aspect of it. She was really particular about making sure we all executed at that level. Mouly Surya, who’s the filmmaker, was wonderful. I had a meeting with her at the outset, and it led to her casting me, and I just had a really nice conversation with her.”

Realizing his character in Trigger Warning is “an ass”

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Hall plays a corrupt politician who tries to pressure Alba’s protagonist into supporting him in a scene that didn’t play out exactly how the actor originally expected.

“We had a cast and crew screening at Netflix headquarters. The scene that popped out is when I’m talking to Jessica. I remember when I shot that scene, it was kind of late in the night, and I was a little bit tired, and I felt like it was a very serious scene, but when I watched it, I realized there was actually some humor in it. The first thing I say in the scene is like ‘No one’s racist in my town. I’m not racist.’ So when someone says that, you can kind of bank on the opposite. I remember that scene hitting me when I watched it in the theater. We were all laughing out loud. I'm like, ‘This is pretty funny. The character is kind of an ass.’ I didn't really base it on any political figure or anything. I’m apolitical, I don’t really dare. I’m very patriotic, but at the same time, I’m not a political person. So I didn’t really base it on anybody.”

Weird Science reboot rumors

Weird Science (1985).


Anthony Michael Hall first rose to prominence as the likable young nerd in various John Hughes movies, including Weird Science and The Breakfast Club, which both debuted in 1985. While reports of a Weird Science reboot or sequel have circulated for years, Hall says he doesn’t have any inside info, though he’s into the idea.

“I mean, I’m certainly too old for me to be in a sequel of it, but I mean I would welcome that. Really, I have to defer to Universal and obviously the John Hughes estate. I really don’t know if that’s in the works, but it would certainly be nice if they chose to do that.”

Remaking The Breakfast Club

Speaking of which, Hall also touched on whether he thinks a Breakfast Club remake is a good idea.

“The Breakfast Club is another one that comes up. I think that’s really interesting because there’s a real strong anti-bullying message to the film, which became clear to me over these decades, and I think is powerful. So that’s another one that might be remade in the future. It’s not for me to decide that. Obviously, it’s Universal and the estate of Mr. Hughes, but I think that one could be right for a remake.”

Playing a bully in Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands (1990).

20th Century Fox

In 1990, Hall made the leap from lovable nerd to high school bully in the Tim Burton classic Edward Scissorhands.

“I remember taking the meeting with Tim Burton. I think it was just sort of the juxtaposition of me and Depp at that time. I had a big growth spurt at that time. I wasn’t the little kid from the John Hughes movies anymore.”

Looking back, Hall compares the professional relationship between Burton and Depp to the one he shared with Hughes.

“I saw he had that similar dynamic that I had with John Hughes. They were just separated at birth almost. They were brothers, and they were really close, and they worked closely together. I definitely had that with John. We were like best friends, man. We really were.”

The Community movie

Community (2009).


It wasn’t high school this time, but Hall played a bully again in Community, the beloved sitcom set in a community college, where he got the chance to torture Joel McHale’s character, Jeff, while wearing a particularly ridiculous costume.

“That was kind of cartoonish. I remember getting to the set and talking to the wardrobe department and the Russo Brothers, and I’m like, ‘Are you guys serious about the mustache and the gloves and the shorts outside the sweatpants?’ They were like, ‘Yep.’ I’m like, ‘I love this. This is hilarious.’ So that gave me the license to be just go for it and have fun.”

With Community set to return for a movie that reunites the original cast, we asked Hall if he’d want to join in. His answer may come as a surprise.

“I’m so glad you asked that. I did this really funny sci-fi awards a couple of years ago in L.A. with Joel. At the end of that night, we were saying good night to each other, and I said, ‘There’s a movie happening?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, we want you to be involved.’ I said, ‘Let me know, man. I’m a phone call away.’”

Halloween Kills and “evil dies tonight”

Halloween Kills (2021).


Hall joined the Michael Myers universe in 2021’s Halloween Kills as Tommy Doyle, the adult version of a child who was stalked by Myers in the original Halloween (and played by a young Paul Rudd in a sequel). Here, he recalls being welcomed onto the set by director David Gordon Green and coming to understand his character’s role.

“I shaved my head before I went there. I just had a gut feeling about that. When I got to the set, David loved it so much. He shaved his head the next day. I was tripping out. But then he kept gassing me up in the best way positive. He was like, ‘Dude, you’re the hero of the film. You’re going to lead the town.’”

Tommy’s rallying cry — “Evil dies tonight!” — managed to achieve meme status. Not that he’s mad about it.

“Let me just go on record and say that cracked me up. I thought we could have done with a few hundred less of those in the film, but those memes cracked me up: ‘Santa flies tonight! Pumpkin pies tonight!’ Dude, I loved all of them. So whoever started those memes, I love you, and I dug it.”

What’s next for Anthony Michael Hall?

“I just wrapped Season 3 of Reacher.”

Mark Binks

Before saying goodbye, Hall teased a few of his upcoming projects, including the latest from his production company Manhattan Films.

Roswell Delirium won over 50 awards on the indie circuit. We’re just in the process of finalizing some distribution on that.”

He also teased his role in Reacher Season 3, as the mysterious new character Zachary Beck.

“I just wrapped Season 3 of Reacher, which I can’t really talk too much about, but it’s based on one of the Lee Child books called Persuader. So if people are real fans of the show, I would suggest maybe digging into that novel because Season 3 is drawn heavily from that book and adapted from it. It’s a great character of Zachary Beck, who on the surface is a wholesale rug dealer, but there’s a lot more at play. There’s also a really interesting father-son dynamic, which unfurls in that season, too. So it’s going to be a really exciting season. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Trigger Warning streams on Netflix starting June 21.

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