IFH 485: Directing Last Starfighter & Writing Escape from New York with Nick Castle

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On the mic, today is 80s horror icon Michael Myers, also known as, Nick Castle who is also a director, writer, and actor - notable for directing The Last Starfighter (1984), Major Payne (1995), and Escape from New York (1981) among others.
Nick’s fictional character, Micheal Myers, in the Box Office $255 million-grossing Halloween film is possibly one of his most well-known roles that have been strongly supported by fans for years. He appears in the 1978 Halloween film as a young boy who murders his elder sister, Judith Myers. The same role is reprised fifteen years later in the sequel where he returns home to Haddonfield to murder more teenagers.
In 1986 he wrote and directed the heartwarming fantasy drama film, The Boy Who Could Fly which tells the story of an autistic boy who dreams of flying and touching everyone he meets, including a new family who has moved in after their father dies.
Filmmaking came naturally to Nick for a host of reasons. For one he grew up in a showbiz family. His father choreographed musical comedy films, while an uncle of his worked as a lighting designer on movie sets. At a tender age, his dad introduced him to entertainment through smaller roles in front of the camera and summer internships behind the scenes.
There he grew a fondness for directing which inspired him to pursue film school at USC.
Notoriety came quickly for Nick. Along with collegemates, Carpenter, Rokos, Longenecker, and Johnston, Nick worked cinematography and co-wrote The Resurrection of Broncho Billy - a short film they created while still in college that blew up and entered the academy consideration and won the academy award for live-action short film in 1970.
Nick and Carpenter reunited and worked together again on Carpenter’s 1974 sci-fi comedy, Darkstar, which follows the crew of the deteriorating starship Dark Star, twenty years into their mission to destroy unstable planets that might threaten future colonization of other planets.
In 1984, Nick made his second directorial film which was quite groundbreaking. The Last Starfighter, became one of the earliest films to incorporate extensive CGI. The plot centers around video game expert Alex Rogan who, after achieving a high score on Starfighter, meets the game's designer and is recruited to fight a war in space. He’s transported to another planet only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack. Its popularity resulted in several non-film adaptations of the story in musicals, books, comics, games, etc
Nick was making innovative films long before most of the more popular guys came along. It is appropriate to consider his 80s sci-fi films as pioneering.
Please enjoy my fun conversation with Nick Castle.

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