Rob Zombie Opens Up About Sid Haig’s Final Performance in 3 from Hell
The rockstar filmmaker gets in-depth about working with the beloved actor to bring one more chapter of his horror trilogy to the big screen.
By M.T. Bates
It’s no secret that fans were upset at the lack of Sid Haig’s Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell, and rightfully so. He was a beloved character who horror fans far and wide swooned over, so when we only got to see the actor for what would be his final scene ever in the role, it was upsetting on many different levels. However, it is well-known that his character had much more planned for him before the health issues came about.
The character of Foxy pretty much picked up all the slack where Spaulding would have come in with the original screenplay. Below, you can read Rob’s conflict as he dealt with script changes and how to handle Sid’s diminished role, courtesy of Blabbermouth.net. It’s a touching look into what was going on before and during the film's production.
It was very complicated. When we all got together for lunch [to discuss the prospect of making 3 from Hell], Sid seemed the same. He's, like, 6-foot-4; I don't know what the hell he weighed. He's a big guy. He seemed the same. For the next year, I was working with Lionsgate, putting the financing together, prepping the film, and I hadn't been seeing anybody... I thought, “Everything's fine,” and then we're getting the film together and people have to come in for wardrobe fittings and different things as we're prepping, and Sid kept canceling his fittings. I didn't think anything of it at the time, and then about two or three weeks from the first week of shooting, he calls me and said the reason he had been canceling was because he was in the hospital and was very ill.
It was something very, very serious. That was a huge blow. He was my friend for 20 years, and we're talking on the phone, and he was, like, “I really want to do this movie, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be the last thing I ever do” — which is pretty heavy, to have that conversation with somebody... Then I went to visit him in the hospital, and it was pretty shocking, because he was like a skeleton. He didn't even seem like the same person. It looked like he had aged 20 years in a year... He wasn't doing well. I sat in on one of his physical therapy sessions, because he was trying to get his body moving again after surgery, and I knew, “Okay, he can't do the script I've written anymore. There's just no way. It would literally kill him if I tried to make him do this.”
I went back and started rewriting, trying to make his character's part a little easier on him, changing the scenes around so it wasn't so dynamic... By this point, we're, like, counting down the days until we start shooting. At that point, we have to tell Lionsgate how ill he is, because we'd been keeping it a secret, hoping that magically, he'd be better. But then he had go to a physical with a doctor to clear him to work on the movie, and he was denied. For a brief time, he was denied even being in the movie at all, at which point, we're like, “I don't know what I'm doing.”
Overnight, I basically rewrite the whole script and create a new character of Foxy... I was juggling things trying to make this happen, because we were so ready to go... [Eventually] Lionsgate was nice enough to let me sneak Sid on to the set, and we shot with him one morning — that one scene we got. That was basically him in a chair talking, and that was really difficult just to get that one scene. Then we just carried on. After that, I saw him out doing some convention appearances, so I thought, “Maybe he's getting better,” even though it didn't look like he was getting better. Then, just before the premiere of the movie, he went back into intensive care. I was like, “Uh oh. This is not good.” And it wasn't... I know for a fact that him finding his greatest success at that stage of his life was a thrill for him.
He had done some legendary movies to me — things like Spider Baby — but to the general public, they don't know what that movie is. For the most part, when he was in bigger movies, he didn't have huge roles — he was always shoved in the background. To step forward and really be a face of something... It's quite amazing, because at Universal Studios in Hollywood and in Florida, there's a huge House of 1000 Corpses event, so you walk around the theme park and his giant face is everywhere. It's funny to see this giant face of this actor who had retired and felt forgotten, and then when he's in his 60s, a whole new generation discovers him. I know he was happy for that.
I think it goes without saying that fans would kill to read that original script. We will never get that movie, but I think it would still bring closure to many of us who wanted more Spaulding. Any fan would happily read that script and be able to visualize Sid acting it out in their heads. Hopefully somewhere down the line Rob releases the script out into the world, but for right now we just have to use our imaginations in wondering what could have been.
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