Find out how Tyler Mane got in shape to take on the role of Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s 2007 reinvention of Halloween

Tyler Mane — all 6’8″, 240-plus pounds of him – is no stranger to action flicks. In the past, he’s entertained audiences as the Greek warrior Ajax in the epic Troy, the rampaging mutant Sabretooth in X-Men and patrolled the canvas as a professional wrestler in the WCW. This year, however, he’s breathing new fear into the Halloween movie franchise with his highly-physical portrayal of the tortured psychopath Michael Myers.

Rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie selected Tyler for the role based on the gravity and power he could bring to the role. According to audiences, he didn’t disappoint — the film has hauled in nearly $75 million worldwide and is poised to pad that figure with this week’s DVD release (December 18).

M&F caught up with the man behind the mask and discussed what it’s like to reinvent one of the most famed figures of slasher cinema lore.

M&F: What was it like taking on the role of the most notorious big-screen psychos of all-time?

Tyler Mane: It was amazing. Halloween has such a huge fan following. The first time I had the bloody coveralls on, the first time I put the mask on – I felt the whole energy of it. When Rob yelled action, it was on. It was a fantastic feeling. To prepare for it, I watched all the other Halloween movies because there were certain characteristics like his walk and the way he tilts his head that are so important. His whole character is based on body movement. I wanted to figure out what people expected of Michael Myers but I also wanted to kick up a notch and give him a little more depth. In the past he’s been pretty much a one-dimensional character.

M&F: That’s a great segue into our next question. People might not think that playing Michael Myers takes much physically, certainly not based on the previous films but your version seems much different. Can you talk about how much more physicality you brought to the role than in the previous movies?

TM: Rob wanted him to be a little bit more physical, intense and intimidating. That’s why he wanted me to play Michael Myers. He wanted him to be more vicious than in the previous films. And the way he laid out the scenes, it was all there. In one scene, I have a fight in a truck stop bathroom. Rob said to go in there and tear it up and we did — we went in there and destroyed that bathroom stall.

M&F: I know you spent most of the film in coveralls but what did you do to get ready for this role physically?

TM: In the beginning, everyone was worried because they remembered me from my wrestling days where I was, at my max, 348 pounds. Going into the film, I was approximately 240. When I was training for wrestling, it was heavy weights and very low reps. For this role, I needed to increase my cardio but I’m not a fan of it. I’m bored after five minutes. So what I did was change my workout routine so that I got my cardio while I was working out. I don’t pick up any weight that is heavier than 20-25 pounds and I’m constantly going for 45-90 minutes, training my entire body, going non-stop. People look at me like I’m a freak but it’s a great way to get your cardio up and stay lean.

M&F: What types of exercises did you rely on?

TM: When you’ve worked out as long as I have, you know the movements that you have to do but I tried to change it up as often as possible. I’d warm up with shoulder presses and leg lifts and go into the rest of my full-body circuit. When I was wrestling in Japan, a lot of the wrestlers would do (bodyweight) squats mixed with push-ups and sit-ups. So I’d do as many of each of those as possible in one big circuit.

M&F: I imagine that you’re pretty tough to double at 6’8″. Did you do all of your own stunts?

TM: I draw the line at falling off of buildings. (laughs) Another stuntman took a face-plant in the pool. Other than that, it was all me.

M&F: You guys set a record for Labor Day and have pulled in nearly $75 million at the box office worldwide. Did the film’s success surprise you?

TM: I knew it was going to do very well when we were filming it. It was surprising that it’s done as well as it has but it has a huge following. Rob brought Halloween back!

M&F: There have been rumors of a sequel — any truth to that?

TM: You know, Rob said that with his version he told a beginning, middle and an end so he doesn’t want to do another one. But I’m signed for another Halloween. We’re just not sure when it goes into production.

M&F: Finally, is there anything special you want to tell people about the DVD release, slated for December 18?

TM: Rob is putting on 11 additional minutes in the uncut version. It’ll have a little more gore and a little bit more intensity.

— Eric Velazquez

For more information on Tyler Mane, you can visit him on the web:

Look for the DVD release of Halloween, complete with behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews and an alternate ending on December 18.