Why Danielle Harris Didn't Play Jamie Lloyd In Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers

Jamie Lee Curtis screamed her way into the hearts of horror fans as she ran from masked babysitter killer Michael Myers in John Carpenter's 1978's "Halloween." But after the 1981 sequel, Curtis distanced herself from her iconic Laurie Strode character and Scream Queen moniker. Per Rolling Stone in '85, she trashed every horror script that crossed her hands in favor of those she believed would garner her more credibility as an actress.

At the time, "Halloween" had no further need for neither Curtis nor its butcher knife-wielding antagonist who appeared to have suffered a fiery death at the end of "Halloween II." Its creators, Carpenter and Debra Hill, planned to turn the franchise into an anthology, with each sequel containing a new story with new characters. But after the disappointment of "Halloween III: The Season of the Witch," and disagreements concerning the next script, the two creators separated themselves from the franchise. Moustapha Akkad, the executive producer who yearned to revive Michael Myers as a cold-blooded killer, got his wish.

In 1988's "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers," Laurie Strode was killed off-screen and given an orphan daughter, Jamie Lloyd. By this point, the sibling connection between Michael Myers and Laurie had been established, and Myers' desire to kill his family meant bad news for his niece. In her first role, 11-year-old Danielle Harris played Jamie and carried the franchise as its Scream Princess for back-to-back films, complete with the help of the late, great Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis. Six years later, the franchise returned with "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." J.C. Brandy played Jamie, not Harris. Did Harris follow in her predecessor's footsteps and distance herself from the franchise? Did she favor roles that more spoke to her as a teen of the '90s? No, and no.

Danielle Harris got emancipated just to do the movie

After "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers," Danielle Harris made it clear she wanted to continue her run as Jamie Lloyd. However, years later, the then-17-year-old was shocked when she learned producers were seeking a lookalike over 18 to cast as Jamie Lloyd for the 1995 sequel, "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." Her agent jumped on a call with producers Moustapha Akkad and Paul Freeman to express Harris' desire to reprise her role. "And they said, 'We really need to hire someone over 18, so get her emancipated,'" Harris recalled during an oral history of the franchise.  

I'm personally perplexed by the request. I understand that the emancipation would allow producers to skirt child labor laws and work Harris like an adult, but she helped revive the franchise at 11 years old, and now all of a sudden she needs to get emancipated just to reprise her role months shy of her 18th birthday? it doesn't make sense. Nonetheless, Harris moved into her own home and hired an attorney to help her prove to the courts that she was a self-sufficient adult. She got approved, done deal. Now Danielle Harris can rightfully reclaim her throne as the heroine of the "Halloween" series, right? Not so fast. Then came the script.

The incest angle bothered her

(Maury Povich's voice) Michael Myers, in the case of your newborn nephew ... you are the father. That's where the writers of "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" took the franchise. In the original script, Michael Myers, who is revealed to be cursed by a cult, impregnates Jamie. Well, it's heavily implied anyway. Danielle Harris learned of the incestuous storyline during one of her first meetings with the team. She recalled during the oral history:

 "I remember leaving thinking, Oh, these people don't know 'Halloween.' Like, this isn't — I don't get it. Wait, I'm confused. So I'm pregnant with my uncle's baby? I just didn't understand what had shifted. Oh my God, this is not what I wanted to do."

She then learned that Jamie was not only no longer the heroine of the franchise, but also that she dies unceremoniously from gunshot to the head by a mysterious man in black as she lie unconscious in a hospital bed. To add insult to injury, it happened rather early in the script. "I don't want to die like this," she recalled thinking. "And at that point, I'm a teenager now, so I'm old enough to know sorta what's cool and what's not cool." 

After post-production edits and reshoots, the movie that hit theaters the fall of 1995 is somewhat different: Jamie puts up a tougher fight before she is killed by Michael Myers on a farm, and the incest allusion is toned down (the original version was eventually released and is dubbed the producer's cut). I doubt these revisions would have done anything to soothe Harris. But the final straw for her came during contract negotiations. 

'You die in the first act. We're not giving you anymore money

Danielle Harris recalled her confusion when business affairs offered her about $1,000 for one week's work. "And I was like, 'Oh my God. I just paid like three or four thousand dollars to be able to do the movie. Wait, what?'" she said. "It just got really f***ed up." After some back and forth, she had one final call. She recounted:

"I'll never forget. The woman on the other line said to me, 'Your character is a scale character. You die in the first act. We're not giving you anymore money.' And I went, 'I guess I mean nothing to you then. OK. I just wanted to put the money back in my bank that I spent to do the movie, which you guys [were] trying to replace me to begin with anyway, and I fought for it because I didn't want to have someone else play Jamie.'"

Character replacements are hardly ever good. They just confuse everybody and make it hard for audiences to tap into their suspensions of disbelief. When it's a fan favorite who is replaced, the successor can become a target for angry fans. Unfortunately, that was the case for J.C. Brandy, whom Harris met and befriended years later. "[J.C. Brandy] was like, 'The s**t that I got for replacing you. People f**king hated me,'" Harris said. 

Harris eventually made her way back to the franchise. She plays Annie Brackett in the Rob Zombie's "Halloween," though I wanted to see her stand side-by-side with Jamie Lee Curtis in at least one movie. Sorry, Judy Greer, but it would have been perfect if Harris played Laurie's daughter Karen in 2018's "Halloween." I need to know why that didn't happen.