With one of her very first acting gigs being starring in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween, Scout Taylor-Compton's career has largely been full of genre efforts, as filmmakers look to recreate what made her performance as Laurie Strode so compelling. Despite often being associated with the horror world, Taylor-Compton's work does contain a number of other ambitious endeavors, with her latest film, Apache Junction, allowing her to embrace her history with sporting ornate and theatrical outfits, as well as explore some of her real-world interests. Apache Junction hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on September 24th.
Apache Junction is an outpost of lawlessness, a haven for thieves and cold-blooded killers. After big-city reporter Annabelle Angel (Scout Taylor-Compton) arrives to write an article on the town, she becomes a target when notorious gunslinger Jericho Ford (Stuart Townsend) comes to her aid. Now Annabelle must entrust her future to a man with a deadly past, as Jericho heads toward a tense showdown in this thrilling Western that unloads a double-barreled blast of action. Co-starring country music superstar Trace Adkins and Thomas Jane.
ComicBook.com caught up with Taylor-Compton to talk capturing the spirit of Westerns, shooting complications due to the coronavirus pandemic, and her reaction to seeing the Halloween franchise being revived.
ComicBook.com: The landscape and setting of Apache Junction is gorgeous, where did you actually film it?
Scout Taylor-Compton: So it's interesting, because we started filming right before COVID hit. I remember we were filming in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it's so beautiful there. We were using a local movie set ranch there, and we kind of knew about COVID happening, but the world didn't really know what was happening. Then the industry started to shut down, and I think we were about two weeks into filming and the crew started getting nervous, because cases started arising everywhere, and people were starting to ... Toilet paper was going away, everybody was freaking out. I felt the safest, because we were so isolated and we were such a ... We were with the crew and the cast and everybody. We were just in the middle of nowhere while this whole pandemic was happening. I was like, "Well, I feel safe being here," but everybody wanted to get to their loved ones.
We actually shut down production and then we picked up, actually, not that fast. We picked up six months later in a place in Joshua Tree, because the original place that we were filming, they had done a big repaint and it didn't match the location. So, actually, our movie is two different locations. We had to just make it look like it was one. It was really crazy and stressful, but we did it, luckily.
Doing reshoots on a movie isn't entirely unheard of, coming back a few weeks later or even a month or two later to grab a handful of shots. What was that like for you of having, given not only everything going on in the world for that amount of time, but then also just getting into character again with everything that you, as a person, had to deal with over the past few months?
It was definitely a different mood, for sure, because I think everybody was just like ... By that time, with COVID, I think everybody was just really stressed out, and were unclear and you could still get it from people. And it was just like, "Who's vaccinated? Who's not?" It was all this big, stressful thing around it. Honestly, from Apache, when it stopped in the first one, I didn't stop working. I worked all of COVID, which is crazy, but I was just going, going, going from project to project.
By the time the reshoots happened, my hair was different, so I [was thinking] the entire time, "Oh, this is going to look weird. You're going to be able to tell." Of course, I've seen it, and I cannot tell, so props to the makeup and hair department on that. We all look different, we all changed, and it was just also really good to be reunited with everybody and make sure that everybody was good mentally and physically and just to come be creative again, because a lot of people haven't been working. It's just really, really such a blessing that we were able to.
I know you most from your various horror-related stuff, and this had you not just going to an Old West setting, but having to use the period-accurate clothing. Now that you have entered that Western genre, was it everything that you hoped for or was it, "Oh, this is why I don't want to do films wearing these outfits,"?
Oh, no. I grew up doing theater, so costumes were a big thing for me. I loved doing theater. I had done a Western for Hallmark back in the day, I think I was 17 years old, and it was such a fun experience. I love horses. My boyfriend has a ranch. He rides, and he's teaching me, so I just love everything about it. I also grew up in Apple Valley, which is most known for Roy Rogers, his museum used to be there. I grew up watching them. So it's just in my blood. I love country music. That whole world is just in my blood.
With Westerns, just as in horror, there can be a campiness to the entire process, but with Apache Junction, you have to find the balance of embracing that sillier side of the story while also not making it a comedy. Can you talk about how you find that balance of delivering what audiences love about Westerns without going overboard?
It's crazy because it's the olden times. We used to do this, you know? When you look back at that stuff, it's pretty f-cking ridiculous what we used to do to people and what we were able to do as a civilization, but it's also history. I feel like you find that happy medium in there from like, it's pretty ridiculous now looking back on, but it's history. You find that happy, medium groove. I think it's really cool, period pieces. I just have so much fun with them.
I say this all the time, I feel like I have a "period-piece face," because it's like, when I look at my resume, I'm like, "Okay, there's horror and then everything else is '70s, '60s, Western times. I'm the period-piece woman, and then the horror, as well."
Is there a decade or a period that, were you not alive now in 2021, is there a period that you feel that you would've liked to have lived in?
Oh, I think I would've thrived in the '70s. I think I would've had such a great time. If I was a teen in the '70s, it would've been awesome. I think that would've been really cool.
Since it is a period piece, there is gun-slinging, there are horses, and you do get to fire a gun a few times, but it's your co-stars who get to do more of that gun-slinging. Were you at all envious of that and once you actually got on set, were you hoping that you had gotten to do a horse chase or something like that or were you happy to hang out in the shade and let other folks take care of that stuff?
Oh, no. If anybody knows me, knows me well, I'm all about stunts and action and doing everything. I was very envious of the boys, being able to shoot some guns and have a shooting standoff. We did do a lot of stuff on the horses. I was constantly on the horse, even when I didn't need to be. I wanted to learn as much as I could. And I mean, honestly, which I get because like I said, it's history, but not a lot of women had the power to shoot guns and be on the same side as the men. So it was definitely very ... I was very envious of watching Stuart shoot all those guns.
A lot of audiences met you through your work in the Halloween films and you're only one of two actors to play Laurie Strode, and while the new Halloween films brought back Jamie Lee Curtis, are you happy to see those movies do their thing or are you hoping they might reach out to have you do some sort of cameo as a tribute to your films?
It would've been amazing to do more. I think that was the plan originally, was that Tyler Mane and myself were about ready to go shoot a third one and then it all fell through. But I've been a fan of the original and Jamie Lee Curtis forever and I knew it was bound to happen, that they would bring Jamie back. Come on, you have to. I watched the 2018 one and it's exactly how I saw her character would be.
Would I have loved to have been in them? Yeah, of course. It would've been really cool to even do a cameo. Danielle Harris and myself, we always say this. We're like, "Well, they want everybody to be a part of it." I was like, "Danielle, you've been a part of so many, they want anybody that's been a part of them." I was like, "That's crazy." But it's really cool to see them continue the journey and to see Michael (Myers) on the screen again. So there's a love there, for sure.
Apache Junction hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on September 24th.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.