Actor Anthony Michael Hall, known for films such as “The Breakfast Club” and “Halloween Kills,” visited NMSU on Thursday morning, Oct. 21, for a question-and-answer session with Creative Media Institute and journalism students in Milton Hall.
In preparation for the 2022 Las Cruces International Film Festival next March, festival director and NMSU professor Ross Marks hosted a Q&A with Hall. The Q&A took place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, in Milton 171. Over 100 students were in attendance from the CMI and journalism departments.
Professor Marks began the presentation by promoting the Las Cruces International Film Festival, which he touted as the largest film festival in the country hosted by a university. He introduced Hall by thanking him for his time and telling the audience about his experience in the movie industry. Hall is perhaps best known for his roles in “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science,” as well as the television series “The Dead Zone.” Hall most recently appeared in the movie “Halloween Kills,” which was released earlier this month.
Hall took the floor and asked the audience for questions. He then spoke candidly and kindly about his experiences as an actor, ending almost every answer with a lesson he learned or advice for students.
When asked about how actors can best prepare for shooting, he quickly replied, “Learn your lines!” He explained he had to “learn that the hard way,” as he recalled looking unprofessional and slowing down production a few times early in his career due to forgetting his lines.
Hall gave insights on what it’s like working on film and television sets by explaining that the work is very time sensitive and dependent on budget. “Optimistic in the morning and realistic in the afternoon,” he joked.
Regarding his acting, Hall said that removing himself from the rest of the cast and crew can be helpful in maintaining focus when shooting dramatic scenes. He also expressed that rehearsal was very important to him as it’s the time when he can experiment with his acting and find out what works best for a scene and how lines should be delivered. Hall indicated rehearsal is especially important when considering that scenes are commonly shot out of order, meaning film actors cannot create the arc of their characters in chronological order.
Hall cited John Hughes as a major influence on his career. The late filmmaker’s directorial debut, “Sixteen Candles” (1984), starred Hall in one of its leading roles. “The Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Weird Science” (1985) also featured the pair working together with Hughes writing and directing and Hall starring in a leading role. Hall said that Hughes was a “friend and mentor” who taught him a lot throughout his career despite having only worked on a few projects together.