Rob Zombie’s new film ‘3 From Hell’ landed in theaters this week and now he explains why Sid Haig’s appearance in the film was so short…
Rob Zombie had a much different vision for ‘3 From Hell’ than the movie that landed in theaters this week.
The musician/writer/director never actually intended to create a sequel to 2005’s ‘The Devil’s Rejects’, which itself was a sequel of his first film ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’. Once he had an idea in mind to return to the Firefly family made infamous through two of his past films, he began hammering out a script that would explain how Otis Driftwood, Baby and Captain Spaulding survived an onslaught of bullets from police at the end of ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ before then carrying out his intended sequel.
Unfortunately, Zombie’s plans changed dramatically after finding out that Sid Haig — who portrayed the maniacal clown Captain Spaulding in both ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ — wasn’t going to be healthy enough to perform in ‘3 From Hell’.
“The reason he’s not in the movie is not a good one,” Zombie told Bloody-Disgusting. “‘3 From Hell’ was Captain Spaulding, Otis and Baby. That was the ‘3 From Hell.’ That was the script I wrote. It was the three of them through the entire movie. That’s what we were getting ready to make.”
“But unfortunately, about three weeks before we started shooting I got a call from Sid and he said, ‘Well, I’ve been in the hospital for a while.’ And then it started to make sense,” Zombie said. “Because every time I go, ‘Oh, did Sid come in for his wardrobe fitting?’ they’re like, ‘No, he postponed it again.’ ‘Did he come in for this?’ ‘No, he had to [postpone].’
“I couldn’t figure out why he would do that. I didn’t think anything was wrong, but apparently he had been in the hospital the whole time. So he finally told me the truth. He’d been in the hospital and now he was in a physical therapy place, getting physical therapy. So I thought okay, I didn’t know how bad his situation was. Even though he told me the details of it, which I’m not going to reveal because it’s private.”
Zombie ultimately decided to pay Haig a visit, which is when he discovered that there was no way his old friend would be able to perform in the scenes required for ‘3 From Hell’.
“So I went to see him. Big, burly Sid was now like a skeleton,” Zombie explained. “It looked like he had lost 90 pounds. He’s laying in his hospital bed and I’m like, ‘Oh boy. He does not look well.’ So we talked and I was there while he was doing physical therapy with his therapist, and I was talking to the doctors.
“So I thought okay, he can’t do the whole movie. I started rewriting the movie thinking, well, maybe he can do half of it. I’ll just change the story. And maybe he’ll get better. Everything was wishful thinking. I was like, ‘Three more weeks! Maybe he’ll get better!’ and another week would go by and me and Sheri [Moon Zombie] and Bill [Moseley] would go to the hospital to visit him, and he seemed the same. In fact that day he seemed maybe a little worse, and I was like, ‘Oh boy.’
“So then I would keep rewriting, less and less and less [of Captain Spaulding], and then it just started getting crazy. Like, what am I doing here, you know? This is the movie I planned, it was these guys,” Zombie said. “And then right before we started shooting, because Sid’s 80 years old he would have to be examined by a doctor. He’d have to pass his physical, he’s have to pass the insurance company’s thing so that Lionsgate can hire him. There’s all this boring stuff that has to be done.”
Unfortunately, Zombie knew there was no way Haig was going to pass the physicals needed that would allow him to take the part in ‘3 From Hell’ but he was determined for Captain Spaulding to at least make an appearance in the movie even if he couldn’t be side by side with Otis and Baby.
“So what I did was I rewrote the whole script for the tenth time, this time creating the character of Foxy, the half-brother [played by Richard Brake], and convinced Lionsgate. ‘Please, you gotta let me bring Sid in, even if it’s just for one morning. I gotta get Captain Spaulding in this movie. He’s very important to me, the movie, it was very important to Sid.’ And they were like, okay, but I had to do something that was completely not strenuous for him,” Zombie said.
“But it was important. And that’s the reason why [his appearance was so brief]. It was his health. There was nothing else I could do. It was very unfortunate because a year before that when we all met and were discussing the script, or maybe it wasn’t even a year… eight months, whatever… he seemed like the same old Sid. Whatever he is, six-foot-four, big and burly. I go ‘Yeah! Everybody looks the same!’ and you know, it’s just at that age things can happen quick once you get sick.”
According to Zombie, Haig is back in the hospital currently where he’s being treated while adding ‘it’s been a rough year for him’. Haig’s wife later revealed that the veteran actor had taken fall that landed him back in the hospital where he’s currently recovering.
While his appearance is short, Haig still gets to play in a great scene during ‘3 From Hell’ that might be the highlight of the entire film.
‘3 From Hell’ has a limited engagement in theaters this week with digital and DVD/blu-ray release in October from Lionsgate.