Photo by Luigi Novi
Anthony Michael Hall wasn’t just nerdy before it was cool, he helped make nerdy cool. From Rusty in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” to Farmer Ted in “Sixteen Candles,” Brian the brain in “The Breakfast Club” and Gary in “Weird Science,” Hall gave audiences a nerdy outcast to love. And for more than a few of us in the ’80s, he gave us a nerd we could relate to perhaps more than we were willing to admit.
So it makes sense for Hall to appear at Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience last weekend. Except, to justify Hall’s appearance solely on his work when he was a kid is to ignore his geek-cred-establishing turns in “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” “The Dead Zone” TV series, as a news anchor in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” and in two episodes of “Community.” More recently, Hall became a Season Three big bad on Syfy’s “Warehouse 13,” and has a recurring role in the current season of MTV’s “Awkward” as creative writing teacher Mr. Hart.
Hall spoke about his role within geek culture, along with what he can look forward to from him.
MTV Geek: Why do you think you’ve been embraced by the geek world here at Wizard World, and in your career?
Anthony Michael Hall: I’ll tell you what it is. It is all derived from John Hughes. When I did “Sixteen Candles,” the character was Farmer Ted aka The Geek. Now it has become part of our vernacular 30-something years later. And the geeks took over the world, it looks like.
Geek: It wasn’t so popular to be a geek in the ’80s…
Hall: Tell me about it
Geek: And it certainly wasn’t a label for “sexy” people, but now take a look around this convention hall…
Hall: You said it, man. You said it. And it is fun. I really enjoy doing these things. I think, with the economy in a downturn since ’08, these became nice alternative for people — for vacations for their families. I think it also proves that people need more than Halloween. That’s my main soundbite for the world of comic con. These things exist because they’re fun. It is a huge demographic and it’s tangible for people. It is interactive and totally cool.
Geek: What do people want to talk to you the most about? Is it just primarily your younger work with John Hughes or “The Dead Zone” or even already “Awkward”?
Hall: It depends on the age. If it’s anyone over the age of 40, it is probably the John Hughes stuff. And I always tip my hat to him … [but] I’ve done a lot of TV shows, and had a lot of fun.
Geek: How was the experience of returning to high school with “Awkward”?
Hall: I had a nice season on “Awkward” with creator Lauren Iungerich. I did about nine of those, and just finished the last one of those. And that show is doing great, which is really cool. It has really good writing, and I like Lauren’s writing on the show.
Geek: What else are you working on?
Hall: I’m doing “Psych” now … I have some films coming out. I did a film with Bennett Miller who directed “Moneyball” and “Capote.” It’s called “Foxcatcher” and stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller – a lot of good people. I did a Western called “Dead in Tombstone” with Danny Trejo, out in the fall. We shot it in Romania last year but Universal has decided to release it in theaters, so I’m excited about that. And capitalizing on “The Walking Dead” phenomena, I just did a zombie picture with Daryl Hannah, called “Dead of Night.”
Geek: Now, you did the first season of “Community” with Chevy Chase, and it’s now coming back for another season. Will we see you back on there?
Hall: I hope. I’ve got my manager calling on that. I love it. The Russo Brothers [executive producers Anthony and Joe] are a lot of fun, Joel McHale and I became friends. I know Chevy’s not on the show anymore, but I really like that group of people. They’re very smart, very talented and nice – to each other, which is nice to see.
Geek: Any chance your character Sykes will return for the final “Warehouse 13” season?
Hall: Yeah, there is. I did two episodes for this final season.
Geek: After portraying anchor Mike Engel in “The Dark Knight,” would you want to go back to the super hero universe?
Hall: Oh, I totally would. I was hoping to get the call on “The Dark Knight Rises,” but it’s all good … some people even thought I was going to be The Riddler.