Sid Haig's role of Captain Spaulding in one of his final film credits, Rob Zombie's 3 From Hell, had to be cut down after the actor suffered a health scare more than a year before his death. The film, which was given a limited release at 900 select theaters for only three nights beginning on Sept. 16, wrapped production in April of 2018 and premiered just five days before the actor's Sept. 21 death. Haig had been set to portray a prominent role in the film, the third in a trilogy that includes House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, but Zombie explained when speaking to Entertainment Weekly earlier this month that he was forced to make Haig's role little more than a cameo after the actor was hospitalized.
"The movie that I prepped to make, and was getting ready to start shooting, it was Captain Spaulding, Otis and Baby, the three originals," Zombie explained. "But three weeks out from shooting, I got a call from Sid Haig. He had been in the hospital, and he had just had surgery, and he was now recovering in a rehabilitation facility."
Zombie said that after paying Haig a visit in the hospital he realized just how bad of a shape that Haig was in, stating that "he had changed drastically from the last time I saw him… he's big and burly, and now he's tiny as a skeleton." Zombie ultimately decided to trim Haig's role and bring in Richard Brake to take on the role of new character Foxy.
"A lot of the scenes with Foxy were supposed to be Spaulding and I twisted things around so I didn't have to rewrite every single thing," he said. "I went from one moment thinking, 'This is the most prepared I have ever f—ing been to start a movie — everything is locked down tight' — and within one phone call, the entire production went into complete chaos for three weeks. But at the end of the day, it all worked out great."
Despite the medical scare, Zombie was still determined to feature Haig in the film, regardless of how limited of a role it may be.
"I knew it was so important he be part of the movie," he said. "Lionsgate was fine with me sort of sneaking him in one day to shoot as much as I could. It was on me to make sure that nothing went wrong. So I got him in, I shot everything I could shoot."
The accident that Zombie spoke of presumably came well before another accident that sent Haig to the hospital earlier this month. According to multiple outlets, the actor had suffered a "nasty spill" at his home and had eventually been placed in the ICU with breathing complications. The incident was so serious that, on Sept. 6, his wife asked for "prayers." Shortly after, on Sept. 21, Haig would pass away at the age of 80.
Getting his start in acting in the 1960s on various television shows and in films, Haig's most high-profile and most-remembered role was that of Captain Spaulding, a psychotic clown that he first stepped into the shoes of in 2003's House of 1000 Corpses and 2005's The Devil's Rejects. In the wake of his death, many fans have paid tribute to Haig by remembering him in that iconic role.