Scare and be scared
Horror royalty Jamie Lee Curtis warns COLIN VICKERY he better not give her a fright
JAMIE Lee Curtis has a confession to make. The most recognisable face in horror is actually a scaredycat in real life.
Curtis, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, shot to fame in 1978 when she starred as Laurie Strode in Halloween and has been scaring audiences ever since.
The 56-year-old became Hollywood’s reigning “scream queen” with Halloween II, The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train and Road Games.
Now Curtis stars as university dean Cathy Munsch in Scream Queens opposite Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin and Skyler Samuels – but you get the feeling she won’t be watching it.
“I scare very easily – and there is nothing about being scared that I like,” Curtis says. “It is not something I will pay money for. It is not something that people around me are allowed to do.
“People are not allowed to walk up to me and scare me. My children learned very early on, ‘Don’t scare Mummy’. Don’t give me a surprise party. That was something between my husband and I in our wedding vows.”
That doesn’t stop Curtis scaring other people, though. Scream Queens, from executive producer Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story), mixes comedy with horror.
The first season centres on the Wallace University campus where a series of murders involving the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority happen which are seemingly linked to events 20 years ago.
Scream Queens is sort of a mash-up of Kevin Williamson’s hit Scream movies and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer.
“For me, the horror genre has given me the greatest life,” Curtis says. “I have respect for them [horror movies and TV shows] even though I don’t personally love them.
“Horror movies are not known for [the quality of] their language [scripts], so the idea that I am in a horror comedy where I get mouthfuls of thought is fantastic.
“I have never had words with this kind of political or sociological intent. It is the best part I’ll ever have in my life.”
Curtis is surprisingly selfeffacing for someone who is the daughter of Hollywood royalty celebrating her own near 40-year career.
Curtis’ other movie credits include Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies. Her most recent TV role was opposite Mark Harmon on NCIS.
“I have no discernible skills – I’m telling you the truth,” Curtis laughs. “I barely got out of high school. I fell into acting and I have done everything [directors] ever asked of me but I have absolutely no skill level.
“You do not want me in a period piece. I am not going to give you great accents. I do not speak six languages. I cannot sing. I can dance a little.
“I owe everything to (Halloween writer and director) John Carpenter who somehow saw something in me way back in 1978 when he hired me to play virginal repressed babysitter for his $300,000 movie.”
Curtis married actor Christopher Guest in 1984. The couple have two adopted children – Annie and Thomas.
“When you’re the child of someone famous and your parent gets attention from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, that’s an unbalanced level,” Curtis says.
“My children have been really good at letting me know that I’m fine but they have their own lives and dreams and aspirations. It is our job as parents to make them the star of the family.
“They roll their eyes at me all the time. I am the most uncool human being you would ever want to know.”
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