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t has been nearly four decades since Jamie Lee Cur­tis landed on Aus­tralian shores to a wel­come she has long since cho­sen – or at least tried – to for­get. In 1980, at the height of her run as the cinema’s reign­ing “scream queen” in a stretch of films that kicked off with the hor­ror land­mark Hal­loween two years prior, Cur­tis was cast to play Pamela, a fool­hardy hitch­hiker go­ing it alone on the Nullar­bor Plain, in the Oz­ploita­tion film Road Games.

“I just only re­cently re­mem­bered this,” Cur­tis tells Stel­lar. “I ar­rived, and there was a kind of chill from the crew, like some­thing was go­ing on. I fi­nally found out when I was sit­ting there and some­body said, ‘ Yeah, there was an ac­tress al­ready do­ing your part – and they ba­si­cally fired her to bring you on.’”

With­out even re­al­is­ing it, Cur­tis had be­come an un­wit­ting pawn in a messy tug of war that in­volved du­elling film com­mis­sions, ac­tors’ unions and, yes, com­pet­ing forces out of Syd­ney and Mel­bourne. Hun­gry for name-brand Amer­i­can tal­ent, and per­haps suf­fer­ing from a se­vere bout of cul­tural cringe, pro­duc­ers had shuf­fled Cur­tis into the pro­duc­tion, knock­ing out ac­tor Lisa Peers in the process.

To­day, the 59-year-old ac­tor can only look back on her lone movie-mak­ing stint Down Un­der with the re­signed af­fect of some­one who has pretty much seen, heard and done it all. “We ended up out on the road, trav­el­ling be­tween Perth and Ade­laide, just a lit­tle band of film­mak­ers,” she says. “It was a weird vibe. I re­mem­ber feel­ing so bad and so sh*tty.”

Cur­tis is cer­tain to re­ceive a far warmer wel­come when she re­turns to the coun­try next month to un­veil Hal­loween, the eleventh (and po­ten­tially fi­nal) en­try in the vaunted film se­ries that reignited the slasher genre and made her a star. In the years since she ap­peared as teenage babysit­ter Lau­rie Strode, fa­mously cow­er­ing in a bed­room closet, wav­ing a butcher knife and scream­ing in ter­ror as sadis­tic killer Michael My­ers stalked her, Cur­tis has found suc­cess across a wide cross-sec­tion of films – hor­ror and oth­er­wise; head­lined suc­cess­ful tele­vi­sion se­ries; launched a side ca­reer as a chil­dren’s book au­thor and pro­moted a range of hu­man­i­tar­ian causes.

“I’ve been very lucky,” Cur­tis tells Stel­lar over the phone from Los An­ge­les. “I’ve had every ver­sion of it – I’ve had things hyped in a big way that have been wildly suc­cess­ful, and

I’ve had things hyped in a huge way that were blocked. I’ve had things that had lit­tle to no hype at all that be­came suc­cess­ful, and all the ar­eas in-be­tween. It’s the na­ture of the beast. No­body knows any­thing, which is why you have to go into it with in­tegrity.”

Cur­tis refers to the in­dus­try into which she was born – she is the daugh­ter of ac­tors Tony Cur­tis and Janet Leigh – as “show-off busi­ness” and de­spite her pedi­gree, she in­sists upon bring­ing a hearty sense of egal­i­tar­i­an­ism to every job. “Just so you know,” she says, “I in­sist ev­ery­one wears name tags when I work with them, be­cause it’s not fair they know my name and I don’t know theirs. I am of­ten the num­ber-one per­son on a movie or a TV show – the per­son at the top of the call sheet. And I think that car­ries with it a big re­spon­si­bil­ity in terms of who I em­u­late. If you asked me who I’d most want to be like in this in­dus­try? George Clooney. He is a gen­er­ous man, he is in­cred­i­bly pos­i­tive. He is fun to work with and I think that even he pinches him­self when he re­alises he has this life.”

Cur­tis cer­tainly does. Even now, de­spite the fact she would have fre­quented them in her youth, “Every time I drive onto a movie lot, I pinch my­self. I can’t be­lieve I get to do this work. I think I got it from my mother, this un­der­stand­ing how rare it is to be able to do this job.”

SIL­VER SCREAM (be­low, from top) Jamie Lee Cur­tis as a tod­dler (far right) in 1961 with her A-list par­ents, Janet Leigh and Tony Cur­tis, and big sis­ter Kelly; in her break­out role as babysit­ter Lau­rie Strode in 1978’s the “wickedly funny” 1994 smash True Lies; up­com­ing Hal­loween se­quel.

J ulia Zemiro is feel­ing a lit­tle hoarse. She’s been in the stu­dio do­ing voiceovers for her new Seven Net­work show, All To­gether Now, and then there was the trip to Ade­laide where she was “smil­ing and talk­ing” for four days non­stop in her new role as artis­tic di­rec­tor of the city’s Cabaret Fes­ti­val. Even for a woman who’s made a ca­reer out of con­ver­sa­tions, it’s a lot – yet the 51-year- old is still happy to have a chat about her lat­est projects. In­clud­ing one, she ad­mits, that she al­most self-sab­o­taged.

“When they asked me to do [the Ade­laide Cabaret Fes­ti­val] I was so over­whelmed with ex­cite­ment but said, ‘Are you sure you want me?’ Be­cause I’m not a mu­si­cian per se,” she says. “[They] said, ‘No, you have such a his­tory of dif­fer­ent things: you’ve been in mu­si­cals, you’ve done TV, you’ve

done rock TV, you do in­ter­view shows, you talk with peo­ple, you’ve been an em­cee, you’re a host,’ and I thought, ‘ Well, look, OK, I have ac­tu­ally had a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence in all that stuff.’” That’s quite the un­der­state­ment. Since the ’90s, Zemiro’s ca­reer has been a med­ley of hits, from short films and Shake­speare to host­ing New Year’s Eve broad­casts and Euro­vi­sion, ap­pear­ances that have made her one of the coun­try’s most fa­mil­iar faces – and given the woman her­self a unique in­sight into Aus­tralia’s tastes. And through her new gig fronting All To­gether Now, the rest of us will get a feel for the na­tion’s pref­er­ences, too: as a range of singers take to the stage, a group of 100 judges will de­cide whether their per­for­mance is wor­thy of join­ing in on the song and earn­ing the per­former points, or whether they’ll sit it out. “Mu­sic out there is a big beast and ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent tastes,” says Zemiro of the show’s ap­peal. “In ‘The 100’ there’s some opera singers and there’s a glam rock band… it’s a broader spec­trum. It’s re­ally about be­ing flex­i­ble with your tastes; don’t lock your­self in, don’t miss out on things that are quite in­ter­est­ing.” It’s ad­vice Zemiro is well placed to give, hav­ing had a ca­reer marked by di­ver­sity. A self-de­scribed “ac­tor who can sing”, she was born to an Aus­tralian mother and a French fa­ther in France, where they lived above the fam­ily restau­rant. (“One of my loveli­est mem­o­ries is my dad mak­ing me hot choco­late with real dark choco­late. We had a big slab of choco­late that he would use for the restau­rant, he’d cut that up, melt it into some milk and zhoosh it up with a spoon.”) The fam­ily moved to Aus­tralia when Zemiro was two. Af­ter study­ing act­ing at the Vic­to­rian Col­lege of the Arts, reg­u­lar gigs with Bell Shake­speare and To­tally Full Frontal fol­lowed, and when she was tapped to I’m cer­tainly not com­plain­ing. I’m ex­tremely happy with the amount of work I get and the sort of work I can say no to that I don’t like.”

When she’s not work­ing, she’s at home with her part­ner, Carsten Prien, whom she met on a plane five years ago. “He hap­pened to change flights that day to that flight, and I hap­pened to be lit­er­ally mov­ing from Mel­bourne that day; I’d packed ev­ery­thing up and sold my place. It was like, ‘ Wow, you re­ally have to move cities to meet The One.’ You know how some­times if you make a big change that is re­ally scary and you go, ‘Oh, is this my re­ward? I’ll take that, that’s a good re­ward.’ You know, you’ve got to be more alert when you’re on a plane. Look around, chat, look nice, try not to go in your thongs and a sin­glet. Maybe just wear a closed shoe and a closed shirt – and you never know.” All To­gether Now pre­mieres 7pm, Sun­day Oc­to­ber 7, on the Seven Net­work.

Fly­ing cars, jack­ets that can au­to­mat­i­cally dry them­selves and – of course – hov­er­boards. If Back Tothe­fu­tureii taught us any­thing, it’s that try­ing to pre­dict what’s com­ing in the years ahead is a los­ing propo­si­tion.

But if one com­pany is well-placed to gaze into the crys­tal ball and see how things are shap­ing up, it’s the Swedish fur­ni­ture gi­ant, IKEA.

Whether you’re a stu­dent fur­nish­ing a share house or new par­ents fit­ting out a nurs­ery, chances are you’ve walked into one of its big blue stores and left with a trol­ley loaded to tip­ping point. The com­pany has an un­ri­valled in­sight into how the av­er­age Aus­tralian lives, and the abil­ity to shape our home life in the years ahead.

So when IKEA brought Demo­cratic De­sign Days to Syd­ney in Au­gust, it was a great op­por­tu­nity to learn about the com­pany’s vi­sion for the fu­ture.

The three-day pro­gram of talks, work­shops, ex­hi­bi­tions and din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, held at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, raised the cur­tain on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and home-liv­ing in­no­va­tions at IKEA, and gave a glimpse into the fu­ture of home life in Aus­tralia.

One of the most pop­u­lar events of Demo­cratic De­sign Days was the key­note ad­dress by IKEA head of de­sign, Mar­cus Eng­man.

Eng­man had the crowd en­thralled as he spoke about the evo­lu­tion of de­sign across the 75-year his­tory of IKEA, ex­plained how the com­pany turns insights into so­lu­tions for homes and looked at the fu­ture of the re­tailer.

“Every prod­uct should have great form and func­tion, great qual­ity for ev­ery­day use, [and be] pro­duced in a sus­tain­able way and ac­ces­si­ble for more peo­ple through low prices,” he said, lay­ing out the prin­ci­ples that guide the Demo­cratic De­sign at IKEA.

How will these prod­ucts change our lives in the years ahead? Ex­pect smart homes to be­come the stan­dard, with

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