JAMIE LEE CURTIS
The Queen Of Scream. The Dame Of Distress. The Baronetess of Bad. The Countess Of Running Around And Being Chased By Michael Myers.
You know what?” says Jamie Lee Curtis, “I scare easily. It’s not my gig. I don’t like it. But it’s the truth.” Given this, there’s glorious irony in the fact that Curtis, who began her career as the scream queen in John Carpenter’s original Halloween, The Fog, and a couple of inferior slashers, keeps coming back to this genre. And, in particular, this series. She last played Michael Myers’ nemesis, Laurie Strode, in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, where she was unceremoniously bumped off. But as her presence in David Gordon Green’s Halloween shows, you can’t keep a good survivor down... You must have thought Laurie was dead and buried.
[Laughs] I don’t think anyone’s ever dead and buried in a Halloween movie. I certainly didn’t entertain, ever, that I would revisit Laurie Strode in any way. I had a phone call with David and he started to, in his very sweet, Southern, nerdy, geeky, funny way, try to explain his love of the original movie. I said, “David, honestly, you don’t have to pitch it. Send me the script.” I read it very quickly. I called him immediately and said, “Absolutely.”
What appealed to you? I’m going to be 60 this year. I was 19 years old on the first one. That’s crazy. For me, there is something incredibly powerful about telling a story about trauma and what trauma really does to a human being. You have now a longitudinal study
of trauma in the case of Laurie Strode. Here is a girl who was 17 years old when this occurred, in her senior year of high school. The woman we meet now is a trauma victim, who is committed to the only understanding that she knows — which is he’s coming back.
As far as she’s concerned, Michael Myers is the boogeyman. I don’t know if Danny [Mcbride] and David went into the writing with this intention, and certainly the #Metoo movement had not taken root yet. But really what happens in this movie is you have a woman who is traumatised and has lost her purchase in the universe. You have a woman who is going to take it back, saying, “You no longer write my narrative. I do.” Did anything surprise you this time around? It was emotional. I was really quite raw, to be perfectly honest. When I make a movie, I insist that the crew wear name tags for the first three or four days so I can know their names. And on my last night on the movie, when I walked onto the set, the entire crew had name tags on that said, “We are Laurie Strode.” And what they were saying is that they were with me. Her trauma was their trauma. I cry as I am telling you this story. It moved me so deeply. It was a moment I will never forget in my life. It was powerful.
Was there a time in your life when you didn’t feel so generously towards Laurie? Of course. Look, Halloween was my first movie. Not much happened after that. I didn’t get any work. John Carpenter wrote the part in The Fog for me because he didn’t understand how I wasn’t getting any work. Then I got a little bit of work. Maybe three other movies. Then we made Halloween II, and the minute I did that movie I knew that if I didn’t separate, I would never be able to. Within weeks, I did a movie [Death Of A Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story] where I played Dorothy Stratten, the [Playboy] Playmate who was killed by her husband, and then within six months of that I was cast in Trading Places. I’ve had a very full and lovely and very creative life that I might not have had had I decided to continue to do horror movies.
Was John Carpenter’s involvement in this new film important to you? Of course. After he saw the movie, he left me the kind of message you long to get. In that Southern gentleman way: “Hey darlin’, it’s John. I wanted to tell you that you’re sensational in the movie.” That’s who John Carpenter is. Generous, loving, weird, sweet.
He’s going on tour with his band. He’s going to be doing his film scores [in LA] on October 31.
You should come on as a special guest. Here’s the rub. I go to bed really early. I don’t get it. Why don’t rock concerts offer matinées? Why is it required that they go on at ten at night? Why? Why?
It’s rock and roll. Fuck rock and roll! What about people who go to bed early? CHRIS HEWITT
Here and below: Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, to once again take on archnemesis Michael Myers (Nick Castle).