Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘My greatest roles had been to do with my physique, my physicality, my sexuality’ | Movie

Jamie Lee Curtis is describing herself to me. “I’m in a black gap sporting an orange go well with,” she says. “It’s early morning in Los Angeles and I’m feeling actually good. Match as a fiddle.” The visible pointers are pointless, since we’re speaking by way of a video name and that go well with might be seen from house: she appears like a human Tic Tac. It’s virtually as dazzling because the raspberry ensemble she wore, offset by her trademark silver crop, in the whodunit Knives Out.

“I’ve a really shut good friend who’s a trend lady, and she or he posted an image of herself in that prime and pants, so I despatched it to our wardrobe designer and stated: ‘That’s my character!’” Curtis has advised the story earlier than, however regardless of: when she talks, it’s as if she is linking her arm by yours. She takes you alongside for the journey.

Orange is a becoming color to put on whereas selling the brand new instalment of the collection that made her a star. In Halloween Kills, the 62-year-old is again because the victimised however resilient Laurie Strode, who has been burning the pumpkin at each ends since 1978. In John Carpenter’s unique slasher masterpiece, she was hunted by the implacable, white-masked killer Michael Myers, who sliced and diced her total peer group, however by no means fairly managed to pin her down. He has been attempting ever since.

“We made that movie in 17 days,” she says. “There have been no frills by any means. It was guerrilla film-making, new and scrumptious and beautiful. Everybody was so younger! I used to be 19. The oldest particular person was 30.” She is forgetting Donald Pleasence, 59 on the time, who did her the kindness of capturing Michael within the remaining scene – not that it did a lot good in the long term. However you’re taking her level.

‘These movies have world attain and truly say one thing’ … watch the trailer for Halloween Kills, the second movie in David Gordon Inexperienced’s trilogy.

Curtis reprised her position three extra occasions within the subsequent quarter of a century, most enjoyably in 1998, when she appeared in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later alongside her mom, the Psycho star and unique “scream queen” Janet Leigh. What a disgrace that she by no means persuaded her father, Tony Curtis, to star in a Halloween movie – or, for that matter, her husband, Christopher Visitor of This Is Spinal Faucet, with whom she has two grownup daughters. This summer time, she revealed that her youthful baby is transgender. She and Visitor “watched in marvel and satisfaction as our son turned our daughter Ruby”, she stated in July.

When the Pineapple Specific director, David Gordon Inexperienced, revived the Halloween franchise in 2018, he disregarded the whole lot that had occurred for the reason that first film; the occasions of the sequels had been wiped as if a pc had crashed. Now Halloween Kills, the second in Inexperienced’s trilogy, picks up the story on the finish of his earlier movie, with Laurie on her strategy to hospital after an explosive confrontation together with her nemesis, whom she left apparently burning to dying.

“The film-makers painted themselves right into a nook,” she says. “A really bloody nook, however a nook nonetheless. I feel Laurie would have been completely satisfied to die. If she had bled out surrounded by her daughter and granddaughter, and Michael was useless, she would’ve felt …” She claps her palms collectively, as if she has simply dug Michael’s grave together with her naked arms and is ridding them of the soil. “ life. A hero’s dying for her. Nice strategy to go.”

Raspberry array … with Don Johnson and Ana de Armas in Knives Out. {Photograph}: Allstar/Lionsgate

However worthwhile movie franchises, like remorseless film psychopaths, are not often allowed to die. “The 2018 Halloween was the highest-grossing [opening-weekend] film with a feminine lead over the age of 55 in historical past,” she factors out, proudly. The third one, Halloween Ends, is already within the can and due out subsequent October. Come on, I say: it received’t actually finish, will it? “I by no means say by no means. As a result of if I’d stated by no means, I wouldn’t have made these movies, which have this world attain and which really say one thing.”

Halloween Kills is definitely a film with loads on its thoughts. Had its unique launch not been delayed by the pandemic, the climactic scenes of mob violence would have regarded prescient within the gentle of occasions in Washington DC this yr. The film reveals townsfolk smashing home windows and operating rampant, even chasing the improper man to his dying. On the identical time, Michael has morphed right into a Trumpian provocateur, solely with a carving knife as an alternative of Twitter. There’s discuss within the movie of him “creating the chaos” and fomenting “the anger that divides us”.

Curtis wriggles excitedly in her seat after I elevate the thought of Halloween Kills as an allegory or a bellwether. “Oh dude! David is as prescient a human being as I’ve ever met. He wrote this film in 2018. We shot it in 2019. After which, on January 6, on this nation, we really watched the mob descend. When you get to the third film, you’ll see {that a} slasher trilogy has supplied a historical past lesson about our world.” It is going to, she assures me, add as much as “fairly a profound assertion. An indication o’ the occasions.”

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in 1978’s Halloween, directed by John Carpenter
‘John discovered that I’ve plenty of unhappiness and plenty of longing’ … Curtis as Laurie Strode in 1978’s Halloween, directed by John Carpenter. {Photograph}: Falcon Worldwide/Kim Gottlieb/Allstar

It occurred, too, with Inexperienced’s first Halloween. “David wrote that in 2016, then we shot it two weeks after these first ladies spoke to Ronan Farrow,” she says. “Proper when the ladies’s motion was rising up, we launched this movie about feminine trauma, about proudly owning what occurred prior to now and holding the perpetrators accountable.” She has been vocal in assist of her sisters within the business. When Scarlett Johansson (who had beforehand contacted her for recommendations on portraying Leigh within the 2012 movie Hitchcock) had her current authorized dispute with Disney over income denied her from Black Widow, Curtis rushed to her defence. “Don’t fuck with this mama bear,” she wrote of Johansson in Time.

“If a man did what Scarlett did, it wouldn’t have made the information,” she says. “Disney would have settled instantly. They made it private and sort of went after her, in a means. So, in fact, she has my assist.” As do the ladies of the #MeToo motion. “I feel others shall be empowered to talk up due to these courageous ladies placing themselves on the road. See, I don’t danger something by supporting them. I actually don’t. What, they’re gonna fireplace me from Halloween? I’m an outdated woman. What are they gonna do to me? However these ladies did have one thing to lose. That’s braveness. They’ve existed all through historical past – and, clearly, that is means too little, means too late – however issues are altering, for certain.”

Had been there events when she has wished to talk out and felt unable to take action? “It’s difficult for me,” she says. “I’ve by no means been a women-in-film darling. They don’t seem to be occupied with me.” Who’re “they”? “The form of ladies …” She stops. “The ladies’s motion was not . I used to be in horror films, which subjugate and infrequently objectify ladies in a sexualised and violent means. Despite the fact that in these films I’m taking part in the lady who’s clever, who fights again and is principally chaste. However I did these films for a very long time and there was … nothing.”

She sensed the world beginning to take extra discover of her when she switched from the likes of Halloween, The Fog and the superb Highway Video games (assume Rear Window on wheels) to the 1983 comedy Buying and selling Locations, wherein she performed a cheerful “hooker with a coronary heart”. “That was a giant studio image, an A-movie. However I’m bare in it – and now I’m reliable? I at all times struggled with that. Like, wait a minute: that’s legitimacy, however the different factor isn’t?”

It appears unlucky that she went to the difficulty of creating movies as looking out and subversive because the 1983 drama Love Letters and the 1989 thriller Blue Metal, each directed by ladies, solely to really feel excluded from feminist discourse. “Oh, I’ve had some great alternatives,” she says. “And, by the way in which, please don’t make this that I’m feeling shunned by the ladies’s motion. I’m simply saying there was a time after I was in exploitation films, however that my greatest roles had been to do with my physicality, my physique, my sexuality.”

Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd in 1983’s Trading Places
‘I’m bare in it – and now I’m reliable?’ Curtis and Dan Aykroyd in 1983’s Buying and selling Locations. {Photograph}: Paramount/Allstar

Her most disagreeable moments have all been outdoors the horror style: bumping and grinding as an aerobics teacher within the inaccurately titled Excellent, with John Travolta, or being tricked by her personal husband, performed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, into performing a humiliating erotic dance within the repugnant True Lies. Laurie would by no means have tolerated that.

The issue is that Curtis began out taking part in the intelligent lady in a style that was thought of dumb, so when she starred in genuinely silly footage, the disparity between her and the fabric was startling. But she has at all times bounced again – from a turkey like Excellent to A Fish Referred to as Wanda, say – and sees herself as a survivor. “I used to be on tv for seven years promoting yoghurt that makes you poop,” she says. “They parodied me on Saturday Night time Stay! And now right here I’m selling this film that I’m the star of, and I simply went to the Venice movie competition the place they gave me a lifetime achievement award. My level is: do no matter you might want to do. I’m that lady. I’ve survived the slings and arrows.”

It wasn’t simply yoghurt commercials and some unhealthy films: she has spoken publicly about taking cocaine together with her father, whereas in 2019 she went public about her former dependancy to the painkiller Vicodin. (She has been sober for greater than 20 years.) Does her survivor intuition make her extra like Laurie? “Sure and no,” she says. “I’m snarky and smart-alecky, so it was actually enlightening that what John present in casting me in Halloween was that I’ve plenty of unhappiness and plenty of longing. It allowed me to discover that in taking part in her. So, in that sense, sure, she and I are related. However the Laurie we met in 2018 survived trauma with zero assist. I’ve by no means sustained that stage of trauma and, extra importantly, I’ve had great assist.”

It’s time to wrap up, however she needs to squeeze in a single remaining story. “Don’t hate me!” she calls out to the unseen publicists monitoring her schedule. She feels compelled to discuss her remaining evening’s work on the earlier Halloween film. The final scene to be shot concerned her sitting alone in a truck. “There’s no dialogue,” she says. “The script says: ‘Laurie revisits 40 years of trauma in that second.’ It’s evening, we’re out in the midst of nowhere. I am going to my room and put together. Then I hear: ‘Jamie, they’re prepared for you,’ and I stroll on to the set. The complete crew is silent; they’re all standing with arms behind their backs.

“Now, I just like the crew to put on title tags on the primary day of labor, however that is the top of the film. And each one in all them is sporting a reputation tag that claims: ‘We’re Laurie Strode.’ I stroll by this gauntlet of my crew, who’re saying to me: we all know what it’s important to go do. And we assist you.” Her voice is faltering – she is choking again tears. “I climb in that truck and the crew stands there in silence and solidarity. That’s the sort of film Halloween is. That’s what it’s like.”

It’s a neat story, knowledgeable by simply the precise proportions of movie-set insanity and charged emotion. I thank her, we are saying our goodbyes, then I search on-line for “We’re Laurie Strode”. Positive sufficient, she has recounted the story elsewhere. In one clip, from three years in the past, her voice cracks and wobbles in precisely the identical place because it did simply now. Relatively than rendering what she advised me much less significant, nevertheless, it makes me recognize her craft much more. Curtis is an actor; what she gave me was a superior take of a well-rehearsed story. In different phrases, she killed.

Halloween Kills is in UK and US cinemas on 15 October

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