Jamie Lee Curtis On 'B-Movies', Halloween, And Being The Scream Queen
Promoting the latest 'Halloween' sequel in Sydney, ahead of its October 25 Australian release, Jamie Lee Curtis is dressed in a bright red power suit.
"Sorry, sorry!" she says as I walk into the room, furiously typing at her phone. "I'm multitasking, everyone's waking up now, and..." she trails off, still typing.
"I'm putting it away!" she declares.
"Hello!" she says, flashing a warm smile. I tell her it's an honour to meet her, and that my mum -- a fan of hers, as well as her parents Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis -- is excited for me.
"And where's she?" Jamie asks.
I tell her Adelaide, and she lights up.
"I've been to Adelaide!" she exclaims. "I made a movie here 30-ssssseven??? Years ago? We should find out when Road Games was released. Would you ask Siri to ask Google to ask... God?"
"It was a road movie from Adelaide to Perth, so I spent quite a bit of time in Adelaide, it's beautiful," she adds.
Although left with roughly 147 questions about Jamie Lee Curtis' thoughts on my hometown, we get on track to discuss what it is about the Halloween franchise that keeps bringing her back time and time again.
Despite saying that there's "no easy answer", Jamie says that co-writer and director David Gordon Green played a big role in getting her back on board.
"This time last year, the last thing I thought I would be doing is another Halloween movie," she says. "Without David, I would not be sitting here in the power suit, having a big hit movie. That's what drew me back."
She's also emphatic about not having any qualms about erasing the legacy of every other Halloween sequel in the process, even my beloved Halloween: H20.
"That's a whole different... world!" she says. "That's a woman on the run, that's a woman running for her life, and that isn't the [story] we're telling."
Of the new film, she says: "I knew from the first page of the script what they were doing, why they were doing it, and why it was perfect."
I tell her that my introduction to her work was through Wes Craven's Scream, the horror-movie-loving extremely referential, Kevin Williamson penned slasher.
Among the (many) references to Halloween is a scene where movie junkie Randy Meeks refers to Jamie Lee Curtis as the 'Scream Queen', long before Ryan Murphy created the FX series Scream Queens that Jamie Lee Curtis would go on to star in.
I ask her what it's like to be held in such reverence by so many horror fans, and she visibly squirms.
"Um... you know, I live a very quiet, private life... and I don't think the word 'reverence' is a part of my vocabulary," she begins.
Despite being born and raised in the industry, and being the horror genres default spokesperson for decades, she says: "I live very real life, I've raised children, I am married, I have family, and we are all human."
"It's just not how I look at my life... I get the great pleasure of being able to do both," she continues. "I get to be a real mom in my real life with my real family, and then I get to rock a red power suit and wake up overlooking Sydney Harbour, going 'wait, WHAT?! Really?!'"
With award season around the corner, I ask her if she thinks horror movies are often cast aside or overlooked because they're "genre films".
"Yes. And not because I have any presumption of anything," she states. "The truth is that genre movies by nature are somewhat deemed 'less than'. They refer to them as 'B Movies'. Just the fact that they grade them, as something not-A, is right away a pejorative, right away it's a culling, and saying 'this is less than'."
"I've been the B-movie girl for my whole life," she continues. "And you know, it hurts! It hurts your feelings, because you work very hard and you try, but the truth of the matter is, at the end of the day, none of it matters."
The only thing that really matters, Jamie says, "is the response to the work".
"People scream, and are terrified by the movie. And that's the goal. So for me, it's a win," she says. "I'm just running around the world going 'hiiiiigh fiiiiive!' because I can't believe that we're having this moment with such a great movie, and that I'm waking up on my final -- this is my FINAL promotion day! -- it's the last day of my promoting the movie Halloween, and the last time I will ever put on the red suit."
Halloween hits theatres tomorrow, October 25. I'm not a movie critic, but I flippin' loved it, so you should probs go check it out.
Feature image: Getty Images