After a string of Activia commercials, Curtis was happy “to be able to do something that has some depth.”
It’s been far too long since Jamie Lee Curtis has been front and center of a major movie release, but that’s all about to change when "Halloween" hits theaters next month. The movie, picking up after the events of the 1978 horror classic, brings Laurie Strode back to life, and, in turn, Curtis back to the big screen.
While the character was unceremoniously killed off in "Halloween: Resurrection" back in 2002, that sequel and all the ones before it were wiped clean for director David Gordon Green’s new film. This version of Laurie has clearly been through the ringer in the years since her friends were brutally murdered by Michael Myers on Halloween night, an approach Curtis found fulfilling.
"I’m happy, obviously, way happy that women over 50 can get a job and have a job that has depth. The thing that I took away form the movie was depth, emotional complexity, trauma, how does it manifest, how does it manifest in a family, how does it isolate you, how does it distance you from people, I thought all of that was great," she told TooFab at a press day for the film.
Curtis, now 59, jumped at the chance to step back into the 40-year-old role, a part she considers the most "rounded character" she "will ever get to play."
Though she says her parts in "True Lies" and "Freaky Friday" were both great and "beautifully written," Laurie stands out because of how different the character is from herself. "I, quite frankly, should have been cast in the smart ass [role]," said Curtis, referring to Nancy Kyes’ Annie Brackett. The part was also the first time she got to play "a full character," instead of a walking coat hanger for a "cute pair of jeans."
"The fact that [director John Carpenter] cast me as the intellectual, thinking, quiet girl, at a time when people asked me what size jeans I wore, made me understand that I was an actress and really what it is, is I became an actress," Curtis explained. "I don’t think I was an actress before. I think I was just a performer and I became an actress on ‘Halloween.’"
"And David [Gordon Green], I’ll literally start to sob at the table and that would be embarrassing, but I really do believe that David gave me a chance to be an actress again," she continued. "Because I haven’t. I sold yogurt that makes you shit for 7 years. And it’s really beautiful to be able to have done something that has some depth. It’s been amazing."
This new version of Laurie is the complete opposite of the ones fans saw in 1978. Instead of running from Michael, she’s on the hunt after 40 years preparing for his eventual return to Haddonfield. She’s clearly suffering from PTSD, lives alone in a secluded bunker of a house and has driven off her family.
All these years later, she seems to share the same obsession over Myers that Dr. Loomis (the late, great Donald Pleasance) had in the previous films.
"Now, there are a lot of people that spend their lives helping people through traumas, there are a lot of trauma centers, there are a lot of recovery centers for that," explained Curtis. "There was nothing in 1978. I believe Laurie Strode went to school November 1. I think she went to school with a bandage on her arm, maybe some stitches from the emergency room. I think her parents sent her back to school."
"Two days before, she was an intellectual honor student, heading off to be the valediction of her class, no doubt," she continued. "She was going to get out of Haddonfield, she was going to go off and expand her mind. And two days later, she was a freak. Two days later, she walked down the hall and everyone was [whispering]. That’s the trauma that violence does to people."
Watch Laurie work through her physical and emotional demons when "Halloween" hits theaters October 6.
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