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Jamie Lee Curtis: Halloween Star’s Timeless Tidbits

Laurie Strode’s journey as told by the famous actress who plays her.

Oct 16, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has come a very long way since she first played teen Laurie Strode, the victim of Michael Myers aka The Shape in the white mask. You might most recently have seen the famous actress as the headmistress of a horror-plagued boarding school in TV’s “Scream Queens”. Other famous roles are as the mom in the first Freaky Friday movie costarring with Lindsay Lohan and as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “plain” wife turned hot spy in the fun adventure True Lies.

Laurie is again terrorized by Michael MyersLaurie is again terrorized by Michael MyersCourtesy of Universal Pictures

The new 2018 sequel to the 1978 horror classic Halloween, finds Laurie Strode 40 years later as a mom and feisty grandma who is still hell-bent on getting even with boogeyman Michael Myers who killed her friends, terrorized her and has been locked up all these years. This movie bypasses all the other so-called sequels to the original film so put those plots on your mental back burner going into the theater for this one (Warning: Halloween (2018) is rated "R" for horror violence and bloody images so make your filmgoing choice with this in mind).

Jamie Lee Curtis met with reporters in an outdoor, neighborhood studio lot set on a brisk, L.A. area day.

  • Jamie: (on joining the group). It’s chilly. Must be fall. Halloween is coming.. Oooooooo (spooky).

Q: Yep. The story of Laurie Strode’s spooky journey is timeless, isn’t it?

  • Jamie: And she is a representation of everything we hope a young woman would be. John (Carpenter, director of the 1978 Halloween) and Debra Hill (producer/writer) created somebody who was a dreamer. She was an intellectual. She was a virgin but she wanted contact. The song she sang, “I wish I had you all alone. Just the two of us. I would hold you…”. This is who we met so I think that representation also is why the movie was successful besides it being beautifully clean and the filmmaking was just excellent. The main character was this beautiful young girl.

Jamie Lee as Laurie in the 1978 HalloweenJamie Lee as Laurie in the 1978 Halloween

Q: Her granddaughter in this movie is much like her.

  • Jamie: Yes. it’s a generational story of trauma. I’m sure you know people whose grandparents were (WWII) Holocaust survivors. It’s like that.

Laurie protects her daughter played by Judy GreerLaurie protects her daughter played by Judy GreerCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: Did you, Judy (Greer who plays Laurie’s daughter) and Andi (Matichak, who plays the granddaughter) have some time to bond beforehand?

  • Curtis: Yeah. We all did. It’s funny because Andi wasn’t going to be an actress and I wasn’t going to be an actress. She was going to college on a soccer scholarship. I was going to college when I accidentally became an actor. She went on vacation and somebody said to her, “Hey, you’re really pretty. You should be a model.” And then a manager said, like a manager said to me, “You could be an actress.” So, she quit school like I quit school. And both of our first movies were Halloween. That’s why her credit is, “And introducing…” as mine was. So, she and I really bonded.

Andi at a party in the filmAndi at a party in the filmCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: That is soooo weird!

  • Jamie: Yeah. Judy is terrific and we had a great time. We went out one day and did the history of Charleston (South Carolina) tour. I got a car and we had one afternoon free, and we went sightseeing.

Q: The first Halloween was so low budget that they were (pretending it was Fall) by scattering a bag of fake leaves….

  • Jamie: One bag, spray-painted brown. Spray them out with a fan, shoot the scene, “cut”, rake, rake, put ‘em back in the bag.

Q: Ah, little filmmaking tricks. You said you were in college, so what were you going to be before you started acting?

  • Jamie: I was going to be a cop. I barely squeaked my way out of high school. I was such a poor student. The only college that took me was the college where my mom (actress Janet Leigh) was the most famous person who ever graduated from there and they were very gracious to have accepted me. I was going to major in Corrections and be a social worker or police officer, law enforcement, very happily. I would have made a great cop. I am a great cop. Talk to my family (she laughs).

Laurie prepares to fight MichaelLaurie prepares to fight MichaelCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: How did you get talked into doing another Halloween movie so much later after Halloween H2O (that found the Laurie character 20 years later)?

  • Jamie: I wasn’t looking for anything when I got the call that (director) David Gordon Green wanted to talk to me about a Halloween movie. My friend Jake Gyllenhaal (she is Jake’s godmother) had said his experience working with David was the most exciting creative experience he’d ever had. So, that was the recommendation. Then I liked the script and we started to work. David is very low key, very loose. He absolutely knows what he wants but he’s also very inventive and he really likes to explore and talk about things.

Has Michael escaped...again?Has Michael escaped...again?Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: This older Laurie is a warrior but struggling emotionally, right?

  • Jamie: Yes. The first time I walked on set was very emotional and it was that way all the way through. Then, the last scene we shot was her alone in a truck. There’s a gun, there’s alcohol and basically, forty years of trauma come back. I prepared for it. When I walked out (to do the scene) a hundred of the crew were all wearing a nametag that said ‘We are Laurie Strode’, the entire crew was saying ‘We are with you, we are all in this together and we believe in you’. Needless to say it was an incredibly emotional gift for them to give me.

This time Laurie is stalking MichaelThis time Laurie is stalking MichaelCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: That is sweet. When you were prepping for this movie, did you have to say to yourself ‘Okay, all that history from the sequels is now off the table’. Was that difficult?

  • Jamie: No. If you imagine all the Halloween movies as their own inner tubes and you’re on a lake, all they did is untie them from the dock and they floated away. They all exist, there’s two, there’s four, there’s five, but the only one that this movie relates to is the first one. We go forty years later and tell this story now. All those movies still exist. None of them have popped and drowned. They are right there but this is the story we’re telling today.

Laurie has survived with emotional scarsLaurie has survived with emotional scarsCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: You have a new children’s book coming out, right?

  • Jamie: Yes. It was published last Tuesday. I also wrote a script with a specific budget in mind and my hope is that I’ll go direct it.

Just as scary as everJust as scary as everCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Q: Will you be in it?

  • Jamie: No. I didn’t write myself a part. That would be tricky. I directed an episode of “Scream Queens.” I was in the episode in a big way, and that’s a lot of juggling around. It’s possible. Bradley Cooper’s movie (A Star is Born) is beautiful. He’s in it and has a beautiful performance. I realized that you can go off, for a very little amount of money, with a creative group of people who are all focused on the same thing you are and have a good time.

Halloween Movie PosterCourtesy of Universal Pictures

See Halloween in theaters Friday, October 19th!

What is Your Opinion?

Have you seen the original Halloween and some of the sequels on video? Do you think it is cool that the Laurie character is coming back much later to “get” Michael Myers? Are you really frightened by scary films or just think they are fun? Did you see Jamie Lee on TV in “Scream Queens”? Share a comment below or write all about it on your Kidzworld profile page! Everyone wants to hear from you!