Jamie Lee Curtis goes back to where it all began in Halloween– a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic.
“Of course I’m surprised by its longevity. I don’t try to intellectualise Halloween or try to figure out why it’s remained so popular for so long. It’s none of my business.”
Jamie Lee Curtis is talking to us while lying on the floor of a hotel room in Sydney. After working the promotional circuit spruiking Halloween for the last two months, her back is in need of a ‘recharge’. Despite appearing in five Halloween films, the actress is still astonished that the horror franchise remains relevant 40 years later.
In 1978, on a frugal budget of US$200,000 and shot in just 20 days, director John Carpenter would redefine the horror genre with the revered slasher progenitor, Halloween. He cast 19-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role of Laurie Strode. For Curtis, the daughter of Hollywood luminaries Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, Carpenter’s masterpiece would be her first film role and one that would jumpstart a 40-year career.
“Nobody had anything to lose. We were all young, there was zero luxury, there wasn’t even a sense it was a movie,” Curtis says, recounting her experience on the original Halloween. “We were just this little marauding group of guerrilla filmmakers.”
Sequel Halloween II followed three years later, and Curtis would go on to make two more – the questionable Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002) – before reprising her role of Laurie in the excellent David Gordon Green-helmed Halloween last year.
Known for his work on comedies, horror was quite the transition for director Green but one he made with aplomb, delivering the best Halloween film since the original.
“You know, I would say the same thing to you probably about Jim Cameron who is not known for his comedy work, but he made an absolutely fantastic comedy in True Lies,” replies Curtis when we pose a question about the antithetical styles of his filmmaking.
Her introduction to the director came by the way of godson, Jake Gyllenhaal.
“He called me because he had just done the movie Stronger with David Gordon Green,” recalls Curtis. “He told me that he had had a very creative experience with David and that the director wanted to speak to me about the movie.
“David was exuberant and positive when we spoke. When he started to explain the idea to me, I said, ‘Please don’t. Just send it to me, and I will tell you from the opening sequence.
“I thought it was a very clever way to explore the trauma that happened to Laurie Strode 40 years before, and I was very happy that that was the way that they were approaching the story.
“It’s its own movie with a complete history linked to the past. Yet, it’s in its own story 40 years later. The two movies, side by side, are perfect bookends and complements – telling the same story with new generations in the same simple, clear, iconic way that Halloween was and continues to be.”