“Laurie/Jamie, we’re the same thing after 43 years,” said Jamie Lee Curtis as she greeted the Venice Film Festival press corps this afternoon. In town to receive a Lifetime Achievement Golden Lion as well as to world premiere Halloween Kills, the actress discussed playing Laurie Strode for more than four decades, what to expect from the trilogy’s ultimate conclusion and her longevity with horror: “If you really boiled it down, the thing that made me successful in this genre is that I scare easily and naturally… I do not like to be frightened.”
Halloween Kills is David Gordon Green’s follow-up to 2018’s hit Halloween, which saw Curtis reprise her iconic role as Laurie Strode and took over $250M worldwide to become the highest-grossing chapter in the franchise. Production is soon to begin on Halloween Ends which will close out the series; Curtis revealed she had just read the script on the plane over to Italy and “did not sleep” afterwards.
For Curtis, “The most exciting thing for being an actor in the same role for 43 years is that we all have changed, we’re battered and bruised and we grow… Ultimately we’re saying we are all human and you relate to Laurie because you are wounded too, and fighting back against the demons.”
Looking back over the recent entries in the series, Curtis added, “I think that what David has done, particularly with the 2018 movie, was to explore something deeper. We’re actors, so the deeper you want us to go, the deeper we will go, but also it was prescient what David and company figured out: We were on a verge of a wave of women understanding their own trauma and voicing it. The collision between the reality of life and the reality of Laurie’s life… happened in a pretty profound way.”
Curtis praised Green’s continuing prescience, saying, “We are seeing all around the world, collective community rage against the machine… The next movie amplifies that thought on an existential note to the nth degree.”
She continued, “We’re a divided world, in the U.S., we’re are a divided country. Evil is seeming to win a bit, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen always, but evil has won many times through history… What David has created in these three films will be very much a view into these times we live in.”
Green noted that the “immediate goal in 2018 was to make something that if it didn’t connect for any reason it would feel like its own contained movie… Upon the success, we were very thrilled to be able to activate the second chapter” which builds to “operatic chaos.” Halloween Ends, he said, will be “our version of meditation and resolve.”
Contrary to Curtis, Green said he was a big fan of horror for the “opportunity to scream, to be in an environment with people and let it out a little bit. What a wonderful rollercoaster to go into a room with friends and strangers and scream your ass off.”
When Curtis was asked what three films were key to her career; she answered Halloween, A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies; “then there were a couple pieces of sh*t that I did.”
But what about Trading Places, and its popularity in Italy? Curtis responded, “Somebody mentioned that to me and I said, ‘They show it on television? All of it?’ and I’m thinking about 14-year-old boys at Christmas seeing my incredibly beautiful 21-year-old self, thinking, ‘Wow, that’s very different than America.’” She called that role “a gift” and the impetus for another direction in her career. “Because of Trading Paces, Wanda happened and then True Lies happened. I owe a debt of gratitude to John Landis for having the courage of hiring me. It really did change things.” Especially, because “when Landis mentioned he was was going to hire me to be the only female lead, the Paramount brass were not happy.”
Dovetailing Trading Places and Halloween, Curtis explained, “I was in horror films for a long time and the women’s movement kind of hated me. All of a sudden, I did Trading Places and took off my shirt and I was legitimate and an A-lister… It was interesting playing the very thing that we respect about women: their strength, intelligence, ability to shape shift and fight back against adversity that is coming at them — and have since the beginning of time — and yet somehow it was sort of anti-feminist… Today, the women’s movement would love Laurie Strode. ”
From Universal Pictures, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Trancas International Films, Halloween Kills starts global rollout on October 14 via Universal.