Jamie Lee Curtis in a still from John Carpenter's 1978 film 'Halloween'
VENICE: She has been starring in the “Halloween” movies for 43 years, but Jamie Lee Curtis said Wednesday that the secret to her success is that she despises horror films.
“I scare easily,” Curtis said at the Venice Film Festival, where the latest instalment, “Halloween Kills”, premiered. “I am an untrained actor. I’ve never been to acting class, but I hate these movies. I loathe them. I do not like to be frightened. So it’s a natural talent – that genuine emotional connection to being afraid. You’re watching that happen on screen.”
Daughter of Hollywood legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh Curtis, 62, was also receiving a life-time achievement award in Venice for her long career, which includes hits “A Fish Called Wanda” and “True Lies”.
She said the role of Laurie Strode, which she has portrayed since the first “Halloween” film in 1978 by cult director John Carpenter, was crucial to her career but initially put her in the firing line with feminists who took issue with the story for allowing only the virgin to survive.
“I was in horror films for a long time. It gave me a foothold in the business, but the women’s movement hated me,” Curtis said. “Then I was in ‘Trading Places’ and took off my shirt, and all of a sudden, I was what they call legitimate, an A-lister.
“Now, today, the women’s movement would love Laurie Strode ... her strength, her ability to fight back against adversity, and yet somehow it was anti-feminist then.”
The “Halloween” series was relaunched to massive box office success in 2018 with indie director David Gorden Green at the helm.
The new instalment is the second part of a trilogy by Green, with the third part due to start filming soon.
“I read the third one on the plane over here and I did not sleep,” said Curtis. “It’s an extraordinary way to finish this trilogy.”
She said Green’s success with the new trilogy lay in its reflection of real-life issues, particularly women challenging the patriarchy and protests against injustice.
“I’d like to take him to Vegas,” Curtis said, “because my guess is we’d win a shitload of money because he’s so far-thinking.”