Two themes emerge as the magnetic Jamie Lee Curtis offers a retrospective conversation about his career. One, Curtis – who in January scored his first Oscar nomination of his career for his memorable turn as a grumpy IRS inspector in Everything everywhere all at once – consistently proved his doubters (whether fellow actors, directors, or studio executives) wrong. And two, every major hit the actress had early in her career led directly to her next big score.

Curtis wasn’t director John Carpenter’s first choice to play the lead role of Laurie Strode in the 1978s. Halloween, the seminal indie horror film that introduced knife-wielding slasher Michael Myers to the pantheon of iconic screen killers and transformed the genre. Even after this film – for which Curtis was only paid $8,000 – became a sensation, the actress could hardly find work. So Carpenter, now convinced of Curtis’ mastery of the craft, wrote him a role in Fog (1980), a film which also memorably starred Curtis’ famous mother, psychology starring Janet Leigh. After roles in the 1980s prom night And train of terrorCurtis was desperate to break the scream queen fare when she took a job narrating the John Landis-directed genre documentary called Coming.

Landis was so taken with Curtis’ on-set sense of humor that he cast her as Favorite Comedy of 1983 Stock exchanges although Paramount does not want her. John Cleese was so amused by his performance alongside Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in Stock exchanges that he wrote the role of Wanda Gershwitz especially for Curtis in the 1988 biting laugh A fish called Wanda. And James Cameron was so in love with his role in wanda that he enlisted her for the 1994 action hit real liesin the face of initial protests from leader Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything everywhere all at once

Although Curtis has contributed to so many favorites in the cinematic zeitgeist over the past 45 years, one title has long eluded him: Oscar nomination. In keeping with the rambling nature of his career, he finally came up with the most unlikely project: a delightfully weird, multiverse-hopping indie action-comedy involving kung fu, dildo fighting, hot dog fingers and rocks. speaking.

In addition to providing juicy roles for Michelle Yeoh and Comeback King of the Year Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), director duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka The Daniels) attracted Curtis for the nearly unrecognizable and decidedly unglamorous role of tax police office drone Deirdre Beaubeirdre (as well as other villainous versions of Deirdre in alternate universes). According to Scheinert, Curtis based Deirdre’s physical appearance closely on a photo of a real IRS employee Kwan had found online.

Curtis, who credited fellow first-time contestant Yeoh with luring her into the EEAAO multiverse, was thrilled with her nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She called it a “highlight of her professional life” in a social media post on the morning of the nominations. “I’m 64. I’ve been an actress since I was 19. I’ve done horror movies and sold yoghurt that pisses you off,” she later said. PA Entertainment, referring to recommendations she made in Activia advertisements. “I never thought I’d hear my name at the Oscars.”

In a Role reminder interview with Yahoo Entertainment (see above), the ever-outspoken actress opened up about her most iconic roles leading up to Everywhere. Read on for some highlights below.

Why She Wasn’t Afraid of Michael Myers on the Set of Halloween (1978)

A player from the TV show Operation Petticoat At the time, 19-year-old Curtis made his film debut in John Carpenter’s upcoming horror classic. But there was nothing frightening to her about the masked man chasing her across the set.

“Here’s the thing: he’s played by Nick Castle, who was one of John’s best friends. He had two little kids. His wife was there,” Curtis explains. “And he’s a funny guy. And he’s also a really talented director and he’s a musician. So I can’t lie to you and tell you I was so scared.” (Watch our interview with Castle here.)

TRUE LIES, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, 1994, TM and Copyright ©  20th Century Fox Film Corp.  All rights reserved.  Courtesy of The Everett Collection.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis in the years 1994 real lies. (TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.)

Why Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t want her to play his wife in real lies

Curtis called James Cameron’s 1994 blockbuster his all-time favorite filming experience, which included his famous striptease (fun fact: a YouTube upload of the scene comes with a climate change warning) and some stunts as she hangs herself from a helicopter. But his famous costar originally didn’t like the idea of ​​his wife toying with her dragged-in spy in some high-stakes action.

“Arnold knew me as Tony’s daughter,” she said, referring to the only film Schwarzenegger ever directed, the 1992 TV movie. Christmas in Connecticut, which starred his father, Tony Curtis, and Dyan Cannon. “He only knew me as Tony’s daughter. He loved Tony Curtis. So I’m sure Arnold just looked at me like it was like kissing your niece or something… I guarantee, in fact, that he didn’t want me to be in that movie. I think he just thought it would be weird. We kinda knew each other socially. I don’t think he considered me his leading lady I think he thought of me as Tony’s little girl. And it was Jim who said, ‘No, I wrote that for her. She’s the one who’s going to do this with you.”

Curtis says Schwarzenegger ultimately made up for his resistance to his casting with “the greatest gift.” He backed up his name (along with his own) before the title in the film’s opening credits.

On the secret code she uses (or at least uses) to make sure it’s good Lindsay Lohan text him

Curtis loved working with Lohan on the 2003 body-swapping comedy terrible friday, a project on which Curtis replaced Annette Bening in the 11th hour. The pair are still in touch, and to prove it, Curtis shared how she tests would-be phishers who send text messages claiming to be Lohan, which apparently happens.

“There’s a song called ‘Like I Love You’ by Justin Timberlake,” she says. “And Lindsay and I were doing a scene in a car and there was a lot of time between takes. And there’s a rap in the middle of that Clipse song. She and I were trying to learn the words. And we were like sitting there with a notepad. … We’d write them down, then we’d do the scene, then we’d play the song and try to sync the few words we knew. I’m telling you, we laughed. And that’s my code secret with her. ‘What was the song we were lip-syncing to in the car?’

“Now I gave it away. But I have another one.”

This story was originally published on October 15, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by John Santo

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