It turns out, they have Jake Gyllenhaal to thank for it. The actor is a family friend — Curtis refers to him as her “unofficial godson” — and he tracked her down while she was on vacation in the mountains with her husband, actor Christopher Guest, to put in a plug for David Gordon Green, the reboot’s director. Gyllenhaal urged Curtis to take Green’s call. The two had worked together on 2017’s “Stronger,” which Gyllenhaal told Curtis was the greatest experience of his professional career.
Curtis and Green hit it off immediately. Green, best known for comedies like “Pineapple Express” and dramas such as “Undertow,” reminded Curtis of John Carpenter, the director of the original 1978 “Halloween.”
“They’re both laid back and don’t take themselves too seriously,” Curtis told Variety in a recent interview.
They’re also both able to deliver the scares. Curtis thinks that the upcoming “Halloween” will be a worthy follow-up to the original. It operates as a straight sequel, ignoring the nine, mostly loathed sequels that came before it.
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“We shed all of that other stuff and just went back to what made the original so great,” said Curtis. “John [Carpenter] didn’t write most of those films, so it was just all these new people making up stories. But with this one, we just literally cut the line. Whether or not people loved or hated those stories has no relevance to this movie.”
The new film, Curtis promises, will be a worthy addition to the Michael Myers canon.
“It’s powerful,” she said. “It’s old-school. It’s terrifying.”
This “Halloween” picks up 40 years after the original. Strode is a grandmother, living in a fortress-like home. After Michael Myers escapes from prison and embarks on a killing spree, she has to protect her family. “Halloween” opens on Oct. 19.
Carpenter isn’t directing this “Halloween,” but he did come on board as executive producer. Jason Blum, who is producing the $10 million film through his Blumhouse label, said that it was essential that Carpenter give his blessing and that Curtis return to the fold.
“You can’t make ‘Halloween’ without John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis,” said Blum. “If you did, you’d be starting out with two and a half strikes against you.”
This is Curtis’ third time revisiting the character of Laurie Strode. She previously returned to the part in 1998’s “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later,” an experience that she found disappointing. Carpenter and his producing partner Debra Hill were originally supposed to be involved, but ultimately passed on the project.
“‘H20’ started out with best intentions, but it ended up being a money gig,” said Curtis. “The film had some good things in it. It talked about alcoholism and trauma, but I ended up really doing it for the paycheck.”
That’s not true this time. Blumhouse applies a low-budget model to the films it produces. It’s what has made the likes of “Get Out” and “The Purge” so wildly profitable. It was an approach that Curtis embraced, and one that reminded her of working on the 1978 “Halloween,” a film that was made on a shoe-string $300,000 budget.
“We just went back to story and character,” said Curtis. “It felt like being on the original one, where no one was getting paid and we were just hungry to do the work.”
Blum said he’s never been involved with a project that’s as heavily anticipated as “Halloween.” Movie lovers are picking over trailers and promotional images for clues about what mayhem Michael Myers has brewing.
“There are massive expectations around the movie,” he said. “The fans are ravenous and they are angry because they’ve been disappointed in the past.”
Some actors feel burdened by their most famous roles. But not Curtis. Despite acclaimed turns in the likes of “True Lies” and “A Fish Called Wanda,” she’s content that most fans know her from on-screen standoff with the mask-wearing, knife-wielding Michael Myers.
“It is the greatest job I’ll ever have,” said Curtis. “My obituary is going to read ”Halloween’ Actress Dead.’ I know that, I respect that, and I’m just eternally grateful to have been a part of the films.”