Jamie Lee Curtis, who will receive Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement on Wednesday evening before the out-of-competition screening of “Halloween Kills,” addressed accusations that the first film in the franchise was “anti-feminist” and “women bashing” at a press conference earlier in the day. Curtis said that she thought “today the women’s movement would love [lead character] Laurie Strode,” who reflected women’s “strength, intelligence and ability to shape shift, and fight back against the adversity that is coming at them and have since the beginning of time.”
Curtis paid tribute to the late Debra Hill, the co-writer and producer of the original “Halloween” with John Carpenter. “I think that Laurie Strode exists because of Debra Hill […] I think she imbued Laurie’s strength and intelligence and dreamy romanticism.”
The latest installments in the franchise had chimed with recent expressions of “collective community rage,” she said, alluding to the #MeToo movement.
The actor, who plays Strode in the franchise, said David Gordon Green’s 2018 film “Halloween” had been “prescient.” What the filmmaker had figured out was “that we were on the verge of a wave of women coming into their own understanding of trauma and voicing it,” she said.
She added: “The collision between the reality of life, which is harsh and brutal, and the reality of Laurie’s life, which is harsh and brutal, happened in a pretty profound way in the 2018 movie and his prescience has continued because we are seeing all over the world collective community rage against the machine, against the system. The system is broken all over the world and people are rising up all over the world saying the system is broken.”
Curtis said that “the most exciting thing” about having had the same role for 43 years is that “the beauty of human beings is we change. We are battered and bruised, and we emerge and we grow – our bones heal, we move forward.” She added that people “relate to Laurie because you are wounded too and you are fighting back against the demons in your life, and that you somehow look at me and Laurie and say, ‘I am Laurie.’ ”
Asked how she related to Laurie’s struggle with evil, and the film’s message that there is not much hope in the world because evil is still on the loose, she answered, “I look at the news every day. There is not much hope in many, many, many places in this world right now. It’s an incredibly difficult time.”
She added: “The film speaks to the times we are in. We are a divided world, and in America, we are a divided country, and I think that evil is seeming to win a bit […] I hope that this is as much a mirror for the world as it is an entertainment for people who love a movie.”
Speaking about how she prepares for the “Halloween” films, Curtis commented that she didn’t go to acting school and so she draws on her own nature for the role as Laurie. “I scare easily. I hate these movies. I loathe them. I do not like to be frightened. So I think that is just a natural talent. I think that genuine emotional connection with being afraid you are watching happen in real life – on screen,” she said.
“If you really boiled it down, you might just see that after all these years the thing that made me successful in this genre is that I scare easily and naturally. So, there is no psychological preparation. It’s just I’ve been traumatized; I’ve had sad things happen; I’ve had violent things happen. So all of these reactions are just natural manifestations of my own experience.”
Asked to choose three films from her career that she considered her legacy, the actor picked “Halloween,” “A Fish Called Wanda” and “True Lies.” She added, provoking laughter, “And then there were a couple of pieces of shit that I did.” She later praised “Trading Places,” and added it as her fourth legacy film.