Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Fast Company|October 2021
Halloween Kills isn’t the only project of hers that’s slaying.
By Yasmin Gagne

JAMIE LEE CURTIS DID NOT EXPECT to reach the busiest point in her four-decade career now. In fact, there was a time in the mid-aughts when she talked repeatedly about retiring. “I wanted to leave the party before the party asked me to leave,” she explains, having watched her actor parents, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, “deal with the fact that people weren’t hiring them anymore, and it’s heartbreaking.” She ventured into TV work, podcasting, and starting a social enterprise, but then her godson, Jake Gyllenhaal, called, wanting to introduce her to director David Gordon Green, who had an idea for a Halloween movie. When she realized that “the script was about generational trauma and showed women surviving trauma and how they deal with it,” Curtis was ready not only to reprise the role she made famous with the 1978 original, but to executive produce it. 2018’s Halloween went on to become the biggest opener ever with a woman over 55 as the lead. Here, Curtis talks about this month’s Halloween Kills; her new production company, Comet Pictures; and the benefits of being the kind of person people trust.

Did you ever expect to be so busy at 62?

No! It’s a total surprise, and I’m thrilled about it. I mean, look at this face! When I came back after filming the 2018 Halloween movie, which was a lot of fun, I thought: The tragedy of my death will be the unexpressed creativity that lives in me that I have not brought out into the world. That was the catalyst. When I went home, I wrote a screenplay [for a climate-change-themed horror movie called Mother Nature] that had been in my head since I was 19 years old. I had written an outline for it, but I was going to give it to somebody else to write it. And my husband [actor and filmmaker Christopher Guest] said to me, “Why don’t you write it?” [That script, which Curtis will direct, led to her forming a company called Comet Pictures, which nabbed a first-look deal with Halloween production firm Blumhouse.] We just sold four TV shows, a movie, and two podcasts. My creative work is happening and it’s all because of that time running out. My motto is, “If not now, when? If not me, who?” And so now I just go for everything, and I keep going for it.

After a long career in front of the camera, you became a producer on the 2018 Halloween revival. What was behind this decision?

I should have been a producer on the 2002 movie. [That film] was my idea, but at that moment I didn’t have enough personal integrity to go, “Wait a minute, we’re making this because I just called everyone—let me produce.” I didn’t do that.

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