Jamie Lee Curtis on saying goodbye to Laurie Strode in Halloween Ends
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN CARPENTER'S "HALLOWEEN THEME - MAIN TITLE")
AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:
Two names come to mind when you hear that music - Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. And the final installment of this classic slasher franchise, "Halloween Ends," brings the two iconic figures back together for one last fight. Laurie Strode, who is played by none other than Jamie Lee Curtis, puts down roots with her granddaughter in the very town she first encountered the serial killer. She's working on her memoir when she finds old patterns repeating themselves - oh, no - and decides she has to take matters into her own hands. Jamie Lee Curtis joins us now from our studios in Culver City. Welcome to the show.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS: I am so happy to be here with you, Ayesha Rascoe.
RASCOE: So talk about, like, the end of an era. Laurie Strode - this is your first big role...
CURTIS: Yeah. No, my first movie.
RASCOE: How does it feel to say goodbye to a character in a story that has been with you throughout your entire career?
CURTIS: You know, I don't - I look at it less as a goodbye. I look at it a lot more as a thank you. That role gave me my life. It gave me a creative life. I ultimately met my husband somehow through a connection to "Halloween." And it gave me a - sort of a platform as a young actor to stand on.
RASCOE: This is, like, a revamp of the series. There was one version of the series in which you died. And the thing about these movies - nobody's ever really dead. They can always come back. Like, is it really over?
CURTIS: Am I really dead? Nice for giving away the ending of the movie.
RASCOE: We will cut that.
CURTIS: Oh, you don't have to cut anything, Ayesha Rascoe. People will understand that that was not a spoiler alert - maybe.
RASCOE: It's not a spoiler.
CURTIS: Maybe. But what's important is this. I'm great, but I'm also 64 years old, and every story needs to come to an end. That's the beautiful part of storytelling. There's a beginning, a middle and an end. And then what's great for me is that it's really a beginning of a whole creative world that I get to now do because of the success of Laurie Strode in the "Halloween" movies.
RASCOE: You're closing a chapter with this Michael Myers...
RASCOE: ...Film. But the fans watching - they get to watch this battle between Laurie and Michael Myers...
RASCOE: ...One more time.
CURTIS: Yes, it is a - it is an inevitable collision.
RASCOE: Yes. What was it like for you filming those scenes?
CURTIS: My only job as an actor is to tell the truth. You have to believe in that moment that things are not OK, that things are out of control, that that battle is real. One involves a garbage disposal. Now, I...
RASCOE: Yeah, that was - woo.
CURTIS: I don't know how many of you have ever dropped something down a garbage disposal and put your hand in it, wondering, is there possibly going to be a power surge?
CURTIS: It's just - even though you know it's off...
RASCOE: It's off. It's always in the back of your mind.
CURTIS: But if it's on...
RASCOE: Yeah. Yeah.
CURTIS: ...If it's actually on, and someone else is putting your hand down a garbage disposal, I know the reaction because I've been in very crowded movie theaters and have seen the reaction.
CURTIS: People lose their minds.
RASCOE: Yeah. Yeah. You also talk in the movie - and this is what Laurie says, is that there's different types of evil. There's this evil that's external and a threat to the community. And then there's this evil that's internal. And it's like an infection that spreads. Like, which do you think is the most dangerous?
CURTIS: Yeah, but what happens in a community is that it is an infection. Victim-shaming is an infection. They are not personally responsible. What's happened in Haddonfield is the entire community is now poisoned. The last movie was the community rising up, saying that the system is broken, and now the community is broken.
RASCOE: You are, like, definitely an icon in the horror space. The landscape of horror is changing, though.
RASCOE: Like, you know, I mean, it's going away from, you know, traditional gore and really monsters, who I loved - you know, Freddy Krueger. They're more like psychological, more based in real life. Like, what do you make of that shift?
CURTIS: Yeah. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of the genre...
RASCOE: You don't watch it.
CURTIS: ...On any level. The only thing I know is what my friend Michael Moses, who runs the marketing at Universal, said. He said, horror lets us confront what we can't control.
CURTIS: So the new horror is, I think, just a metabolization of this life we now live through AI and technology and these things that we can't control, which is the very thing that we use every day, you know? But I understand you want old-fashioned monsters and that you're into...
RASCOE: I'm into it.
CURTIS: Because they're tangible.
RASCOE: They are. They are. It's a controlled environment. You get to be scared, but you know that it's not real, and it's not really going to get you, right?
CURTIS: So the way I knew that John Carpenter and Debra Hill had done something - I went and saw that movie at its - you know, pretty much the highest point. And it was in a crowded movie theater. I had asked John Carpenter - I was like, you know, talk to me about Laurie Strode. And he said, I just want her to be vulnerable. And when I was 19, I don't even know if I could spell vulnerable. And what happened was I was in this crowded theater. And then there's the sequence where her friend is across the street, and she's being murdered. And she calls, and Laurie hears something. She hears something that's strange. Laurie checks on the kids and then leaves the house and walks across the street.
And it's a very long walk across the street. You're looking at the house. You're looking at Laurie. You're looking at the house. You're looking at Laurie. You're looking at the house. You're looking at Laurie. And in the middle of that long walk, a woman stood up in the middle of the theater in Hollywood and screamed out loud - and I won't scream into your radio - don't go in there. There's a killer in that house. And in that moment, I understood what the word vulnerability meant. And in that moment, I understood what John and Deborah had created. Like, you knew once she went in that house, there was going to be a collision between good and evil. And that, to me, I think, explains your love of your bad boys.
RASCOE: (Laughter) Yes.
CURTIS: Why you like that - I understand. It's a controlled environment. I get it. I get it. I get it. Jump scares - you know, don't...
CURTIS: ...Don't jump scare Jamie. I'm not...
RASCOE: (Laughter) You're not into it.
CURTIS: I'm hashtag #DontJumpScareJamie.
RASCOE: Jamie Lee Curtis in the new and final film...
RASCOE: ...In the "Halloween" series - she says it's final - "Halloween Ends." Thank you so much for speaking with us.
CURTIS: You are a wonderful person, and I hope you understand how many people listen to you and admire you.
RASCOE: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN CARPENTER'S "HALLOWEEN THEME - MAIN TITLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.