Forty years ago, the sleepy little town of Haddonfield, Illinois, was terrorized by a masked killer known as Michael Myers — but teenage babysitter Laurie Strode survived the massacre, and has continued to live with that trauma for all those years.
For Jamie Lee Curtis, however, finding her way back to the role of Laurie in the upcoming Halloween (which follows the storyline of the 1978 original while ignoring its subsequent sequels) involved a career path that took her out of the realm of horror films for a time.
"I recognized that if I didn't stop doing horror movies when Halloween II happened, I knew I would have no other opportunities," Curtis told SYFY FANGRRLS when we sat down with her ahead of the film's release. "It was the only time in my life I've ever made a conscious decision to do something creatively, and I said 'I'm not going to do any more horror movies.' Not because I didn't care about them, not because I felt that they were less than, not because of any other reason except I knew I would be limited."
It was that fear of potentially being pigeonholed as a scream queen that drove Curtis to seek out other genres upon which to build her career — but after several years in which she pursued other roles in Hollywood, including "selling yogurt that makes you poop," Curtis added that when it was time to come back to the Halloween franchise, she did so "with an open heart."
Telling Laurie's story again after 40 years proved to be a moment of catharsis, not just for Curtis herself but for the entire Halloween crew. Curtis shared an anecdote from the last day of filming, in which she was required to act alone, sans dialogue, as Laurie waits for Michael Myers outside the mental hospital in which he has been imprisoned. For Curtis, much of that moment was left up to her own interpretation as an actor, but it wasn't until she approached the set that she realized all of the crew members were wearing name tags that read 'We Are All Laurie Strode.'
"It was really powerful, because what they were saying is 'We are all traumatized, and we are with you, Laurie Strode.' ... The support she never got, the mental health services she never got, the loving support of friends and family she never got, and here was a movie crew who were all wearing these name tags," Curtis shared. "And then to shoot it was just incredibly powerful, and that, to me, was sort of the defining moment, because what they were saying is that ... we are all in this together, and if we're in it together, we have a chance to make a difference and to change the narrative of the perpetrators, but you can't do it alone."
Check out the entirety of SYFY FANGRRLS' interview with Curtis below, in which she touches on what fans find appealing about Laurie, the relationship between scream queens and feminism, the changes that have taken place in the movie industry since she first started her career in acting, and the rise of Laurie Strode among the return of other older heroines like Sarah Connor and General Leia Organa.