Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis with Jason Blum
Do the Hustle
As one of Hollywood’s original scream queens, Jamie Lee Curtis was perhaps destined to join forces with horror honcho Jason Blum. But for Curtis, it was the Blum’s character, not his credits, that sealed the deal. Today, they’re collaborating on films — the second installment of Blumhouse’s Halloween reboot, Halloween Kills, opens on October 15 — and an array of TV projects, including a series based on novelist Patricia Cornwell’s best-selling thrillers featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.
How did you and Jason meet?
I first met Jason when we had lunch at Crossroads Kitchen on Beverly Boulevard, which is a vegan restaurant. And he pulls up in his ubiquitous van because, you know, he doesn't drive. He knows how to drive, but he is way ahead of the curve and figured out that it's better to have a van where you can work in between the destination. We had lunch, and right away I understood who he was.
And who is he?
He's a hustler. I'm a hustler. I love a good hustle. I think hustling is a really attractive aspect of someone's personality. Passive people do not interest me. As soon as we finished [the 2018 remake of Halloween, produced by Blumhouse], I was so turned on working with [director] David Gordon Green and his inventive way of filmmaking that I came back and realized I was going to die soon, because I'm old.
I woke up in my 60s and said, "If not now, when? If not me, who?" Like, "I'm gonna die, and all of the creativity in me that I have not brought out into the world is going to die with me."
I wrote a screenplay, a horror film that I've had in my head since I was 19 years old, called Mother Nature — an eco-horror film. And I went to Jason and said, "I have ideas I want to work on." I formed a company called Comet Pictures, which I put with him. Now we are an official entity, and we just sold four TV shows. I have a movie script, two podcasts — we're very busy.
It sounds like you were inspired by being around him and working with him.
I was inspired by every aspect of Blumhouse. Mostly the hustle, the attention to filmmakers and the written word — and the hustle. The money part of it, the fact that he makes movies for lower budgets, is just a smart business model.
Tell me about the series based on the Kay Scarpetta books.
I am social friends with [author] Patricia Cornwell. We have known each other for about five or six years socially. We see each other when we're in each other's town. We don't know each other super, super well, but we're getting to know each other better. I love her wife; she loves my husband; the four of us are good friends.
Originally, when I was speaking to her about one of the books, I assumed the company that published the book owned the rights to it. It was not true. They were available. I brought [the book] to Blumhouse thinking it might be a good fit. It's a little off-brand to them, so it didn't fit, necessarily.
But Chris McCumber who's the new president of television, is a terrific guy — clear as a bell, really smart and inventive. Chris said to me, "My wife has read every one of her Scarpetta books." At the time, they were unspoken for. Myriad companies have owned rights, tried to develop movies for many big stars, held those rights for many, many, many years and never brought Scarpetta to the screen.
I went to Patricia and said, "I will bring this to the screen. I will personally produce this. Can we come to you with an offer?" She said yes. It took a long negotiation. And my being a participant producer was a big part of the negotiation. So, we are actively developing a TV series about Kay Scarpetta. We are just at the beginning of that development process, but it's moving really fast.
You have a few other projects in the works, no?
Yes, we've just sold a show to Showtime based on an Ariel Levy article in The New Yorker called "A World Without Pain," which is about a woman who feels no physical or emotional pain. We've sold a pilot to Showtime called Numb, written by Nicole Delaney. We just sold a show to Amazon Canada called The Sticky, which is based on the famous maple syrup heist in Canada.
Are you producing these shows, or are you going to be in front of the camera?
I am producing them. The whole idea for me with Comet Pictures was to be able to be producer goddess. Mother Nature I will direct and be in. I'm sure I will make an appearance somewhere, maybe, in one of these shows. I certainly am not going to play Kay Scarpetta. I promised Patricia that I would be an active producer, and I am continuing to hold to that promise. There's a lot I would like to do besides just pretend to be other people.
Have you ever been to the Blumhouse Halloween party?
No, I still have young people in my life. I am not a big party person. You have to remember one thing: I am Halloween. I don't have to do anything but leave a bowl of candy outside my door, and I can rest easy. I have done my Halloween duty. I started in 1978. I don't have to put on costumes. I don't have to go to parties.
All I have to do is smile and say, "Thank you, universe, God, for my creative life, because none of it would have happened without John Carpenter and Debra Hill hiring me to be Laurie Strode.
Anything else you want to add about your favorite hustler?
No, except my admiration for Jason's passion. His passion is contagious. I don't know if you've ever been to the Blumhouse offices, but they have pictures of all the directors they work with on the wall. And then there's there's a mirror. And basically, it says, "Your face here." So you can go into those offices and look at all of the different directors they've worked with, and then there's a mirror, and you look in it, and it's as if to say, "It can be you, too."
That's the example of who I think he is, which is he wants to help people manifest their destiny through hard work, low budget, creativity, passion, talent and tenacity. I think that's the message that he gives you when you go into that office and a reason for its success. And it's certainly what he's given me. All I ever wanted was somebody to believe in me, and he has done so, and I'm really grateful.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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