Jamie Lee Curtis on Saying Goodbye to Laurie Strode in ‘Halloween Ends’: ‘She Is My Legacy’
When Jamie Lee Curtis walked the black carpet outside the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday night for the world premiere of “Halloween Ends,” she was less than 24 hours away from becoming permanently cemented into Hollywood history — or at least, more so than she’s already been — with a hand and footprint ceremony on Wednesday morning.
“I’m, of course, thrilled, honored,” Curtis told Variety about being immortalized outside the theatre. “My family will be there with me, friends, colleagues, collaborators, the community of artists. I’m an artist, I get to make this work. I didn’t think I’d be an actor. I thought I’d be a cop. So the idea that I get to be an actor and do this beautiful work is really very powerful to me.”
The back-to-back events capped an emotional world tour for the scream queen as she says goodbye to Laurie Strode, a character she’s played for the last 44 years, since John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” in 1978. Over the last few weeks, she’s been reflecting on the legacy of the character and what she’s meant to audiences.
“The universal understanding of Laurie Strode is that as this original ‘final girl’ she never gave up, always pushing through no matter what. It is beyond comprehension that that is my legacy,” Curtis shared. “I feel like I haven’t given up, that I have continued to try, but not at the level of Laurie Strode.”
She continued: “What I’ve gotten from her is way more than she’s gotten from me. Because when I’m gone, her legacy will become mine. Now, of course, I have my children, and that is my life, and that’s crucial. But in the films, she is my legacy, and I could not be prouder of any legacy — unless it’s like Mother Teresa or, you know, a great great Nelson Mandela or somebody like that — but in a film character, there’s not one you could name that I would rather be than Laurie Strode.”
Curtis was joined at the premiere by her co-stars, including Andi Matichak, Kyle Richards, Rohan Campbell, James Jude Courtney, Omar Dorsey, Joanne Baron and Michael Barbieri, and the film’s director David Gordon Green, who all offered their perspective on Curtis’ impact.
“It’s been incredibly surreal,” Matichak said. “Getting to be along this last ride for Jamie Lee and getting to watch her, and walk alongside her, as she takes her last walk in Laurie Strode’s shoes, and take the most elegant bow I think you could for a character… The way that she brings the depth to this, she does her such justice in this film.”
Courtney has embodied “The Shape” a.k.a. Michael Myers opposite Curtis’ Strode in the reboot trilogy and shared what it was like filming their final showdown for this film. “It was powerful and dark and violent and erotic and an insane release of pain and suffering, an incredible release,” he teased.
About Curtis herself, he shared what has become his go-to description: “She’s a poster child for an empowered woman. And an empowered human being empowers everyone around them, and she’s empowered an entire legacy, an entire genre of human beings.”
Richards witnessed Curtis’ evolution in the role firsthand after starring in 1978’s “Halloween” and developing a close friendship with her in the years since (one that saw Curtis making a couple special guest appearances on this season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”)
“In other movies you’d see Jason or Freddy Krueger, but you didn’t really know the opponent,” Richards explained. “What Jamie did with Laurie and the relationship between Laurie and Michael all these years, people are so invested in these characters, and that’s a testament to Jamie Lee Curtis and what she’s brought to these movies and Laurie. She’s just such a good person, I think people just know that about her; you just can’t help but want to be with her and see her all the time.”
Inside the theater, Green surprised Curtis by introducing a video tribute from a group of horror actors and fellow “final girls” — including Toni Collette (“Hereditary,” “The Sixth Sense” and Curtis’ co-star in “Knives Out”), Naomi Watts (“The Ring” franchise), Heather Langenkamp (“Nightmare on Elm Street”), Abigail Breslin (Curtis’ co-star in “Scream Queens”), Katie Cassidy (2010’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”), Sara Paxton (2009’s “The Last House on the Left”), Loretta Devine (“Urban Legend”), Sharni Vinson (“You’re Next”) and more — who thanked her for paving the way.
“I don’t think I know a person who’s more passionate and more dedicated, more kind of vital and alive on set. You inspire me,” Collette said. “From one scream queen to another. You are the queen of all horror. I’m so happy that you get to have your celebration tonight, and that everyone’s celebrating you,” added Watts.
The clip closed with a montage of Curtis as Strode over the decades before three words filled the screen: “Thank You Jamie.” As Curtis walked down the stairs to the front of the theatre, the crowd erupted in applause, giving the icon a standing ovation.
“I can’t actually believe I’m standing here,” Curtis said, as an audience member called out “We love you!” Curtis replied, “I appreciate that. Thank you very much,” choking back tears. “I can’t believe that my legacy, way after I’m gone, except through my children, will be that I never gave up. And I think that’s the most important message all of us can share, in every aspect of our lives, always, forever. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Now let’s see this fucking movie!”
“Halloween Ends” debuts in theaters and streaming on Peacock on Oct. 14.
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