From Halloween to Knives Out: The Best of Jamie Lee Curtis
At the moment in which Jamie Lee Curtis first graced the big screen in 1978’s HALLOWEEN, she became a major movie star. Since then, Curtis has proven that she can tackle almost any genre, from comedies (for both grown-ups and teens) to action movies, heartwarming dramas, and everything in between.
It’s hard to pick any one favorite Jamie Lee Curtis performance because her movies are all so different. (And if you’ve ever had the pleasure to see her in person, you’ll know her Q&A appearances are just as lively, if not more so than her work on screen.) Instead, we chose all of our favorites in a list that represents the very best of Jamie Lee Curtis.
The Scream Queen of Halloween
[Image Credit: Universal Pictures]
Curtis made her acting debut in John Carpenter’s iconic 1978 horror film, which spawned an entire franchise of sequels — a few of which feature Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the heroine whose life is forever connected to the boogeyman Michael Meyers after surviving that fatal night in the first HALLOWEEN.
Although Curtis starred in other early ’80s horror faves like THE FOG (also directed by Carpenter) and PROM NIGHT, her best and most memorable film of this period remains the original HALLOWEEN.
[Image Credit: MGM]
In 1983, Curtis pivoted from Scream Queen to comedies with her role opposite Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in the hilarious TRADING PLACES, directed by John Landis. But she really cemented her comedy skills in the 1988 film A FISH CALLED WANDA, about a group of thieves attempting to outsmart one another to find their gang leader’s hidden diamonds. Curtis reunited with co-stars Kevin Kline and John Cleese (who also wrote the screenplay) in the 1997 comedic farce FIERCE CREATURES.
It seems like Curtis has plenty of humor in her daily life, as she’s married to Christopher Guest, the filmmaker behind BEST IN SHOW and THIS IS SPINAL TAP. More recently, Curtis starred in KNIVES OUT, a hilarious whodunit from THE LAST JEDI director Rian Johnson, co-starring Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, and Don Johnson.
If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, chances are you have a favorite teen movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis as a mom — or a mother figure, as was the case in 1991’s MY GIRL. That film, which follows a young girl’s coming-of-age in the early ’70s, starred Curtis as the girlfriend of a widowed funeral home director, played by her TRADING PLACES co-star Dan Aykroyd. After reprising her role for 1994’s MY GIRL 2, Curtis appeared in HOUSE ARREST among an all-star ensemble that included Wallace Shawn, Kevin Pollak, Jennifer Tilly, and a young Jennifer Love Hewitt. The film follows teen siblings who lock their parents in the basement to prevent them from getting a divorce, inspiring other teen friends to do the same.
Low-key Action Icon
[Image Credit: 20th Century Studios]
By 1994, Curtis was primarily known for her roles in comedies, dramedies, and horror flicks. And although she had previously appeared in the underrated 1990 action thriller BLUE STEEL (directed by future Oscar-winner and THE HURT LOCKER director Kathryn Bigelow), TRUE LIES came as something of a surprise to audiences.
That's particularly because, in the film, she plays an unsuspecting housewife opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as her husband, a boring computer salesman (yeah, right) who leads a double life as a spy (that’s more like it). By the third act of the action-comedy, Curtis upends everyone’s expectations by joining in on the spy fun.
Return to Halloween
[Image Credit: Universal Pictures]
Curtis returned to the film that started it all in 2018’s HALLOWEEN, reprising her role as horror icon Laurie Strode. Both set and released 30 years after the original film, the new HALLOWEEN ignores the other sequels that followed the original movie. Instead, it finds Laurie still struggling to recover from her encounter with Michael Meyers in 1978. Her experience has also had a huge impact on her daughter, played by Judy Greer.
When Meyers escapes from a mental asylum (yet again), Laurie is forced to confront her fears in an effort to defeat him and save her daughter and granddaughter from suffering the same trauma. The sequel/reboot was such a huge success that Curtis is returning to play Laurie Strode in two more sequels: HALLOWEEN KILLS and HALLOWEEN ENDS. These are due in 2021 and 2022, and based on the first teaser for HALLOWEEN KILLS, it seems like the sequel will pick up just minutes following the end of the 2018 movie.