Interview : Jamie Lee Curtis
Date : November 23, 2004     Writer : Clint Morris


Jamie Lee Curtis was in a playful mood, but that didn’t stop her from announcing that Christmas with the Kranks might well be her last movie. “Yep, done, done, done.” But then the still beautiful star baulks at the word ‘retirement’. “But I do think that there is a point. It is that weird world of you either saying I am looking for wonderful projects to do or you go: you know what I would really like is to raise my kids and my son and that the consistent focus of my life will be family.”

Curtis said that she doesn’t have a desperate need to work, certainly not for financial reasons. “I have made some good financial choices, raised by very conservative people and have saved every penny I have ever made. So I’ve done very well for myself am self-made and my books are incredibly successful, all of which I have taken very good care of,” Curtis confesses.

At 46, Curtis looks perennially youthful and sexy, qualities she takes advantage of in the family comedy Christmas with the Kranks, a film about a suburban comedy that decides to skip Christmas and instead embark on a Caribbean cruise, much to the utter chagrin of her equally suburban neighbours. One key scene has Curtis parading around a shopping mall in an overly tight bikini, which accentuates the actress’s breasts. “I have really big breasts and they have only gotten bigger,” she says laughingly, crediting her large-breasted Hungarian grandmother for then consistently large cleavage. “My grandmother is from Budapest, where they have the uniboob, just one giant breast with a line down the middle. So the bathing suit talk was how are we going to get away with this, since it is a family film, conceived by people, like Chris Columbus who is a family guy, very religious, with know strong moral values. How do we put me into a bikini bathing suit and not have it be R rated because I am endowed,” as she thanks her late mother Janet Leigh. “God bless you for many things but you know one that I had very little to do with,” Curtis adds smilingly.

Of course Christmas with the Kranks is very much a Hollywood family film, and large breasts or not, the actress sees the film as thematically important this holiday season, wanting families who see the film, “to take away what is intended, which is that community and family is important and that being together as a group of people is what the holidays are supposed to be about, a time of families coming together. The rest of it can be left aside and really no matter what if your family is with you, you are lucky.”

Curtis, who began her career first screaming her heart out in Halloween, and then appearing naked in several films, says that starring in the likes of Christmas with the Kranks and the previous Freaky Friday, have to do with being a concerned parent. “I made adult choices when I made them. I try not to regret them, but certainly there are things that I will have to navigate in a difficult way with my kids to have them see and I am sorry that I am going to put them in that position. After all in my mother’s generation, the most risqué thing my mother ever did was wear a bra in Psycho.”
Asked what the hardest thing is she will ever have to explain to her children, the actress simply says that she is not going to explain to them. “It is just that they will see me naked in a movie, which has got to be difficult. I am not a nudist; and don’t walk around naked in front of their friends, so in that sense I find it to be something that I have had to accept that that is something my kids are going to have to navigate.”

As she is reluctant to talk about the naked phase of her career, when it comes to Halloween, which many consider a horror classic, looking back, the outspoken actress is not quite so kind. “You know what? Halloween wasn’t a classic, but 18 days of young filmmakers making the movie. End of story nothing else. It was just what it was, cheap, nothing. Then it became something that people think of as being bigger then life, but if you really look at them, they’re not, but just a movie.”

While we may see less of the formidable Ms Curtis on the screen, she is not going to give up her writing of kids’ books any time soon. “I just released my sixth book to a great success called It Is Hard To Be Five, Learning How to Work My Control Panel, which is a wonderful book about self control.” The actress/author says there are many more in the pipeline, “Eight, nine, ten, twelve, fifteenth. I have them kind of lined up like airplanes on a runway.”

Writer or movie star, we haven’t seen the last of the outspoken Jamie Lee Curtis.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS OPENS ON FRIDAY.

- PAUL FISCHER






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