When audiences are reintroduced to Laurie Strode in David Gordon Green's Halloween, it's immediately clear that she isn't quite normal. Forty years ago she experienced a massively traumatic event when psychotic killer Michael Myers tried to kill her, and as a result she lives her life as an introvert and permanently guarded. It sets up a fantastic and awesome performance from Jamie Lee Curtis, but also makes you wonder: how did her post-Halloween 1978 life actually start? The actress revealed exactly that to me during a recent interview while discussing the evolution of the new film's screenplay:
I think the movie got heavier, and more emotional - way more emotional, than was originally scripted. And that's because I showed up, and asked, 'What happened to Laurie?' I believe that on November 1, 1978, I believe Laurie Strode went back to school. I think her parents sent her back to school, and that she left school on October 31st a college-bound intellectual dreamer. And she returned to school on November 1st a freak. And that reality is haunting, and has stayed with her for 40 years.
The new Halloween isn't the first time that Jamie Lee Curtis has returned to the role of Laurie Strode since the 1978 original -- having starred in Halloween II, Halloween: H2O, and Halloween: Resurrection -- but one important element the movie brought to the table in its development was the continuity wipe. Working with David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride, Curtis had the chance to totally rewrite the life experience of her most beloved character, and it began by establishing what happened to her the day after Michael Myers returned to her neighborhood.
I had the opportunity to hop on the phone with Jamie Lee Curtis last month to discuss her role in the new Halloween and her past work in the franchise, and was curious about the evolution of the project as it developed. It was impressive to hear her discuss the attention she paid towards the experiences of Laurie Strode over the last four decades, and how detailed she was in building her performance. For example, you may notice that Laurie has much longer hair than Curtis' normal look, and there's a very good reason for that, as she explained:
Last you saw Laurie, she had the same hair. Most people freeze in their trauma, and freeze in the generation that they were most comfortable. You'll see people who have the same haircut since when they were 25 because that's when they felt the best. I think Laurie Strode has been on her own. She probably gets a haircut once a year, if that. She's obviously not vain, nor is she dressing to impress anyone. Everything was practical. Everything was tactical. Things had to be able to be 'good in an emergency.'