Why Jamie Lee Curtis Joined Scream Queens After First Saying No

When you think of the term “Scream Queen,” Jamie Lee Curtis is one of iconic actresses who automatically comes to mind. So it makes a great deal of sense that series creator Ryan Murphy would want her for his new Fox show, Scream Queens. The problem is, she initially said no. However, he was determined enough to land her, not to mention flexible as hell, that she finally relented and we’ll see Jamie Lee Curtis on Scream Queens this fall, but it was close, and tricky.

Talking to Variety, Curtis revealed that, even though she was flattered when Murphy called her up and said he was specifically writing a part for her, other responsibilities at home wouldn’t allow her to pick up and move to New Orleans for months of shooting. She said:

The easiest no I ever said. My son is still in high school. And I am the matriarch of my family. … So I literally said the word ‘bummer.’ I’m 56, and I said the word ‘bummer.’ I walked away from this.

But fortunately for fans, Murphy was not so easily dissuaded that he would take a definitive “no” for an answer. Instead of looking for another actress with a more easily navigated calendar, he jerry-rigged the shooting schedule to accommodate Curtis. Instead of a prolonged shoot, her schedule is now lumped together into four five-day chunks, where she’ll only have to travel twice a month.

Murphy said that it was “totally worth it” to adjust the schedule. This is Jamie Lee Curtis after all, and if you’re a horror fan, and you have the possibility of adding a genre icon like her to your horror series, you make the effort and the sacrifice.

And not only is Murphy super psyched to have Curtis on board, she’s quite pumped up herself. She said:

I am not a trained person. I cannot do accents. You’re not going to hire me to play Marie Antoinette. I cannot sing. I can dance a little. I don’t do impressions. I’m not the Lea Michele level of talent. (But) I can tell a joke. I’m brave, I’m strong, I’m opinionated. I scare easily. I fight back. If you took every job I’ve ever done and boil it down, it’s going to boil down to be ‘Scream Queens.’

From what we know of Curtis’ role, it certainly sounds like it’s going to be an absolute blast. Murphy says that she gets to be funny and “unexpectedly sexy,” both of which are promising. Her character, Cathy Munsch, the dean of the university, is also apparently having an affair with star Emma Roberts’ boyfriend on the show, and Curtis even become a leader on the set, someone the younger actors look up to. And why the hell wouldn’t you look up to Jamie Lee Curtis?

Check out the Scream Queens trailer below:

Scream Queens debuts with a two-part pilot on Fox on September 22.