The footage screened had a distinct old-school horror tone and at the press conference following the previewed footage, screenwriter Diablo Cody, director Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux), producer Jason Reitman, and Fox talked about dipping their toes into the horror genre and capturing that tone.
Megan Fox, Diablo Cody, Karyn Kusama and Jason Reitman Jennifer's Body Press ConferenceHow was it playing a character who is so over the top and so incredibly outrageous?
Megan Fox: "I think what I loved about the movie is it’s so unapologetic and how completely inappropriate it is at all times. That was my favorite part about the script and about the character. It’s fun to be able to say the sh-t that she got to say and get away with it, and how people find it charming."
Can you talk about the challenges of creating a new horror mythology in a world where we’re inundated with remakes and reboots, and what resistance you might have faced creating that?
Diablo Cody: "Moi? You know, for me, I was simultaneously trying to pay tribute to some of the conventions that we’ve already seen in horror, yet, at the same time, kind of turn them on their ear. So it was truly like a post-modern thriller in that, on the one hand, I grew up watching these amazing '80s genre movies like The Lost Boys and this and that, and I wanted to honor that and, at the same time, I had never really seen this particular subgenre done with girls. I tried to do a little of both."
Were there any horror films with a strong female angle that you did like?
Diablo Cody: "You know what’s interesting, and it’s been pointed out many times before, is that often the last survivor standing in the typical horror film is a woman. You think about Nancy or Jason’s mother or any of the great heroines of horror, if you choose to look at them that way. I think horror has always had kind of a feminist angle to it in a weird way and, at the same time, it’s kind of delightfully exploitative. One of my favorite things about doing a horror movie is that we got to do a little of both."
Instead of a final girl, is there a final guy?
[Diablo Cody shakes her head]
Karyn Kusama: "I think also a lot of horror is about femaleness – whether it’s Carrie or Rosemary’s Baby – I feel like there’s a lot of fear of the female or kind of celebration of it in some weird way, and something about this movie managed to take the fear and the sense that it’s the female that ultimately survives and sort of marry that in a really interesting way."
Horror often has a sense of humor about it. When you’re writing it, do you find things that you thought were funny that could be injected so the audience had some relief from the horror aspects of it?
Diablo Cody: "Well the funny thing is, when I first set out to write this, I intended to write something very dark, very brooding, a traditional slasher movie. And then I realized about a third of the way into the process that I was incapable of doing that because the humor just kept sneaking in. I have a macabre sense of humor. A lot of the things in the movie that are horrifying are funny to me. I’ve always said that I think comedy films and horror films are kind of similar in the sense that you can actually witness the audience having a physical release. They’re laughing, they’re screaming, it’s not a passive experience. So, I actually think comedy and horror are kind of similar in that way."
That vomit scene was pretty outrageous. How did you shoot that and what other crazy stuff did you get to do?
Megan Fox: "That day I think what I was actually throwing up in the scene was chocolate syrup initially. We did a few takes where I would just do this scream and sort of puke[…]chocolate syrup. And then, special effects did a rig that clamps onto my ear and you revisit it in the pool scene, which you probably haven’t seen, but it happens again later on in the movie. It clips on. It goes around the back of my ear and then I bite down on it on the side of my face, like this, and it projectiles. It’s a tube and…"
Karyn Kusama: "It’s kind of old school."
Megan Fox: "Yeah, and it projects whatever that material was. I’m not sure. It was pretty intense. I think it was worse for Amanda [Seyfried] because she’s the one that got puked on. I was the one doing the puking."
Did you have to go with more practical effects on the set as opposed to CG?
Karyn Kusama: "Yeah. It was a choice that we all sort of made organically. I think we appreciate those kind of effects in older movies and I question sometimes how much more effective it is to use a ton of CG, so we always started with a practical effect and then moved forward from there to lay a groundwork of something that’s actually physically, materially there. It was more fun, too."
Jason, this is considerably different from the movies that you’ve been making as a director. Does this scratch an itch that you have for genre and are we ever going to see you do anything along these lines?
Jason Reitman: "I found Thank You for Smoking to be terrifying, personally. It doesn’t work that way for everyone. I always loved horror film, and certainly I go see more horror films than probably any other genre in the theater. I saw the movie See No Evil… I would love to. I hope I’m as capable of doing it as Karyn is. It’s an intimidating genre because there are people who certainly do it very well. But, I mean, I love horror films."