Director/studio exec Joe Roth fell for the John Grisham novel, "Skipping Christmas" (changed to "Christmas with the Kranks" for the movie), before it was even published. Writer/director Chris Columbus eventually bought the rights to the book and asked Roth to direct the film, and for Roth it felt like a project he couldn't turn down. "I promised myself that if I could get the right cast in place, I would do it. At the top of my list to play the Kranks were Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. I sent them the script and they immediately committed. It seemed like fate."
In this interview, "Kranks" star Jamie Lee Curtis talks about taking on the family-friendly movie, pretentious films, and art versus entertainment:
INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE LEE CURTIS ('Nora'):
Has your comic sensibility moved more toward family-oriented fare?
Yeah, it has actually. First of all, Im just not interested in sort of the adult fare in movies right now. If I never see another person have sex on film I will be happy. Its just Im done. I was done after Its a Wonderful Life with them on the phone call, where Jimmy Stewarts on the phone call to his old friend. Donna Reeds coming up behind him and theyre just so palpably in love with each other and you see that. If I never see people slamming up each against each other, I will be fine.
To me, I am looking for something I can go with my family to. I am, theres no question. I have a 9 year-old son and I want to go to the movies. Id like to see Sideways, apparently thats funny. But that would be an adult fare that I would like to go see with my husband. There may be people banging up against each other in that, I dont know, but that wouldnt be what I was going to see. Id be going to see the comic storytelling. But I am looking for family fare, and there isnt a lot. There isnt a lot.
I work very little so now, as the mother of two, I have to keep it into family fare. And all the adult fare that I did was primarily before I had children and/or my sensibility may have been that it was somehow okay. I know theres another actress who talked about it recently, about her kids responding to her adult work and that they were mortified. And she was like, Well, you know, this is my work. Well, you know what? I didnt really think about it. I have an 18 year-old daughter and I would be mortified if she and her friends took in a movie of more adult fare. And I would really be mortified of my little boy. And yet, Im going to have to live with that.
Even though a lot of your more adult films are quite good movies?
I understand. But would you want your mother topless in a movie? Would you want your friends When youre 20 years old, you just dont think about that. And certainly thats something that you choose to do. I try not to regret it like a big regret, but its certainly going to be something Im going to have to navigate. And thats going to be a big difficult moment for my boy.
Is it a much wider idea in which family trumps art?
But its not art. I dont think it is art.
You dont consider any of the work that youve done in movies as art?
What do you think of it as?
Entertainment. Its fun. I love art films. I am a fan of them. Im someone who frequents them. I have a Laemmle hall pass which allows me to go to any movie. So I will be at a Laemmle Theatre, which is usually the more art related films. But none of the movies Ive ever made are there. My husbands movies are there. Certain people whose visual style is so profound I was trying to think of the martial arts movie that just came out. Hero. Art meets narrative storytelling. But the movies that I do are not art, theyre entertainment.
So you dont see yourself as an artist?
Not as a movie actor. Youre not going to hear myself being called the artist formerly known as Jamie Lee Curtis. No. As a writer, I do see a slightly more artistic vision in writing. But no, entertainment is entertainment. Im not even going to call my books, necessarily, art. Although [illustrator] Laura Cornells art work is art. No, I call it entertainment. Im not going to call horror movies art. Theyre horror movies. They are entertainment. They are distractions.
Do you want to do art?
No. Im a fan of art. Im a buyer of art. I collect photographs. I have an amazing collection of photographs. Sally Mann is an artist. Shes not a commercially driven photographer. Shes an artist and has made that choice.