At a very exclusive press event, Fox showed a select group of journalists the first fifteen minutes of “Jennifer’s Body”, a film that is both macabre and hilarious. Megan Fox chews the scenery and showed off her funny side throughout this engaging press conference. Paul Fischer was in attendance and fired off the first question.
Question: How was it playing a character that 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 shit that she got to say and get away with it and how people find it charming.
Question: 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?
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 and I tried to do a little of both.
Question: So is this The Lost Girls?
Diablo Cody: (Laughs)
Question: 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.
Question: Instead of a final girl, is there a final guy? [Diablo 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.
Question: 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.
Question: 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 Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Scratch the Hershey’s because I don’t want to endorse that or anything. 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 because she’s the one that got puked on. I was the one doing the puking.
Question: 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.
Question: 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 and I still haven’t seen The 400 Blows so … 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.
Question: Karyn, how did you get involved in this? Your previous two movies were both very interesting and very different. Why this one? How did this get to you?
Karyn Kusama: I was blessed to read this script at a moment where the producers were meeting with directors and it just knocked me out. It was just so original, so imaginative. That’s what it is about this script and the world is that it feels like a fairy tale gone psycho and I think that’s what most fairy tales actually started as. So, they’ve just been sort of neutralized over the years and there’s something about this story that felt old, like coming from old stories but totally fresh, and I just went to bat for myself, I guess.
Question: Is there going to be a big gap between this movie and the next one?
Karyn Kusama: I hope not.
Question: Megan, did you have any trepidation towards playing this type of role, and once you actually started doing some of these scenes, how was the experience for you in terms of the acting change, like from what you’re normally used to doing?
Megan Fox: Oh, you mean from Transformers to making this movie?
Question: (Laughs) I did not say that.
Megan Fox: How are they different? Well, obviously, there’s not distractions, like there’s no robots to distract you from whatever performance I do give. So, if it’s terrible, you’re gonna fucking know that it’s really terrible. That, of course, is intimidating but I think the character was so much fun for me. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I was just trying to have fun with it and I felt like I was able to make fun of my own image as to how some people might perceive Megan Fox to be. I was just sort of flying freely and I hope some of it works. Oh thank you, you’re so sweet.
Question: Of what we saw, it worked. We thought it worked great and you did really well.
Megan Fox: Thank you. You guys…
Question: We got a sense of how scary and how funny it can be, but how sexy can this movie be?
Megan Fox: Oh this movie is so sexy. You better put on your fucking sexy shoes for this movie. (Laughter) I mean, there’s a relationship that happens. There’s a relationship between my character and Amanda’s character that is, I guess, depending on who you are, either a common relationship that you grew up with or not but there’s sort of a hint of…there’s like a little bit of a Lesbian relationship that happens. There’s a girl on girl kiss. I feel like it’s an homage to that but also we poke fun at how common that is in horror movies. And beyond that, before every kill there’s a seduction that occurs. These boys have to be seduced into getting close enough to this dead girl for her to devour them. So it does get [sexy]. I think I’m pretty sexy in it. I don’t know.
Diablo Cody: For sure.
Karyn Kusama: It’s pretty sexy.
Question: Karyn, in all three of your films, based on what we’ve seen here, it seems like you deal with different facets of violence. There’s the science fiction over-the-top violence of Aeon Flux or the more grotesque, dark violence of this. How do you deal with the various types of violence that you see in the different films? Is there a different approach to them or is it all the same from your perspective?
Karyn Kusama: It’s definitely different with each movie. With Girlfight, I think it was important to actually be authentic to the world of amateur boxing and to the emotional dynamics within the ring, and with Aeon Flux, I think that was sort of…there were some approaches to violence I was trying to take. I think the finished film didn’t really reflect that entirely but there was a different kind of interest in like just the way the body moves through space. That was interesting to me. With this movie, it was really important to know the mechanics of violence as a movie tool so that, for instance, when Jennifer pukes, it should be black as tar and it should come out big and loud and it should be a shocking moment. I feel like in a way somebody mentioned that the movie feels kind of over the top. It was important to know when to go there and not back down from it feeling like a genre movie while trying to keep it real between the characters and keep the world of it kind of real.
Question: Was there ever a push and pull with the MPAA? Did you guys ever go for a PG-13 cut or was it always set as an R?
Karyn Kusama: We always knew.
Diablo Cody: The language alone is just so…
Question: It wasn’t too long ago that if a filmmaker had had the kind of breakthroughs that you guys have all had in different films, they would never do horror. They would have done horror before the breakthrough. You guys went back and did it. What do you think that says about what’s going on in the trends in filmmaking right now?
Diablo Cody: For me, it’s personal passion. To me, horror is better than anything. To me, anything I could have done would build into this so this was what I wanted.
Jason Reitman: You’ve got a generation of directors here who grew up on horror and we’re also all from the VHS generation as well so…
Karyn Kusama: And I think you can watch a lot of horror and really, sort of just like a Pandora’s Box, crazy shit just keeps coming out of that box. You can find so many amazing movies. When I look at the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I basically feel like it’s a crazy art movie that just happened to become this youthquake event. That movie would never get made now, like in that way. It would never be made that way. It’s been remade in a different way. I think in a way horror speaks to all of us. It’s definitely like the genre to try to get to and to try to achieve in my opinion.
Jason Reitman: I remember cracking open my father’s laser disk of Nightmare on Elm Street and having the coolest movie moments of my childhood and I can’t imagine having that experience with any other genre. I can’t imagine dangerously opening a broad comedy in the middle of the night hoping I wouldn’t get caught. I have an idea there’s a kid out there who will be secretly opening up a Blu-ray of Jennifer’s Body and I think it’s pretty exciting to all of us.
Diablo Cody: This is totally going to be that movie where there’ll be like this 11-year-old boy who’s like…
Karyn Kusama: … and the 11-year-old girl. It’s a crazy enough movie. Somebody asked about when I got into the process. When I read the script, the first thing I felt viscerally was, man, if I was 17, if I was just like a younger person right now, this is the movie I would see 10 times in the theater. I just feel a pull toward it that’s speaks to me and it’s like not intellectual. It’s just emotional. I think that the best horror and the best comedies speak to you on just this very visceral level.
Question: Megan, are you a fan of horror as a general rule? Is this a genre that you’re naturally drawn to?
Megan Fox: I’m actually not. I don’t ever, ever watch scary movies because I have a very intense fear of the dark and the last horror movie I saw, I think it was called Tooth Fairy, and it was out in 2005 or something, and I was like 15 years old and I saw it and I slept with my mother for 2 weeks afterwards. I get really affected by them. So, I think for me to be able to play something that I would normally be frightened by was really intriguing and interesting.
Question: How did you react when you saw the movie?
Megan Fox: I saw the movie… I was doing ADR on it recently and I didn’t know that they had done more sound design since the last time I’d seen it and so we were watching the clip that I was going to add a scream to and I remember the screams that I did on set and I didn’t know they had added more. So, when I got to that part, I literally jumped and screamed inside the looping booth. It frightened me and it shook me up for 5 minutes. I couldn’t do my ADR because I was like, ” Holy shit! That was really scary!” It’s cool to see myself being able to scare people because I’m just a little girl. Look at me, I’m so sweet.
Question: Diablo, I know you’ve been to the Toronto Film Festival, and now you’re going to premiere Jennifer’s Body at Midnight Madness in front of a intense crowd to say the least. Are you excited about that?
Diablo Cody: I’m so excited. That’s all I can say about it. I love Toronto and when I found out we were going to get to do this, especially with that crowd. I love the tradition of the Midnight Madness. I think it’s going to be so cool.
Jason Reitman: I’ve been going to Sundance and Toronto since I was a teenager and bringing short films to both and I’ve always been an enormous fan. When I’ve gone through the catalogs, I mean, frankly the Midnight Madness movies always seem more exciting in the catalog than the dramatic fare. Every dramatic film reads exactly the same and then you’re like, ” Oh, finally! Nazi Zombies in the Snow.” This is what I was looking for and that’s the one you’ve been wanting to line up for. Yeah, the idea that we’re participating in it is pretty great.
Question: Are you all going to be there for the premiere?
Question: Diablo, if this was going to be playing at the New Bev (New Beverly Cinema in L.A.), what would you pair it with?
Diablo Cody: You know what? I was thinking about this the other day, weirdly enough. I hate to piggyback on what I did last year, but I think this is a Friday Night Double Feature.
Question: Diablo, you had a cameo in the footage that we saw.
Diablo Cody: Sorry (laughs).
Question: I was wondering, will we be seeing more of you in the film?
Diablo Cody: No, no, that was it. I think that was even like a pitty shot that you saw from Karyn. (laughs)
Question: And Jason, might we see a cameo of you in the film?
Jason Reitman: (deadpan) Absolutely not.
Question: How important is the music in a film like this? I noticed a lot of very specific bands placed in band posters in there and I know that you dealt with the Moldy Peaches music that was in Juno. Were you involved in the music selection or at least the band poster selection that was on the walls of the bar?
Karyn Kusama: The music was a huge component of the movie. First, the songs that we see and hear performed, but then, just the vibe of the movie actually. As the movie progresses, it becomes a pretty clearly music-oriented movie. It’s sort of a youth movie. Some of those bands were totally made up and some of them are not.
Diablo Cody: I wanted Screeching Weasel in the movie really bad.
Karyn Kusama: Yup.
Diablo Cody: That was important.
Karyn Kusama: It’s good that we got Screeching Weasel.
Question: Megan, I know that you said that you’re not a big horror movie fan, but for the rest of you guys, are there a couple of movies that stand out to you as some of your favorites?
Karyn Kusama: I’m a Near Dark junkie. I need to see that movie every year just to get through life.
Diablo Cody: My all time favorites are Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now.
Jason Reitman: I’m a Shining guy. I know some people don’t like it.
Karyn Kusama: (scary voice) You are alone.
Jason Reitman: I know. I remember seeing that as a kid and it scaring the living shit out of me and the imagery really staying with me. I remember seeing the original Alien. In fact, my father took me camping when I was a kid and told me Alien as a campfire story. And his [version of Alien] continued, his Alien made it back down to Earth. And then, later on, I started watching the movie, Alien, and started realizing I knew exactly where everything was going to go – the face sucker, the thing bursting from the chest – and then honestly, I was young enough to have a moment of ” Oh my God, they ripped my father off!” and then it came to me that, no.
Question: Diablo, the fire scene in the barroom that you appear in, all I could think about was the Great White performance in Rhode Island and that whole crazy event. Was that where this came from?
Diablo Cody: Not specifically. It’s weird. It has come up a few times. To me, I am afraid of fire and fire technics and all that stuff which is why I don’t know why I asked to be in the bar scene because I’ve never exploded before.
Karyn Kusama: And you asked to be set on fire. Do you remember?
Diablo Cody: That was me trying to conquer a fear. By the way, they would not allow me to do a full burn for insurance purposes, even though I argued that Burt Reynolds had done it once. But apparently he got really hurt, so they would not let me. To me, there’s nothing more horrifying than being stuck in a claustrophobic space as it is burning down so, to me, it was more like tapping into a personal fear. That’s not tough.
Question: Diablo, are you going to get behind the camera and do your own horror film now?
Megan Fox: I noticed that all of your questions have been for Diablo.
Question: I’m sorry.
Megan Fox: I think that’s kind of strange. [laughter]
Diablo Cody: I’m so embarrassed right now.
Question: Yeah, you’re a little red in the face right now.
Diablo Cody: I’ll direct for you. If I were to direct, I would want to direct a horror movie, I think. I don’t know if that will ever happen. I need to improve my skill set.