Jamie Lee Curtis’ Oscar win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was the crowning achievement in a career that was already filled with them. Since bursting onto the scene in John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” Curtis has been able to alternate between horror, comedy, drama, and action with a versatility rarely found in Hollywood.
In a recent interview with IndieWire, Curtis looked back on her genre-spanning career. When the conversation turned to her role in “True Lies,” she explained that the process of filming James Cameron’s action comedy was just as dangerous as it looked.
“All of that was real people, real places,” Curtis said. “The speed was real, because you can’t do it slowly, you have to do it at speed. I asked for two things for both the helicopter stunt and all of the limousine stunt work: I am tethered to the limousine through a safety belt that is then tethered to a carabiner that is then tethered to a strap which is secured onto a piece of steel in the car. The concern in the limousine would be that I would be expelled — like, if for some reason the limousine hit the wall, that I would be catapulted out of it.”
Curtis said she was up for the challenge, and didn’t ask for many additional safety precautions. Her only request was that she be given a knife to cut herself free in the event of an emergency.
“My only condition was that there be a knife embedded in the upholstery of the limousine so that if for some reason that limousine went off the bridge — because we were driving really fast and banging up against the sides of the the highway — you pop a toggle, the car flips, and you go over,” she said. “The only thing I didn’t want to do was go down with the limo into the water. And I wanted the strap to be made of seatbelt material, so that I could cut it loose and have my chances. And the exact same thing was in the helicopter. I wouldn’t do it unless there was a guy in the helicopter with wire cutters. Because again, if the helicopter had to ditch over the ocean, I just didn’t want to be tethered to it. And I wanted to be able to be cut loose from it and then take my chances free falling.”
Ultimately, Curtis’ commitment to practical stunts is just another example of the enthusiasm she brings to all of her projects, regardless of genre.
“I was willing to do all of it,” she said of the experience. “I’m willing to do almost anything, I have no fear of heights. I’ve done descender falls, which are gnarly because you descend at a speed and then the descender slows you right at the end. But you’re free falling there for a period of time. So, that type of work: I have zero fear.”