We recently flew up to Vancouver, Canada, for a look at the making of Jennifer's Body. The film reteams Juno director Jason Reitman with his Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. With Reitman producing this time out, Karyn Kusama has jumped behind the lens of their upcoming horror show. She is the master storyteller behind the acclaimed Girlfight as well as the much maligned Aeon Flux. The plot of Jennifer's Body revolves around a demon-possessed cheerleader (Megan Fox) that takes to feeding off the boys in a small Minnesota farming town. And it should be a hoot.
While on the set, we got to hang out with actors Adam Brody and Amanda Seyfried as well as director Kusama and producer Reitman. On this particular day of shooting, Megan Fox never made it into our interview tent. That may have had something to do with the naked pictures of Fox that surfaced on the Internet just hours before our visit.
In the movie, Adam Brody plays the frontman for brooding rock group Low Shoulder. On this gloomy day, shooting was taking place in a faked out bar where Low Shoulder would be performing amidst a raging inferno. While we didn't get to see any actual scenes take place, we did get to chat with Diablo Cody for a bit. In the very near future, we will have her entire interview, as well as an extensive look at the making of Jennifer's Body. For now, we present to you our conversation with the writer about where she's been lately and what her plans are for the future. Those plans include recording commentary tracks for Edgar Wright's upcoming Spaced DVD and attending a New Kids on the Block tour later this year. Here is our chat:
You are in the process of writing so many projects. How is it that you now suddenly have all of these ideas at the same time?
Diablo Cody: I don't think I suddenly came up with all of these ideas. I have always had these ideas. I just never really considered the medium of screenwriting. I always wanted to be a writer. I just never thought about writing movies. To me, that seemed like a wildly unrealistic game. You see how much effort goes into making a movie. I've never been known for my ambition or work ethic. This is something I never thought I could do.
Since you seem to be working in the horror genre a lot, what are some of the worst horror films that have inspired you?
Diablo Cody: I would never say such a thing. I feel like bad horror movies are edifying in their own way. It's a tough question because I don't consider any of them bad. It's hard for me to say what is bad and tacky. Horror is inherently tacky. That is why I love it. It is incredibly garish, and I am a garish individual. You know what? Some of those later A Nightmare on Elm Street movies got kind of bizarre. Freddy had ceased being this shadowy boogeyman, and he had become this stand-up comedian. Those movies were corny, but they were really cool. Those were some of my favorite movies when I was little.
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with most of the horror movies that are being released today?
Diablo Cody: I am not dissatisfied with the stuff I have seen recently. Some of it is visually dissatisfying. I think a lot of the movies have started to copy each other visually. I'm getting tired of that aesthetic. I think there has been some really smart social commentary in recent horror movies. So I am happy with that.
When did you first become a big fan of horror films?
Diablo Cody: I think the first big horror movie I ever saw was Poltergeist. My mom had allowed us to rent it on VHS because it was rated PG. Which was crazy. Looking back at that film, it is really terrifying and gory. That one guy rips his face off. That would not get a PG rating in this day and age. So, my brother and I watched this family film that my mom had rented for us. And we were both terrified and transfixed. I still think about that movie. I'm still mad at that movie. The beginning with the National Anthem sign-off? I'm made at Tobe Hooper for doing that, because I love it so much.
What has been the biggest change in the last twelve months?
Diablo Cody: I live in Los Angeles now. Personally, moving to Los Angeles was a big change. When we shot Juno, we were still living in Minnesota. Other than that, I'm pretty much in the same place.
Do you remember the moment you heard that you'd won the Oscar?
Diablo Cody: I don't remember at all. Which is strange, because I have a fairly keen memory. And I am pretty good at that kind of stuff. I never believed people that said they couldn't remember a specific moment in time. Especially if it was a major moment. But I have no recollection of it.
When you went back and watched it, were you surprised by how emotional your reaction was?
Diablo Cody: I haven't ever gone back and watched it. I don't like to look at that stuff.
Have you heard "Summertime", the new New Kids on the Block song?
Diablo Cody: No! But I have heard the one that goes, "I want to take your picture when you pop your ass!" Ah, they have two new singles? They have one that is creepy, that is about photography. It's a metaphor. Its like, "I want to snap a picture of your butt." Something like that. I have not heard "Summertime" yet. Is it good?
Diablo Cody: At first I thought you were referring to the Will Smith song. I'm like, "Yes, I've heard that!"
Are you going to go see NKOTB when they come to Hollywood?
Diablo Cody: Yes. I love the New Kids so much. I feel like a traitor now that I haven't heard their latest song.
With so many things on your plate right now, do you see your writing style changing?
Diablo Cody: My writing has suffered. I will be honest. When you start producing, and you start writing on multiple things at once. You don't get as much done. I don't think I appreciate the free time like I used to. I think I was at my most productive when I had a day job. I would get home and really treasure the spare time that I had to write. Now, when I get home, I have so many opportunities to write that I don't know which moments to seize. So I don't get as much done. I really feel like a jerk. I am really not happy lately with my output.
So your work ethic is lacking?
Diablo Cody: Yeah. It sucks.
It seems to me that you have been doing everything.
Diablo Cody: It's just that I don't think you can ever do enough when you have the opportunity. When you are in a moment were you can write things and actually get them made, you just can't do enough. I wish I could write a script every week.
How long does it take you to write a script?
Diablo Cody: It used to take me a couple of months. Lately, it is taking me six or seven. There is one that I have been working on for nine months, and that is unacceptable.
Does your EW column cut into your time?
Diablo Cody: No. I love doing that. That's so much fun.
What is the funniest part of the filmmaking process for you?
Diablo Cody: Its kind of like school. As an adult, you don't get a lot of chances to educate yourself. For me, to be learning something completely new like lenses and blocking is really exciting. That may sound nerdy, but it is true. I have to say, though, I have been very pampered. I have been on two great sets. I've heard that if you are on a shitty set, its not so much fun to be making the movie. I don't know. I have heard that it can be hell. In this case, it has been like an AB camp.
You are being associated with Eli Roth, and Simon Pegg, and Edgar Wright. How has it been being lumped in with them?
Diablo Cody: That's the great thing about being in the Hollywood bubble. You get to meet all of the people that you admire. You admire their movies. You read their scripts. They read yours. There is nothing better than that. That is better than any reward. Better than any amount of money you make for a script. The coolest thing is getting to interact with your heroes.
You just did a commentary on the US release of the Spaced DVD. Did you know that show before you did that?
Diablo Cody: I knew of it. But the more I hung out with Edgar Wright, the more I knew that if I did not watch Spaced, he was not going to be my friend anymore. So I said, "All right. I'll throw you a bone." I watched it, and it became my favorite TV show ever made.
Which episode did you do for the commentary?
Diablo Cody: We picked the two episodes that focus on Collin the dog. Because Collin is my favorite character on Spaced. We did the one where Collin gets dognapped. And then there was a different Collin based episode that I came in on.
You are a dog specialist, then?
Diablo Cody: Yes, I am. That is what I took away from Spaced. That Collin is the best thing about British television.
Can you tell us about the status of your own television show?
Diablo Cody: Working on a TV show is amazing. Especially the pace. It is really inspiring. You have to be constantly creating. I like that I can create something and see it on TV two weeks later. That is cool. But it is completely different. When it comes down to it, I think writing features is my top priority. But I love working on the series. To be honest, working at Showtime is almost like producing short films. It's not like working for a Network. Its fun.
You have become a screenwriter that is famous.
Diablo Cody: And I hate it. I am trying to change that. It is something I am working on. I think I will be able to go under the radar soon. I think people are becoming indifferent to me.
What do you hate about it?
Diablo Cody: When you are a writer, you are genuinely an introvert. You are someone that doesn't want to be calling a lot of attention to yourself. Especially with your outward appearance. Writers are just more cerebral. You just want to write and have conversations. And then you just want to go to the movies. You don't want to be in US Weekly with them talking about how you are a fashion disaster. Which I clearly am. I was born that way. I am not an actor, so why is this even a subject of conversation? I don't know.
You say you are not happy with the pace of your output. What about the quality?
Diablo Cody: I am happy with the quality. It gets compromised when you are working on a lot of different projects at one time. I feel like a dude with mistresses sometimes. I can't give anyone my full attention. I want to focus on that one special girl when I get the time.
Are you worried about one of your scripts going to someone that doesn't ask for your input?
Diablo Cody: Oh, yeah. I could see that happening. I am not precious about my writing. I'm really not. If I got rewritten, I wouldn't freak out. It happens to everybody. It hasn't happened to me yet. But it could happen. Maybe they will find someone that is better, and they will make me look good. I like to think of it in that way. That is why I like actors that ad-lib, and I get credit for it. That's how that works.
Can you talk about some of the films you will be showing at the New Beverly?
Diablo Cody: It's great that you asked me about that. The night I'm really going to be hyping is the night we show Little Shop of Horrors, the 1986 edition, and Labyrinthe. Yeah. Because that is going to be a big puppet fest. I am also going to be doing A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with Fright Night. I am going to do Midnight Madness with Wet Hot American Summer. I can't think of all of them right now. It will be the weekend of July 13th. It will be cool. You better come.
Stay Tuned for more on Jennifer's Body in the very near future. The film is set to be released towards the later end of this year.