The masked slasher Michael Myers may be the face of the Halloween franchise, but its beating heart has always been original "final girl" Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The first film was her big break, her first feature film credit, and propelled her into a position as a "scream queen" for several years. She returned to the role of Laurie Strode a few times over the years, but the original is what she is most remembered for - and Curtis seems to be okay with that. Listening to her talk about the making of the movie with a fondness and affection, it's impossible not to see the strength and determination of Laurie Strode in Curtis - even if the real-life Curtis may be a little more sarcastic and foul-mouthed than her onscreen counterpart ever would have been.
She Had To Get Rid Of Her Perm For The Role
"I'd had a perm when I met John [Carpenter]," Curtis later recalled in an interview. When the filmmakers decided a perm wasn't right for her character, however, she had to get rid of it.
With the film's quick turnaround and relatively short shooting schedule, Curtis and the film crew didn't have the luxury of waiting for her perm to go away on its own. "I remember putting hot rollers in my hair each day to get it to kind of straighten out," Curtis said.
She Made Up The Song Laurie Sings On The Spot
"I remember saying to John [Carpenter], very clearly I remember saying, 'So, what do you want me to sing?'" Curtis later recalled in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes. "And he said, 'Well, just make up a song.'" So she made up the song Laurie sings as she's walking away, unknowingly being observed by "The Shape," on the spot. "'Cause I don't sing - really don't sing."
Yet the song was "great," as Carpenter recalled in that same interview, transforming a poignant "internal monologue" into something haunting as Laurie sings "just the two of us" while Michael stalks her. Curtis later credited producer Debra Hill with the effectiveness of the scene.
They Made The Whole Film In Around 17 Days
Jamie Lee Curtis recalled the experience of filming Halloween as "fast and furious." With a limited budget, much of which had been spent on the film's Panavision cameras, Halloween was filmed in only a few weeks - anywhere from 17 to 21 days.
"I think it was 17 days," Curtis told Rotten Tomatoes. This may have been partly because director John Carpenter had to keep the film's schedule short and the entire production under budget in order to earn his salary.
She Made $8,000 For The Whole Movie
As a relative newcomer with no other feature films to her credit, Curtis' pay for the movie was only around $2,000 per week, for a total of $8,000 across the film's entire production schedule. That may not seem like much to us now, but it was a big deal to Curtis at the time, not to mention launching her career as a "scream queen" and helping to propel her into roles in films like Prom Night and Terror Train.