Venice 2021: Lion of Honor to Jamie Lee Curtis

An armchair for two © 1983 Josh Weiner / Cinema Group Ventures / Paramount Pictures France All rights reserved

While the Cannes Film Festival is issuing announcements at a furious pace a few days before the opening of its 74th edition, its big Italian brother still has plenty of time to follow a more relaxed communication strategy. Thus, the Venice Festival today made known the name of the second winner of the Golden Lion of Honor. This is the American actress Jamie Lee Curtis. She therefore joins the other lucky winner, the Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni, known since mid-April. The 78th edition of the Mostra will take place in nine weeks, from Wednesday September 1 to Saturday September 11.

Curtis will be in Europe in September to promote his new film Halloween kills by David Gordon Green. One wonders if the organizers of the Venice Film Festival had taken seed from those of the Caesars… The continuation of the new version of Halloween, which enjoyed considerable success in the fall of 2018, will be screened out of competition mid-festival on September 8. Curtis will receive his honorary award the same evening. The French release of the film is scheduled for October 20.

So far, only one other title of the official Venetian selection has been revealed. Denis Villeneuve’s remake of Dune will have its world premiere out of competition on Friday, September 3. This is what the management of the Venice Film Festival announced on June 17th. The science fiction epic starring Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson will be released on French screens as soon as September 15.

A Fish Called Wanda © 1988 David James / Michael Shamberg Productions / Prominent Features /
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer All rights reserved

As the daughter of Hollywood legends Janet Leigh (Psychosis) and Tony Curtis (Some like it hot), Jamie Lee Curtis (* 1958) got a taste of the joys and sorrows of the entertainment industry early on. This did not, however, dissuade him from following his parents’ professional path. She landed her first roles on television, before making a name for herself in the cinema with her first film in 1978, the horror classic. Halloween Night of the Masks by John Carpenter. While the actress had teamed up with the director again for her next film Fog, she could not escape the sometimes crushing weight of the character of Laurie Strode in the universe of Halloween.

Nor to the stereotype of the damsel in distress, as was still the case in The Train Monster by Roger Spottiswoode and The Ball of Horror by Paul Lynch, followed by Halloween ii by Rick Rosenthal. All in all, Jamie Lee Curtis would make four more appearances as the prey of Michael Myers: in 1998 in Halloween 20 years later by Steve Miner, in 2001 in Halloween resurrection by Rick Rosenthal, in 2018 in Halloween by David Gordon Green and so this year in Halloween kills from the same director.

True Lies The Chameleon © 1994 Zade Rosenthal / Lightstorm Entertainment / 20th Century Fox /
The Walt Disney Company France All rights reserved

However, to summarize the career of the actress in this role, as emblematic as it is, would be highly reductive. Because from the mid-eighties, she found herself very comfortable in a diametrically opposed genre: comedy. Social satire An armchair for two by John Landis with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy had paved the way in 1983 and enjoyed lasting popular success in Italy. Then it was the turn of A fish named Wanda by Charles Crichton to make the whole world laugh five years later. Also in the comedic vein of Jamie Lee Curtis’ filmography, we can mention the bittersweet My girl by Howard Zieff, the muscular True Lies The Chameleon by James Cameron, Ferocious creatures by Fred Schepisi and Robert Young, as well as much later Freaky Friday In my mother’s shoes by Mark Waters.

Not enough of this first step in the diversification of his illustrious career, Curtis had also been able to excel in some memorable dramas. For example Blue Steel by Kathryn Bigelow, forever Young by Steve Miner, The Panama Tailor by John Boorman and Knives Out by Rian Johnson. On television, she had participated in the mid-2010s in the series “Scream Queens” and earlier, in the late 1980s, in the four seasons of “Anything But Love”. Coming soon, in addition to Halloween kills, Jamie Lee Curtis will star in Borderlands, the adaptation of the video game by Eli Roth.

Freaky Friday Being My Mother © 2003 Ron Batzdorff / Casual Friday Productions / Gunn Films /
The Walt Disney Company France All rights reserved

Former juror of the Cannes Film Festival – it was in 1992 under the presidency of Gérard Depardieu and the controversial Palme d’Or at Best Intentions de Bille August – is only the second American actress to win the prestigious trophy in Venice. She was predeceased in 2017 by Jane Fonda. Indeed, the other Golden Lions of honor awarded to actresses had gone to Italy (Monica Vitti, Alida Valli, Sophia Loren and Stefania Sandrelli), to France (Jeanne Moreau, Michèle Morgan and Isabelle Huppert) and to the United Kingdom. Uni (Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Andrews and Tilda Swinton).

Personally, Jamie Lee Curtis won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in 1984 for An armchair for two. She was nominated again by the British Film Academy five years later as Best Actress in A fish named Wanda. Her American colleagues from the Screen Actors Guild nominated her as Best Actress in 1995 for True Lies The Chameleon. And at the Emmies, she was cited in 1998 as Best actress in a TV movie for “A Heart for Life” by Robert Markowitz.

Knives Out © 2019 Claire Folger / Media Rights Capital / T-Street / Lionsgate / Metropolitan Filmexport
All rights reserved

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