The actress also recalled watching the scene next to her famous father, Tony Curtis.
Jamie Lee Curtis is spilling some intel on one of her most memorable movie scenes: Her iconic striptease in the 1994 classic “True Lies.”
Curtis starred in the film as Helen Tasker, a woman whose secret agent husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sends her on a fake spy mission where she’s tasked with seducing the target. Unaware the target is actually just her husband hiding in the shadows, she makes good on her mission and does a striptease for him in a hotel room. It’s a truly great scene, one that blends Curtis’ sex appeal with her comedic timing, as the dance goes off the rails.
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“The thing that nobody knows: There was no rehearsal, there is no choreographer,” Curtis revealed in a new interview with PEOPLE in the ’90s podcast. “[Director James Cameron] said to me, ‘What do you want to dance to?’ It was when John Hiatt’s ‘Bring the Family’ album was out and I said, ‘There’s a song called ‘Alone in the Dark’ that has this really funky rhythm.'”
“And I said, ‘I really like that song.’ And that’s what they played,” she continued, adding that she did practice a little from the comfort of her own home, with “nobody around.”
When it came time to shoot the scene, Curtis said the set got “quieter and quieter” the more they filmed. “At one point, Jim walked up and he whispered in my ear, ‘If I get a pad, will you let go of the pole?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ So they just wheeled in a little thin mat, on the ground, and we did it again, and I let go.”
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The shot of her flying backward and onto the ground was just the thing the moment needed, Curtis said — explaining that Cameron “knew the dance was too sexy” and “too real” without it. “It started to actually be good, and he knew he needed to break the spell of what the husband had put his wife through,” she added, “I think we did two takes where I let go of the pole.”
The comedy break also helped when she watched the movie for the first time at the premiere, sitting next to her own father Tony Curtis.
“Thousands of people – and you know, it gets really quiet during that sequence, because it’s a little sexy. Then when she falls and then gets back up, oh my God,” she recalled. “The place, it was a huge … because you’re anxious. Then the laugh, and it’s all Jim. To his great credit, it’s all him. He knew, it’s a comedy. It’s a comedy.”
She told the podcast the moment was easily the “single biggest laugh [she] will ever get in [her] life.”
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When she’s not making people laugh, Curtis is also making fans scream. On Thursday, the new trailer for “Halloween Kills” dropped, highlighting her return as Laurie Strode just moments after the events of 2017’s “Halloween” reboot.
The film also stars Judy Greer, Andy Matichak, Kyle Richards reprising her role as Lindsey Wallace from the 1978 original and Anthony Michael Hall, who steps into the role of Tommy Doyle, a character from the original and “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”
That movie hits theaters October 15, 2021.
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