It is hard to think of Jamie Lee Curtis without thinking about her slasher heroine Laurie Strode, a role she reprises again in upcoming sequel Halloween (out Oct. 19). Indeed the actress has no doubt which film the headline announcing her eventual demise will namecheck. “HALLOWEEN ACTRESS DEAD!” she predicts, not unhappily. “It’s going to say that.”
But Curtis almost became famous playing another iconic horror character: the possessed Regan MacNeil in William Friedkin’s infamous 1973 supernatural chiller, The Exorcist.
“When I was 13 years old, [a producer] called my mother (Psycho actress Janet Leigh) and said, ‘Will you let Jamie audition for a movie?'” says Curtis. “My mother said, ‘No.’ The movie was The Exorcist.”
The role of MacNeil, of course, was ultimately played by Linda Blair. But any disappointment Curtis may have felt over the incident did not prevent her from later enjoying The Exorcist — although “enjoying” may not be quite the right word to use.
“We had a house that actually had a screening capability and we screened The Exorcist for my fifteenth birthday, for my friends,” says the actress. “It scared me so badly that my friends would taunt me in school.”
Watch the trailer for Halloween, above.