Jennifer’s Body: Interview with Writer Diablo Cody

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“Jennifer’s Body,” written by Diablo Cody and starring Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox, is being released September 18, 2009 by 20th Century Fox.

After writing “Juno,” which Diablo Cody describes as a warm, sweet, life-affirming movie, she wanted to venture into darker territory. “I wanted to write something that was about my fears, something that was a little edgy and eerie, but also funny,” Cody notes. “So I started thinking about what’s scary to me, and I decided that girls are scary!”  
As in “Juno,” Cody uses an offbeat writing voice marked by whip-smart dialogue and pop-culture savvy, to mine the precipitous terrain of adolescence. “I don’t know why teenagers are my muses…they just are!” she says. “Teenagers inspire me. I’m fascinated with teen speak…with youth culture. I love adolescents because they’re in a kind of purgatory. They’re not kids anymore, and at the same time they don’t have adult responsibilities. So they’re just experiencing life, but with all these heightened emotions.”

Cody admits that even though there wasn’t a specific Jennifer in her life, she has certainly encountered her fair share of girls who cannibalized the people around them. “I think back-biting is a very accurate term, and in this case, it’s literal,” she quips. “This movie is a commentary on girl-on-girl hatred, sexuality, the death of innocence, and also politics in the way the town responds to the tragedies [of the bloody deaths of several young men]. Any person who dares to respond in an unconventional way is branded a traitor. It’s also just about fun – I wanted to write a really entertaining popcorn movie.”

“We saw a lot of [directing candidates] and then I sat down with Karyn one day in the lobby of a hotel,” Cody recalls. “After speaking with Karyn for only about five minutes, I wanted to call the producers so badly and say, ‘Please hire this woman immediately.’ I was so excited. Karyn’s understanding of the script was so complete; I was just thrilled.” 

JENNIFER’S BODY tells the story of two life-long pals – Jennifer and Needy – who find themselves at a crossroads. “Psychologically, they’ve really outgrown each other,” Cody explains. “They don’t have anything in common anymore. Needy is this mousy, clingy, needy, insecure girl, and Jennifer is a bombshell who’s incredibly cool and confident. Yet their friendship has endured. They’re very close, but you sense the friction between them and it’s clear that Jennifer is bullying Needy.” 

“What’s lovely about Amanda is she has this expressive face that can be very still. She has so much going on behind her eyes,” Kusama notes. “Needy’s sort of frantic and at the same time, she’s very analytical and logical,” Cody adds. “You can see her putting together the pieces of the puzzle, facing this really uncomfortable truth about her best friend and coming to terms with it. It’s not an easy thing to do, and it’s just beautiful to watch Amanda play it.”