Jennifer’s Body: Directed by Karyn Kusama

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

Jason Reitman and “Juno” producing partners Mason Novick and Daniel Dubiecki, came together to produce JENNIFER’S BODY, with Karyn Kusama directing.

“I think we all wanted a woman director from the beginning,” says Jason Reitman. “This is a film that hopefully takes horror in a new direction. It’s a horror film told from a female point of view, starring women, and written and directed by women. I’ve been a fan of Karyn’s since seeing ‘Girlfight’ at Sundance in 1999, so it was really exciting for me to work with her on JENNIFER’S BODY.”  
 
“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.”  
 
Kusama remembers reading the script and falling in love with it. “It activated so many memories for me of adolescence and high school and a certain kind of girl friendship that’s somewhat obsessive and maybe a little toxic. It’s one of those rare scripts with a very strong voice as well as rich and nuanced characters. It takes horror movie conventions and turns them upside down – and I was excited by the opportunity to work on something so fresh and original. 
 
“I think JENNIFER’S BODY is really about moving from childhood into adulthood,” Kusama continues. “It involves recognizing that the world is filled with dark forces and that as an adult you have to take care of and defend yourself … make your own choices and get through life on your own. I think what’s essential about the horror of JENNIFER’S BODY isn’t the presence of demons or the blood and guts of it; the true horror of the movie is how teenagers treat each other and how easily cruel and hurtful they can be.” 

“I think a big issue in horror films lately is that the permission for the audience to conjure up their own monster has been taken away,” says Kusama. “To give that back to an audience and say…what if the most popular, beautiful girl in school is a demon….for real, is a brilliant premise. This idea can spin off into people’s heads in so many ways, because we’ve all known that girl in high school who’s impervious to criticism and who always appears so confident. There’s something that we worship about this kind of girl, but also something that we fear about her.” 


“Megan is really interesting because she has this very beautiful, icy facade which is perfect for our initial perceptions of Jennifer,” Kusama explains. “But what was really impressive was her ability to go to a deeper place and expose not only Jennifer’s over-confidence, outrageousness or vanity, but also her sorrow, fear and regret.” 


“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.” 

No matter how wild the on-screen action, the filmmakers were determined to infuse JENNIFER’S BODY with a realistic, naturalistic look. “As much as I love beauty in movies, it’s also important that there be some kind of fundamental honesty in the design choices,” notes Kusama. “Even if you push it and go a little over the top, which I hope we did with this movie in a positive way, there’s still something truthful about it.”