Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis clearly takes immense pride in her job.

Sitting down with the actress during her recent Sydney visit, I sheepishly admit I spent most of my time in a screening of her new film staring intently at the floor, so terrified was I with what was unfolding on screen.

"Yeah you were!" she cackles, extending her hand. "That is our job, and our job is well done, so give me a high five."

Curtis, 59, is infectiously enthusiastic about her return to the Halloween franchise, even allowing herself one badass "boast post" on Twitter this week where she reeled off a few records the movie has already broken. Among them: Biggest horror movie opening with a female lead and biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55.


She'll bask in the glory, sure, but don't expect this self-described "horror veteran" to watch the damn thing.

"When I saw this movie for the first time, I had a coat over my head. I was singing to myself. The half of this movie that I'm not in, I can't watch. Forget it," she laughs.

"Please don't think that I'm some hardened veteran who's seen it all. Even the parts I'm in, when they cut it all together, terrified me. I'm not a horror fan at all," she said.

She may not like the genre herself, but ever since her initial star turn as Laurie Strode in the original Halloween movie 40 years ago, she's been an iconic figure to generations of horror fans.

The true extent of her influence became apparent in a remarkable interaction with a Halloween fan during San Diego Comic-Con back in July.

Laurie Strode is a warrior woman in the new Halloween - but also an intensely damaged trauma survivor. Photo / Supplied
Laurie Strode is a warrior woman in the new Halloween - but also an intensely damaged trauma survivor. Photo / Supplied

The emotional fan stood up during an audience Q&A and explained that he'd channelled Laurie Strode's survival instinct to escape a terrifying home invasion.

Mere mention of the headline-making moment and there's a noticeable shift in Curtis, who is clearly still profoundly affected by the encounter.

"That was the first public appearance we did to talk about Halloween, and the very first person who stood up in that audience was a man who said 'I was in a home invasion, and what popped in my mind, what saved me, was I thought about what would Jamie have done in that moment?' And it saved him," she recalls.


"That place was silent. Everyone was standing and sitting in solidarity with that man telling his story. It really humbled us all.

"Needless to say, he started sobbing. Needless to say, I started sobbing. I went over and met him. That level of emotion is what we carried into this movie. That depth. That moment was the beginning.

"And here I sit in Australia, five to six months later, with it now being a worldwide hit movie about trauma. And it began with a human being standing up in a room of 5000 people and saying that that experience had shaped his life. That was profound."

For Curtis, that moment made an arduous and "isolating" shoot, which saw her play Strode as a broken woman obsessed with nemesis Michael Myers, worth it.

"My only goal as an actor is to tell the truth. For me, the hardest part of this was revisiting the trauma that Laurie Strode carries with her every day," she says.

"I carried it with me. I was away from my family, I was isolated. I was living in a hotel by myself. I was driving all over to these locations by myself. The isolation and the trauma and the memory of Laurie took its toll on me. It was a VERY hard shoot."

Halloween is out now.