We’ve been raving about Juno lately, praising both its star, Ellen Page, and its writer, Diablo Cody. If you haven’t heard much about Cody, here’s the short version: Cody (née Brook Busey) is a former stripper who was “discovered” when a talent manager stumbled upon her blog. It’s the kind of story that makes you suspicious — you wonder whether she really deserves it, or just got lucky because some schlub was Googling “stripper” one evening. But even if she never pens another screenplay as good as Juno, that one alone makes her a star in my book.
For some people, though, that might have to be all she wrote, at least for a while. Cody’s next film is a horror movie, and it sounds pretty gory. Titled Jennifer’s Body, it’s the tale of a homecoming queen who is possessed by satanic forces and starts to actually devour the boys she dates. “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” meets Freeway, maybe, plus a dash of Sweeney Todd? Early word is that the tone will be more like Heathers — but with more blood. I’m already looking forward to it.
This week, Jennifer’s Body got a director, Karyn Kusama. Cody expressed her excitement on her MySpace blog:
I’m stoked as hell. More than anyone, she gets it. She gets it. I’m feeling an early-stage mind-meld, and it is excellent.
Megan Fox (Transformers) will play Jennifer.
How do you go from a quirky tale about unplanned teenage pregnancy to a gory tale about a cannibalistic, demonic teen? On second thought, maybe that’s not a big leap. (It almost sounds like a sequel.) It’s somewhat surprising for Kusama to be directing a horror film, though; her last movie was Aeon Flux, and she’s best known for Girlfight. She also directed an episode of The L Word. (Speaking of Girlfight, Michelle Rodriguez got out of jail this week, but I’ll save that for another post.)
I’m glad Cody’s not going to limit herself to a particular style of film or a particular audience. After all, she’s unconventional in all sorts of ways, and it’s serving her well so far. That initial stumble-upon by the talent agent led to the publication of a memoir, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, and, well, things just got better from there. Here’s a clip from a recent interview in which Cody talks about stripping, writing and why it’s best to have a pseudonym online:
Cody was also handpicked by Steven Spielberg to write the pilot for The United States of Tara, the upcoming Showtime series starring Toni Collette as a woman with multiple personalities. Now that could be awesome. I love it when smart women work with other smart women — whether that work is gory, quirky or whatever else. Cody herself was characteristically sarcastic about the female-bonding stuff in a recent Entertainment Weekly article:
And because she is the new broad in town, studios are sending her any and all projects that star a woman. ”If there’s a female protagonist or a romance, they just assume it’s up my alley. What, because I have a vagina?”
Well, yeah! Actually, no: because you have a vagina and a brain — and are willing to claim both — which seems kinda rare in the movie biz.
Jennifer’s Body won’t be released until sometime next year. Meanwhile, Cody might not be doing as much writing online from now on. Yesterday on her MySpace blog, she vowed to turn over a new leaf when she moves into her new home:
I’m gonna conduct a little experiment once I move in. Get ready: I am not going to hook up WiFi. I can do email, iTunes and YouTube my phone, and if I need to blog, I can always mosey up the road to visit one of my several Canyon-dwelling friends, some of whom live within actual mosey-ing distance. But the era of all-day, all-night obsessive Internet usage has got to end. Seriously. It’s not good for my complexion.
I don’t even know what to say. The very notion is anathema to me! (Anathema or bliss; one of those.)
And now for a parting shot — here’s Cody clowning around on the set of Juno (doesn’t she sorta look like Mandana Jones in this one?):