Jamie Lee Curtis almost passed on Everything Everywhere All at Once, the film for which she just won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, her first Oscar.
But Russell Goldman — a 27-year-old writer-director behind short films like “Return to Sender” and “No Comment” who is also the head of Curtis’ production company Comet Pictures — was so enthusiastic about The Daniels‘ script that Curtis decided to reconsider taking the part in the absurdist comedy-drama, in which she plays persnickety IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre.
“I will tell you something. There is someone I employ, who I’ve been loved and known for a long time, who I’ve worked with for a long time, who hated, hated, hated Swiss Army Man,” Curtis told MovieMaker back in August. “When I was considering working with [The Daniels], he was like, ‘Jamie, don’t. This will not be a good thing.'”
Why Jamie Lee Curtis Almost Passed on Everything Everywhere All at Once
It seemed like few people in Curtis’ camp thought Everything Everywhere All At Once would work out. Even Curtis can acknowledge that The Daniels’ over-the-top, out-there style, which sometimes involves talking corpses and fart-powered jet-skis, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
“I may live with someone who didn’t love Swiss Army Man or Everything Everywhere All At Once. I mean, it’s not for everyone. And I totally, totally understand that. I have friends who hate it,” she said.
But then, Curtis showed the script to Goldman.
“When I mentioned that I had been sent a script by The Daniels, Russell literally exploded. His head exploded. He then had to come back down to earth, reassemble… because he was so excited,” Curtis said.
“I really think it was Russell’s enthusiasm for The Daniels. Then he read it, and then his enthusiastic nod that I should do that movie,” she continued.
“It was because of Russell’s unbridled enthusiasm for their vision, for their creativity, for their invention, is why I probably, now that I think of it — I think Russell was the reason I ultimately did Everything Everywhere All At Once, because he loved them so much.”
Goldman remembers reading the script for Everything Everywhere All At Once for the first time over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I got the script from her while driving in the rain to San Diego for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t know why that image stays in my head, but I remember sneaking reads of it during the meal,” he said.
At the end of the day, Jamie Lee Curtis decided to trust Goldman’s gut reaction that the movie would be a success, and it paid off. The two are frequent collaborators — Curtis produced Goldman’s short film “Return to Sender” and they are credited as co-writers on Curtis’ upcoming Comet Pictures and Blumhouse horror film Mother Nature and its corresponding graphic novel.
“You see, Russell went to film school. Russell is a film lover. I am not. I am not at the level that Russell is, I am not that person. I’m an emotional — if something moves me or touches me, you know what I mean?
“Russell is an intellectual. Russell also sees everything that I don’t, and for him to say that he thought that the Daniels were absolutely brilliant filmmakers who I should collaborate with, I really do believe that Russel is the reason I’m in that movie,” Curtis said.
Visiting Jamie Lee Curtis on Hot Dog Fingers Day
For his efforts, Goldman was rewarded with a signed copy of Swiss Army Man from The Daniels — and he got to visit Curtis on set during perhaps one of the most memorable and wacky scenes in recent cinematic history.
“The day I visited her on set was Hot Dog Fingers day with Michelle [Yeoh],” Goldman said. “It was maybe the most fun I’ve ever seen her have.”
In her acceptance speech, Jamie Lee Curtis noticed that her win was the culmination of many people’s work.
“I know it looks like I’m standing here by myself, but I am not. I am hundreds of people,” she said. “We just won an Oscar.”
Main Image: Jamie Lee Curtis as IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre in The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once courtesy of A24