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Jamie Lee Curtis just recounted the most empowering scene of her career.
She said in a recent interview that she felt the most bad*ss during her strip tease in the 1994 film True Lies.
“It was a powerful experience that nobody else could take credit for,” she explained.
In our eyes, Jamie Lee Curtis is, was, and always will be a bad*ss. Her acting abilities and overall personal coolness reach far and wide, but in a new essay for InStyle, the 63-year-old divulged what she believes to be her personal best moment of bad*ssery (on set, at least).
You probably know the film. In the 1994 action comedy True Lies in which she stars alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Curtis’ character Helen Tasker performs a striptease for her husband—something that’s totally out of her element. Curtis was admittedly nervous about pulling it off, but she executed it flawlessly (without a rehearsal!) by striking the perfect balance of clumsy comedic relief and total sex appeal.
“It was very early on in the shooting schedule, which made me a little anxious because it meant I should probably stop eating whatever the f*ck I was eating and maybe do a couple of sit-ups, but I didn't have time. There was no choreographer, and we only rehearsed it in the sense that we were made aware of the camera placement and marks to hit,” she explained.
Dancing to John Hiatt’s “Alone in the Dark,” she just went for it—peeling off and stepping out of her little black dress. “There was a moment when I shut my eyes and let go of it all, and there was pin-drop silence afterward,” she recalled. “It was a powerful experience that nobody else could take credit for—it was just me, the music, three cameras, and approximately 100 dudes.”
In an industry that seemed to only value her in little-to-no clothing at the time, the Knives Out star could’ve been upset by the scene (and rightfully so). But instead, she chose to make it hers. And at one point, the moment even got a little “too sexy” for director James Cameron, Curtis recalled.
She had grabbed the bedpost as a dancing partner, really getting into the moment. And the moves became almost too convincing to fit her character’s aloofness. “[Cameron] came up to me and whispered in my ear, ‘Will you let go of the pole?’” Curtis recounted. “He understood that Helen stumbling in her seductive dance would remind everybody that it was a comedy, after all.”
In the scene, she abruptly falls to the floor and—as if bouncing off of it—hops back up and continues dancing as if nothing happened. “It will always be the single greatest laugh I’ll ever get in my life,” Curtis said.
In a June 2021 interview with People, the Halloween Kills actress remembered watching the film premiere in a full theater—including, err, her dad, who sat next to her. “Thousands of people—and you know, it gets really quiet during that sequence, because it’s a little sexy. Then when [Helen] falls and then gets back up, oh my god,” she remembered. The fall broke the silence.
It’s a moment she—and everyone who watched—will never forget.
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