Even with as insanely zany (in the best way possible) as the Fox series Scream Queens got in Season 1, it sounds as though things are about to get even zanier for Season 2. While at Comic-Con to promote the next season, actress Jamie Lee Curtis spoke to press about how the three-year time jump will be changing things.
During a roundtable interview, she talked about where things pick up for Season 2, why Dean Munch is running a hospital now, new characters, where all of the Chanels are at, that this is a show where all bets are off, defying genre, never knowing what’s coming next, and the freedom in just letting go.
Question: Where do things pick up for Season 2?
JAMIE LEE CURTIS: For the second season, the entire show is different. We’ve taken an abrupt right-hand turn. You’re driving down the road and think you know where you’re going, and now you’re heading down a road in a new city with a new life. It’s three years later. Dean Munch runs a hospital. She got famous. By the end of her run, she was on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Men’s Health. She’s been on Oprah. She met Angela Merkel. She’s famous. So, she’s now abandoned the Greek system, which is over in this country, and she’s taking on the health care industry. She hires doctors, including Taylor Lautner and John Stamos. The Chanels all come back as medical students. Zayday becomes a doctor. And Hester is just crazy.
Why does Dean Munch end up at a hospital?
CURTIS: Dean Munch delivers a long TED talk on why she’s opening this hospital. She has a specific philosophy that the medical industry has conspired to keep people sick because they’re treating illnesses. It’s a very specific point of view that she has, and it is a complete turn-key on the health care system, which we need in this country.
How did the vibe of things feel different, when you came back for Season 2?
CURTIS: It was a whole new set-up and my first day back at work, after only saying the words to myself in the car as I was driving, Brad [Falchuk] walked up and went, “Way less. Way, way, way less.” I was like, “Oh, I thought I was being funny, smart and biting.” You just need to leave it alone and let the writing take over.
It seems like all bets are off with this show. What have you most enjoyed about playing this character?
CURTIS: The reason why all bets are off is because I don’t know anything. It’s the first job I’ve ever done where I don’t know. When Ryan Murphy said, “It’s a sorority, you hate them, and you are a feminist,” I was like, “Okay, great! Let’s do it!” And then, the first scene I shot, I walked onto the set and there was Glen Powell in his boxers, and we were like, “Hi, I’m Jamie.” “Hi, I’m Glen.” “Okay, get in bed. All right, smoke a joint. And action!” So, what I like about it is that there is no known. You cannot make a character based on some idea that you know what it is. The truth is that I don’t know anything. You’re only told what you know, and that’s it. And then, all of a sudden, your character does the exact opposite from what you would think they would do, and that’s all because the writing is good. You can’t plan it. I didn’t know that I was also blackmailing students for sex, who were on academic probation. That’s the brilliance of this show.
Do you feel like this show really defies genre?
CURTIS: Yeah. It’s a hybrid, there’s no question. The horror-comedy style is very much a hybrid of its own. I was reminded that Halloween 2 takes place in a hospital. I didn’t remember that, but all of a sudden, there are homages to all of those famous horror movies in hospitals. So, it is an homage to that, but it is a hybrid. It is its own animal.
How far ahead do they actually clue you in on where things are going?
CURTIS: You don’t get any information. You get a script the same day that everybody else does. You don’t own anything. In fact, what has happened in the show is that, once they get to know you and they get to know your speaking rhythms, they’ll write it in. I speak with my hands a lot. All of a sudden, you go, “Oh, they’re paying attention to what I do and what I say.” I play with my necklace a lot because it’s got my kids’ names on it, but even when I’m not wearing it, I’m so used to playing with it, that I now play with [my neck]. If I spent one week with Ryan [Murphy], Brad [Falchuk] or Ian [Brennan], and they saw me doing it, one of the girls would be like, “Have you seen Dean Munch? She plays with her neck a lot.” They’re very attuned. Abigail Breslin is an amazing talent and a really sharp actress, but she’s nutty, and boy, did they write to her nutty. Her nutty has gotten times 20. When they talk about Chanel #5 being nutty, it’s because they didn’t know that about her when they first hired her, but within a week, she was nutty.
Do you enjoy working that way?
CURTIS: It’s not something I’ve ever done before. I’m old now and I am trying to let go of a lot. The freedom in my life is letting go. My kids are grown up now, so I’m less worried about that. I’m married a long time, so I’m not worried about that. In a weird way, it’s great to have a job where I’m like, “Okay, what am I doing this week? Wow, really?! Let’s do it!” I live my life by the Sheryl Crow song. All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die, said the man next to me, out of nowhere and apropos of nothing. That’s all I wanna do. I seriously just wanna have some fun. I’ve worked hard, and I just wanna have some fun.
How is that working for you?
CURTIS: It’s working amazingly. I’m sober a long time. I’ve let go of a lot of stuff. Every day, I’m just wide open with my eye on the prize. It’s really fun to be alive.