September 30, 2008

The Always Fascinating and Never Boring Diablo Cody

I admire Diablo Cody. She just does her thing without giving a crap what other people think and tells them so. Not surprisingly for a woman who calls herself a radical feminist she's got a lot of haters out there, and thanks to the web and blogosphere she gets a lot of nastiness hurled at her. She and Katherine Heigl seem to be the center of the wrath against women in Hollywood. Not surprising, they are two young women who actually speak out.

In a post entitled Hello Again! (Starring Shelly Long) on her myspace page she addressed some of the crap being thrown at her. (BTW where is Shelly Long? Ted Danson is still working, Woody Harrelson is still working, I occasionally see Kirstie Alley, but Shelly Long...gone.)

I am not Charlie Kaufman or Sofia Coppola (much as I supplicate at their Cannes-weary feet.) I'm not Paul Thomas Anderson. I'm not even Paul W.S. Anderson. I am middle-class trash from the Midwest. I'm a competent nonfiction writer, an admittedly green screenwriter, and a product of Hollywood, USA. I am "Diablo Cody" and if you're not a fan, go rent Prospero's Books again and leave me the fuck alone.
I may have won 19 awards that you don't feel I earned, but it's neither original nor relevant to slag on Juno. Really. And you're not some bold, singular voice of dissent, You are exactly like everyone else in your zeitgeisty-demo-lifestyle pod. You are even like me. (I, too, loved Arrested Development! Aren't we a pretty pair of cultural mavericks? Hey, let's go bitch about how Black Kids are overrated!)
I'm sorry that while you were shooting your failed opus at Tisch, I was jamming toxic silicon toys up my ass for money. I get why you're bitter. I took exactly one film class in college and-- with the curious exception of the Douglas Sirk unit—it bored the shit out of me. I also once got busted for loudly crinkling a bag of Jujubes during a classroom screening of Vivre Sa Vie. I don't deserve to be here. We've established that. But I'm here. Five million 12-year-olds think I'm Buck Henry. Accept it.

That said, I'm a 30-year-old woman with a dwindling interest in blog culture, and I don't have time to address this bullshit every time one of my projects comes out. I'm in love, I just bought a house, and my boss made E.T. I kind of have to focus on reality.
She also spoke to the LA Times on the set of her next film the horror flick Jennifer's Body which is directed by Karyn Kusama.
"I am directly influenced by girls I have known," Cody said. "Girls who treated life as a race, and if there was someone or something they wanted, they would stab you in the back. It's a movie about hunger. A lot of teenage girls are starving themselves and a lot of them are psychologically hungry, because they are so misunderstood."

Kusama and Cody face an unusual challenge with "Jennifer's Body": While the film is populated with gorgeous women, they want to make sure the movie isn't lecherous. "That's something you have to grapple with when you are making a monster movie -- the girls have to look hot," said Cody, who describes herself as a radical feminist. "We didn't have to worry as much about ["Juno" star] Ellen Page's lip gloss" as how Seyfried and Fox look in this film.
"But horror is a surprisingly feminist genre," Cody said. "The last person standing is usually a woman. And most of the guys in this movie are vain and insecure. You'll notice there are no fathers in this movie. I didn't want there to be any male role models -- I didn't feel these were girls who were loved by their fathers."
And lastly, she just penned a love note to Judy Blume in this week's EW. I, too, love Judy Blume and read all her books religiously.
You have to wonder why no one's made a big-screen adaptation of Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself — a bracingly vivid story of a Jewish girl in postwar Florida — or Forever, an oft-banned tale of love and (virginity) loss. I imagine it's because these stories belong to young women. Real young women, not singing Disney cheerleaders, hair-flipping pop stars, or cartoonish socialites. ''Judy's girls'' are imperfect and unsure; they tend to vacillate maddeningly between outspokenness and passivity. Even physically beautiful characters (like the protagonist in Deenie) are outcasts somehow, stymied by the expectations of others. It's definitely not the stuff of Hollywood. But Judy Blume's bildungsromans are as sweeping and intense as anything we see on screen these days. They'd make great disaster movies, and anyone who's been a teenager knows that's not an overstatement.
I say keep talking Diablo. I usually never go to horror flicks but I'll see your film so you already made an extra $10 bucks.

Diablo Cody addresses teenage cannibalism in 'Jennifer's Body' (LA Times)
Diablo Cody: In Praise of Judy Blume (EW)
photo: Chris Hatcher/ PR Photos