Karyn Kusama, Diablo Cody, and Megan Fox look back on Jennifer’s Body

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Jennifer's Body Megan Fox Karyn Kusama

Director Karyn Kusama's film JENNIFER'S BODY was considered a flop when it was released in September of 2009. Shot on a budget of $16 million, it made just $16 million at the domestic box office, with its worldwide total coming out to $31.5 million. Few turned out to see it then, but I have been a fan since it first came out – I saw the movie twice in the theatre, and the soundtrack got a good amount of play in my office. So I've been glad to see that JENNIFER'S BODY has earned a cult following over the years, and that 10 years down the line from its release it's still being watched and appreciated.

If you're not familiar with what JENNIFER'S BODY is about, it follows 

Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), a high-schooler who is sacrificed in the woods by a band of power-hungry musicians known as Low Shoulder. The ritual leaves Jennifer possessed by a demon and in order to maintain her strength and beauty, she must feed on boys. Her best friend, Needy Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried), catches on to Jennifer’s hungry habits and tries to keep her boyfriend Chip Dove (Johnny Simmons) safe from Jennifer’s sharp-toothed, sludge-spewing jaws.

Variety contacted Kusama, Fox, screenwriter Diablo Cody, producer Jason Reitman, and special effects coordinator Rory Cutler for a 10th anniversary retrospective interview. Some interesting topics are covered, including the fact that Cody predicted the film was going to flop because Fox Atomic Studios didn't know how to market it. 

This movie was extensively focus-grouped, which is hell. People hated it. I still have one of the cards. I’ll keep it forever. They screened this movie for young men, of course, and the question was “what would you improve about this movie?” and the guy wrote “needs moar bewbs” [sic]. That’s what we were up against. It makes me sad in retrospect."

Megan Fox agreed, saying, 

A lot of the marketing hinged on “Megan Fox is sexy, come see this movie.” And the movie wasn’t about that. The movie was actually about mis-marketing, about people focusing on something and missing the point, about sexualizing somebody who doesn’t want to be sexualized, about all of these other things, about powerlessness as young girls and women and nobody was ready to hear that."

Kusama and Cody also discussed the films that inspired their approach to JENNIFER'S BODY. Kusama said: 

I thought a lot about “The Howling,” I thought about “American Werewolf in London,” and then there’s such sly dark humor in “Rosemary’s Baby.”

Cody added, 

Visually, Karyn and I both loved the old giallo Italian films and we specifically were talking about “Carrie,” I remember. Everything about “Carrie,” like the score, the color of the blood, just that wonderful quality that older horror movies had where they felt more grounded in a way that’s ultimately spookier. They didn’t have the gloss that horror films have today and I think we were trying to emulate that vintage feel."

THE EVIL DEAD gets a direct nod in the film, and before cameras started rolling Kusama hosted an awesome viewing party: 

I had the cast over [to my hotel room]. I think it was Amanda, Megan, Johnny Simmons who plays Chip and Kyle Gallner who played Colin. I was able to have my nanny with me so she put my son (who was not even one yet) to bed while we opened a six pack and watched “Evil Dead 2.”

Other topics include the uncomfortable aspects of the kissing scene between Fox and Seyfried, finding the band that provided the music of Low Shoulder, the difficulty of shooting the pool scene, a revealing photo that was taken by paparazzi hiding in the woods, and the fact that Emma Stone, Lizzy Caplan, and Amanda Bynes read for the role of Needy.

The article ends with Kusama discussing the following that JENNIFER'S BODY now has: 

I guess over the years, people finally connected to it and I’m so happy that they did. Of course it was heartbreaking to see the movie be perceived as a failure when I was so proud of it and I think Diablo was so proud of it and Megan and Amanda and Adam and Johnny, we were all so happy with it. To have it be kind of slammed, of course that’s painful, but I think when I look at a lot of the movies I love, they weren’t considered successes, and that’s ok, you know. It’s really awesome to know that people are rediscovering the film or discovering it for the first time. I’m gonna sound awfully old, but it warms my heart, it seriously warms my heart."

If you're a fan of JENNIFER'S BODY or if you're just interested in knowing a bit more about the film, I recommend reading the Variety article.

Kusama's DESTROYER was released last year

Source: Variety

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.