The Prime of Miss Diablo Cody - Page 2


A director named Angela Robinson told me when she came to Hollywood, she felt like she was sneaking women’s issues and thoughts into the mainstream via movies, like a Trojan horse. Do you feel you’re doing that?
We have even used the Trojan horse metaphor, Karyn and I. I have difficulty talking about this movie, and I really have to fucking remedy that because I’m going to need to talk about it.

Is this your first piece of press about it?
This is the first time I’ve talked about the message of the film. It’s really about girl-on-girl crime. It’s Mean Girls taken to an extreme. When the alpha girl becomes cannibal-like, nitpicking is no longer enough. Now she has to literally consume flesh.

Whom does she eat?
She eats men. There are so many conscious choices we made in this movie. There are no father figures present. These are girls raised without positive male role models, and they’re lost. Their mothers are mostly absent, too; they work the night shift. And the protagonist is everything I felt like when I was young. She’s a little Nancy Drew; she’s very inquisitive, she’s very bookish, she’s very nervous. Jennifer is the gorgeous bombshell played by Megan Fox, who has kind of a carnivorous quality in a good way. The two of them have been friends since they were little girls, and as a result, they’ve been able to stay in that friendship, even though at the point we meet them as teenagers, they have nothing in common anymore. And I think everyone can relate to that. You have this friend that you made when you were a completely different person, and then you get to a point when you realize how incompatible you are and how toxic your friendship has become, yet you can’t let go of it because there’s this cord between the two of you. When I was in high school, I remember, this alpha female stole a guy from me, and the thoughts that I had toward this young lady are the most violent thoughts I’ve ever had in my life. I would actually fantasize about physically hurting her. I would think about how she slept on the first floor of her house and how I could get through her window, and I’ve never hurt a fly. I’ve never even hit another person, so it obviously wasn’t anything I was going to ever act on. But I would think about it, and I was alarmed by how vicious my thoughts were, and I tried to tap into that when I was writing this movie. There is really something deep and brutal and scary about jealousy. Teenagers’ emotions are already running high. If you add a supernatural element and a love element and a jealousy element, it explodes. The movie also references eating disorders. Jennifer’s eating habits revolve around a binge-purge cycle.

Does she eat people and then throw up?
She actually throws up before she eats. She’s possessed. She vomits disgusting black bile on her victims before she eats them. But in one of my favorite scenes, she’s binge-eating out of her refrigerator. I thought to myself, “Man if we aren’t getting it across…” I was happy about that.

So, with the two women, is there a Madonna/whore thing going on?

So Jennifer is the whore who consumes, and the protagonist is…?
She’s played by Amanda Seyfried.

And she’s the good girl?
She’s a little of both. Each of them is, as in real life, unsure of which side to be on. The protagonist has sex in the movie, and it’s really matter-of-fact. It’s not the typical big, happy virginity-loss scene. She has sex for pleasure in this movie, and that was important to me. She’s this wide-eyed, innocent blonde who’s trying to protect the town, but I wanted to show at the same time that she can have an orgasm, she can get excited about having sex.

A protagonist who has sex for reasons other than love is pretty unheard-of in mainstream movies.
And in this movie she can live through it, which doesn’t happen often in horror movies.

What we’re writing on The United States of Tara explores a little of that. Tara’s the faithful wife, but her other personalities get to act out. I really believe it’s the greatest dramatic question for women’s stories—being forced to choose one side or the other. Like, for any woman, there’s the one side where you’re the whore—you fuck whomever you want, you’re interested in pleasure, maybe you’re interested in money. Then there’s the other side of you, the Madonna, and the supposed reward is love. You get married, you get the baby, you get the house. Yet, as writers, we suspect that all the real fun is on this other side. We want to be able to explore the so-called bad-girl side of things, be a stripper, be a dancer, be a sex worker, be a million bad things.

But there is no support for the whore in modern society. And it’s so aggravating to me. When I see the way women behave on the Internet, I have an issue. Even on so-called feminist Web sites, it feels like an excuse for a bunch of women to get together and say that Lindsay Lohan looks haggard, or that she’s a slut, or that she’s aging poorly. The women who still get the most praise in pop culture are the ones who seem elegant, poised, like Grace Kelly.

Somehow Angelina Jolie transcended the dichotomy.
Because she’s luminous. I hate that, “luminous.” {quotes}If I see the adjective “luminous” in one more celebrity profile, I am going to vomit.{/quotes}  Nobody is that special; celebrities do not radiate light.

“Diablo looked luminous when I sat down. Luminous and poised.”
It’s such garbage. But I actually feel that kind of hatred back and forth, whether it’s feminists calling women whores or the other way around. I am speaking as a radical feminist: feminists can be incredibly hard on other women. They were the first people clutching their pearls when I came onto the horizon. They were the first people to disapprove of me. I really thought it was going to be the dudes. I think if I’d been a mousy, self-deprecating, secretary type, everyone would’ve thought I was great. And speaking of the whole Madonna/whore thing, there are a lot of people who assumed Juno was a virgin, and she was not. That was not her first time having sex. In the original script, we acknowledge that it was not her first time having sex.

Did people somehow need her to have been a virgin?
Maybe. I was so frustrated by the criticism where people said, “Ah, people always get pregnant their first time in the movies and on TV, and it doesn’t happen in real life.” Who said it was her first time? Way to jump to conclusions. It was his first time, not hers.

There’s something fascinating about you, a stripper, writing her. That such a “bad girl” having written such a “good girl” paid off somehow in people’s subconscious and helped propel the movie’s publicity. Did it ever feel like, for the people who wanted to criticize you, that the stripper thing was convenient? Did people need to make you pay for supposedly having all the success happen so quickly for you?
There is definitely a bias toward people who are perceived as having had things handed to them. And I understand that. I have experienced similar frustration toward writers and directors. Before all this happened to me, I was one of those people who would have created and nurtured the Juno backlash. I relate to those people completely.

What would you have thought of you?
I would have hated my guts. I would have thought, “Oh, that girl with her fucking precious shtick and her stupid name. Go fuck yourself. I’m writing my novel here, I can’t even deal with this, please go away.” Oh, my God, I would’ve had no patience for myself.