Juno scribe Diablo Cody wrote Jennifer’s Body as a horror movie with blood and guts and stuff, but at its core is the strained friendship between two teenage girls, one popular and one not. When the popular one is sacrificed in a botched satanic ritual, she becomes a demon who eats boys, forcing her best friend to turn against her in order to stop her. The casting of Megan Fox got the film’s producer, Juno director Jason Reitman, and its director, Karyn Kusama of Girlfight and Aeon Flux, thinking about high school friendships and whether popular girls really have it made. The two came to Toronto to promote the film’s premiere in the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Reitman says he knew girls like the popular Jennifer (Fox) and the needy, well, “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried) in high school. (Her nickname is short for Anita.)
“It seems to be a punishing relationship for one side of it and yet there’s this inexplicable bond,” he says. “They need each other, even though one is just brutalizing the other, day in and day out. And it’s almost romantic.”
Kusama says she was more like Needy than Jennifer as a teen, and yet she felt “tremendous compassion for those so-called insiders, particularly the girls. They’re always being looked at and so much of their value [lies in] someone’s assessment of them as bodies,” she explains. “And that’s a terrible position to be in. Even if you relish it. Even if you’re good at it. Even if you take control of it. I feel like it’s a kind of hollow victory.”
Kusama’s aware she could be talking about Megan Fox herself, who’s made statements to the press about loving being a sex symbol. “I think she’s young and she does feel empowered by that gaze because she does have a lot of control over the way she presents herself to the world,” says Kusama. “But I think there will come a time when being looked at isn’t necessarily intrinsically satisfying for her.”
Reitman recalls being pleasantly surprised by Fox when he met her. “She’s very smart and that’s the thing that you don’t expect, frankly, from a sex symbol.” He’s even more impressed with the way she handles the media. “This girl’s so confident in her intelligence that she’s willing to be brash and honest about anything that she’s asked. And when you got out and do interviews and press conferences on the scale that she does, and you say the kinds of things that she does, you can get torn to bits. And she is unafraid.”
Fox also shows a striking lack of fear about biting the hands that feed her, comparing her Transformers director Michael Bay to Hitler and Napoleon, for example. She’s also publicly scoffed at Scarlett Johansson, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie and — if you can believe it — Superman and Wonder Woman.
Both Reitman and Kusama say they would be unpleasantly surprised to hear that Fox has disparaged them for some reason. “I feel like I’ve only protected her and been good to her so it would catch me by surprise if she went after me,” says Reitman. “But I certainly wouldn’t want to do something wrong to her because I would catch s**t for it.” Kusama will only say, “Gosh, I hope she hasn’t.”
Guess the only thing to fear more than Jennifer’s Body is Megan Fox’s mouth.