Jamie Lee Curtis is an absolute dancing queen.
The actress, 62, is opening up about how her now-famous striptease in the 1994 movie “True Lies” came together. And there’s one big revelation that will likely leave many shocked.
“The thing that nobody knows: There was no rehearsal, there is no choreographer,” Curtis told People for their “People in the ’90s” podcast.
“[Director James Cameron] said to me, ‘What do you want to dance to?’ It was when John Hiatt’s ‘Bring the Family’ album was out and I said, ‘There’s a song called ‘Alone in the Dark’ that has this really funky rhythm.’ And I said, ‘I really like that song.’ And that’s what they played.”
But Curtis’ moves turned out to perhaps be a little too sexy to match the film’s comedic tone.
“I don’t think Jim had seen me in my underwear,” Curtis said. “We were doing it over and over and over, and it got quieter and quieter.”
“At one point, Jim walked up and he whispered in my ear, ‘If I get a pad, will you let go of the pole?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ So they just wheeled in a little thin mat, on the ground, and we did it again, and I let go.”
It was only then that the scene really came together. The laugh elicited from audiences by that fall is “the single biggest laugh I will ever get in my life,” Curtis said.
“It’s because Jim knew that the dance was too sexy; it was too real,” she explains of why the first takes didn’t land. “[The striptease] started to actually be good, and he knew he needed to break the spell of what the husband had put his wife through. I think we did two takes where I let go of the pole.”
Curtis also recalls seeing the movie for the first time at the premiere at Westwood’s famous Fox Theater alongside her father, the late Hollywood legend Tony Curtis.
“Thousands of people — and you know, it gets really quiet during that sequence, because it’s a little sexy,” she says of the premiere. “Then when [my character Helen] falls and then gets back up, oh my God. The place, it was a huge… because you’re anxious,” she says, grappling for the best description of such a major moment. “Then the laugh, and it’s all Jim,” Curtis says.
“To his great credit, it’s all him. He knew, it’s a comedy. It’s a comedy.”