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Why Jamie Lee Curtis' New Role In Everything Everywhere Is Like Nothing She's Done Before - Exclusive

Since launching her career in 1978 in John Carpenter's classic "Halloween," Jamie Lee Curtis has played a wide range of roles but has mostly avoided doing films in which one could say that the actress was gratuitously exploited. It's fair to say, however, that she's occasionally landed parts in movies in which the character's — and Curtis' — physical assets and sexual charisma were a key part of the narrative.

Movies like "Perfect," "Trading Places," "A Fish Called Wanda" and "True Lies" — in which Curtis performed a showstopping striptease dance for her husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) — all come to mind. While Curtis has aged gracefully into different roles over the years, she still carries herself as a tall, willowy woman possessed of an elegant beauty.

That's why her role as IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra in the new arthouse sci-fi epic "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is such a bold and refreshing eye-opener. It's the antithesis of what Hollywood commonly looks for in female actors, and Daniel Scheinert — one half of the writing and directing team known as Daniels who made the movie — says that Curtis was fearless about the role. "It lit her up," he recalls to Looper in an exclusive interview. "She was really enthusiastic about that."

What Jamie Lee Curtis did physically in the movie for her character

In the film, the hard-hearted Deirdre doesn't seem concerned with her appearance: she's slumped and a bit shabby, with some extra weight around her middle. In an Instagram post featuring a photo of her in character, Jamie Lee Curtis wrote, "I want there to be no concealing of anything. I've been sucking my stomach in since I was 11 ... I very specifically decided to relinquish and release every muscle I had that I used to clench to hide the reality."

Asked about how he, co-director Daniel Kwan and Curtis approached the character, Daniel Scheinert tells Looper, "We were looking for someone who wanted to do something like that. Jamie immediately was excited about bringing in photo references of frumpy people and wanting to see photos of people who work in DMVs and IRS offices. She collaborated with us heavily on it and was like, 'Hey, I never let it all hang out. I can do this.' She would show off how she could poke her belly out."

With the movie taking place in a multiverse, there are many different and weird versions of Curtis' character as well, but Kwan points out that it was important for the directors and Curtis to make Deirdre feel as real as possible.

"If you go back and look a lot of our short films, it looks like real people." says Kwan. "You look at the music videos that we did for Lil John and DJ Snake — real people. That kind of representation has always been really important to Scheinert and me, and the fact that now we get to do that [with someone] on the scale of Jamie Lee Curtis is really exciting."

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" is now playing in limited release and will expand on April 8.