With the Christmas release of her well-reviewed crime drama “Destroyer” right around the corner, director Karyn Kusama spent some time with Buzzfeed looking back at one of her most misunderstood releases: “Jennifer’s Body.” The horror film, written by “Juno” Oscar winner Diablo Cody and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, was a critical and box office misfire when it opened in September 2009. Nine years later, Kusama and Body told Buzzfeed part of the issue with the release was the divide between their intentions with the film and 20th Century Fox’s marketing campaign.
“I wrote it for girls,” Cody said. “If a guy wrote a movie with the line ‘hell is a teenage girl,’ I would reject that. But I’m allowed to say it because I was one. I think the fact that we were a female creative team gave us permission to make observations about some of the more toxic aspects of female friendship.”
Cody and Kusama made “Jennifer’s Body” to appeal to young women the same age as the main characters played by Fox and Seyfried, but they noticed while they were in post production that Fox was only interested in marketing the film by capitalizing on Fox’s sex appeal. Fox was coming off the blockbuster success of Michael Bay’s “Transformers,” and Kusama told Buzzfeed she was horrified to watch “Jennifer’s Body” be marketed based on Fox’s emerging sex symbol status.
“I kept sort of reminding everybody, ‘Guys, we can’t market this movie to boys,’” Kusama said, “and then have them go to the theater expecting one thing and then seeing Megan Fox not really take off her clothes but rip a guy’s intestines out and eat them.”
Kusama revealed to Buzzfeed one especially disturbing marketing idea for the movie was to have Fox host an amateur porn site to promote the film. The studio released a poster for the movie with a scantily clad Fox and the tagline, “She’s got a taste for bad boys,” which promoted Kusama and Cody to tap Fox and ask for the reasoning behind the decision to market the film this way.
“The email wasn’t even grammatically correct,” Cody said about the studio’s reply. “The response said, ‘Jennifer sexy, she steal your boyfriend.’ As if a caveman had written it. So that’s what we were dealing with.”