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What the Hell Happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh?

Jennifer Jason Leigh first caught audience’s attention as part of the talented cast of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  In the early 90’s, she became a critical darling and flirted with mainstream success.  But she became bored with the roles she was offered in typical Hollywood movies and gravitated towards edgier fare.  As a result, she never quite caught on with the general public.  What the hell happened?

Actually, there’s not a big mystery here.  The intro gives it all away.  Leigh eschewed standard “girlfriend” roles in favor of the kind of movies she found more interesting.  But let’s walk through her career anyway to see how it all went down.

Jennifer Jason Leigh was born Jennifer Leigh Morrow.  Early in her career, she changed her stage name to honor family friend, Jason Robards.  If that last name seems familiar, it’s because Leigh is the daughter of actor Vic Morrow.  Tragically, Morrow was killed in a helicopter accident while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie in 1982.

Leigh and her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Warner Brothers, director John Landis and producer Stephen Spielberg for Morrow’s death.  The suit was settled out of court.  Leigh was 20 years old at the time.

Leigh started acting herself when she was 16.  She started with roles in TV shows like Baretta and The Waltons.  This led to a number of TV movies.  Most notably, Leigh starred as an anorexic teen in The Best Little Girl in the World in 1981.

Leigh replaced Jodie Foster who was originally slated to star.  At the time, Leigh weighed 98 pounds, but she dieted to get down to 86 pounds for the role.

Leigh - Fast Times

Jennifer Jason Leigh – Fast Times at Ridgemont High – 1982

 

In 1982, Leigh appeared in the teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High opposite the likes of Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, Nicolas Cage and Anthony Edwards.

Fast Times was written by Cameron Crowe based on his book of the same name.  Crowe based the book on his experiences going undercover at a San Diego high school.  As a result, it’s much edgier than your average John Hughes high school comedy.

At the time, critics didn’t care for Fast Times.  In a one-star review, Roger Ebert compared the movie to Porky’s and complained that it was “so raunchy” that “the audience can’t quite believe it”.  Despite the negative reviews, Fast Times was a hit at the box office and propelled many of its young cast on to stardom.

leigh - easy money

In 1983, Leigh tried to earn some respect (sorry, couldn’t resist) playing Rodney Dangerfield’s spoiled daughter in the comedy, Easy Money.

The critics were not kind to Easy Money.  But Leigh’s part was small anyway.  She was paying her dues.

MSDGRUS EC001

Leigh continued dues paying opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell in the 1984 comedy-drama Grandview USA.

Next: The Hitcher and Last Exit to Brooklyn

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Posted on September 30, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 107 Comments.

  1. I literally have not thought of Leigh in years.

    Hitcher was awesome, Flesh and Bone was a dirty, realistic film with a very convincing rape scene. I, of course, noticed her first in Fast Times – I was 15 at the time, and very interested in boobs. (still am, in fact)

    Interestingly, her dad’s death (and the 2 children killed) probably had the greatest effect on movie set safety.

    It seems she takes on roles that attract a female audience. I don’t remember her in Perdition or Weeds, but maybe I just didn’t recognize her.

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  2. A career like Leigh’s makes me very happy.

    There are so many undertalented, looks only “stars” and “starlets” who never seem to make the effort to break out of typical boring Hollywood fare. The fact that someone who cared enough to pursue her craft on her own terms was able to maintain a long and strong career is heartening indeed.

    Her work has been consistently good accross a wide variety of styles, and she was personally crushable in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Big Picture, and Georgia.

    To me, her fate in Road to Perdition was shocking because it was her and legitimately motivated the story. I love creative and purposeful casting like that.

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  3. Danielle Charney

    I have always like her- but not at all as Dorothy Parker- I thought she was awful- it is also odd to me that while she and her mother sued landis and spielberg- she dropped his name- you’d think she would want to honor it- she was great in Claiborne- one of my favorite movies ever- and stellar in so many smaller good parts- thanks to TV and it’s good revival and audience- many of the former film actors can now do good work with good writing and acting- it seems to be using almost all of them

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    • She dropped his surname to avoid being accused of nepotism ala Nicolas Cage. Furthermore, she was annoyed by the fact that Vic refused to let her be in The Blue Lagoon. They were still estranged before he died.

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  4. She’s not interested in mainstream success and mainstream recognition. She’s only interested in roles that satisfy her.
    It’s pretty to see actress like Leigh, or Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett (even if Swinton and Blanchett are much more known by the general audience) that are not driven by box-office but only by passion

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    • There was a time when she flirted with mainstream success. But it does seem pretty obvious that it didn’t interest her. It is a shame though that she was never honored by her peers at the Academy for her stellar work.

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      • I’m also pretty surprised that such a critical darling has never been nominated for an Academy. But I think her time will come. She’s still critically acclaimed so I think the Acadamey will give her a chance.

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        • I have a theory on that which I didn’t specifically bring up because I figured we could discuss it in comments.

          I think there may be some jealousy issue, hurt feelings and/or politics involved. Leigh turned her back on a mainstream Hollywood career. The Academy members are for the most part the establishment she walked away from. I think their attitude is that she can be satisfied with all her critics’ awards and Indpependent Spirit Awards. I think she will need to do a mainstream picture before the Academy awards her.

          I mean, they have never even nominated her.

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      • Interesting theory Lebeau and one I strongly subscribe to.
        I lost interest in the Academy Awards many years ago, but after reading this article, I do find it bizarre that an actress of the quality of JJL hasn’t received a single nomination. Especially in the light of some of the performances that have won the best actress award in the last 10 years.

        Still on the subject of Jennifer Jason Leigh, perusing my tv guide last night I noticed that In the Cut is showing on Film 4 here in the UK later this week. I haven’t watched that film since I saw it in the cinema almost 10 years ago so I think it might be time to watch it again.
        I’ll let you know what I think!

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        • It really seems to me like nominating Mare Winningham and not JJL for Georgia was the Academy sending a message. I can see why they may have passed her over for Rush and some of her earlier works thinking she’d be around for a long time and they would have many chances to nominate her. That’s how the Academy operates. But by this point, she has been turning out quality work for decades. There’s really no excuse for shutting her out of nominations completely.

          I look forward to your thoughts on In the Cut. I feel like it was unfairly beat up on by critics who had an axe to grind with Ryan and Campion. It is not without its flaws. But it was much more interesting than the reviews would lead one to believe. I enjoyed watching it for the brave performances and it gave me a great respect for Ryan’s range (something I have questioned for a long time). But I don’t know that I will ever actually watch it a second time.

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      • Sometimes I feel like the Oscars can’t really win no matter what they do. Every single year I hear people complain that they’ve never heard of many of the nominees. Well whose fault is that? Yes, the Academy often nominates or gives out statues for longtime favorites, but they also promote films and performers that the mainstream has absolutely no interest in.

        Actresses nominated over the last 5 years: Janet McTeer-“Albert Nobbs,” Jacki Weaver-“Animal Kingdom,” Jennifer Lawrence-“Winter’s Bone,” Gibourney Sdobe-“Precious,” Melissa Leo-“Frozen River,” Marion Cotillard-“La Vie en Rose”

        How many of these performers had people heard of before these nominations?

        There are lots of other films which get nominations that most laypeople have never seen and probably would never have even heard of if it wasn’t for the Academy.

        If anything, the Academy is far ahead of the curve compared to where they could very easily be.

        As far as “Georgia” goes, who would you not nominate in favor of Leigh? The performers/performances that were nominated that year were pretty strong. Susan Sarandon, Elisabeth Shue, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, and Sharon Stone are all either greatly respected actresses or gave the performance of their career that year. So Leigh got left out. It happens. Lots of excellent actors have never gotten the nod (Donald Sutherland, anyone?).

        I just don’t buy Leigh’s lack of a nomination as some sort of purposeful snub. Unfortunate? yes.

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        • I have a longer response I am going to put together regarding your larger arguments. You make some good counter-points and for the most part I agree with you.

          Playing the what-if game, I would trade in Streep’s nomination for Bridges first. And then I’d still trade out Stone for Casino.

          In a little while, I’m going to make some time to explain why I over-stated my “sending a message” position and what I really mean by that.

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        • Okay, here’s the long response.

          I agree that the Oscars can’t win. The general public complains because they have never heard of half the nominees. I also agree that is the fault of the viewers, but the Academy has a show to put on. I don’t blame them for wanting to nominate higher profile movies and actors. It’s their awards show. They can do whatever they want with it.

          Are they ahead of the curve? I suppose so. I give them more credit than the People’s Choice Awards. And a bit more than the Golden Globes although I have always appreciated that the Globes have a Musical/Comedy Section.

          Do I think Leigh or anyone else was purposefully snubbed? No, because that implies the entire Academy collaborating or voting collectively. There was no conspiracy to deprive Leigh of a nomination.

          But I do think there are certain mentalities that have been prevalent among Academy voters for a long time. I think early on in Leigh’s career, voters figured they would have plenty of opportunities to reward her. So they were waiting for a break-out performance. A star-making turn in a main-stream drama, preferably.

          But Leigh was never going to give that to them. She wasn’t interested. So eventually, she becomes persona non grata to Hollywood. It’s not so much that voters are being spiteful (although I imagine there’s some of that too) the majority of voters just stopped thinking about her a long time ago.

          It’s easy to second-guess the Academy with the advantage of hind sight. You can go back and pick out a weak year for nominations when Leigh had something deserving. I bet we could all find some point where Leigh was a more deserving candidate than at least one nominee. But that does not a conspiracy make.

          Anyway, I agree with you that there probably isn’t an anti-JJL conspiracy within the Academy (I say “probably because I refuse to rule out the possibility entirely!). 😉 But I do think she has been a deserving nominee several times who was overlooked for reasons that were not always limited to the superiority of her competition.

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        • re: Every single year I hear people complain that they’ve never heard of many of the nominees. Well whose fault is that?

          Good point…what a lot of people – well, the Academy, film critics, film geeks/nerds, etc. – don’t acknowledge that for a good-size chunk of the movie audience, “going to the movies” means going to see movies wherein good-looking hetero humans either kiss, dance-with, and/or shoot-at each other…not to sound like a snob, but for lots of the multiplex crowd, “good acting” and “thought-provoking” subject matter are not big priorities. Hey, SOMEBODY is keeping Adam Sandler in business and it ain’t most of the posters ‘n’ readers here!

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        • There’s a reason the People’s Choice Awards don’t overlap with any industry or critics awards. Most people have terrible taste in movies. Which isn’t fair, but it’s true. Here’s my take on it. Most people don’t view movies as an artform. They aren’t looking to be challenged. A lot of people tell me they don’t like movies where they have to “think too hard”. People work hard for their money. Their time is short. Their lives are hard. They want movies that easily transport them away from their problems. I get that. Who doesn’t love escapism. But lazy story-telling ruins the fantasy for me. I get bored. Probably because I watch more movies than these people. I don’t think it’s really an intelligence thing. After a while, you get tired of the same tropes. There are movies I like that aren’t especially good movies. But I liked them because they dared to be different. But if you haven’t gotten tired of the same old thing, different is just “weird”.

          In general, I think critics watch more movies and care much more about movies than the general movie-going public. When people say critics don’t like anything, they could not be more wrong. They usually love movies in a way the general public doesn’t. Which causes them to hold movies to a higher standard than people who aren’t all that invested in the art of cinema.

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        • I like to think that we promote quality pop culture 🙂
          For the most part you’re not going to find a lot of coverage of art house and foreign film here, but there continues to be a lot of utter crap that the public supports which we here at Le Blog pretty much ignore.
          When it comes down to it, most art, film, music, etc is supposed to be entertaining. This means different things to different people. It appears that for some folks that means explosions, crass humor, Alpha male posturing, and not much else. But it’s that last part of that sentence which is most deserving of criticism. I like action (The Avengers), crass humor (Blazing Saddles), and those Alpha males are going to show up (Goodfellas), but I think each of the films I listed here in parentheses offers more than just that. Most prominently what they each offer is strong writing. It is an element to filmmaking that any person who cares can tell you is VERY important, but it tends to get short shrift from both the layman and from the studios themselves.
          As an actor who has spent most of his time in theatre, the fact that so many films are green lit before there is a script will never cease to puzzle me. Without a good script your film is a balsa wood rocking horse. It may look pretty, but it won’t hold up to repeated use.

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        • Agreed all the way around.

          The last movie I watched was The Lego Movie. And I enjoyed the heck out of it. How big of a film snob can I possibly be? We cover Walt Disney World more extensively than some Disney World sites. That’s hardly high brow stuff. We’re talking super heroes and big summer movies here. Yeah, if Pearl Harbor comes up, we’re going to trash it. Because it’s garbage. But it’s not like we’re talking film theory. We may occasionally veer off into something offbeat, but mostly we’re discussing mainstream pop culture. The last article I wrote was about the queen of 90’s rom coms! You don’t get more middle of the road than that.

          Your point about the way most movies are developed these days is spot-on. That’s because the people calling the shots are money people, rarely artists. They are more concerned with the opening date than the script. The amazing thing is, they are probably right. That’s how the business works these days. Marketing and a good opening date will get you higher grosses than quality. I would love to see a studio try to do it the old fashioned way. But I suspect that they would make good movies that would be overlooked at theaters and thrive on video.

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        • Speaking here as a screenwriter and filmmaker, I can agree with these sentiments. I can enjoy a good action movie as much as the next guy (Die Hard, Face/Off). But when they’re just mind numbing noise with no point to it, it doesn’t work. Consider that the two I just named are still watched decades after their release. Will the Transformers mvoies still be watched in 20 years? I doubt it.

          Most of the current big blockbusters are poorly written and try to cover it up. It’s like building a house without a foundation. It might look nice. But once a big wind arrives, sayonara,

          Last movie I saw in a theater is The Lego Movie and like Lebeau I enjoyed it immensely. While I lean a lot towards edgier stuff*, I also acknowledge that many art films are terminally boring. As many people have noted, the likes of Jaws and Raiders Of The Lost Ark prove that blockbusters do not have to be stupid.

          *Just to illustrate my point, here is my Top 10 movies. I know the last one is the most controversial and idiosyncratic. But all lists of this type should be idiosyncratic.

          1: Goodfellas
          2: Apocalypse Now
          3: Chinatown
          4: Monty Python And The Holy Grail
          5: Do The Right Thing
          6: Boogie Nights
          7: Aliens
          8: Blue Velvet
          9: Dr. Strangelove
          10: Precious

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        • I hate making top ten lists. But that’s a good list of movies you have compiled. I haven’t seen Precious, so I can’t comment. But I like the other 9 quite well. I’m not sure what my top 10 would like like, but I’m pretty sure Jaws and Pulp Fiction would be on it. And I’ll take Alien over Aliens. But I can respect going for Cameron over Scott. Goodfellas is just a great movie and Holy Grail cracks me up. It’s been a long time since I have watched Blue Velvet. But I am a Lynch fan and I remember being bowled over the first time I saw it.

          At the end of the day, I blame audiences. They are not demanding quality. They pay for spectacle so that is what they are given. I’m including myself in this. I typically pay to see the big special effects movies at the theater and watch the little movies at home.

          But I also feel like the studios have created a system where a new blockbuster opens every week and is forgotten the following weekend when the next big movie is released. “Summer” movies now come out all year long and little movies have all but disappeared. Three months after a movie leaves the theater, it’s out on Bluray. And home theaters are so good, it’s often preferable to going to the show.

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        • re: But I also feel like the studios have created a system where a new blockbuster opens every week and is forgotten the following weekend when the next big movie is released.

          You got a point….also about the big cheeses coming up with a release date BEFORE THEY HAVE A (good) SCRIPT. My 2 cents: The Big Studios tend to spend MILLIONS on special f/x and/or actors’ salaries but $1.98 on the SCRIPT. As I’ve said many times: You can have the greatest/coolest cast and director, but if the script SUCKS, ya got nuthin.’

          My 3RD cent: I got nuthin’ against special f/x – but they should be the “icing on the cake,” NOT THE “CAKE” ITSELF. Sheee-it, if you could subtract the f/x from “RIPD” the result would be 39 minutes long…if that. While it’s slightly off-topic, one reason the original Star Trek, Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone are BELOVED by so many is while most of the special f/x are cheesy by todaze “standards,” the STORIES, characters, and dialogue are memorable!

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        • Agreed. Scripts are undervalued as are screen writers. They are almost an afterthought. A good script should be top priority, but it rarely ever is. Because studio heads know that they can release a piece of crap, but if they release it under the right circumstances with the right marketing, they will make a lot of money anyway. Plus, who knows, maybe the creative types will figure it out and come up with something decent.

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        • I like yr Top Ten, Jeffthewildman!

          Hey, I like a good shoot-’em-up meself once in a while, but it’s REALLY nice when there is a decent story & memorable characters to go with it, dig? As for mainstream fare: “Mad Money” got mostly negative reviews but I thought it was an entertaining movie – certainly no classic, but I got a few yuks out of it…and that’s more than I can say for the indie/art house disaster “The Ten” – go on, look it up – it’s the only movie after which I was actually ANGRY at the actors, writers, etc. I mean YOU, Paul Rudd. I even like some movies with subtitles. Escapist movies can be cool, but it’s great when a movie – indie or mainstream or foreign – inspires people to discuss, admire, quote from, and even argue about it. And “Transformers” and Adam Sandler fare are unlikely to reach those zones…but then, for some people, pretty people blowing stuff up real good is enough. Those folks DON’T WANT to be stimulated, challenged, reminded of real life, etc. – and some critics, geeks, and filmmakers forget that.

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        • If I had a buck for every time someone told me something along the lines of “I don’t like movies that make me think” I’d have a lot of bucks. No one enjoys good escapism more than me. I’m an escapism addict. But I also love it when a movie challenges me. Movies that linger in my subconscious for days or weeks after I watched them. These may not be the most fund to watch, but they are more satisfying than disposable movies I can barely remember by the time I reach the parking lot.

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        • complaints from adults that a good movie is “boring” often makes me think of a line from the song “Flagpole Sitta”:
          “If you’re bored, then you’re boring.”
          When it comes down to it, movies can sometimes only illicit what is already there. If an audience member does not know anything about a certain time or place or subject, then the wonderful references made to them in film will completely go over their heads. At times this will result in that audience member only viewing the film on its surface level. If the surface level is all you can see, then maybe “pretty people blowing things up” will indeed be the most attractive choice for you.

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    • Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Dolores Claiborne”, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, “EXisTenZ”, “40 Acres”.

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/10262602-jennifer-jason-leigh-in-dolores-claiborne-fast-times-at-ridgemont-high-existenz-40-acres-.

      Brilliant performances in Georgia, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Rush and Mrs. Parker among others. Yeah she played quite a few hookers, junkies and alcoholics, but I don’t think it was a simple case of stereotyping – she always seemed to have a genuine passion for dysfunctional female characters. I think for a while she was a genuinely original (minor) Hollywood rebel in her “unfeminine” role choices – think also of her grungy phone sex operator in Short Cuts, or how mousy, whiny and needy she made her psycho flatmate in Single White Female; turning down commercial projects like Pretty Woman and A League of Their Own; not doing any Oscar campaigning after getting Golden Globe nominations and critics’ awards. I like that she’s said she played a lot of “bad girl” roles in the 80s/90s because her real life was so quiet and boring, and also that the one time she caved into her agent’s pressure and tried to play a “normal” girlfriend role in Backdraft, she said herself that she was so bad she would never try and play normal again. Would be good to see her get a juicy comeback role in the next few years, I’m curious to see Leigh at 50.

      —Anonymous

      reply 77 04/07/2012

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  5. I agree with Le Beau. I think JJL needs some mainstream work to earn an Academy nomination. Tilda Swinton earned her first nomination (and won) for “Michael Clayton” which is one of her rare break into the mainstream. I think she need something like that to convince the Academy. I’m not speaking about a box office smash hit, but just a mainstream drama with modest domestic gross could be the right one.

    It’s true the Academy has awarded lots of performances for little seen movies, let’s think to Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” and Halle Berry for “Monster”, but probabily that’s what they want from JJL. They want her to try to break into the mainstream for once in a while

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  6. I find it peculiar that she’s set to guest star on Revenge, a popular primetime TV show, given how much of a contrarian she’s been throughout the majority of her career.

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    • Good point.

      Maybe she’s a fan of the show? Or maybe she’s decided to finally take the plunge into mainstream entertainment?

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      • Perhaps she’s just being ironic.

        Also, it’s worth noting that, with 4 films due to be released, 2013 is set to be her most prolific year yet.

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        • Absolutely. I was legitimately surprised to see just how vital her career is these days. It’s like a stealth career. She’s really on top of her game. It’s just not a game most people follow.

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      • It’s a really good show, and there are plenty of strong, morally ambiguous female characters in it, which I think is exactly what JJL is looking for in a role.
        The women on that show are not supportive girlfriends or nagging wives or nurturing motherly types, or hopeless romantics who change and sacrifice for love.
        Most of the time, they actually chose their own agenda over their relationships, and sometimes it works out well for them, sometimes it doesn’t.
        Yeah it’s campy as hell, but despite all the soapy clichees, it’s still one of the few shows where women aren’t used as props.
        So there!
        Sorry for the rant, I’m just really glad a show like that is on TV. Good for JJL for joining the cast. Madeleine Stowe is absolutely killing it as the antagonist and seems to be having a great time playing the baddie.

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  7. JJL seems quite an odd choice for this series, which is mostly about big stars who have fallen from sight. JJL is always around, always doing something interesting.

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    • Every now and then, I spotlight actors or actresses showed promise but never quite hit the A-list. I have to admit, I didn’t realize how steady her output had been until I actually wrote the article. Sometimes I go in with a certain set of expectations and then realize I didn’t know the whole story. That was definitely the case with JJL. I had assumed she tried to cross over into the mainstream and failed. But the truth was that she quickly realized it didn’t interest her and she went another way. Very successfully.

      Still, a unique and interesting career I’m glad I chronicled.

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  8. Whatever Happened To …. The Cast of Fast Times at Ridgemont High?:
    http://www.pajiba.com/seriously_random_lists/whatever-happened-to-the-cast-of-fast-times-at-ridgemont-high.php

    Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Stacy Hamilton): Of late, she’s been wallowing (relatively speaking) in television land with “Revenge” and “Weeds,” but otherwise, she’s worked very steadily in movies for the entirety of her career. Debatable career highlight? Rush.

    Her Next Move: Reminding people that she’s not the same person as Elisabeth Shue.

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  9. “They collaborated with their old friend Sam Raimi on what they hoped would be their first mainstream box office hit.”

    Slight correction — the three men wrote this movie in the ’80’s, along with ‘Crimewave’, while living in a house together (and Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand). But the Coens couldn’t get the money until ‘Barton Fink’ raised their profile a bit.

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  10. Why Has Jennifer Jason Leigh Never Been Nominated for an Oscar?:
    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/168160-why-in-the-hell-has-jennifer-jason-leigh-never-been-nominated-for-an/

    That Jennifer Jason Leigh, who took her second name from family friend Jason Robards, has missed out on even a single Oscar nomination during her courageous and lauded career simply does not make sense.

    JJL started off her career strongly, with a performance in the television film The Best Little Girl in the World that showed a ferocious commitment to using her body as a tool to show not only her character’s specific physicality, but also their complete history. This Strasbergian talent for transforming has become something of a trademark for the actress, who the very next year appeared in the landmark Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which made her a household name and branded her a breakout star of her generation.

    In 1990 Leigh has serious Oscar buzz around a pair of performances that saw her playing extremely disparate variations on hookers with hearts of gold, “Tralala” in Last Exit to Brooklyn and Susie Waggoner in Miami Blues. Leigh won the New York Film Critics award for Best Supporting Actress that year for her work in both films, but in a year of tough competition where even bigger stars, in much more popular movies (like Shirley MacLaine in Postcards from the Edge and Winona Ryder in Mermaids) also missed out of nominations, it’s easy to see why Leigh might have been overlooked. But in 1990, when the Academy was embracing risky work by eventual nominees Diane Ladd (Wild at Heart) and Annette Bening (The Grifters), Leigh had very strong buzz and would have not been a total surprise as a nominee.

    Leigh, I think, should have gotten her first Oscar nomination for Last Exit to Brooklyn, which is an unsparingly tough, often-messy look at a group of of desperate characters that could only have come from the mind of Hubert Selby, whose novel the film was based on. She is dynamic, bold in her aggressive sexuality, spectacular in her singular vocal work; a drunken, guttural version of Jean Harlow sauntering around postwar Brooklyn struggling to stay alive in a veritable snake pit of sick souls that are reminiscent of those hardscrabble wharf rats in Josef Von Sternberg’s Docks of New York.

    “Tralala” ultimately becomes this black film’s tragic heart and Leigh’s performance soars with every passing scene. It’s a truly fearless performance in every sense. And when stacked up against an almost-unbelievably different character “Susie” in Miami Blues, you can see the tremendous skill and intellect this woman possesses as a performer; that fearlessness in tackling two such electric characters and pulling them both off flawlessly is so rare on screen. Since Oscar rules dictate only one performance per actor can be nominated per category, Last Exit to Brooklyn would have to be my grudging choice, but both performances are wholly deserving.

    #1: Last Exit to Brooklyn

    There was major Oscar buzz surrounding JJL’s next venture, a lead performance as a cop-turned-junkie in an adaptation of the popular book Rush. The film would end up being congenially-received and not the box office or Oscar hit that many expected. Still, Leigh’s performance in the film, opposite Jason Patric, is extremely strong, and of course intense and committed, which was becoming a distinct signature. If Bette Midler could actually go on to get an Oscar nomination for For the Boys, there is no logical reason JJL should not have at least been in heavy contention that year. I would award her nomination number two for Rush.

    #2: Rush

    Single White Female was a popular box office hit that succeeded largely due to Leigh’s creepy portrayal of a disturbed young woman who tries to assume her new roommate’s life and identity; murdering anyone who gets in the way. In an extremely weak year for Best Actress, why not just go ahead and give JJL nomination number three for showing such range and versatility? It makes perfect sense to me!

    #3: Single White Female

    In 1994 Leigh won the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Actress, as well as her first Golden Globe nomination and was also runner up for the New York Film Critics Best Actress prize for playing the legendary wit (and legendary drunk) Dorothy Parker for Alan Rudolph in the highly-touted biopic Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. Nailing all of the mannerisms of the film’s infamous central figure, Leigh for the first time in her career showed an uncanny knack for impersonation. In a career that was so branded by playing daringly original characters, her studious, immaculate take on playing someone who really existed shows yet another impressive register in her versatile range as a performer. Nomination number four should have happened here without a doubt, given that most people would say 1994 was relatively weak year for Best Actress.

    #4: Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle

    In 1995, there were two films that again called attention to the fact that Leigh could play a train wreck like nobody’s business. In lesser hands, her characters in Dolores Claiborne and Georgia might have come off as whimpering caricatures of unlikable, highly-strung women both dealing with serious, life-threatening issues. Instead, Leigh turns these films into opportunities to explore, with exacting grace and ruthless introspection, two extremely damaged woman, and in the end, when these breathless performances are finished, we wind up being both frightened and moved by the complex emotional makeup she is able to show through these characters. We care about these characters that it might be easy to dismiss as being abrasive or undeserving of sympathy. To do that once a year, I imagine, is very difficult, but twice to me seems impossible.

    Yet, if 1990 showed us anything, it was that Leigh was truly the one actress of her generation that could pull a miracle like that off. Leigh won the Best Actress prize from the New York Film Critics Circle in 1995 for her searing, painstaking work as an untalented addict desperate for fame in the shadow of a celebrated sister in Georgia, and this film should have been nomination number five for the actress in my world, but definitely should have brought her the first in real life. Many pundits predicted her in this hotly-competitive year for the category, most citing a brutally-long take in which her character, the shrill Sadie Flood, has an embarrassing public meltdown singing a Van Morrison song at an AIDS benefit and needs to be rescued by her famous singer sister’s lilting voice and charisma.

    I would go one further and award Leigh nomination number six, in the Best Supporting Actress category for an equally-interesting portrayal of an abuse victim who confronts her past and her tough-as-nails mother—the title character played brilliantly by Oscar-winner Kathy Bates—and faces a complete nervous breakdown in the process. Her bright chemistry with Bates is alone worth a nomination.

    #5: Georgia

    #6: Dolores Claiborne

    Margot at the Wedding in my book should have netted Leigh her first win for Best Supporting Actress playing the neurotic, bohemian sister of Nicole Kidman’s title character in Noah Baumbach’s underrated 2007 look into the lives of two complicated sisters with a frayed relationship who reluctantly reunite on the eve of JJL’s character Pauline’s wedding. So, in Mazur world, the expertly-shaded, wryly warm work from Leigh would have been nomination number 7, win number one. Work this richly-textured and natural is never easy but Leigh once again makes it look effortless, constantly evolving and improving as she ages; her instrument more finely-tuned than ever.

    #7: Margot at the Wedding

    Though her work as an actress-playing-an-actress is exceptional in the 2002 film she co-directed with Alan Cumming, The Anniversary Party, it was her work as a writer that appealed to me in that film, and it is her attention to detail on the page that merits perhaps more serious consideration of her work as a storyteller, which would be continued with Greenberg in 2010. Cases for acting nominations could also be made, I suppose, for Leigh’s additionally-excellent work in the following films: Short Cuts (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Washington Square (1995), Kansas City (1996), The King is Alive (2000) and In the Cut (2003) but I would place JJL’s overall deserved nominations total at of 7, with one win for Margot at the Wedding as Best Supporting Actress. Completely disturbing and senseless that she has never once been Oscar-nominated.

    Like

  11. What happened to Thora Birch?–and other actors that seemed to disappear for no reason…:
    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=15154713&postcount=82

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tangent
    Bridget Fonda stopped acting completely about a decade ago.
    Ah, crap, I knew I wanted to mention someone else, but couldn’t remember who. Bridget Fonda, that’s who.

    I’ll add Jennifer Jason Leigh, who’s had a few jobs since the 90s ended, notably in The Machinist, but otherwise not much in the way of big parts.

    Also, in the same line as Rick Moranis, Martin Short also essentially disappeared from the spotlight, though he’s apparently still working.

    Like

  12. If the parts that got away from Kilmer was bad,check Jen’s IMDB & check out the flicks she
    either passed on or was passed over…….outta make that your next WMHB,BTW!!!!

    Like

    • I ran into a bunch of that writing the WMHB:Meg Ryan article. It seems like every actress was up for the same parts! Not surprising given how few good roles there are for actresses. JJL will definitely get the WMHB treatment.

      Like

  13. Not to mention had she taken some of those,she might’ve had an Oscar or 2 by now!!!!

    Like

    • Or at least a nomination.

      DWMCGUFF, here’s one for your next Oscar article! I think most people assume Jennifer Jason Leigh has a trophy case full of statues by now. Not so much as a single nomination.

      Like

  14. I think quite honestly for many years the film critics didn’t know what to think of JJL because after Fast Times she really went outside the box. At that time there just wasn’t another female actress that was consistently taking on the gritty type of roles she was. I must have watched Flesh and Blood a hundred times when it came to cable (it never came to the theater where I lived). I was always on the lookout for anything she was doing, and she was always doing something different. I think of JJL as one of the original “indie” actors. She and Sean Penn had starred in this very popular teen comedy (Fast Times) and everyone sort of expected more of the same from the majority of actors from that movie at that time. If you recall Sean’s next movie was Falcon & The Snowman and everyone I knew was aghast. Nobody expected Spicoli to show up with black hair, a cheesy mustache and whining like a little bitch. JJL also blew your hair back in movies like Flesh & Blood and Last Exit to Brooklyn. I dragged my boyfriend to see LETB and was stunned to see her very raw portrayal of Tralala. Truthfully back then there just weren’t too many actresses doing THAT sort of role. Look at how many well known actresses they called on to play the lead in Basic Instinct. Nobody would TOUCH that role until Sharon Stone took it and owned it. JJL was doing that kind of thing years earlier. As we know, Ms. Stone has only been nominated by the Academy once (and did not win). I think JJL is a better actor than Ms. Stone but Sharon is better known for taking higher profile roles. I think JJL takes the roles that interest her and doesn’t worry too much about awards.

    Like

    • JLL’s choices have confounded pretty much everyone. Every time you expect her to zig, she zags. It’s almost like she was trying to avoid being a Hollywood star. Maybe that was exactly what she was trying to do. She could have been a bigger star if she had accepted certain roles. But that clearly didn’t interest her all that much. I agree that she is always interesting to watch. It’s a shame so many people missed so much of her work.

      Like

  15. I always liked Jennifer Jason Leigh and the interesting roles that she has taken over the years. She isn’t afraid to dig deep and get dirty within a character, and plays by her own rules.
    Also, I’m glad i stumbled upon this site, it’s a real crown jewel.

    Like

    • Oh, this guy? The OTHER me. When I didn’t know what I was doing with wordpress, I set up two accounts. I don’t use this one, plus there’s no profile photo like on the account I mostly use (I mean, where’s the basketball jersey of my man Tracy McGrady?). However, I still stand by the comment my darker half (just like Timothy Hutton! Well, not really) made.

      Like

  16. JJL will be in the latest Amityville installment alongside a popular Disney starlet……..

    http://thewrap.com/disney-channel-star-bella-thorne-set-new-amityville-movie-exclusive/

    Like

  17. Film ‘stars’ you thought were going to be massive, and really weren’t:
    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showpost.php?p=72697041&postcount=63

    I don’t see how anyone could see her as a potential film star though. Jennifer is what you call an actress, not a film star. She has always been about the acting, not for her name and face to sell tickets. She has done tons of projects which all generate acclaim for her performances. She is often regarded as one of the most underrated working actresses in cinema.

    Like

  18. JJL has always presented herself in a very professional manner. She gives off an aura of intelligence and strength. I think she chooses her roles based on her personal desires and motives, not on popularity or money.

    Her father, Vic Morrow, was in the industry for years and probably taught her many things before his premature passing. In addition, there is no way to assess the things she learned about the industry from the lawsuit after her father’s death. I know from personal experience that traumatic events are merciless teachers. They force a person to remove the blinders of childhood and see the world for what it really is. The real world is not glitz and glimmer, but gritty and hard.

    Jennifer Jason Leigh makes the world more interesting. Good for her.

    Brad Deal

    Like

    • Could not agree more. She clearly came up surrounded by an appreciation for art and acting. She puts her craft first which is extremely refreshing. She could have gone commercial. But she probably would have had a short career filled with dull girlfriend roles like the one she hated in Backdraft. The route she chose was far more interesting.

      Like

    • I have to agree as; the adventurous path she chose is more interesting, and I think it makes her roles stand out.

      Like

  19. Cool beans; still, Jennifer Jason Leigh does fine work.

    Like

  20. Quentin Tarantino Has Found His HATEFUL EIGHT:
    http://thisisinfamous.com/quentin-tarantino-found-hateful-eight/

    Quentin Tarantino has found his HATEFUL EIGHT. The majority of the cast has been known for awhile, but Jennifer Jason Leigh has now been cast in the lead female role. Tarantino’s upcoming western is getting ready to start production in the next couple of months with an ensemble of actors that already includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walter Goggins, Denis Ménochet, and Bruce Dern. Leigh is currently the only actor who has joined the project so far that has not worked with Tarantino in the past. THE HATEFUL EIGHT will be their first collaboration together and will hopefully not be the last.

    Jeff Sneider over at TheWrap broke the news of Leigh’s casting today before going on to confirm that the rest of the ensemble has not changed. TheWrap also reports that James Remar, James Parks, Dana Gourrier, and Zoe Bell will be rounding the cast for the film, which will be shot in glorious 70mm. Here is what TheWrap has to say about THE HATEFUL EIGHT and which crucial role Leigh will be playing in the film:

    “Hateful Eight” is set in Wyoming following the Civil War. Story follows two bounty hunters, a tough female prisoner and a local sheriff as they wait for a storm to pass with four men who may or may not be attempting to free the prisoner.

    Leigh will play Daisy Domergue, who is wanted for murder and due to hang for her crimes.

    Leigh as a tough female prisoner in a western written and directed by Tarantino sounds absolutely perfect. Leigh has been consistently great for decades now and I’m sure Tarantino has written a GREAT role for her to knock out of the park. Tarantino is also especially great at writing female roles and Daisy Domergue will probably continue this tradition when THE HATEFUL EIGHT opens December 2015.

    Like

  21. Re: John Landis Twilight Zone Movie, Actor and two children killed 1982

    http://www.lipstickalley.com/showpost.php?p=7851476&postcount=30

    I am surprise Jennifer Jason Leigh hasn’t been strung out on drugs walking around Hollywood blvd talking to herself. I mean to have your father decapitated on a film set and have footage. I would be a little nuts. God Bless her heart.

    Like

    • How did Vic morrow die?

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/5386947-how-did-vic-morrow-die-

      This was on TV recently. What a cursed movie. It stank…and it killed three people, two of them children, by decapitation! The only good parts were the opening segment with Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd and the final segment with John Lithgow, who was fantastic in his role.

      There’s a good book about this film: “Outrageous Conduct: Art, Ego and the Twilight Zone Case” by Stephen Farber and Marc Green. It reveals Jon Landis to be an unbelievable egomaniac with the maturity of a ten year old. HE was the one responsible for the helicopter flying right above the heads of Morrow and the children while massive explosions erupted. Right before the crash that killed Morrow and the kids Landis was heard screaming: “Lower, lower, lower! Fire, fire, fire”!

      He was tried for manslaughter. He was guilty as hell, but was acquitted by an idiot California jury impressed with the Hollywood aspect of the case and turned off by the dragon lady prosecutor. Landis went on to do more bad movies, but I think the helicopter pilot, who had only done what Landis instructed him to do, never worked in Hollywood again.

      —Anonymous

      reply 24 09/08/2007

      Jennifer Jason Leigh was really f***ed up over her dad’s death. They were not close and she felt guilt over it. She never discusses him in interviews she says it’s too painful!

      —Anonymous

      reply 31 09/08/2007

      I had read that Morrow had basically cut Jennifer out of his will and left her very little – like $100. Leaving the rest to her sister Carrie (?). The fact that he died before they were able to patch things up is supposedly why his death really f***ed her up. But I’m pretty sure they were both still teens when he was killed. That’s kind of harsh to do to a teenager. But both sisters sued and reached a large settlement.

      Landis was a pig and a liar. Obnoxious and arrogant. He refused to listen to anyone when they told him it was too dangerous while they were planning the scene and setting it up. Even while they were filming it he was again warned. But he insisted – on illegally hiring the children who were killed, on working them at night, at demanding more dangerous explosions, at demanding the chopper get closer and closer to the actors. All this on a set with abundant coke and alcohol. Who knows why everyone’s judgment was so out of whack. But he was guilty as hell. He hired two of the best defense attorneys in the country at the time as well as experts who probably just confused the jury and the reality is that L.A. is very much a company town – psychologically at least.

      Landis also showed up at the funerals and behaved shamelessly. He gave an unwanted and uninvited eulogy at Morrow’s funeral. Morrow’s daughters and ex-wife (their mother) were furious and deeply hurt. He essentially made it PR for the movie.

      By the way, this ended Spielberg’s friendship with Landis. Supposedly Spielberg, who was the movie’s producer, was not happy with the risks Landis was taking before this. There were reports and witnesses who said Spielberg was there at the accident and left immediately when it happened. But Spielberg denies he was there and others back him. Who knows?

      I still found it appalling that they didn’t scrub the movie completely. They didn’t even leave out the segment with Morrow and the kids. That’s pretty awful. I’m sure they didn’t leave it in to “honor” Morrow or the dead kids. The mother of one kid and the father of the other actually witnessed the accident.

      If you look at the video you can see the actors in the water and when the rotors hit exactly where they are you can see 2 figures quickly rise up. Whether that’s just their heads and other body parts or their whole bodies, I don’t know. The jury was shown a number of videos from different angles. So they do exist.

      Vic Morrow was a gorgeous man.

      —Anonymous

      reply 50 09/09/2007

      I heard from my friend who worked with Jennifer Jason that she hated her dad because he did coke with her teenage sister. That’s possible because her sis ended up a heroin addict

      —Anonymous

      reply 67 01/03/2008

      Like

  22. Her best movie was the made for tv film with Tim Matherson… Buried Alive

    Like

  23. Mother Brain’s Top 10 Underrated Actresses Not Yet Covered:
    http://cosblog.cosmelentertainment.com/2015/04/06/mother-brains-top-10-underrated-actresses-not-yet-covered/

    6) Jennifer Jason Leigh

    From the time she caught Hollywood’s attention as the sexually promiscuous Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the career of Leigh in many ways shares similarities with her co-star Sean Penn. Rather than play traditional female roles in movies, Leigh has opted to play dark, troubled young women. In 1991‘s Rush, she played an undercover cop who gets too deep into the drug underworld and she terrified city yuppies as the psycho roommate of Bridget Fonda in Single White Female. She’s been infamous for passing on high profile roles in favor of prostitutes like the teen love interest of Alec Baldwin in Miami Blues and the sexually abused daughter of Kathy Bates in Dolores Claiborne. In spite of her bizarre choices, Leigh has earned a great deal of respect from critics and famous directors like Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, and Ron Howard. Now here’s hoping for a huge comeback in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight later this year.

    Trivia: Daughter of the late Vic Morrow who was infamously killed in a helicopter stunt gone wrong in the Twilight Zone Movie. Ironically enough, it’s director, John Landis, almost replaced Fast Times director Amy Heckerling before the accident.

    Like

  24. Social King Maker

    oh my! I think you should boost more Instagram followers with SocialKingMaker.com assist! Check out their site – SocialKingMaker.com

    Like

  25. 10 Actors Who Are About To Make A Huge Comeback:
    http://whatculture.com/film/10-actors-who-are-about-to-make-a-huge-comeback.php/5

    Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

    Believe it or not, but there was a time when all the boys had a crush on Jennifer Jason Leigh, having viewed her in Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High – a movie in which she took off her clothes and attempted to be “Somebody’s Baby.”

    She was featured in notable movies such as Single White Female and The Hitcher, but isn’t particularly well-known today, having aligned herself with bit parts and TV roles.

    According to Wikipedia, Leigh “has a reputation for playing characters on society’s bottom rung, often prostitutes or junkies,” which means that her casting in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming western, The Hateful Eight, makes perfect sense. As notorious outlaw Daisy Domergue, Leigh is certain to ham it up to dynamite levels, cussin’ all the way.

    There’s no doubt that Tarantino cast Leigh with a comeback in mind; as the only female lead in the movie, there’s a big chance she’ll make a huge impact – especially given that she hasn’t featured in a main role in a notable movie for a long, long time. Is that the smell of a potential Best Supporting Actress Oscar, perhaps, or is that jumping the gun?

    Like

  26. I love Jennifer in just about everything she’s been in. Rush (1991) was a great role for her as was Single White Female. I always found her to be incredibly sexy, beautiful face, nice strong chin, doesn’t look good on some females but it does on her.

    Like

  27. Nice post. Totally forgot that she was Vic Morrow’s daughter! Interesting fact about the addition of Jason to her name. 🙂

    Like

    • This article is on my “need to update” list. But I’m glad you enjoyed it. I find JJL to be a fascinating actress. She’s one of the few subjects of WTHH who I genuinely believe wasn’t interested in being a movie star. She kind of flirted with it for a minute and decided she hated the roles she was getting that would have resulted from a movie star career and instead decided to follow a different path.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree 100%; she’s just done whatever projects she was interested in. I usually agreed with what Roger Ebert had to say, but not when he felt she was exploited in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. I’m sure if she was uncomfortable with a scene or the material in front of her, she wouldn’t said so. I’m still surprised he seemed unaware of the context of the scenes he was referring to.

        Like

        • I agreed with Ebert a lot too. There’s a reason he gets quoted more than any other critic around here. But sometimes he would have odd opinions on these things. Especially funny when you consider his involvement with soft core director Russ Meyer. Ebert famously blasted David Lynch’s Blue Velvet because he objected to the way he felt it exploited Isabella Rosselini.

          Like

  28. The Return of Jennifer Jason Leigh:
    http://www.twcc.com/entertainment/galleries/2015/10/derailed-film-stars-the-return-of-jennifer-jason-leigh

    Quentin Tarantino is known for resurrecting the careers of many an actor. That should be good news for Jennifer Jason Leigh. The daughter of the late Vic Morrow built quite a resume for herself during the ’80s and early ’90s before largely retreating to smaller roles in indie projects. Now, with the actress playing one of the leads in Tarantino’s eagerly-anticipated The Hateful Eight and being cast as former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in Rob Reiner’s LBJ, she’s poised to make a return to the spotlight. Why are we excited at the prospect of Leigh upping her visibility? Take a look.

    Like

    • Jennifer Jason Leigh Thought Her Career Was Over Until Quentin Tarantino “Resurrected” Her

      http://news.yahoo.com/jennifer-jason-leigh-thought-her-career-was-over-153325797.html

      Jennifer Jason Leigh does not look glamorous in Quentin Tarantino’s new film The Hateful Eight, out December 31. As outlaw Daisy Domergue, Leigh scowls her way through the three-hour Western, one eyed blackened and her nose frequently dripping blood. The film, a violent, harsh drama that is heavily male-dominated, finds Daisy a prisoner of Kurt Russell’s John Ruth, who is taking her to be hanged for murder. Leigh’s expressive and complex portrayal of Domergue’s has earned her numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress nomination. It’s a far cry from her other new film, Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion tale Anomalisa (out December 30), in which Leigh provides the voice of a very self-conscious woman named Lisa. We spoke with Leigh at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills recently about embodying these two very different women, working with Russell and how The Hateful Eight feels like a career resurrection.

      Like

      • The Hateful Eight: 8 Reasons It’s Quentin Tarantino’s Worst Film

        http://whatculture.com/film/the-hateful-eight-8-reasons-its-quentin-tarantinos-worst-film.php/8

        The Ending Is Amoral And Confirms The Film’s Misogyny

        The most disheartening thing about The Hateful Eight is that it shows QT turning his back on his status as a kind of de facto feminist film-maker. If that seems a stretch, think about it: Mia in Pulp Fiction; The Bride; casting a 40+ year-old Pam Grier – an African American, no less – an actress only otherwise known for her cult, B-movie exploitation fare for the lead role in Jackie Brown; Shoshanna in Inglourious Basterds; most of Death Proof. No matter what you make of Tarantino’s art, it’s impossible to deny that he’s always written great parts for women.

        Yet here he turns his only female character into a walking heavy-bag, battered at every opportunity and seemingly done so for laughs. She opens the film with a deep circle of black beneath her eye and continues to lose teeth and blood at regular intervals (and her compassion, too, in the aforementioned guitar smashing scene). This might all be fine if Daisy got her revenge in the manner of a Django or a Shoshanna. But no, she gets none, and she suffers the terrible indignity of having her brother’s (Channing Tatum’s Jody) head blown to bits all over her face before finally being hanged by Sam Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren and Sherriff Chris Mannix, Walton Goggins’ character.

        The death, fetishised unlike anything else in Tarantino except for maybe feet, is the denouement of Tarantino’s presentation of Daisy as female collateral, as a woman abused and beaten for no reason other than the one Tarantino seems to lasso over the whole film in terms of artistic reasoning: because he can. Of course, Daisy is no saint; she’s wanted for a reason, and it probably ain’t pretty. But it remains that as the only female of the Eight, she becomes an instant, easy target for violence. If QT’s reasoning is that it’s okay for her to be treated like a man because she’s just as bad as they are, then this movie’s moral compass is off the f*cking charts.

        Like

  29. I know it says Leigh was born in Los Angeles, but in fact was she not born in Fort Worth? Cardwell to be exact?

    Like

    • According to Wikipedia and IMDB bios, she was born in LA. I couldn’t find anything that placed her birth in Fort Worth. Let me know if you have a source that says otherwise.

      Like

  30. And that would be Carswell

    Like

  31. Twin Peaks adds Jennifer Jason Leigh

    http://deadline.com/2015/10/twin-peaks-jennifer-jason-lee-cast-showtime-1201597304/

    The acclaimed actress was spotted filming the Showtime revival this week in the Mojave Desert, but her role hasn’t been revealed.

    Like

  32. To Disappear, But Also Not Disappear

    http://thisdistractedglobe.com/2009/02/04/jennifer-jason-leigh/

    Jennifer Jason Leigh made her TV debut in the Disney movie The Young Runaways in 1978. To continue working, she legally declared herself an emancipated minor and dropped out of Pacific Palisades High School six weeks short of graduation. At the age of 19, Leigh made her film debut in Eyes of a Stranger, playing a deaf, blind and mute teenager stalked by a psycho. Also in 1981, she slimmed to 86 pounds to play an anorexic teen in the TV movie The Best Little Girl in the World. Vic Morrow and Barbara Turner had divorced when Leigh was 2 and she had not spoken to her father in nearly two years when in 1982, Morrow was killed on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. The tragedy overwhelmed attention Leigh might have received that summer playing a sexually active high school freshman in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. When one of her scenes was trimmed to spare the picture an X rating, Leigh objected, stating at the time, “It was a classic scene and should have been left in the picture uncut. It had humor, pathos, sweetness and sadness. It showed the loneliness and hollowness of sex at that age.”

    Leigh spent the next eight years in made for TV movies with titles like The First Time or Girls of the White Orchid, as well as B-movies, playing a medieval princess joyously debauched by Rutger Hauer in Flesh + Blood and a character ripped apart by two trucks in The Hitcher. 1990 was Leigh’s breakout year. She made her New York stage debut off-Broadway at the Circle Repertory Theatre as the title character in William Mastrosimone’s Sunshine. New York Times theater critic Laurie Winer observed, “If her character is desperate to be loved, Ms. Leigh is not; she makes Sunshine’s neediness annoying.” Two movies Leigh had completed also opened that year. In the gritty Last Exit to Brooklyn, Leigh was cast as an emotionally dissonant hooker, while she played a sweeter and steelier prostitute opposite Alec Baldwin in Miami Blues. These earned Leigh Best Supporting Actress nods by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics.

    The ’90s were spent winning over critics but seemingly alienating audiences. Leigh played a narc who succumbs to drug addiction in Rush (1991), a rapid tongued reporter in the Coen Brothers screwball comedy The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) and celebrated writer and wit Dorothy Parker in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994). While some complained about the “ragged dagger of a voice” Leigh conjured for her uncanny portrayal of Parker, the actress maintained, “I had a tape loop of her that I played constantly. I mapped every chuckle, stutter, and pause, almost like you’d learn a foreign language song.” Leigh managed to top that performance in 1995 with Georgia. From a script her mother wrote, Leigh played Sadie Flood, a bitter, heroin addicted barroom singer burdened by the success of her sister (Mare Winnigham). Leigh dropped to 90 pounds for the role and recorded her songs live, most memorably an 8 1/2 minute rendition of Van Morrison’s “Take Me Back”.

    In 1997, Leigh filmed a role in Eyes Wide Shut, but when Stanley Kubrick’s extensive reshoots conflicted with her commitment to eXistenZ for David Cronenberg, her part was given to Marie Richardson. Leigh is rumored to have turned down roles taken by Laura San Giacomo in sex, lies, and videotape, Lori Petty in A League of Their Own, Kyra Sedgwick in Singles, Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights and the role in L.A. Confidential that Kim Basinger would parlay into an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Leigh’s most notable career accolade to date has been an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain in Single White Female (1992). Speaking to New York Magazine in 2005, she admitted, “I’ve overworked things or over-researched things. I think I’ve been too removed at times. If I had done some of the roles that I turned down stupidly, which ended up being awfully good movies – I just couldn’t see it at the time – I’d be in a position today where I had more opportunities. But, you know, the truth is there aren’t a lot of movies I want to go see.”

    Instead, Leigh co-wrote, co-starred and co-directed (with actor Alan Cumming) The Anniversary Party (2001), a wry drama/comedy shot in 19 days on digital video and featuring many of Leigh’s friends, including Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline, Parker Posey, Jennifer Beals and John C. Reilly. In 2007, she was back on critics’ year-end best lists, playing a blissfully naïve bride opposite Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding. Speaking to The Onion A.V. Club, Leigh offered, “There was a kind of purity with Margot that I had in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, just kind of being young, in a way. And I was nothing like that girl in Fast Times either, though I did get a job at Perry’s Pizza, and I did do this ‘research’ or whatever I was doing, but I was using a lot of myself, because I didn’t have a lot else to draw on. I wasn’t out interviewing lots of people, and I wasn’t doing that kind of stuff. And there’s a kind of purity to that that I’m kind of interested in again. To disappear, but also not disappear, in a way.”

    Like

    • Actors/Actresses Who Were Once Big/Almost Big But Now Have Seemingly Vanished

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/19187409-actors-actresses-who-were-once-big-almost-big-but-now-have-seemingly-vanished

      Some of these people are working on good projects. Debra Winger just got great reviews for The Lovers. She’s also in the TV Series The Ranch.

      Jennifer Jason Leigh is in the upcoming Alex Garland film, and she has another film down the pike with Matthew McConaughey. She’s got a supporting role in the Rob Pattinson indie Good Times that got excellent reviews at Cannes. She also has a Netflix series.

      I think Ed Burns has another TV series project coming up.

      Anne Heche is working. She’s done some indie movies and b grade stuff that hasn’t been seen. She had one series, Aftermath, that failed, and has a new series coming up.

      Josh Hartnett has five or six movies in various stages of production. They seem like indie films, but that’s where actors go to find work if they aren’t a superhero.

      Jack Black is always in stuff. He’s in the new Jumanji movie. He got great reviews for Bernie a few years back.

      Meg Tilly did the Canadian series Bomb Girls. That put her back on the map. She’s in the Netflix movie Wargames right now. She’s one of those who walked away from the industry and has come back.

      A lot of the actors mentioned here really hurt themselves by being difficult. Winger certainly, and also Edward Norton, Ken Wahl, Linda Fiorentino, Sean Young, etc. Others kill their careers with addiction, like Wes Bentley, who at least kicked his habit and has worked again. Lohan still can’t get out of her own way.

      Others retired or seldom accept work. Gene Hackman, Joe Pesci, they choose to leave. Same with Bridget Fonda and Leelee Sobieski.

      Some of them make bad movie or TV choices and fall down the chain. That seems to be what happened to Matt Dillon, who really had it all, looks, charisma, acting ability, but never quite made stardom. He works regularly, but mostly in stuff that no one sees.

      Some of them just weren’t that good, and when they got older and less hot, there wasn’t any need for them.

      Lots and lots of these people are mainly doing TV. That’s where the work is when you get older, especially if you’re a woman.

      —Anonymous

      reply 260 18 hours ago

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  33. Welcome to the Basement: Miami Blues (1990)

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  34. Quinten could have resurrected costner career the way he did Jennifer but he turned it down twice idiot.

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  35. Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role in The Hateful Eight has redefined her as an Oscar-nominated star. http://abc7ne.ws/1XIQqhy

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  36. Barbara Turner, “Georgia” screenwriter and mother of Jennifer Jason Leigh, has died http://bit.ly/25JDFIK

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  37. Is Jennifer Jason Leigh staged for a comeback?

    http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000007/flat/258414040?d=258414040#258414040

    Been doing remarkable performances for years, but was always sort of overlooled8. Now, after Hateful Eight, she has so many high profile films coming out. She has Morgan coming out soon. And she apparently got the coveted role of The Psychologist in Annihilation, in which stars like Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Julianne Moore were considered.

    It looks to me like her career might take an uprising from this.

    Like

  38. Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Fast Times At Ridgemont High

    http://screenrant.com/fast-times-ridgemont-high-cast-then-now/

    JENNIFER JASON LEIGH (STACY HAMILTON)

    While Stacy was young and confused and thus made bad decisions all over the place, her portrayer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, has exercised some pretty decent decision-making, at least where her role selection is concerned.

    Jason Leigh has had one of the more successful careers of the cast acting-wise. She gave powerful, critically lauded performances in Rush, Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle, and Georgia, and she also popped up a few times on television in shows like Weeds and Revenge. Recently, she had a memorable turn in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, earning the first Oscar nomination (for Best Supporting Actress) of her career.

    Fans of Jason Leigh will have plenty of opportunities to see more of her. She has a new television series that premieres in August, Atypical, in which she costars with Michael Rappaport, and she has filmed two movies on tap for release next year: Alex Garland’s highly anticipated Annihilation, and White Boy Rick, in which she stars alongside Matthew McConaughey.

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  39. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving to play Benedict Cumberbatch’s mom and dad for Showtime

    http://www.avclub.com/article/jennifer-jason-leigh-and-hugo-weaving-play-benedic-257884

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  40. Jennifer Shepherd

    I loved Jennifer Jason Leigh in Buried alive she plays opposite Tim Mathison as his adulturous wife who plots to kill him along with the family dr for his money however he wasn’t dead when they buried him alive and he comes back to exact his revenge. Great Movie!

    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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    • Oh yeah, I forgot about that film; Jennifer Jason Leigh, I think, was great there (she’s pretty much always great, i think), and Tim Mathison (I always liked him in “Fletch” and the Meg Tilly version of “Impulse”, not the 1990 film starring Theresa Russell “Impulse”, which I also like). I always like a performer who takes chances, and Jennifer Jason Leigh seems to just take on complicated roles.

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  41. Jennifer Shepherd

    I think Jennifer Jason Leigh also and I could be wrong about this one but wasn’t she the blind sister in the horror film “Eyes of a Stranger?”

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    • Yes! I believe that was was either Jennifer Jason Leigh’s first role or a very early role. Hey, in the end, her sight came back (sorry for the slight spoiler)!

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  42. Chris Stuckmann reviews Dolores Claiborne, starring Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer, Judy Parfitt, David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, Bob Gunton. Directed by Taylor Hackford.

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  43. Jennifer Shepherd

    lol didnt spoil it for me eyes of a stranger I was born in 76 this tells u how much of a horror fanatic I am I haven’t saw that movie since I was little so yeah I was like 7 years old watching horrow films I think I came out of the womb wrestling I am a retired diva and watching horror flicks LOL LOL LOL

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    • Ha ha; I was born in 1977, but I think I was destined to be a movie junkie. Now, as horror films go, have you seen 1982’s “Basket Case”?
      So, how come you’re a retired diva? I heard diva’s never retired (for example, we have two favorites of mine, Bette Midler & Diana Ross. No, I’m not gay, but I’ve always kind of had a thing for Bette Midler). Cher though, I’m on the fence with her; I love the song “Just Like Jesse James”, but maybe that lady had one too many comebacks.
      You ever view the 1987 John Carpenter film “Prince of Darkness”? That’s a favorite of mine as well.

      Like

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