Jennifer’s Body Star Slams the Movie’s Marketing
The Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried horror movie Jennifer's Body has become a cult classic, no thanks to the movie's marketing, says star Adam Brody.
If you were a straight guy in the late 2000s, you probably thought Jennifer’s Body was made for you. The movie’s poster featured Megan Fox, established by Transformers and numerous magazines as the “hot girl” of the moment, kicking back atop a school desk wearing a miniskirt and high heels. Shots of a nude Fox emerging from the water filled the tv spots and trailers, as did double-entendres about how Jennifer “goes both ways.”
If you were a straight guy who watched Jennifer’s Body in the late 2000s, you saw that the movie wasn’t about you at all. Yes, it does feature Fox as a high school succubus who seduces and destroys various high school guys, but the movie’s emotional core was on Fox’s Jennifer and Amanda Seyfried’s Needy, longtime friends dealing with their relationship imploding as they go in different directions. Written by Diablo Cody, fresh off of Juno, and directed by Karyn Kusama, who would go on to helm the equally expectation-defying The Invitation and Destroyer, Jennifer’s Body was about teen girl friendships, not about the boys who come and go along the way.
For one of those guys, this misunderstanding is entirely the marketers’ fault. “Part Goosebumps, part Maxim,” Adam Brody says dismissively of the poster, speaking with The Independent. “It’s not even anything she wears in the movie.” Himself a marketable star to teen/young adult set, thanks to stints in Gilmore Girls and The O.C., Brody played Nikolai Wolf, the frontman of an indie rock band who tries to earn Pitchfork-approved fame by sacrificing Jennifer to Satan, and transforms her into a monster instead.
Ironically, Brody represented the only audience the marketing team had in mind. “The film was directed by a woman, starring two women, written by that year’s screenwriting Oscar winner,” he complained; “and instead they’re like, ‘Let’s bury all of that. Don’t tell anyone that. This is for people who like Transformers.’” Instead of tapping into the movie’s actual audience, the young women who can relate to the main characters’ plight, the film was directed toward guys. Brody lamented, “The film was a marketing person’s dream, and then to see them do that…”
Although it was a long time coming, the movie is much beloved today. Those who did catch Jennifer’s Body at its release in 2009, or caught up with it later, have come to put it next to classics like Ginger Snaps and Carrie, horror movies about a young woman’s coming of age. Jennifer’s Body came in at 14th on Den of Geek‘s 2022 list of the Best Horror Movies of the Past 15 Years.
Does this reassessment mean that the movie is properly understood today? Maybe, but never underestimate straight guys’ ability to think a movie is for them and them alone (signed, a straight guy).