Diablo Cody interview

Diablo Cody on her debut script for the hottest movie on the block, Juno

A former stripper, Diablo Cody’s debut script, Juno, has turned her into the hottest property in Hollywood. The story of a pregnant teen (Ellen Page), it’s afforded Cody nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the Golden Globes, Baftas and Oscars.

How close are you to the character of Juno?

Well, I’m not really Juno. I’ve never had a baby, which is a miraculous feat. But the character is autobiographical. When I was a teenager, I had a friend who got pregnant. That was a difficult thing for us to get through as friends. She was grappling with an extremely grown-up issue at the time that I didn’t really understand.

Was it a cathartic experience writing it?

Everything I write is an emotional catharsis. It’s my way of exercising demons. With Juno, people think of the pregnancy being the major plot point. But for me, it was the chance for me to work out some issues about a relationship I had in high school with a guy. The movie is a ninety-minute apology to this guy – so it does feel good.

What made you get into stripping?

I really think I had some minor psychotic break. I turned 24 and I realised I was officially an adult. I could no longer use adolescence as an excuse for my behaviour. I was unable to hold down a job. I was really kind of flapping dismally at life. My personal life was in complete chaos… I was just buckling under the pressure and I lost it one day and started doing that. I think I just wanted to hide. When you strip, you take on a different name and persona. You put on a wig and it really is escapism. It gave me a place to hide out for a while and figure out who I was.

Did you ever have any dreams or ambitions during this time?

No, I’ve never been an ambitious person. I used to think it was because I had this easy-going slacker quality, but it’s because I have a lot of fear of rejection. Now my approach has completely changed. I’ve become way more confrontational about the things that I’m afraid of.

Juno opens on 8 February.

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