Running with Diablo

Hollywood's hottest screenwriter talks about the price of fame, life in the film biz, and her early days at City Pages

CP: You've even been the subject of a gossip item or two about your recent divorce.

Cody: Which is really gross. But you know what, the only thing that frustrated me was that they beat me to it. I like to be the person to disclose things about myself. And I always will. I'm never hiding anything. But they could have given me a couple of days. I didn't like them scooping me on my own life. But I'm glad it's done.

CP: What are the three biggest lessons you've learned in the last two or three years?

Diablo Cody
Nick Vlcek
Diablo Cody

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Want more? See our slideshow gallery with photos (and notes from the shoot!) by Nick Vlcek. Also, hear an excerpt from Matthew Smith's interview with Diablo, as she reflects on her time at City Pages, here (MP3).

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Cody: Hmm. Shit, man, here's the problem. Most people would probably be able to spit something out for you, but I'm such a control freak about stuff like this that I want it to be the three perfect things, a delectable trio of sound bites. So anything I say will seem so pedestrian it'll break my heart.

But there's one bit of advice I have that is going to make me sound like a douche bag. And that is, when you're in a competitive environment, always give out the impression that you don't care. It makes people want you more. If you act desperate, it's over. I think a passive attitude is helpful. It comes naturally because I'm lazy. If I show up to a meeting in flip-flops, it makes me seem extremely appealing for some reason. But it wasn't something I orchestrated. I just didn't feel like putting on regular shoes.

CP: We've all heard the stereotype about Hollywood: the shallowness, the backstabbing—

Cody: It's all true. But one thing that people don't realize is, I have never met people more passionate. Yes, there's a lot of distasteful stuff, but the people who are passionate about their art in Hollywood are more passionate about their art than anyone I've ever met anywhere else. Because people are literally living their dreams, so they are just clinging to that so ferociously, and it's really kind of beautiful and inspiring. People are willing to chuck their entire lives for their work in Hollywood. I've never seen a bank teller do that.

CP: What's the next big thing that we'll see from you?

Cody: Probably this horror movie I wrote [Jennifer's Body], that Jason Reitman is producing. I'm really excited about that. It's a departure from Juno, but the funny thing is, Juno is a departure from my actual personality. I've always loved horror movies. Horror has become in recent years my favorite genre, and I've loved it since I was a kid. Jennifer's Body is similar to Juno, I think, in the cadence of the dialogue. The characters are teenage girls, who are underrepresented in cinema. But there's this horror element. There's blood and guts and gore and fun, which I enjoy. We're going to shoot it in March. I'm very interested to see what happens with that one.

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