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Diablo Cody Dishes on ‘Evil Dead’ Reboot, ‘Sweet Valley High’ and Her Bad Reputation

Written by on November 22, 2011 

While on the rounds promoting her soon-to-hit dark comedy Young Adult, fan girl-turned-Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody has been fielding questions and concerns about two controversial film properties to which her name’s been linked: The Evil Dead reboot and the a film adaptation of the young adult book series Sweet Valley High.

When talking to Collider (Via /Film), Cody admitted she was hesitant to get involved with Evil Dead because while she counts herself “such a fan of the original, and the whole original series in fact,” she knew touching Sam Raimi’s gory horror-comedy classic would rile its extensive cult following:

 “I was nervous to take the job because I thought, ‘Ugh, I’m gonna’ get shit for this.’ People are not gonna’ like this, because all people know of me is like Juno and they think I’m gonna’ pollute Evil Dead with like wacky dialogue and cute stuff and folk music, and it’s like, ‘No, look I understand what this is. I’m interested in storytelling here and making it scary and good and true to the original.’”

While she doesn’t comment on the outed changes to the original, Cody does insist, “I wouldn’t have even gotten involved if Sam [Raimi] and Bruce Campbell hadn’t been involved as well, they’re producing it, and so of course I was like ‘Alright I have to do this.’” As to how involved Cody’s been to the reboot’s development, she explains, “I did like a polish/rewrite on the pre-existing, excellent script by [its slated director] Fede Alvarez.” Beyond this, Cody isn’t even certain that her polished draft will be the shooting script, but assures worried horror fans that, “The director’s draft was really scary…I didn’t wanna’ mess with his vision…I mean it’s unbelievably violent.”

Over at the Playlist, Cody spoke in brief about her Sweet Valley High script, to which she’s often alluded to over the past year. There’s been little news on the proposed teen flick getting any real traction, but Cody assures that Wakefield twins hitting the big screen is, “closer to reality than ever.”

Cody has a sincere soft spot for the Sweet Valley series, and so wants to be respectful to the their tone and tenor. “I want it to be wonderfully nostalgic,” Cody said. “I want it to be to the ’80s what American Graffiti was to the [early] ’60s. I want it to be looking back on a really cool time and enjoying yourself and I want it to be glamorous and colorful and bubblegum and a feast for the senses. That’s my plan.”

While I was more a Babysitter’s Club reader, I’m eager to see what the ‘80s will look like through Cody’s lens. Like many, I adored the spunky Juno and was devastated by the disappointing Jennifer’s Body. But with the Showtime series United States of Tara Cody found a place to experiment with different voices and characters, grow as a writer, and created something compelling, dark and deeply funny. It’s for all these reasons I’m anticipating her re-team with Juno director Jason Reitman on Young Adult, and why I’m optimistic about Evil Dead and Sweet Valley High. Cody’s still fairly new to screenwriting, but she’s shown a funny and fearless voice. Plus she often writes captivating roles for women (a truly under-served demographic all around), yet her projects play to more than just chick flick fans.

I think the real reason she rubs so many the wrong way isn’t her work but her persona. She’s a former stripper, who rather than be ashamed of her past wrote a book about it. She gave herself a pen name that sounds like a roller derby girl or a porn star. She dresses in loud patterns, says ‘like’ a lot, and is covered in tattoos. And maybe most grating of all, she doesn’t care what you think about it. I know plenty find Cody obnoxious. (Personally I think she’s sassy and fun.) But really who cares? Let’s focus on the work and ease up on the celebrity-flavored Haterade.

Young Adult
hits theaters December 16th.

What do you make of this latest Evil Dead and/or Sweet Valley High news? Do you too think Cody’s been unfairly maligned?

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