It seems fitting that a star of the big screen who waited 45 years for the sweet taste of Oscars glory should have written a book about delayed gratification. A year on from scooping the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once – and dedicating her gong to her late parents, Hollywood legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh – that moment still feels like "a dream" to Jamie Lee Curtis.
"It's still incredible to me," says the actress, whose first movie role was in the 1978 horror classic Halloween. "But I wasn't waiting for it or expecting it. What I did wait a long time for was something as special and as creative as Everything Everywhere All at Once. "Working on that movie was an incredible experience; the Oscar was the unexpected extra."
As the buzz around this year's ceremony builds, the 65-year-old mother of two is stepping back into the spotlight for a different reason, with the publication of her latest children’s book. The seeds of Just One More Sleep were planted, the star reveals, by a little girl called Betty who lives in her neighbourhood.
"It was Christmas Eve in 2020 – during the Covid-19 pandemic – and Betty, who was then four, passed me on the street as I was getting my mail. She was all masked up," Jamie recalls.
"I asked if she was looking forward to Christmas and she said it was still one more sleep, which made me think about how children can't compartmentalise time. It's always one more sleep, two more sleeps to your birthday."
The aim of the book, she says, is to help children "remember how fun it is to wait for something in this world of instant gratification". And not just children. "Gratified delay is something that is hard for us adults," the actress continues. "Everything is now, now, now. This book is about how waiting is worth it."
One thing that Jamie never has to wait long for is a new film or TV role. "I am someone who, since I was a teenager, has always been used to working or doing something," she says of her appetite for keeping busy. This summer sees the release of her latest film, action comedy Borderlands, which is based on a video game and set on a fictional planet. "Pretty wacky and fun," is how Jamie has described the movie, which co-stars Cate Blanchett.
Acting is in her blood and will always draw her – but does writing have the edge these days? "The books come from my mind; they don't exist without me, so in some ways, that's more satisfying," she says. "But in the past couple of years, I have had opportunities as an actor that have been transformative.
"Traditionally when you're a leading lady, you do good work, but they cast you because it is a version of you that they want. In Everything Everywhere All at Once, I played someone who wasn't a version of me. The freedom that and [TV comedy drama] The Bear gave me was also satisfying."
Asked to name her greatest achievement, Jamie – who shares daughters Annie, 37, and Ruby, 27, with screenwriter husband Christopher Guest – responds: "My children," before swiftly changing her mind.
"Actually, they are their own achievement. My sobriety is my greatest achievement," says the star, who has been clean for more than 20 years following a well-publicised battle with drink and prescription drugs.
As for growing older, Jamie doesn't give it a second thought. "I feel great," she says. "Age is a not a big deal to me. I'm as active and as driven as I have ever been. Age just doesn't come into it."
INTERVIEW: SALLY JAMES/FEATS PRESS