Jennifer Jason Leighnote (born February 5, 1962) is an American actor born in Los Angeles, California. She was Hollywood royalty before making her debut in 1976, being the second and youngest daughter of the late actor Vic Morrow and the late screenwriter Barbara Turner. Her younger half-sister Mina Badie is an actor in her own right.
She's best known for such movies as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Money, Hey Arnold! The Movie, The Hitcher, Single White Female, The Hudsucker Proxy, Dolores Claiborne, eXistenZ, The Machinist, The Jacket, and The Hateful Eight.
She was once married to filmmaker Noah Baumbach, but they have since divorced.
Leigh's works (that don't have pages of their own) contain examples of:
- Acclaimed Flop: This was her deal in the 90s. She starred in many critically acclaimed films that audiences stayed away from.
- Career Resurrection: She faded into obscurity in the 2000s until The Hateful Eight and the subsequent Oscar nomination. With it came roles in Annihilation and Atypical.
- Creator Backlash: She called Backdraft the least favourite of her roles."In mainstream movies, the womans role is mostly just to prove that the leading man is heterosexual. Im not good at that, and Im not interested in that."
- Dyeing for Your Art:
- She went down to 86 pounds to play an anorexic girl in the Made-for-TV Movie The Best Little Girl In The World. Less dangerous than it sounds, as she weighed less than 100 pounds to begin with at that point
- She also went down to 90 pounds for Georgia.
- Enforced Method Acting:
- For Margot At The Wedding she, Jack Black and Nicole Kidman all moved in together to properly create a dysfunctional family dynamic.
- Also an inadvertent one when she was playing a real antique guitar in Hateful Eight and an unknowing Kurt Russel smashed it before it could be swapped out for a stunt copy. Her character's horrified reaction was real.
- Ms. Fanservice: Most of her roles involve her being naked at least once. YMMV, as the nature of some of her roles (anorexic, drug addict, etc.) can be decidedly Fan Disservice.
- Name's the Same: No relation to Jason Lee, who became famous years after she did.
- The Other Marty: She had a small role in Eyes Wide Shut. But when re-shoots needed to be done, she wasn't available. So they recast her with Marie Richardson.
- Playing Against Type:
- The 90s featured her either playing neurotic or fragile characters, often prostitutes as well. In The Jacket Keira Knightley plays such a character, while Jennifer plays the lone good psychologist in a Bedlam House.
- She's also a concerned mother in The Spectacular Now and it's her ex-husband who's the troubled one.
- Production Posse: She worked with the Coen Brothers on The Hudsucker Proxy and The Man Who Wasn't There, also having auditioned for several of their other films.
- Real-Life Relative: Her mother wrote and co-produced the movie Georgia.
- Romance on the Set: She dated Jason Patric for two years after they worked together on Rush.
- Star-Making Role: Fast Times at Ridgemont High got her noticed, but Miami Blues and Last Exit To Brooklyn put her on the map.
- Typecasting: The 90s typecast her as troubled prostitutes and she had to take special care to avoid those roles until The Machinist.
- What Could Have Been:
- She very nearly played Sarah Connor in The Terminator. But James Cameron felt she was too young, at only twenty-two, and the role went to Linda Hamilton insteadnote . She also auditioned for Catwoman in Batman Returns, which went to Michelle Pfeiffer.
- She was infamous for turning down many roles such as Libby on Lost and Bree on Desperate Housewives. Earlier in her career she also turned down the lead in The Stendhal Syndrome.
- Written by Cast Member: She co-wrote the film The Anniversary Party, which she also co-produced and starred in.