Cheat Sheet: Diablo Cody


Brook Busey (pen-name Diablo Cody)

Date of Birth:

June 14, 1978

Place of birth:

Illinois, USA

Special moves:

Writing, Pole Dancing

Films include:

Juno, Jennifer’s Body

What you probably already know

Most people’s first writing efforts never see the light of day, but Diablo Cody’s first screenplay would go on to nestle happily on every DVD shelf in the known world. The film was Juno; the indie tale of a pregnant chick that boosted Ellen Page and Michael Cera to super-stardom, and won Miss Cody an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Basing the central character of Juno on herself as a teen (but, she admits, a rather funnier version) and building the story around the initial image of a middle-class couple “auditioning” to be parents of a teen’s baby, Cody’s worldwide success earnt her writing honours at institutions including BAFTA, the Writers Guild of America, Broadcast Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review, the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Florida Film Critics Circle. She followed up this whirlwind success with horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body (which had a rather more luke-warm reaction) and she’s currently revising the script for the upcoming remake of The Evil Dead, as well as adapting the classic teen Sweet Valley High books – centring on the life and times of glamourous twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Though we’re not sure the Prom-esque troubles of two rich teens are rife for dark humour, we have faith!

What you might not know

Catholic schoolgirl Brook Busey’s took up the pseudonym Diablo Cody from a relatively young age, apparently inspired by repeat listening of El Diablo by Arcadia. She wrote a few blogs whilst studying for her degree in Media Studies at the University Of Iowa, but her writing career really only kicked off when she flirted with the world of stripping (isn’t that always the way?) Though it’s actually pretty difficult to figure out her timeline (see here for full mind-confusion), it’s safe to say that producer Mason Novick became a fan of a blog she wrote entitled P-ussy Ranch; in which she documented her life as a stripper. Upon his suggestion (or before he contacted her, depending on which bit of the internet you read) she wrote a memoir entitled Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, which – with Novick’s help – she got published by Gotham Books.

After the book achieved moderate success, Novick suggested she begin work on a screenplay, and well, the rest is accidental-pregnancy-based history. There’s some contention as to whether Cody really spent the year as a full-time stripper (as her memoir claims), or whether there’s some fairly clever marketing spin going on, but it’s certainly safe to say that she wrote Juno. And that’s good enough for us.

Diablo Cody quote:

I could do a comedy about anorexia. That would be great. It could be called, like, Wasting Away. That’s not wacky enough though. That’s sounds dramatic… I guess I’m inspired by awkward situations. I love awkward silences, I love forced politeness. To me, there is hilarity to be found in that.

What to say at a dinner party:

“The point is not whether Diablo Cody built up her own brand using a psuedo-shocking, “anti-establishment” past not not, but rather whether she has anything to offer post-Juno. Hopefully she will continue to push female-centred comedies, and we can forget about whether they come from the mind of “a one-time stripper” or not.”

What not to say at a dinner party:

“Wonder if she did the back-room stuff.”

Final thought:

It was always going to be tricky following up the stonking success of Juno – and the so-so comedy Jennifer’s Body is perfect proof of that. But hopefully, Cody’s love of awkward humour and desire to push the good name of comedy will ensure an interesting future for her. Though… an Evil Dead remake? Really?

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