The performance of Jamie Lee Curtis in the new film comedy, "A Fish Called Wanda," might surprise a lot of people.

That's because her knack for being funny wasn't apparent in her "Halloween" horror movies, and was merely suggested when she broke into true prominence with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd as a kooky prostitute in "Trading Places."

Jamie Lee, the daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, has embarked upon what she prefers not to call a new direction in films, but rather an effort to give herself a new image.

After all, she's been making films since she was a teenager. A great many of those were horror movies but, as she explains, when she was 18, that was the only kind they were making for her audience.

And then, "after `Halloween,' I found myself in an area I never wanted to be in, which was the sort of `sex symbol' thing."

Now, "I'm trying to create the fact that I don't have to worry as much as I did when I was supporting myself (she's married now to actor Christopher Guest). I've turned down a lot of work."