Kate Ward
August 14, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Megan Fox likes it rough. Just ask Amanda Seyfried, who spent several long days on the set of Jennifer’s Body with her thighs wrapped around the Transformers star for a fight scene. ”I had bruises between my legs from her hips,” says Seyfried. ”It’s unbelievable how much pain I was in.” Such are the consequences of a face-off with a cannibalistic she-demon. In the drak comedy, Fox plays Jennifer, a possessed flag-team captain who seduces her male classmates — right before eating them alive. Seyfried plays Needy, a nerdy friend of Jennifer’s who tries to stop the bloodshed. It’s hard to imagine that such a horrific concept could come from the same mind that dreamed up the friendly, kooky teenage world of Juno: screenwriter (and EW columnist) Diablo Cody. ”After Juno came out, people were like, ”Thanks for portraying teenagers as good people,’ ” Cody says. ”And I’m like, Well, I’m undoing all of that overnight with this movie.”

Let’s just say Jennifer’s Body has enough blood to fill gallons of Sunny D jugs. Yet surprisingly, Cody drew on personal experience to craft this teenage hell: She was inspired by a romantic rivalry from her high school days that she says temporarily transformed her into ”a bitch.” ”I thought, What’s scary to me?” Cody says. ”Zombies? Not that scary. Ghosts? Not that scary. And then I was like, Teenage girls? Scary as hell.”

And in this case, sexy as hell. Fox, hot off Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is bound to get tongues wagging with her role as a literal man-eater. The film already became tabloid fodder earlier this year when seemingly topless photos of her from Body‘s set leaked onto the Web. (Fox told EW last June, ”I had booby stickers on…. If I’d been topless, I would have sued someone. I know who [leaked the photos]…. It’s her karma to deal with, not mine.”) But the pics seem G-rated compared with the film itself, which promises lots of raunchy language and at least one girl-on-girl make-out scene — yes, between Fox and Seyfried — which the trailer hints at. The actresses understood what that was all about. ”We knew that it was going to play a really big role in publicizing the movie,” Seyfried says. ”We kind of rolled our eyes at the idea of having to make out.”

Clearly, though, the tactic is working. Since the trailer’s release, message boards have been blazing with fanboy anticipation. Even Adam Brody (The O.C., who plays a rocker in cahoots with Satan, admits to being titillated and gives full credit to director Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux). ”What’s funny is that Karyn made it more sexual than any guy could have,” he says. ”She really made it more…erotic, if you will. It’s got a real feminine touch.”

But let’s face it: Beyond Seyfried’s involvement in the kissing scene, Body‘s promotion is all Megan, Megan, Megan. And no one would like to keep it that way more than the actress playing Jennifer’s dorky second fiddle. ”Being a lead, you have that weird pressure of feeling like you have to look attractive,” says Seyfried, who wears Poindexter-like glasses for most of the film. ”In this movie, I didn’t worry about any of that s—. I don’t want to play the one that everybody is supposed to want to have sex with.” Kusama believes audiences will be able to see past Fox’s body, and that the actress’ work, particularly during an uncomfortable human sacrifice scene, will surprise moviegoers skeptical of her abilities. ”It was hard to know what her range was after Transformers, and I don’t think she would disagree with [that],” Kusama says. ”But it was really a pleasure to work with everybody who was an untested entity and see that she really had the goods.”

But how about the actual, you know, horror? For that Kusama kept things old-school, eschewing most digital effects for, in one case, hoses and mouth clips that simulated the demon’s projectile vomit. ”If someone’s actually spraying you with black bile,” the director says, ”that’s not something you can get the full effect of unless it’s happening to you.” Despite shunning much CGI, Body‘s filmmakers hope to mimic one aspect of the success of a certain F/X-dependent blockbuster that’s pulled in $394 million and counting — no doubt thanks to its foxy special ingredient. ”Thank God for Transformers making a ridiculous amount of money,” Seyfried says. ”People are finally going to see Megan do something awesome…. They’ll be like, ‘I want Megan Fox even more.’ ” Let’s hope they’ve got a strong stomach.

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