Interview: Chloë Sevigny

By CAMILLE DODERO  |  January 12, 2011

You would want to be in a giant romantic comedy with stupid, cheesy posters?
As the friend! I wouldn't want to carry one. [Laughs] I'm not interested in that level of stardom. Or that responsibility. I dated this boy Jarvis Cocker when I was younger, and he was the lead singer of Pulp, and [their hit] "Common People" had just come out, and he was the biggest rock star in England. We were walking around in the streets, being chased, and I was like, "This kind of stardom is frightening." So I think that also is why I kind of avoided more commercial work.

Your roles have been extreme, and you say that's mostly what you've been offered. But do you like freaks?
Am I drawn to freaks? I guess I am. Because I always felt like one. And that's what all my homies are like. But my characters aren't freaks, necessarily. Even in Zodiac, I kind of played a normal girl, very bookish.

You were pretty normal inShattered Glass.
Or in American Psycho. I was the nice secretary, sweet girl, I was the moral compass of the movie. But American Psycho is still a strange film. Even the Herzog film I just did [2009's My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done], I was playing the straight girl. In a really weird film! Sorry, I'm not really good talking about my craft. [Laughs]

No, you're fine!
I wish I was more into my craft. I have a lot of respect for actors, but I'm a tool. I don't feel like an artist. Which is what I struggle with the most. And maybe why I'm attracted to films that I think are pushing the limit — or are pushing boundaries in some way. They're making more of a statement than I can really make in my own life. So I want to be a part of something that's bigger, or better, or different.

I see my friends who're musicians, or painters, and I wish I had that talent or way of expressing myself — changing peoples' opinions and making an impact — on my own. But I can't. I can only do it as a collective. That's my biggest struggle in life, and the most frustrating thing for me.

Also, because with Big Love, they are really controlling. [The actors] have freedom — we can try different takes — but [the writers and director] know what they want. It's a little frustrating as an actor. Because you're like, "I feel like it would be good like this!" And they're like, "Nope. People like the character because it's that way. So you're gonna do it that way. And it's gonna be great."

You can fight with them until the cows come home. You see actors on set: "I wanna hold my fork this way!" It's back-and-forth for an hour. But it's just like, "Hold it the way they want." And like [Project Runway star] Tim Gunn says, " 'Make it work!' " [Laughs]

What other art forms do you wish you'd pursued?
I'm not musically inclined. I can't draw — I wish I could. I wish I could do fine art. I wish I had the intellect or the talent or the ideas. But I don't. [Laughs]

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