“The umlaut isn't on my birth certificate. I had this book as a child called Chloë and Maude, and there was an umlaut on the e, and I said, I want that! It's a little flair. Just to confuse people even more. People always come up to me and say, Oh, you're Chloë Se-VIG-ny, right? Sevigny. Number seven, letter e.”
— From Esquire, January 2009
Chloe Sevigny Hits It with Her Best Shot
by Diane Anderson-Minshall
The actress subverts gender again in her newest role as a transgender woman who just happens to be an assassin.
Actress Chloë Sevigny may be best known to TV viewers for playing Nicolette “Nicki” Grant, the most interesting of three sister wives on HBO’s long-running polygamy drama, Big Love. But she’s equally iconic for her game-changing roles in the shocking Kids and the transgender Oscar-winner Boys Don’t Cry. Sevigny’s had a bevy of films that play with gender, including Candy Darling and If These Walls Could Talk 2, and last year she cross-dressed as distinctive fashion photographer Terry Richardson for the cover of the avant-garde trans fashion magazine Candy (shot by Richardson).
She subverts gender again in her next role, where she plays a transgender woman who just happens to be an assassin. It may be her best part yet. Hit & Miss, a six-part miniseries that premieres in July on DirectTV, centers around Mia, a contract killer whose trans identity is unknown to those around her. Her life, already precarious, is sent into a tailspin when she receives a letter from her ex. The woman is dying and wants to confess that before she transitioned, Mia fathered an 11-year-old son.
For the role, Sevigny wanted to play Mia as a glamorous woman who easily passes as female — more April Ashley (a gorgeous famous British fashion model outed as transgender in 1961) than Felicity Huffman’s Transamerica character, who she says “hadn’t quite flourished all the way yet.”
I’ve had countless people ask, “What does the real Chloë think of these videos?” We have several friends in common, and all I had heard was that she said that she hadn’t watched them because she has really thin skin and didn’t want her feelings hurt. While I don’t think my videos are mean-spirited at all, I completely respected her stance. I mean, how weird must this be for her? […]
Finally, my friend Mike approached her and said something to the effect of “Hey, my friend plays you, and he’d love to meet you.” Then he literally dragged me across the room to meet Ms. Sevigny. We kind of just stared at each other for a while, and I said, “I hope you know how much I love you. Thanks for being you: you’re awesome.” Then, she gave me a big hug and made my Chloë face at me. That bitch has seen my videos! She’s doing me! Then we wildly laughed and hugged again and talked about vodka. She was the definition of cool, wearing a retro denim jacket, over a leather mini-dress, smoking a Merit Ultra Light, with unwashed hair and a homeless boy-date.
After realizing that she wasn’t going to throw her cocktail in my face, or punch me in the asshole, or simply ask, “Why are you doing this to me?” it came to my attention that I really like this person. My friend Darryl approached us and took a picture. And then I said, “I have to go, but it was so great to meet you.” I needed to keep it brief, so that I didn’t come off like a skin-wearing murderer or, worse, a starfucker. And she grabbed me by the back of the head and kissed me four times on the face. We never talked about my videos, which, I think, is a good thing. In five minutes, we traded mountains of nonverbal communication, and I think we were both a little relieved.
A few weeks later, she was interviewed in Entertainment Weekly, and she talked about meeting me. She said I was “very charming and very nervous.” Well, yeah, I think we both were. And she said that I don’t dress or sound like her, and she doesn’t see a connection between my character and herself. Which is totally valid. I get it. I think it’s always dumb and pointless for actors to describe their own work and their process and all that shit, but I will say this: I’m doing parody, I’m sending up a world, and I happen to look a little bit like Chloë Sevigny. However, my Chloë and the real Chloë are two very different people. Sometimes we just happen to go to the same parties.
Right at home: For Chloe Sevigny, New York is her playground
New York isn’t just Chloe Sevigny’s home; it’s her vacation.
“I have to travel to Los Angeles or wherever for work,” she says. “But New York, I hate being busy in New York. I’d rather just sit in Tompkins Square Park all day and not do anything.”
The East Village resident has been taking a breather since the end of her HBO series Big Love, but she has just hit the big screen with Mr. Nice, in which she plays Judy Marks, the wife of Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans), a Welsh-born drug dealer who specialized in hashish and racked up almost four dozen pseudonyms while on the run from the law.
The real Howard is still living, and so is the real Judy.
“I met her near the end of the shoot, in Spain. She lives there,” says Sevigny. “And then we’ve been emailing for a while. She’s an awesome woman.”
This month, Sevigny will debut her fourth collection for Opening Ceremony in a runway show — the first time the retailer has ever taken to the catwalk for any of its lines. Looking pretty in a summer dress of her own design, the actress sat at the Playwright pub on Eighth Ave . to talk about New York nightlife, her stylish brother and her drag queen doppelganger.
Where would you wear your new line in New York?
Well, I live in the East Village, so of course I would wear it there. I would wear it for cocktails somewhere. I mean, do we want to get specific?
If you want to reveal where you go.
I go everywhere.
Chloë Sevigny on Going from Drug Smuggler to Pre-Op Trans Assassin
No one could ever accuse actor Chloë Sevigny of playing it safe. From her first major role as an HIV-positive teenager in Larry Clark’s KIDS to her Golden Globe Award–winning portrayal of a sister-wife on HBO’s Big Love, the 36-year-old actor and fashion designer has never been one to shy away from controversy. In her latest film, Mr. Nice, Sevigny plays Judy Marks, wife of Howard Marks, a Welsh drug smuggler who was alleged to have once run 10% of the world’s hashish trade. Up next, she’s planning a return to television with two very different miniseries: a Lizzie Borden biopic, in which she’ll play the homicidal lead, and a still-untitled project about a pre-op transsexual assassin, for which she’s readying her Irish brogue.
First, however, a chat — about everything from Patti Smith and bong hits to why her brother Paul won’t be DJing her first Opening Ceremony fashion show next week — from inside Manhattan’s Playwright Tavern, an appropriately unexpected place to meet an Oscar nominee.
Had you known about Howard Marks before signing on to play his wife?
No, but I asked my English friends, who said he was a huge counter-culture icon in the UK. He wrote a book, also called Mr Nice, that every kid over there reads. The alternative kids hero-worship him.
Have you read Judy’s blog?
No, I’m not really into the internet.
She says lovely things about you on it.
We didn’t meet until after I finished shooting the film, but we ended up bonding in Spain. I think Bernard [Rose, the film’s director] didn’t want me to become friendly with her because he didn’t want it to color my performance. He didn’t want me to become more sympathetic to her and to her children, even though I’d read all about it from the book.
She wrote that the two of you have a lot in common, one of those things being that you’ve both had your “fair share of messing about on yachts.” What did she mean by that?
She grew up in a sailing family and so did I. My dad was a big sailor and my brother Paul actually tried to sail in the Olympics. He went to the College of Charleston because of their sailing team. He used to deliver people’s yachts from Newport down to the Caribbean for money, and I’ve done that with him a few times. So that’s probably what she meant, but maybe it’s also a class thing because the English are so obsessed with that. Maybe she means we’re cut from a similar cloth.
Chloë Sevigny Sick of Playing the Suffering Wife, Incredibly Honest
They say honesty is the best policy, but few actors take that sentiment to heart as genuinely as Chloë Sevigny, who was kind enough to sit down with me and a few other curious minds this morning in midtown Manhattan. She has one of those ebullient laughs that nervously tumbles out without warning. Ms. Sevigny is promoting her latest film, the little seen Mr. Nice, which played SXSW last March and has its U.S. premiere on June 3rd. It’s the true life story of Howard Marks, a Welsh dope smuggler played by Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Replacements), as directed by Bernard Rose (Candyman, Immortal Beloved). Ms. Sevigny plays Howard’s wife Judy, and had plenty to say on a myriad of topics. Things like:
The car service guy decided to cross town on 45th street. It was really idiotic.
WHY SHE PLAYED THE PART
I was attracted to Rhys. Not as in I wanted to get in the sack with him, but I was attracted to him as an actor and as a human.
THE REAL JUDY MARKS
Unfortunately, I didn’t meet Judy until the very end. Bernard didn’t want me to meet her and I had to respect the director’s wishes, but now I wish I had been able to meet her sooner. I would have had more ideas to play with to humanize her more than just the long-suffering wife, which is always slightly humiliating.
I can’t smoke pot because I get The Fear. I get paranoid. But some of the other cast and crew members were partaking. Method acting.
Terrific video interview with Chloë Sevigny from Imagine Fashion, in which Chloë talks about a two-part miniseries she’s currently developing with HBO, and watches the YouTube “Chloe Sevigny” impersonator Drew Droege for the first time. Looks like the video was shot in Chloë’s New York apartment as well. Thanks to babydoll1125 @ The Fashion Spot for the find!
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