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Chloë Sevigny Has a Case of the “Munday”

Chloë Sevigny Has a Case of the “Munday” (photo)

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Downtown NYC cool kid-turned-actress Chloë Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry,” “The Brown Bunny,” HBO’s “Big Love”) is well known for turning down high-paying roles in favor of the kind that simply appeal to her indie-arty sensibilities. Her latest project is writer-director Chris D’Arienzo’s comedic feature debut “Barry Munday,” making its world premiere at this year’s SXSW. Patrick Wilson stars in the titular role as an oblivious, womanizing office drone whose life turns to shit after he wakes up in a hospital to find that he’s lost his testicles in a brutal attack by a young girl’s angry father. Making matters worse, he’s slapped with a paternity suit from an equally angry frump named Ginger (Judy Greer) with whom Barry was too drunk to remember sleeping with.

In a scene-stealing supporting performance, Sevigny co-stars as Ginger’s sister Jennifer, the “pretty daughter” who drives poor ball-less Barry crazy by trying to seduce him right under everyone’s nose. Last weekend, I sat down with the ever-stylish Sevigny at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin to talk about pole dancing, fashion and her other SXSW premiere, “Mr. Nice” — but before all that, I began with a standard ice breaker:

Are you tired of talking about yourself today?

I was tired of talking about me 15 years ago. [laughs] It’s never been my strong point.

Have you eaten any Tex-Mex in Austin yet?

I’ve had a lot. I had a breakfast burrito this morning, actually, at Joe’s. It was delicious. I could eat a million tacos. In New York City, there are no good tacos.

03192010_BarryMunday2.jpgAgreed. So, how did you first get connected with this project?

My agent sent me the script. She was a big supporter of it and thought it was great. I read it, fell in love with the Ginger part and met with the director. He had a different person for Barry then, and they were considering me for Ginger, but then they lost their Barry. They got Patrick [Wilson], and then they needed somebody else for Ginger. Money reasons, I guess? Maybe they didn’t think I was right, who knows? Chris [D’Arienzo] said, “What about the sister, Jennifer?”

We talked about Hal Ashby, about [Chris’] ideas for the film, the tone and the music. He was such a dynamic individual that I thought, “I want to work with this guy. I feel like he can make a great movie.” I’ve worked mostly with writer/directors, and I’ve had a pretty good track record so far. I’ve been playing kind of the bitch on “Big Love,” but in films, I’m more often the innocent one, or the one who gets put upon. So I thought I’d like to be the bad girl, the seductress. That appealed to me.

Why did you originally want to play Ginger?

Oh, come on, it’s a great part and it’s the lead. [laughs] There were so many interesting facets and nuances to the character — the ugly duckling [who is] comfortable being that, being undesirable. It would’ve been a completely different film with me in that part. I would’ve played it real real. [laughs]

Barry is such a clod. Why do you think Jennifer’s trying to seduce him?

I don’t think she’s attracted to him. She just wants to know that he is attracted to her. She wants everybody to like her, and she wants to be everybody’s favorite because she always has been. I don’t think she would even act on it if something were to happen. She wants to know that he desires her, so she’s going to flirt to no end just to make sure she knows she can get him. There’s maybe a little [sibling rivalry], but you can see her love for Ginger.

With siblings, it is strange that you can love them and still be at odds with them.

I have a brother, believe you me. I’m not really allowed to be friends with his girlfriends anymore. [laughs] Well, I don’t know — it’s gone back and forth. He’s blamed me for being mean to his girlfriends, scaring his girlfriends. I guess I’m a scary and powerful individual. I didn’t always know that. So yeah, there is a bit of rivalry. Of course, him being a boy is a little different.

03192010_Kids.jpgOne throughline in your career has been provocative material. What draws you to audacious projects?

I guess it’s just the directors. Lars [von Trier], of course, I’m a huge fan of. Harmony [Korine] was my boyfriend, or whatever. [laughs] It would be case by case. I don’t think “Shattered Glass” or some of my films that are more conservative, like “Zodiac,” are… well, I guess “Zodiac” is a little bit [provocative]. I make films that I’d want to see as a viewer. Those are the kinds I’m attracted to. Last year, “Hunger” was one of my favorites. Films like that are telling stories in new ways, pushing limits or challenging you. Those are the films I like to watch.

What have you watched and enjoyed lately?

I saw “Shutter Island.” Surprisingly, I liked that. I’m not always the biggest Scorsese fan. [laughs] I haven’t seen that much lately. Sorry.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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