DID YOU READ

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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.