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Why can’t she be Audrey Hepburn?

Why can’t she be Audrey Hepburn? (photo)

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For over a decade now, a screenplay called “Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?” has been floating around Hollywood. Téa Leoni and Jennifer Love Hewitt were both attached at various points to the story of a Hepburn-obsessed woman left at the altar who meets a man just as Audrey-centric as she. I can’t stand Hepburn (don’t ask), but on one level it does seem strange that this movie never got made — the cult of Audrey is vast and obsessive.

Or maybe it isn’t that strange. Hepburn is venerated for her loveliness and her fashion sense, but she’s also a model of carrying oneself appealingly but chastely — she was perfect and untouchable. She never needed to quibble over a nude scene. And clearly this is an issue that endures. Take these three unrelated recent interviews with Dame Helen Mirren, Daryl Hannah and Amy Adams, in which the subjects return, time and time again, to the burdens that come with their looks.

Mirren complains about how no one in the ’70s wanted to talk about anything but her breasts and mentions an appalling interview from the period that’s basically about nothing but. Hannah talks about how she’s never had a facelift, counter to tabloid theories (“I wouldn’t. I’m just not that kind”). And Amy Adams has the weirdest interview in discussing her squeaky-clean, asexual persona. “I don’t present myself to the world like: everyone has to see my bits… There are a lot of women out there like me. I think it’s something that’s more fun to discover than to put out there.”

02122010_caligula.jpgAside from the frightening thought of a nation of women all aspiring to be as gratingly perky as Adams (has any recent chick-flick-ish heroine been so widely despised as her incarnation in “Julie & Julia”?), it’s striking to see Adams discussing herself in such Hepburn-ish terms. The interview tries to position Adams as a kind of anti-Megan Fox: “in this age of Megan Fox-style sexuality-as-a-weapon, Adams’s attitude is actually quite rare.” Which is nonsense: Fox is the anomaly, which is why people keep talking about her… Or did I miss something about Kate Hudson’s insane vamping?

It’s depressing to see these interviews still circling the sexuality/thespian divide. Here’s a random cluster of prominent actresses from the ’70s to the present, still kicking around this question about being taken seriously. They should film that screenplay just to put it out in the open: What is it with the cult of Audrey, the feyness that’s the only defensive position against being sexually labeled? The fact that actresses are still sorting out their physical attributes from their “serious work” is sad. Hepburn’s legacy wasn’t fashion; it’s chastity as a weapon against being sexualized against your will.

[Photos: Adams in “Julie & Julia,” Columbia Pictures, 2009; Mirren in “Caligula,” Penthouse Films, 1979]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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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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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

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