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Leelee Sobieski’s Blissful Adulthood

Leelee Sobieski’s Blissful Adulthood  (photo)

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It’s tempting to still think of Leelee Sobieski as that underage ingénue from “Deep Impact,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “The Glass House” and her Emmy-nominated role in the TV miniseries “Joan of Arc,” but according to the fair-skinned beauty (who turns 27 this month and, as of December, is a new mother), the opposite is true: “People think that I’m older than I am because I’ve been working since I was 11. They think, ‘Oh, she’s been around forever. She’s in her mid-30s.’ But I’m not.”

In the new indie comedy “Finding Bliss,” written and directed by Julie Davis (“Amy’s Orgasm”), Sobieski stars as Jody, a naïve film school grad who fights against her conservative impulses when she takes an editing gig at an adult film company, specifically to take advantage of their filmmaking equipment after hours. Surrounded by silicone-enhanced toys and talent (plus a full-frontal Jamie Kennedy), Judy is forced to confront her suppressed sexual desires, and even finds an unorthodox romantic partner. I spoke with Sobieski by phone about having old-fashioned values, the first time she ever saw porn, and the bodily remnants of a dead filmmaker she keeps in a box.

Have you ever felt as prudish in your values as Jody?

I’m a little bit strange, because I have two different sides to my personality. There’s a side that’s like my father, and a side like my mother. My mom sees the world in a very moral, “this is good and this is bad” way. My father is French and from a different generation. So I like to have the chair pulled out for me if I’m at a romantic dinner, or the door opened, these certain old-fashioned, male-female roles. At the same time, I like to be an equal, but sometimes I can be looked upon as old-fashioned.

06022010_FindingBliss5.jpgSpeaking of gender roles, “Finding Bliss” was written and directed by a woman, which is interesting since the adult film market is predominantly male. What was your initial take on Julie Davis’s project?

For some reason, I’ve worked with a large number of female directors, which is great, because there really aren’t that many. I hope to be a director myself one day. Julie is fun and excited by all the naughty stuff, but then she’s a mother, a wife, and very traditional in the home and family. Her son comes first before everything.

On the other hand, she had all these wild jobs before, and is totally fascinated with this subject. When I read the script — years ago — it was a fresh subject. It was hard to shoot because our budget was so low. We were shooting in Spokane, WA, which made it difficult to capture the right energy, especially visually.

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a porno?

Yes. I was 15, and I was filming “Joan of Arc.” [laughs] I was at the Hotel InterContinental in Prague, and there was a glitch in the computer system, so for a month, there was free porn on four channels. It was really confusing to me, especially after coming home from working such long days. There weren’t that many channels in English — at a certain time, there were cartoons in English on the highest channel. The channel right above that happened to be all the porn, so I would constantly — perhaps accidentally, perhaps not — stumble upon it. It was very jarring in the context of what I working on.

I don’t think it really affected me. I was old enough. Children find it because kids are using the Internet so young now, and so much better and faster than adults. I wonder what happens when they see it before they’re even aware of a kiss, when that’s the first image they see.

06022010_FindingBliss3.jpgYet even though it’s more accessible, we still live in a puritanical society in which talking about sex in public is risqué or even taboo.

I always felt that talking is good. If you talk about a taboo subject, it doesn’t become as exciting. I went to a school in New York City that [taught] sexual education in third grade. That was too young, I think. Maybe it worked for me because I was innocent for a long time, longer than any of my peers. I would pride myself on being one of the boys and talking about women in a macho way. I thought it was cool to analyze women with the dudes. I never included myself in that, or any of my girl friends.

One of the reasons why I felt comfortable talking about [sex] and yet stayed quite prudish for a long time was because I was able to discuss anything with my parents. If I wanted to go to a party at a friend’s house, my dad and mom would say, “You can go, but why would you want to — what’s this kid going to do with his life? Do you really care if these kids think you’re cool or not? You can go, but it’s silly.” I would think, well, I don’t want to be thought of this way. I want to make my parents proud and not go to this stupid party.

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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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