Sunday, May 6, 2018

Chloë Sevigny on Why She Chose Not to Add Her Voice to #MeToo

At the Guardian U.K., "Chloë Sevigny: ‘I didn’t want to name names. I think they’re commonly known as assholes anyway’ - More than 20 years ago, the actor was anointed ‘the coolest girl in the world’. As her new film opens, she talks about A-list movie stars hogging the best TV roles and why she chose not to add her voice to #MeToo":
Last year, Ronan Farrow, who broke some of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations in the New Yorker, approached Sevigny and asked if she’d be interviewed by him about her experiences of Hollywood. She turned him down. “I didn’t really have anything to say to him,” she says. “I’ve had experiences that are kind of common, verbal experiences, or innuendos. But I didn’t feel they offended me to such a degree that I wanted to name the names. I think they’re commonly known as assholes anyway. Do you know what I mean? I felt it would draw attention to myself, in a way. Which I know is the wrong thing to say, because we have to be vocal for people who don’t have a voice… ” She trails off, then starts up again. “For someone to say ‘What are you doing after?’ during a casting session is not so unheard of. Yeah, it shouldn’t be done and lots of girls might feel vulnerable and not know what to do in that situation. For me it was like: really?” She laughs. “I do feel like what Harvey Weinstein did compared to Al Franken [the former senator of Minnesota] – there has to be some delineation. Instead they’re all grouped together.”

Was she just naturally buoyant enough to push back against casual propositions?

“I think maybe growing up around some men in my life who were a little chauvinistic [helped]; I don’t know. I can’t even remember now who said it to me, but a female casting director said, in a room full of people: ‘You have to make the men want to fuck you and the women want to be you.’”


“Yeah. I almost wish I could remember who she was. Not that I want to call her out, but I feel like that was almost more damaging in a way. To think to myself, that’s really what I have to be? And then trying to figure out how to be that. This was from a casting person who was like, this is how you’re going to get the jobs and then that permeating through how I thought about myself, and the commodity I was. That was more damaging than the guy asking me what are you doing after or saying you should take your clothes off more. Shocker.”

It makes sense that Sevigny, while sensitive to all the nuances surrounding #MeToo, held back when approached by Farrow; to be in a room with her is to be reminded that Sevigny, while friendly and charming, is a non-conformist who makes up her own mind, thinking long and hard before she answers some questions and doubling back to qualify them once she has. She is politically at odds with her family, a situation she finds depressing, but is well used to by now. Sevigny grew up in Darien, Connecticut, the US equivalent of the conservative Home Counties, but after moving to New York at 19 and falling in with a fashionable art crowd, rapidly moved away from the opinions she’d grown up around. Her family watch Fox News, she says, “which I try to zone out whenever I go home. It’s a losing battle. They’re at an age when – now it’s just the sad undercurrent of tension, and me having to block it out or ignore.”