Chloe Sevigny Plays Nice with Press for Mr. Nice
Chloe Sevigny is all eyes and mouth and messy blond hair. She almost caves into her boney frame as she sits in a white pinafore dress in front of a half dozen handheld recorders. Fiddling with an over-sized gold watch, she gasps out a laugh at some half-hearted joke quipped by one of the sloppily-dressed reporters sitting around the table.
Sevigny is deigning to meet with us to promote her new film, Mr. Nice, in which she plays, as she puts it, “the long suffering wife.” The film is a fictional retelling of the life and times of Howard Marks (played by longtime friend Rhys Ifans), a Welsh kid who made good in matriculating to Oxford, and then made bad in escalating his marijuana dealing into a career as an international cannabis smuggler with connections to the IRA, MI6 and the Mafia. Sevigny’s character, Judy Marks, is actually the one who sets Howard on this path by telling him that he looks like a drug smuggler over a friendly game of Go, but later gets angry when his illicit activities threaten their family and land the couple in jail.
A fashionista who only works with auteurs and never goes on auditions, Sevigny plays the down-to-earth actress to a tee. She gets very excited about an X-Men press packet lying on the table, and decides that she wants to be in the movie (which comes out next week). Trying to stay on track, we pepper her with questions about her character, the drugs and the future.
What attracted you to the character? “I was more attracted to Rhys. Not attracted as in ‘I wanted to get in the sack with him.’ But I was attracted to him as an actor and as a human.”
How would you convince someone to see yet another drug movie? “I don’t find anything wrong with marijuana … There’s the whole hustling and explaining how you do it, and the funny drug lords and whatnot, but it’s more silly, more carefree. I mean, they’re bumbling in a field in Ireland trying to get these packages—it’s less intense. It’s a softer, kinder version of these cliched drug movies. It’s a movie about love and marijuana. I hope the stoners have fun. I hope they get stoned and go and watch it and trip out.”
On set, did you have a “guy”? “I can’t smoke pot because I get the fear. I get paranoid. I bet some other cast and crew members were partaking.”
On Howard Marks: “He seemed like a super mellow dude, but he was stoned, you know?”
On having a British accent: “That was the scariest part. It’s so technical, that I think I would have felt a lot more confident if I’d have had a real speech coach. I was working with the ADs, PA girls or whatever who were trying to teach me. And then there was a lot of improvisation [in the film]. If I could just stick to the dialogue it would have been a lot easier, but improvising, and then, like, it was so hard that I would be concentrating on the accent that I wouldn’t be able to be in the scene. It was very intimidating and really hard, and I hate doing accents.”
On the game of Go: “That went over my head. I’ve never played Go. I still don’t know how to play Go. It’s a pretty board. It’s a pretty looking game. I’m not really into games. I like Apples to Apples. That’s a fun game.”
On David Thewlis’ drawing a smiley face on his penis: “That was in the script. There was a lot of discourse over that because Thewlis was in Potter. And they weren’t sure if he could be in Potter and then show his penis in another film. Even if it was flaccid.”
What’s next? “I’m going to England to do a miniseries. It’s fiction. I would be playing a pre-op male to female tranny assassin. It’s fucking awesome. But there’s an accent.”