«I alternate moments of intense joy with moments of great frustration» says the actress, after the birth of her son Vanya. She is also afraid of too much violence in American schools. She now she is back in a series that talks about youthful distress. It is in Guadagnino's film that she will go to Venice.
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In the photos she has that look that is always a bit dark, impenetrable, with the often mocking air of someone who is bored. But who cares? It can only be you, Chloë Sevigny. On the screen, she is never fearful of dealing with gory or difficult scenes and subjects and, in her life, never limited by social or respectable conventions. Luca Guadagnino chose her once again for his new film, Bones and All, in competition at the Venice Film Festival. «Oh, it's just a cameo – she warns – but… I love Luca!».
Chloë Sevigny: Punk rock, alternative, cool girl
Definitions and labels have never been lacking for Sevigny, one of the most interesting actresses of the experimental scene of the 90s with films such as Kids by Larry Clark. Symbol of independent cinema, loved by directors such as Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, Whit Stillman, Lars Von Trier and Vincent Gallo, adored by the most avant-garde fashion designers who compete to have her runway with their models, today – at 48 declared years – she continues to be a cult actress and, living in New York, to keep cautiously away from Hollywood. Her story is now well known: discovered by a photographer in the streets of the Big Apple, she is chosen for a video by the rock band Sonic Youth, becomes the muse of director Harmony Korine (with whom Gummo shoots) and in short a fashion icon.
Then one day, in 2020, a photo of her with a big belly appears, smiling next to a boy with a calm and "normal" look, Sinisa Mackovic, art gallery owner who secretly married her two years before her. Two months later, a stolen image of Vanya, a child as blond as wheat, and finally, in May 2022, a great service by Vogue UK on a wedding in a big way, as traditional as possible: Chloë radiant in a white dress, with lots of relatives and friends, between tears of emotion and affection. In the church of Darien, her hometown in Connecticut, followed by a festive steak and potato reception in the same New Cannan's Waveny Park where she used to do acid as a young girl. "It was important for me to get married – after the civil wedding – even in front of God and my loved ones: it is an act of reverence – she explains – she towards the rites". And once again she amazes us and takes us off guard.
Chloë Sevigny: "The Girl From Plainville touches everyone closely"
Her booklet is complete again: after the years away from the set to peacefully live motherhood, she is happy to be back on the scene. She smiles at the idea of slipping once again into the role of mother: "Now she – she says – she tastes different." Let's talk about Zoom, she's in New York. The occasion is the television series The Girl From Plainville, in Italy on Starzplay. Based on the true story of Michelle Carter (played by a touching Elle Fanning) who at 17 was charged with involuntary manslaughter for texting her a vulnerable and confused friend to commit suicide. She was convicted and spent nearly a year in prison.
The series debates a highly topical topic: mental health in the United States where an ever-increasing number of young people try to take their own lives. It is a subject that is close to the heart of the actress, who has always been interested in social issues: in Luca Guadagnino's recent TV series, We Are Who We Are, she was a mother struggling with adolescent problems and family dynamics, and in Russian Doll, where plays the mother of the main character Natasha Lyonne, she is in a difficult emotional relationship.
The story of The Girl From Plainville touches everyone closely: who does not know families and children who have lived through similar stories? Suicide ranks second among the causes of death in the United States, and the problem of mental health, particularly depression, is increasingly common among teenagers and the very young. When I was offered the role of Conrad Roy's mom aka Coco (the suicidal boy), I immediately watched the documentary that inspired the series: I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth V. Michelle Carter. Lynn Roy is an incredible woman, she immediately conquered me with her spirituality, her sense of humor, the way she talked about her son of her, how she had been able to face such a tragic situation, and survive . I wanted to capture at least part of her spirit, her strength and show it on the screen to all those parents and kids who are suffering from her and who may find comfort thanks to her. I also wanted to raise awareness on the issue of mental health, especially in such dramatic cases. I think there are many who do not know how to move in those situations, who to turn to, especially if you do not have the tools to understand the gravity of the situation.
Lynn's son, for example, went to school, had a life of his own, and took medicines that helped him … There was no sign, in short, that could herald such a decision.
Then there is another interesting aspect to the story: the spasmodic search for happiness seems almost an obligation imposed by society on children. What do you say?
"True, it seems that happiness must somehow take the place of spirituality. I don't want to generalize or absolutize my point of view, but in this country if you claim to have a problem you are a weird, no matter at what level. I personally was proud to be a "weirdo", an original, and I identified with the other kids considered strange. I understood them, and I still understand them."
How do you remember your adolescence?
"Periods of great intolerance and a lot of fun. I had fun and I also got into a lot of trouble (laughs)… Not with the law, though. I was all imbued with hippie aesthetics and I really didn't want to be a "respectable" (smiles). I have good memories of those years and I wouldn't trade them for anything else. Moments of unhappiness? Of course, but never to the point of thinking about suicide: many things were experienced, drugs, sexuality. Maybe my parents thought I was much more unhappy and hoped I would go and talk to some expert: I think it's hard to distinguish a normal level of anxiety from a more extreme pathological condition."
The life-death dilemma and thoughts about suicide are an inevitable stage in the teenage years, but today young people experience even more intense anxieties and anguish.
"Of course. There is pressure from social media, the world is getting smaller. And people see and hear more intensely, I'm not sure why."
You have a two year old boy. How are you experiencing this experience?
"I am alternating high and intense moments of joy with moments of great frustration. It's like I've lost a part of my life, my friends, my relationships, and I try to juggle and learn to navigate this new world. I find it difficult to take the right path because when I am away from Vanya I feel guilty. I know, it's natural, it's a fact, but I can't help it."
What worries you so much?
"Everything: how much protein does she eat, whether she is iron deficient and even how and how much to discipline him. Also contributing to my frustration is the political situation in America, with our government, the Supreme Court, and all that is going on. I am terrified of sending my son to school with the constant shooting these days, and the unsolvable problem of gun control. I'm frustrated, because I don't know how to protect him."
Listen, but Luca Guadagnino?
"In his new film I am once again a mother … I can't tell you more, but I'm waiting for you in Venice (laughs)."
Written by Michael Zippo
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