Chloë Sevigny: “How complicated is being a mother”

No.In the photos he 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 life, never limited by social or respectable conventions. Luca Guadagnino has chosen her once again for his new film, Bones and All, in competition at the Venice Film Festival. “Oh, it’s just a cameo – he 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 show with their models, today – at the declared 48 years of age – she continues to be a cult actress and, living in New York, to keep cautiously away from Hollywood. Her story is well known: she is discovered by a photographer in the streets of the Big Apple, she is chosen for a video of the rock band Sonic Youth, she becomes the muse of director Harmony Korine (with whom she shoots Gummo) and in short a fashion icon.

Chloë Sevigny. (Photo by Molly Matalon)

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 whom she secretly married two years earlier. Two months later, a stolen image of Vanya, a child as blond as wheatand finally, in May 2022, a major feature by Vogue UK on the wedding in style, as traditional as possible: Chloë radiant in a white dress, with many relatives and friends, between tears of emotion and affection. At the church in Darien, her Connecticut hometown, followed by a festive steak and potato reception in the same New Cannan’s Waveny Park where as a young girl she used acid. “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 – he explains – towards the rites”. And once again she amazes us and takes us off guard.

Chloë Sevigny: «The Girl From Plainville it touches everyone closely “

Your carnet is complete again: after the years away from the set to live motherhood peacefully, is happy to return to 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 Plainvillein Italy on Starzplay. Based on the true story of Michelle Carter (played by a touching Elle Fanning) who at 17 was accused of involuntary manslaughter for having instigated with her text messages a vulnerable and confused friend to commit suicide. She was convicted and spent nearly a year in prison.

Chloë Sevigny with Norbert Leo Butz in a scene from The Girl From Plainville, streamed on Starzplay. (Photo by: Steve Dietl / Hulu)

The series debates a very topical topic: mental health in the United States where an increasing number of young people try to take their own life. It is a subject that is dear to the actress, who has always been interested in social issues: in the recent TV series by Luca Guadagnino, We Are Who We Arewas a mother struggling with adolescent problems and family dynamics, and in Russian Doll, where she plays the mother of the protagonist Natasha Lyonneis in a difficult emotional relationship.

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«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 in causes of death in the United States, and the problem of mental health, in particular that of depression, is increasingly common among adolescents and very young people. When they offered me the role of Conrad Roy’s mother known as 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 she is an incredible woman, she immediately conquered me with her spirituality, her sense of humor, the way she talked about her son, how she had been able to face such a tragic situation, and survive. I wanted to capture at least part of her spirit, his own come on and show it on the screen to all those parents and kids who are suffering and that maybe they 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 don’t 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 to help him … There was no sign, in short, that he could foretell such a decision.

Then there is another interesting aspect in 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 steeped in 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 gets smaller. And people see and hear more intensely, I’m not sure why.

She has 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 it eats, is it iron deficient and even how and how much to discipline it. 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.

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Listen, but Luca Guadagnino?
In your new film I am once again a mother… I can’t tell you more, but I’m waiting for you in Venice (laughs).


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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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