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Chloë Sevigny (1974)

Chloë Stevens Sevigny

Type :  

  Summary  

Chloë Stevens Sevigny is an American film actress, fashion designer and former model, born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Sevigny gained reputation for her eclectic fashion sense and developed a broad career in the fashion industry in the mid 1990s, both for modelling and for her work at New York's Sassy magazine, which labelled her the new "it girl" at the time, garnering her attention within New York's fashion scene.

Sevigny made her film debut with a leading role in the highly controversial film Kids , written by Harmony Korine, which led to an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance. A long line of roles in generally well received independent and often avant-garde films throughout the decade established Sevigny's reputation as an indie film queen. It was not until 1999 that Sevigny gained serious critical and commercial recognition for her first mainstream role in the critically lauded Boys Don't Cry, for which she received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

Sevigny has continued acting in mostly independent art house films, such as American Psycho , Party Monster , The Brown Bunny and Dogville . In 2006, Sevigny gained a leading role in the HBO television series Big Love, for which she received a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 2010. Additionally, Sevigny has two Off-Broadway theatre credits, and has starred in several music videos. She has also designed several wardrobe collections, most recently with Manhattan's Opening Ceremony boutique.

  Biography  

 early life
Chloë Stevens Sevigny was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and raised in Darien, Connecticut by her mother, Janine (née Malinowski)—who is a Polish American—and father, H. David Sevigny, an accountant turned interior painter of French Canadian heritage. Sevigny's father died of cancer in 1996. She has an older brother, Paul, who is now a New York disc jockey. Sevigny often spent summers attending theatre camp, with leading roles in plays run by the YMCA; she had always aspired to be an actress despite her interest waxing and waning over the years. Sevigny would often play dress up as a child with trunks of clothing her mother would buy for her at local secondhand shops describing it as "instinctual" for her.
She was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and attended Darien High School. While in high school, she often babysat actor Topher Grace and his younger sister. Despite Darien's high-class, wealthy reputation, Sevigny's parents kept a "frugal" household, and she worked as a teenager sweeping the tennis courts of a country club her family could not afford to join.

During her teenager years, Sevigny became something of a rebel: "I was very well-mannered, and my mother was very strict. But I did hang out at the Mobil station and smoke cigarettes." She also began referring to her hometown as "Aryan Darien", attempting to break free of the high class, Ivy League-reputation of the community. Between her junior and senior year of high school, Sevigny even shaved her head and sold her hair to a Broadway wigmaker. She openly admitted to experimenting with drugs as a teenager, especially hallucinogens, but said she was never a "good drug user"; despite this, she was sent to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings by her parents after indulging in marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs. In 2007, she told The Times, "I had a great family life–I would never want it to look as if it reflected on them. I think I was very bored, and I did just love taking hallucinogens ... But I often feel it's because I experimented when I was younger that I have no interest as an adult. I know a lot of adults who didn't, and it's much more dangerous when you start experimenting as an adult." She often described herself as a "loner" and a "depressed teenager." Her only extracurricular activity was occasionally skateboarding with her older brother, and she spent most of her free time in her bedroom: "Mostly I sewed. I had nothing better to do, so I made my own clothes".

At age 18, Sevigny relocated from her Connecticut hometown to an apartment in Brooklyn. There, in 1993, she was spotted on an East Village street by a fashion editor of Sassy magazine, who was so impressed by Sevigny's style that she asked her to intern at the magazine. When recounting the event, Sevigny was reluctant about it: "The woman at Sassy just liked the hat I was wearing," she said. She later modelled in the magazine as well as for X-girl, the fashion label of Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. During that time, author Jay McInerney spotted her around New York City and wrote a seven-page article about her for The New Yorker in which he dubbed her the new "it-girl". She subsequently appeared on the album cover of Gigolo Aunts' 1994 recording Flippin' Out and the EP Full-On Bloom, as well as having a part in a Lemonheads music video.

 acting career
 Early work (1995–1999)
Sevigny encountered young screenwriter and aspiring director Harmony Korine in Washington Square Park in New York City during her senior year of high school in 1993. The two became close friends, which resulted in her being cast in the low-budget independent film Kids . Directed by Larry Clark and written by Korine, Sevigny plays a New York teenager who discovers she is HIV-positive. According to Sevigny, she was originally cast in a much smaller role in the film, but ended up replacing Canadian actress Mia Kirshner. Just two days before production began, the leading role went to the then-19-year-old Sevigny, who had no professional acting experience; she said of her casting in the role, "Harmony just thought I was this sweet, cute girl and he liked my blonde hair." Nonetheless, Kids was controversial; the film was given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America for its graphic depiction of sexuality and recreational substance and drug use involving teenagers. Despite its controversy, Kids was taken note of critically and commercially: respected film critic Janet Maslin considered the film a "wake-up call to the modern world" about the nature of the youth in urban life at the time.

Sevigny followed Kids with actor/director Steve Buscemi's independent film Trees Lounge , starring in a relatively small role as Buscemi's object of affection. During this time, director Mary Harron offered Sevigny a minor part in her film, I Shot Andy Warhol . Harron tracked Sevigny down to the SoHo clothing store Liquid Sky, where she was working at the time. Sevigny then gave her first audition ever, but ultimately decided to turn down the part; she would later work with Harron on American Psycho . Instead of taking the part in I Shot Andy Warhol, Sevigny starred in and worked as a fashion designer on Gummo , directed and written by Harmony Korine, who was romantically involved with Sevigny during filming. Gummo was as equally controversial as Sevigny's debut; set in Xenia, Ohio, the film depicts an array of nihilistic characters in a poverty-stricken small-town America, and presents issues such as drug and sexual abuse as well as anti-social alienated youth in Midwestern America. In retrospection to the confronting nature of the film, Sevigny cited it as one of her favourite projects: "Young people love that movie. It's been stolen from every Blockbuster in America. It's become a cult film". The film was dedicated to Sevigny's father, who died prior to the film's release.

After Gummo, Sevigny starred in the neo-noir thriller Palmetto , playing a young Florida kidnapee alongside Woody Harrelson. She then had a leading role as a Hampshire College graduate in the sardonic period piece The Last Days of Disco , alongside Kate Beckinsale. The film was written and directed by cult director Whit Stillman and details the rise and fall of the Manhattan club scene in the "very early 1980s". Stillman said of Sevigny: "Chloë is a natural phenomenon. You're not directing, she's not performing—it's just real." Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that Sevigny "is seductively demure" in her performance as Alice. The film was generally well received, but was not a box-office success in the United States, only grossing $3 million—it has since become somewhat of a success as a cult film.

Aside from film work, Sevigny starred in a 1998 Off Broadway production of Hazelwood Junior High, which tells the true story of the 1992 murder of Shanda Sharer; Sevigny played seventeen-year-old Laurie Tackett, one of four girls responsible for savagely torturing and murdering twelve-year-old Sharer. Sevigny was reportedly so emotionally disturbed after playing the role that she began attending Catholic mass again.

 Breakthrough (1999–2003)
Sevigny was cast in the independent drama Boys Don't Cry after director Kimberly Peirce saw her performance in The Last Days of Disco. Sevigny's role in Boys Don't Cry— a biographical film of trans man Brandon Teena, who was raped and murdered in Humboldt, Nebraska in 1993— was responsible for her rise to prominence and her mainstream success. Sevigny played Lana Tisdel, a young woman who fell in love with Teena, initially unknowing to the fact that he was born female. Boys Don't Cry was extremely well received by critics, and was a moderate box office success. Sevigny's performance was particularly embraced: The Los Angeles Times noted that Sevigny "plays the role with haunting immediacy", Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times stated that "it is Sevigny who provides our entrance into the story" and Rolling Stone wrote that Sevigny gives a "performance that burns into the memory". Director Kimberly Peirce echoed the same feelings of the critics: "Chloë just surrendered to the part. She watched videos of Lana. She just became her very naturally. She's not one of those Hollywood actresses who diets and gets plastic surgery. You never catch her acting". The role earned Sevigny Best Supporting Actress nominations for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Sevigny won an Independent Spirit Award, a Satellite Award, and a Sierra Award for her performance.

Following Boys Don't Cry, Sevigny had a supporting role in American Psycho , based on the controversial 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Sevigny plays the office assistant of Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale, a 1980s Manhattan yuppie-turned-serial killer. The film, as was its source novel, was controversial because of its depiction of graphic violence and sexuality in an upper-class Manhattan society. In addition, she reunited with Kids writer and Gummo director Harmony Korine for the experimental Julien Donkey-Boy , playing the pregnant sister of a schizophrenic man. Though it never saw a major theatrical release, it garnered some critical praise; Roger Ebert gave the film his signature thumbs up, referring to it as "Freaks shot by the Blair Witch crew", and continuing to say, "The odds are good that most people will dislike this film and be offended by it. For others, it will provoke sympathy rather than scorn". Sevigny followed Julien with a small part in the drama film A Map of the World , opposite Sigourney Weaver.

Between 1998 and 2000, Sevigny moved back to Connecticut to live with her mother, and appeared as a trans man in the Emmy Award-winning television movie If These Walls Could Talk 2 , the sequel to the HBO television drama-film If These Walls Could Talk . Sevigny reportedly took the role in the film in order to help pay her mother's mortgage payment, and has credited it as the only film she ever made for financial benefit. Following this appearance, Sevigny was approached for a supporting role in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde alongside Reese Witherspoon and offered $500,000; she declined and the role was given to Selma Blair. Instead, she starred in Olivier Assayas' French techno thriller Demonlover alongside Connie Nielsen, for which she was required to learn her lines in French. Sevigny described shooting the film as "strange", in the sense that director Assayas hardly spoke to her during the filming, which she said was difficult because of the lack of "input". After spending nearly three months in France to complete Demonlover, Sevigny returned to New York to film the club kid biopic, Party Monster ; coincidentally, Sevigny in fact knew several of the people depicted in the film , whom she met during her frequent trips to New York City's club scene as a teenager.

Sevigny then obtained a role in Lars von Trier's parable film Dogville , playing one of the various residents of a small mountain town, alongside Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall and Paul Bettany; the film received mixed reactions, and was criticised by critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper as being "anti-American". Sevigny re-united with former Boys Don't Cry star Peter Sarsgaard for the biographical film Shattered Glass , also alongside Hayden Christensen, about the career of Stephen Glass, a journalist whose reputation is destroyed when his widespread journalistic fraud was exposed. Sevigny played a co-editor of Glass's.

 The Brown Bunny and aftermath (2003–2006)

In 2003, Sevigny took on the lead female role in the art house film The Brown Bunny , which details a lonely travelling motorcycle racer reminiscing about his former lover. The film achieved notoriety for its final scene, which involves Sevigny performing unsimulated fellatio on co-star and director Vincent Gallo. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and opened to significant controversy and criticism from both audiences and critics alike. She went on to defend the movie, "It's a shame people write so many things when they haven't seen it. When you see the film, it makes more sense. It's an art film. It should be playing in museums. It's like an Andy Warhol movie." After the film's release at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, the William Morris Agency dropped Sevigny as a client. The agency believed the scene was "one step above pornography", and claimed that Sevigny's career "may never recover". In an interview with The Telegraph in 2003, when asked if she regretted the film, she responded: "No, I was always committed to the project on the strength of Vincent alone. I have faith in his aesthetic I try to forgive and forget, otherwise I'd just become a bitter old lady."

Despite the backlash toward the film, some critics praised Sevigny's performance; Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said, "Actresses have been asked and even bullied into performing similar acts for filmmakers since the movies began, usually behind closed doors. Ms. Sevigny isn't hiding behind anyone's desk. She says her lines with feeling and puts her iconoclasm right out there where everyone can see it; she may be nuts, but she's also unforgettable." Roger Ebert noted that Sevigny brought "a truth and vulnerability" to the film.

Despite her agency's disapproval of the film , she continued on with various projects. Sevigny had a major supporting role as a fellow Manhattanite in Woody Allen's two-sided tragicomedy, Melinda and Melinda , which Sevigny referred to as being a "pleasing" experience. She subsequently guest-starred on the popular television show Will & Grace, and a string of film roles followed, including a small role in Lars von Trier's sequel to Dogville, titled Manderlay , as well as a bit part alongside Bill Murray in Broken Flowers . Sevigny also played one of several lovers of New York doctor Herman Tarnower in the HBO television film Mrs. Harris alongside Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley. Sevigny then had a major role as a Catholic nun visiting Africa in one of three stories in 3 Needles , an anthology dealing with the prevalence of AIDS in various parts of the world. Sevigny's performance in the film was praised; Dennis Harvey of Variety called her performance in the film "convincing", while Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times also referred to Sevigny as "ever-daring and shrewd". Shortly after 3 Needles, Sevigny played the lead character in the experimental indie-film Lying with Jena Malone and Leelee Sobieski, playing a pathological liar who gathers three female acquaintances for a weekend at her upstate New York country house; the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. She also had a leading part in Douglas Buck's 2006 remake of the Brian De Palma horror film Sisters .

 Big Love (2006–2011)
In 2006, Sevigny began her five season run in the HBO television series Big Love, about a family of fundamentalist Mormon polygamists. She played Nicolette Grant, the conniving, shopaholic daughter of a cult leader and second wife to a polygamist husband, played by Bill Paxton. Sevigny found even more mainstream success with a role in her first big-budget production as Robert Graysmith's wife in David Fincher's Zodiac , telling the true story of San Francisco's infamous Zodiac killer. In 2009, Sevigny starred in the independent psychological thriller film The Killing Room, and Werner Herzog's My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, a crime horror film based on murderer Mark Yavorsky, produced by David Lynch. Sevigny also had a voice part in the independent documentary film, Beautiful Darling , narrating the life of transwoman Warhol superstar Candy Darling through Darling's diaries and personal letters. Throughout 2009, Sevigny continued working on Big Love's fourth season; when filming the series, she spends six months of the year living outside of Los Angeles near Santa Clarita, away from her home in New York City.

In January 2010, Sevigny won a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for her performance in the third season of Big Love. The series itself also received nominations in two other categories. During a press conference following the award win, Sevigny addressed the repressed women living in the fundamentalist Mormon compounds: "These women are kept extremely repressed. They should be helped. They don't even know who the president of the United States is." In addition, she had various screening credits that year: Sevigny landed major roles in two independent comedy films: Barry Munday and Mr. Nice in Munday, Sevigny plays the sister of a homely woman who is expecting a child by a recently castrated womaniser ; in Mr. Nice, she had a leading role as British marijuana-trafficker Howard Marks' wife, alongside Rhys Ifans; the film was based on Marks' autobiography of the same name. In a later interview with The A.V. Club, Sevigny was asked if she felt that the show's message was that polygamy was "wrong". In response, Sevigny stated: "No, absolutely not. I think there are more parallels to gay rights and alternative lifestyles within Big Love—more so than “Polygamy is wrong.” I think they actually condone people who decide to live this lifestyle outside of fundamentalist sects." During the same interview, Sevigny stated her disappointment with the series' fourth season, calling it "awful" and "very telenovela"—though she stated that she loves her character and the writing, she felt the show "got away from itself." Sevigny later regretted making the statements, saying she was very "exhausted" and "wasn't thinking about what was saying"; she also apologised to the show's producers. "didn't want them to think that I was biting the hand that feeds me, because I obviously love the show and have always been nothing but positive about it. And I didn’t want anybody to misunderstand me or think that I wasn’t, you know, appreciative."

In March 2010, Sevigny attended the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin for the premiere of both Barry Munday and Mr. Nice; Barry Munday was picked up for distribution by Magnolia Pictures several months later. In June 2010, it was announced that Sevigny would be starring in a leading role in M. Blash's second film The Wait, alongside Jena Malone and Luke Grimes; it is a psychological thriller about two sisters who decide to keep their recently deceased mother in their house after receiving a phone call that she will be resurrected. The film marks Sevigny's second time working with both Blash and Malone, following 2006's Lying. Filming began on 20 June 2010, in Portland, Oregon.

 personal life
Sevigny owns an apartment in the East Village, Manhattan, which she purchased for $1.2 million in 2006. Her father died when she was in her early 20s, and Sevigny stated in a 2006 interview that she came from a "close-knit" family, that she speaks to her mother every day, and that her brother lives three blocks away from her apartment. Sevigny also suffers from scoliosis, which was diagnosed when she was a child, though she never received any surgical treatment. She has stated that she practices yoga for relief from the condition.

Sevigny is a practising Roman Catholic, although she admits she rebelled against religion as a teenager. She said she began attending church services again after playing a Satan-worshipping teenage murderer in a 1998 Off Broadway production of Hazelwood Junior High: "I got really disturbed. I started having nightmares and thinking horrible things".

Sevigny has pursued various relationships with high-profile men throughout her life, though in 2006 she stated to the New York Post Gossip column: "I've questioned issues of gender and sexuality since I was a teenager, and I did some experimenting." In a later interview, she stated that she "wouldn't call herself bisexual", and that she could never see herself in a relationship with a woman. Nonetheless, Sevigny has garnered a gay fanbase throughout her career. Following her relationship with Harmony Korine , Sevigny dated British musician Jarvis Cocker, and later Matt McAuley, a member of the noise-rock band A.R.E. Weapons. Sevigny and McAuley ended their relationship in late 2007, after being together for nearly eight years.

In a 2009 interview, Sevigny reflected on her career, and said she was content with the level of stardom she had maintained: "When I was in my early 20s, I went out with a British pop star, Jarvis Cocker; of course, pop stars have much more celebrity, I think, than actors even. They’re really hunted by their fans much more. I remember driving around these remote towns in Wales and kids running after us in the street. I was like, 'This is horrible!' And I saw the effect it had on him, and that’s when I decided I never wanted to be a celebrity at that level, and I think that’s why I’ve chosen to do the work that I do and just kind of work with directors that I love and try and do work that means something to me."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Chloë Sevigny", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.