Zodiac - Chloë Sevigny interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
CHLOE Sevigny talks about appearing in David Fincher’s Zodiac and working with the acclaimed director and such a top notch cast.
When you approached this role, did you have to do much research on the case, or was it more about just your character?
Yeah, it was more about playing her, and more about her relationship with her husband, and I read part of Zodiac before we started shooting. It was a bit frightening at home alone, reading this horrible crime scene, breaking down these crime scenes and whatnot. And I’d just never been one of those girls that was into Manson or serial killers or anything. I felt like Melanie was probably the same way. She was probably kind of interested in what her husband was into and learning about it, and then at a certain point, she’s kind of like: “You know what? Enough. You’re getting way too into this and I don’t want to hear about it anymore.”
When he reaches out to him, and she knows that he knows who he is, of course she’s going to go ape. She’s going to be just enraged. I mean, wouldn’t you? He’s putting their lives in danger for the sake of what? What is he going to get out of this? Why is he obsessed with this? Is he going to bring him down? He’s not going to go through the regular channels, the system, and that’s part of the frustration of the movie.
You always select very interesting characters. What draws you to roles?
Most of the films I’ve decided to do I’ve chosen because of the director. So, I think it wasn’t about the part so much. Perhaps now, I should focus on finding meatier roles. But I always feel like it’s a collective when you’re making a movie. It’s a collaboration between hundreds of people that are all doing their little bits. And I’m okay to play the little supporting part as long as it serves the good of the movie and it’s a great director or a great script or something I’m really excited about.
How did you become involved in Zodiac?
[David] Fincher called, or his casting person called, and said David was interested in me for the part and they said: “But he wants her to come in and he wants to talk to her.”
Did Boys Don’t Cry open doors for you as an actress?
It did. I had a lot of offers and a lot of movies that were meant to go after Boys Don’t Cry that were great, great scripts and great directors and on two of them, the leading men broke limbs. So, they fell apart. I can’t go into any more specifics, but they both would’ve been really great for me, but I’m glad to still actually be struggling. I enjoy the struggle. I’m doing HBO. It’s a great part. I love the show. I would love to be in the movies more. I love the movies, I love the art of filmmaking and that’s why I think people will love this movie. If you love movies, you’re going to love this movie, because the craftsmanship on this movie in every level, I think, is impeccable.
How did his process affect your performance?
I’m obsessive like Fincher. And so, I like that he was a complete control freak, ‘cause then I didn’t have to worry about being in control of anything because I knew that he was. I love that about him. In between each take, if you were drinking a glass, he would have someone come with a ruler and measure how much liquid was in your glass between each take, to make sure it was back to the same, and I was like: “Yeah, I like that.”
Your glasses in the film are very true to the period…
Well, I like that she was very practical, maybe a little bookish, but she was sweet and kind of cute. Smart. And I think maybe they were trying to make Jake look a little less attractive than he is by making him have kind of a frumpier girlfriend.
What were your expectations about working with Fincher and how did they compare to the experience?
I think he met all of my expectations, maybe even more so. Yeah. He was great to work with and very exacting in his directions and concise, and I just found him to be, I don’t know, very generous and personal and all the things you hope for in a director.
What kind of wife is Melanie in Zodiac?
What I liked about Melanie is the respect that she had for her husband. And even though she couldn’t agree with what he was doing and, obviously, she had a very hard time with it, she respected him enough to let him follow through in his thing and just say, I’m going to get out of here, do your thing.
What are your thoughts on your co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal?
He’s a great actor. I mean, even in that end of the world movie that he did [The Day After Tomorrow], his performance in that was so subtle and made the movie so fun to watch, because you just wanted to watch this kid; you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. And he’s great. He’s had all these great roles, one after the other. And he’s a nice guy. He’s very boyish and he’s very charming.
Was acting kind of an accidental thing for you?
Well, no, I studied acting. I mean, I went to summer theatee camp every summer in Connecticut, and I had dreams and desires to be an actress since I was born. I wanted to be on stage because when I was in kindergarten, my mother brought me to see Annie on Broadway and I was completely inspired. You saw these little girls, the girls my age up there, singing these songs that I adored and I wanted to be those girls and my mother didn’t want me to do anything professional.
I did some commercials and she was really frightened by the world of pimping your children out or whatever you want to call it. And so, she discouraged trying to do anything above and beyond school plays or summer theater camp or whatever it was. And then, when I moved out, I immediately did Kids and kind of ran with it after that.