Heroes: Chloë Sevigny

The esteemed actress and archetypal it-girl gears up for the highly anticipated film, Bones and All, featuring an off-kilter combination of cannibalistic love

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A common question amongst Hollywood casting directors is not “who is Chloe Sevigny” but “what is Chloe Sevigny”. After 27 years in the spotlight, it’s yet to be determined. The blonde icon’s chameleon-like acting chops come with an uncanny ability to authenticate any quirky offbeat character she takes on. With an illustrious career spanning generations on the big screen, Sevigny has dodged Tinseltown’s most lethal bullet of type casting to mold a career free of stereotypes and assumptions. The only common thread woven throughout her reputed roles is a defiance of the conventional. 

Sevigny boasts a filmography that is quite rare for a Hollywood filmstar, straddling the worlds of edgy indie flicks and big budget blockbusters with equal ease and commanding presence. After dabbling in teenage modeling gigs in the early 90s, her first foray onto the big screen came unexpectedly through her sudden casting in the role of Jennie, the tragic heroine of Harmony Korine’s 1995 grungey cult classic, Kids. The coming-of-age drama captured the underbelly of American youth and the raw reality of a generation terrorized by the HIV epidemic, sparking controversy upon its release and kicking off a career of Hollywood’s leading lady for alt and mainstream audiences alike. Sevigny continues to dismantle audience expectations as most recently displayed in Luca Guadagnino’s latest romantic horror, Bones and All

On the night of the film’s New York Film Festival premiere, director Luca Guadagnino joins star Chloë Sevigny at the Whitby Hotel’s bar for a candid conversation on the film’s underlying metaphoric message.

Chloë wears dress and shoes LOEWE


CHLOË SEVIGNY: Yeah, my fussy gown. It’s so fussy, it’s really tricky.

LG: It reminds me of how much you made me cry at your wedding. It was such a beautiful moment seeing the shared tenderness between you and Siniša. I will treasure it forever.

CS: Thank you. It’s the church that I’ve always wanted to be married in. It felt very personal. But I feel like everybody was very surprised by the kind of religious aspect of the ceremony.

LG: People might be surprised about your sublime sense of ceremony and control over things–in, let’s say, a stately manner. I wasn’t surprised. But it was very intimate as well. I love that because you allow intimacy, when you want, that was great.

CS: Yeah, I’m quite guarded in general. I don’t open up to many people. I don’t know why that is. I was talking to a young actress in the film today and she’s here with her sister. I told her, when I first started out, I always brought my brother. He’s much more gregarious, so I could always be the quiet one and let him do all the showboating. But yeah, I wanted the ceremony to be intimate and I wanted to gather all of our loved ones together, and it’d be like a packed church.

LG: Are you Catholic?

CS: I wanted to talk to you about it because I saw it in the press. You talked about coming from a religious country and taking the “body” and “blood.” Were you raised Catholic?

LG: I mean, they tried to raise me Catholic. But I realized when we were making a movie about cannibals that when people are struck by the concept, they lose sight of the fact that the Catholic church is about eating the corpse of Christ every day. Every time you go to mass, the metaphor is part of it. I didn’t care about the cannibalism per se, because I thought it was a clear metaphor. It wasn’t like a shock value element that we had to bring to life on screen for the sake of it.

CS: But do you also like a bit of shock value?

LG: I used to, not now. I’m too old. I like provocation more than shock value. And I like the effect of showmanship. When speaking of your character, a woman that has stumps instead of hands and assaults her daughter, that’s showmanship. It’s like going for deep emotion. And I think that’s what we do, we [lean] into emotions, right? We have the possibility to heighten an emotion through our craft. And that’s what interests me more than anything else. I think it’s a bright movie, even if it’s dark.

CS: Even with my character, Janelle, I think there’s brightness in her. She’s trying to save her daughter and the only way to save her daughter is to take her out of this life of pain and misery.

LG: Yes, if you think from her perspective that’s what she wants to do. She is trying to make something good in a sort of detached-from-reality way because she’s been living in that life forever.

CS: I’m curious about the choice for my character to speak in this stilted, weird, drugged-out voice? Why not have her speak with conviction in the way she might have when she wrote the letters?

LG: The letter is from 15 years prior and the reading of it is now. She has probably been memorizing the letter in her mind and she’s acting it out at that moment. She’s a very beautifully tragic character.

Bones and All is in theaters globally on November 23, 2022.

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