After breaking onto the indie film scene following an arresting performance in Kids, Chloë Sevigny became one of the 1990s most prominent “It” girls. It’s a title she’s had an evolving relationship with as she’s developed as an actor and a woman; she’s no longer a kid! In the decades since her emergence, Sevigny has participated in films of every genre. But she’s still got an independent streak, choosing to gravitate towards projects that speak to her artistic sensibilities.
Sevigny plays Officer Mindy Morrison in Jim Jarmusch’s upcoming zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, arriving in theaters nationwide this Friday (June 14th). Dread Central was lucky enough to sit down with the actress recently for an exclusive interview. In addition to The Dead Don’t Die, we discussed American Horror Story, American Psycho, and the films of Jarmusch in general. Give it a read after the synopsis and trailer for The Dead Don’t Die.
In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. News reports are scary, and scientists are concerned, but no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: the dead rise from their graves and feast on the living, and the citizens must battle to survive.
In addition to Sevigny, The Dead Don’t Die stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tilda Swinton.
Dread Central: I was reading your bio on IMDB and it sounds like you had something of an aversion to Hollywood and mainstream moviemaking early on in your career. Is this still the case?
Chloë Sevigny: No, it’s not the case [laughs]. I think maybe the movies of the mainstream then just weren’t speaking to me because of the things that I was seeing. I had an aversion to that; it wasn’t the path I wanted to take and I was pretty vocal about it. I was also pigeonholed by the media and everything; I became the indie ingenue, actress, starlet, whatever. Now, looking back on it, not that I regret any of my choices, but I regret that I was stuck in that; in people’s minds, I was just that. It’s hard to break out of.
DC: Your filmography is all over the place in terms of genres. You’ve done horror movies like Lizzie, Antibirth, and American Psycho but you’ve also done drama and comedy. What do you enjoy about horror movies and how do they compare to other projects you’ve worked on?
CS: I don’t really know how to compare it because every project is so different. I also did American Horror Story which was my most outwardly scary project, you know? It would be project by project.
DC: I’m glad you mentioned American Horror Story because Asylum is still my absolute favorite season and your character was definitely a highlight…
CS: You didn’t think the first season [Murder House] was the best?
DC: Not personally. But I’m curious if we’ll be seeing you on that series again?
CS: I don’t know. If they’ll have me, I’d love to come back.
DC: American Psycho will be turning 20 years old in April and it’s still considered one of the best horror movies of the 21st Century…
CS: You really think it’s a horror movie?
DC: Yeah, absolutely! It’s got ax murders and dismemberments and chainsaws and sexual sadism! What do you think about American Psycho’s legacy when you look back?
CS: With so much being discussed right now about toxic masculinity, I think American Psycho was ahead of its time. I think it would be interesting to go back and watch it now. It was early in Christian Bale’s career after he was previously known as a child actor. The performances are so strong and the commentaries on excess are very topical now. It always has been, but it’s coming around again. That’s why it’s remained so relevant.
DC: Let’s talk about The Dead Don’t Die. What attracted you to the script?
CS: Well, just wanting to work with Jim [Jarmusch] again; I’ve done two other films with him. I was in Broken Flowers and we did a short film together a few years before that. Also, knowing the cast that he was going to pull together. I loved his vampire picture, Only Lovers Left Alive, and I was excited that he wanted to jump into another genre like that, to see how he would make [zombies] fresh and new. I loved reading the script and the meta aspects of the film. I’d never seen zombies speak before, but you’d probably know better than I. Have zombies ever spoken before?
DC: It’s rare, but they spoke in Return of the Living Dead. That’s where the moaning “Brains!” refrain comes from.
CS: Oh, right. I just thought it was so original they way they were speaking about their addictions.
DC: I just caught a screening of The Dead Don’t Die last night and found it hilarious. At the same time, I feel like there’s a socio-political message in the subtext, beyond the obvious environmental allegory with fracking. How would you describe the message of the movie?
CS: Its about the desire to consume and consumerism in general, our relationships to material goods and our addictions. And it’s about how we treat other people. It’s a reminder to be more conscious about how we interact with other people and the Earth.
DC: As a journalist, I really see the marketing for The Dead Don’t Die pulling in younger moviegoers. At the same time, Jarmusch is so unique, I feel like people need a primer in his work so they’ll know what they’re getting into. How would you describe the work of Jim Jarmusch to someone who’s never seen one of his movies before?
CS: I would say the tone is very specific. There’s a droll, deadpan delivery to his movies, wherein lies the humor. You have to just give in to that and go along for the ride. Things are very measured and it gives things specific weight.
DC: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers before I let you go?
CS: There’s a short film I directed called The Echo that’s going to be playing at festivals. It’s about a bunch of girls upstate playing with a Ouiji. One girl has “the gift” and it’s about how she convinces other people of that and how they react to it.
DC: We can’t wait to see it.
CS: Thank you!
Are you a fan of Chloë Sevigny? Are you excited to check out The Dead Don’t Die this weekend? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.