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Daniel Day-Lewis spoke with poet, Eileen Myles in this 2002 interview. Photography by Terry Richardson.
 

Read Bjork's2001 interview with Juergen Teller from the index archives.



Kathleen Hanna discusses writing and making music in this interview from 2000 with Laurie Weeks.


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Alexander McQueen's 2003 interview with Bjork.
 
  JERRY HALL
STEPHANIE SEYMORE
MARC JACOBS
  ASIA ARGENTO
DENNIS HOPPER
ABEL FERRARA
BRIAN WILSON
WILL OLDHAM
DJ SPOOKY

Parker Posey,1996

WITH CHRISTINA KELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY WOLFGANG TILLMANS


Soap-star-come-indie-character-actress Parker Posey has quite the deadpan, quirky presence. Parker, 27, is best known for her starring role in Party Girl, a movie in which she plays a student of the night who finds true fulfillment as a librarian. But the Laurel, Mississippi misfit has had many a scene-stealing supporting role: that was her as the bitchy high school girl in Dazed and Confused, an ex-girlfriend stalker in The Doom Generation, a nasty Mary Boone in Basquiat, and in Sleep With Me, as a femme fatale who straddles atop a married asshole played by cute Eric Stoltz. Right now Parker is staring at the lovely Chateau Marmont, secluded on a hill above Sunset Boulevard, filming two indie movies back-to-back: House of Yes and Clockwatchers, with Toni Collette (from Muriel's Wedding) and Lisa Kudrow (the least irritating star of that annoying Friends show). She's going to be in Richard Linklater's next movie, Suburbia, and has co-written her first screenplay, Dumb in Love, with Rory Kelly.
Parker is known for being a good interview, cracking jokes in lieu of answering questions, but the day I talked to her, she was real tired and cranky and actually let down her guard a bit. We were sitting in the garden of the Chateau Marmont, where birds sang and flowers bloomed, which made me feel fabulous.


PARKER: I'm so tired, by the way.

CHRISTINA: I'm tired too, so we're at the same level. Do you still live in New York?
PARKER: I've been on 19th and 7th for like five years. I love it.

CHRISTINA: How long have you lived in New York?
PARKER: I went to SUNY Purchase for four years and then I just moved there right after. I got a soap, I just went in to audition for As the World Turns because it was a free ride into the city. I had no idea that I would actually get the job.

CHRISTINA: How long were you on the soap for?
PARKER: A year and four months.

CHRISTINA: Did you like doing it?
PARKER: It's the hardest work I've ever done in my life. It's melodrama. It's a different style of acting that ... normal people don't act that way. I like soap opera acting. If it's done really well, there's nothing better. It's old school. It's like what those melodramas in the '30s and '40s were like.

CHRISTINA: It's hard for me to imagine you on a soap because you're so deadpan.
PARKER: I would try to make it funny. Some directors let you, and some won't. Oh please, I'm having a flashback. Really want me to take it seriously? It was so cheesy. So, how old are you?

CHRISTINA: I'm 34. I'm old.
PARKER: You look so young! You look 24.

CHRISTINA: Thanks. You look younger than 27. So, how'd you end up at Purchase?
PARKER: Ohhh. I was raised in Louisiana and Mississippi. I went to North Carolina School of Arts for summer programs for ballet. And then I didn't get into ballet school, which I really wanted to. I really wanted to leave our hometown and go away somewhere. The dean of the school said I should act. So I took acting there and then I auditioned for three schools and Purchase was the only one I got into.

CHRISTINA: How did you like it?
PARKER: I recommend it. Just for discipline. I had a harder time in college than I did in ...

CHRISTINA: The real world?
PARKER: Yeah. I went in thinking, "Oh yay, finally people who get me. I don't feel like such a freak." And then, it was the same problems I had growing up. Not that I'm such a weirdo, but you know, the thing is, I don't think programs like that are especially nurturing to 18 and 19-year-olds. They just think good acting is like crying - "Oh, she cried and she screamed and she got angry."

CHRISTINA: Is it easy for you to cry, in acting? I can cry at the drop of a hat.
PARKER: Sure. I mean, it depends if you're having a bad day or not. Sometimes it's really fun. It depends on how much crying you're doing in your real life. I don't know why people make such a big deal about crying. I think because people don't do it enough. I'm so boring.

CHRISTINA: No you're not. Don't worry.
PARKER: Is this a long article?

CHRISTINA: It's the cover story.
PARKER: Shit. I wish I were more entertaining today. I'm usually funny.

CHRISTINA: You don't have to feel pressure to be funny all the time.
PARKER: But I do. No I don't. Yeah I do. What were you saying?

CHRISTINA: What was Laurel, Mississippi like?
PARKER: Population like, 2,000. I'm glad I'm from there, but I think the south is just wacko and crazy. There's good story-telling, good characters. Nothing to do, but you know, the hypocrisy everywhere ... forty-one Baptist churches in my hometown. One Catholic church.

CHRISTINA: Were you Catholic?
PARKER: Yeah, they thought Catholics were like alcoholics 'cause they serve wine in mass. And the Jews were all shot or killed. I mean, where are they? So they preach all this, you know, love your brother, yet literally over the tracks, poor people are getting shot. We're talking like, Carson McCullers.

CHRISTINA: I just finished reading The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and that's immediately what I started thinking about when you were talking about the south. How did people react when you went away?
PARKER: They didn't know what I was doing. They just thought I was weird. But then I got on the soap opera and, you know, wheee! It was the greatest thing that could happen to my hometown. My family just loved it.

CHRISTINA: What do your parents do?
PARKER: My dad owns a car dealership. My mom's a housewife.

CHRISTINA: Do you have brothers and sisters?
PARKER: I have a twin brother.

CHRISTINA: Identical or fraternal?
PARKER: Fraternal, because he's a boy. People ask that all the time so don't feel stupid. He just passed the bar. He went to Georgetown.

CHRISTINA: Were you guys close when you were growing up?
PARKER: Of course. Growing up with someone beside you your whole life, my attention was on him, my whole life. And his on me, to some extent.

CHRISTINA: Was it hard for you to leave him when you went away to college?
PARKER: No. By that time we were chasing each other around with aerosol spray cans and cigarette lighters. Ready to kill each other.

CHRISTINA: What were you like as a kid?
PARKER: I'm so boring. You're like, "Yeah, how much longer do I have to interview Parker? She's such a bore." Oh, I don't know. I leave that between me and my shrink. No, I'm teasing. I was sick a lot actually. Allergies.

CHRISTINA: Really?
PARKER: And I was a dreamer. I was kind of strange. I was very absent-minded. My parents thought I had a learning disability because my grades weren't as good as my brother's. And plus I was three months premature. The doctors told my parents that their children could very possibly be retarded, and to hold them back a year in school. So my parents were on the lookout to see if their kids turned out to be mental cases. And I did, and my brother didn't.

CHRISTINA: How come you don't have a southern accent?
PARKER: I went to school for four years. They drilled it out of me. Now I just talk funny.

CHRISTINA: What was your favorite role?
PARKER: They're all fun, you know what I mean? I'm not out to play the retarded girl, like Nell, which everyone thinks is so good. Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks is incredible in that, but it's so ironic. We all like to look at people who are deaf and dumb heroes. I don't know where that thought came from.

CHRISTINA: Maybe 'cause, you were saying that ...
PARKER: My parents thought I was retarded. That's it.
CHRISTINA: How long did it take for you to write your script?
PARKER: I wrote it in the cycle of my period. I started my period and finished on my next period two years ago in May. I just think people need to see people act passionately and not be in the sheets. They should be more passionate about their ideas, more passionate about what they believe in. Especially with men, you know, I think male actors are just trying to be macho or trying to be John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, Mickey Rourke, DeNiro, Pacino. They're all short, by the way.

CHRISTINA: So you were saying people need to see passion that's not between the sheets. How do you feel about doing sex scenes?
PARKER: Sex scenes are scenes which imitate sex scenes in other movies.

CHRISTINA: As opposed to actual sex?
PARKER: Uh huh. Here's my theory, if you really want to hear it. I think that the past fifteen years where women have gone to work and left the men - the baby boomers who are now in Hollywood and control a lot of the money, are upset that the wives have gone or mommy's gone off to work. There are all these scripts where the women, if they're working, are prostitutes and lawyers with an angry streak who'll kill you. It's a reaction to women leaving their men and men being angry about it and saying it on some subconscious level.

CHRISTINA: That's interesting. So, what do you do when you're not working?
PARKER: I hang out. I love hanging out. I have friends over and hang out like normal people.

CHRISTINA: Do you still have the same boyfriend that you had for three and a half years?
PARKER: No.
CHRISTINA: Do you have a boyfriend at all?
PARKER: Last time I talked about it, he got upset. So I don't want to talk about the boyfriend thing.

CHRISTINA: About your ex-boyfriend?
PARKER: You know, if they're not famous, it's like, why even talk about it? It's all anyone really cares about. Let's see, I hang out, drink gin and tonic, talk, shop. I've only shopped once in the past couple of months. That's how busy I've been. It's great though.

CHRISTINA: Being busy?
PARKER: Just working so hard. It feels good to have all that coming out. It makes you comfortable and confident that it's not a big deal and that the pressure's not that intense. It's just a movie. You can do it. Isn't it out of control - the attention given to actors?

CHRISTINA: Why do you think so much attention is given to actors?
PARKER: Being perfect and looking young and looking beautiful and having wealth - I think people just want that. So they want to see that or dream about it or they want to be movie stars. I want to be a rock star. Really. I'm not ashamed. I want to get on stage and sing. And I can't, but I want to. It's all fantasy, you know?

CHRISTINA: How do you feel about being the object of fantasy?
PARKER: I don't feel like I am.

CHRISTINA: How about the prospect of that?
PARKER: I guess I feel bad when people look at me like I have everything and it's like they hate you.

CHRISTINA: Or they love you.
PARKER: They're fans. They couldn't really love you, because they don't know you. So either they are a fan or they are repulsed by you. I think I'd feel a responsibility to be real. I've done interviews where people just look at me and you can't get past the look of, "I know who you are and what you're about." And no one can know that. The flip side of that is it's kinda neat to have an image.

CHRISTINA: What do you think your image is?
PARKER: A party girl. I guess. My image is totally out of control. I guess being a control freak, that's what's scary. But it's fun to be something, have that, and you don't have to be real. It's like, comedians. They go on and they're doing all these jokes. I would be like that if I were more awake.

CHRISTINA: Does that protect you from being real?
PARKER: It protects you from having people suck you out of yourself. You've got to take care of yourself. You can't give that all away. It's why actors do drugs. Like heroin - I've never done it even by accident. So I don't know what it's like. But it's the feeling of being alone with yourself. You lose it if you give too much of yourself, if you let people take from you. I would like to get really big and huge so I could go to space. I would like to be the first actress in space.

CHRISTINA: Really?
PARKER: You think they would let Barbara Streisand go in the space shuttle if she wanted to?

CHRISTINA: Maybe if she was doing a role where she goes in the space shuttle, they might let her do some research. Why would you want to go into space?
PARKER: Why not? It just fascinates me. I think I'm a Martian. The distance appeals to me. "There's the world, I'm so tiny." What a great feeling. Don't you think that would be cool?

CHRISTINA: I don't know. I don't even really like leaving New York. Is Parker ...
PARKER: Yeah, it is.

CHRISTINA: What?
PARKER: My real name.

CHRISTINA: It sounds like such a perfect actress's name.
PARKER: It's a Martian name.
© index magazinegelatin1
Parker Posey by Wolfgang Tillmans, 1996
© index magazinetobias
Parker Posey by Wolfgang Tillmans, 1996
© index magazinetobias
Parker Posey by Wolfgang Tillmans, 1996
 
 

 

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