Film: The savviest kid on the block

Self-taught, street-literate and living in fear of `Y2K',

Chloe Sevigny is the very model of indie film cool.

Now, starring in Whit Stillman's `The Last Days of Disco',

Hollywood beckons. Will she just say no?

IF THE controversy-laden Kids is to remain emblematic of this decade's Generation Xers, Chloe Sevigny is a perverse reminder of the limitations of director Larry Clark's slice-of-life. A descendent of the 18th century French court gossip the Marquise de Sevigne, the actress who burst on to the screen three years ago in Clark's depiction of wasted youth is hardly heading for oblivion.

Like her on-off boyfriend (and Kids screenwriter) Harmony Korine, Sevigny is a self-taught, street-literate product of the Nineties, a symbol of the disparate influences that feed into youth culture. A maelstrom of contradictions, in the same breath she can talk of her love for Alan Clarke and Sissy Spacek, and her fear for the Millennium, or Y2K as she dubs it. The savvy 23-year-old, an ex-model for Prada, is no Heather Graham wannabe, more an anarchic Jean Seberg.

Sevigny is in London to talk about Whit Stillman's The Last Days of Disco, a shrewdly scripted and preppie-populated take on the exclusivity of the early Eighties NYC Studio 54 scene. Claiming to have "no interest in playing the leading lady", Sevigny does just this - alongside Britain's own belle du jour Kate Beckinsale. As the naive clubber Alice, it's the role closest so far to revealing the layers beneath the actress.

"Coming from Connecticut, I can understand arriving in the big city and being shellshocked by the whole experience," she admits. "When I first moved to Manhattan I would go to discos every night of the week. I was living in a flat with five other kids who all worked for this `club-lord' who owned Club USA, the Paladium, the Limelight. I had a lot of connections, so it was easy for me. I knew everyone on the doors. But the clubs just aren't quite as fabulous any more. It's not as big a production as it used to be. I don't think as much money is pumped into the nightly events".

Calling herself the "irresponsible actress", Sevigny admits to doing little research of the milieu for her latest film - set in a time when she was only seven. "I do remember when I was a girl, my father worked for a company where he had this pretty wild secretary who invited him and my mother to a disco. They got all dolled up to go to Studio 54 - and came home with a Polaroid of them with an ape."

Raised in Darien (a town where residents are forbidden to sell their houses to Jews), her early years were far removed from city glitz, spending summers at theatre camp, with dreams of a part-time Broadway musical career ("ridiculous as it sounds - I don't have a voice") alongside costume design for period films. She moved to New York when she was 18 and garnered the attention of the style press while working as a seamstress at fashion outlet Liquid Sky.

Compared to Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy, Sevigny was putting together a charity-shop chic long before the high street chain stores molested the look. Fashion is now an industry she dislikes fiercely, but pigeon-holing is proving the bain of her life. From fashion guru to teen seductress, Sevigny was last year's Dominique Swain, following an appearance in Steve Buscemi's loser comedy Trees Lounge. "The whole Lolita thing after Trees Lounge - that I was a sexpot girl - I don't think of me in that way at all. It's so hard to get perspective on it. I'm trying not to work a lot now. I prefer to remain anonymous. People don't recognise me from one film to the next."

Almost rejected from Kids because she was seen as too old, Sevigny is perhaps suffering from this chameleonic approach, missing out on a part in the much-hyped (and Disco precursor) Glam tribute Velvet Goldmine. "I wanted Toni Collette's role, and they said I was too young. So whenever I see Todd [Haynes, the director] on the street, I give him a hard time."

Sevigny, unafraid to present herself with new challenges, has just finished her first stage experience, the Rob Urbinati play Hazelwood Jr High, based on circumstances leading up to the trial of four Indiana teenagers who beat up, tortured and burned to death a 12-year-old classmate. It was a chance to overcome her fear of live performance.

"That was the most fun, the most challenging, and the most far from myself. I played a really bad girl, a murderess. She was really evil. I became an insomniac because of the part I was performing on stage. It was the first time I brought a character home and had to deal with that." Director Scott Elliott, whom Sevigny credits greatly, will also be shepherding her through the next film role, based on the Jane Hamilton novel Map of the World. Alongside Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore, Sevigny is back to playing the bitch, as a young mother who manipulates her child into accusing the school nurse of abuse. No stranger to Hollywood, Sevigny even made an appearance in Volker Schlondorff's dismal neo-noir Palmetto, a spy in the enemy camp it would seem.

"I think the US Indie scene has rather turned in on itself. I'd rather go see a bad studio film than a bad independent film, at least it will look good. Indie films can look so drained. The true independents have a vision: they're trying to break new ground, make a new kind of cinema."

Unsure yet whether she will appear in Harmony Korine's follow-up to the radical Gummo (in which Sevigny featured kissing a bunny-eared boy in a swimming pool), she may just hit Hollywood again and shake them up. Giggling with her infectious laugh, she adds: "I've met Joel Schumacher, y'know. I've sat in on those meetings. I went in and auditioned for I Know What You Did Last Summer, if you can believe that."

`The Last Days of Disco' screens tonight at the Edinburgh Festival and is released on September 4.

Chloe's Clips


The part that made her name, but strange to say, Sevigny's one of the worst things about Kids. The rest of the cast tingle with street life - she looks like someone stuck on a conveyor belt in the airport lounge.

Trees Lounge

Sevigny didn't rate this performance but it's by far her best. She plays young suburbanite Debbie, whose loose-limbed, bug-eyed wisdom intrigues and ultimately overwhelms cowardly, insecure Tommy, played by Steve Buscemi. The scene where they almost have sex is superb.


Chloe's performance is more of an aesthetic shock than a creative one. Normally as gangly as a foal, she's transformed here into a hulking, white- trash goddess who is given woefully little else to do.


Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
The party's over: Paul Higgins and Stella Gonet in 'Hope' at the Royal Court

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special

Broadcaster unveils Christmas schedule

Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tvThe two new contestants will join the 'I'm A Celebrity' camp after Gemma Collins' surprise exit
The late Jimmy Ruffin, pictured in 1974
Northern Uproar, pictured in 1996

Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the new Paddington bear review

Review: Paddingtonfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing
tvReview: But we're no closer to the truth in 'The Missing'
Arts and Entertainment
Henry Marsh said he was rather 'pleased' at the nomination
booksHenry Marsh's 'Do No Harm' takes doctors off their pedestal
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in new biopic The Imitation Game

'At times I thought he was me'

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

Arts and Entertainment

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital