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Chloë Stevens Sevigny (born November 18, 1974) is an American film actress and former model. Sevigny became known for her fashion career in the mid-1990s, both for modeling and for her work at New York's Sassy magazine, which labeled her the new "it girl" at the time.

Sevigny made her film debut with a leading role in the controversial 1995 film Kids, which was the beginning of a long line of roles in critically acclaimed independent and often avant-garde films which she starred in throughout the decade. It wasn't until 1999 when Sevigny gained serious critical recognition for her first mainstream role as Brandon Teena's girlfriend, Lana Tisdel, in Boys Don't Cry. For her performance Sevigny received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

Sevigny has continued acting in mostly independent, but critically acclaimed roles in art house films and has recently enjoyed success on the American television series Big Love, playing Nicki Grant, a fundamentalist Mormon woman married to a polygamist.

In addition to her work in film and television, Sevigny also has two off-Broadway theatre credits, and has starred in several music videos. Still iconic for her New York-based fashion sense, she has also continued to pursue work in the fashion industry, designing several vintage style clothing lines. Her last name, Sevigny, of French origin, is often debated over its pronunciation; it is formally pronounced say-vee-gnee by French standards, although Sevigny herself has stated in interviews that she pronounces it as seven-knee.

Early life

Sevigny was born in Springfield, Massachusettsmarker and raised in Darien, Connecticutmarker, the daughter of Janine (née Malinowski) and H. David Sevigny, an accountant turned interior painter. Sevigny's mother is a Polish American who grew up in Roxborough and her father is of French Canadian heritage; he died from cancer in 1996. She has an older sibling, Paul, who is now a New Yorkmarker DJ. Sevigny often spent summers attending theater camp, and had always "aspired to be an actress".Sevigny was raised in a strict Roman Catholic household, and attended Darien High School. While in high school, she babysat Topher Grace on several occasions. And despite the wealthy reputation for the community of Darien, Sevigny has stated that her parents kept a "frugal" household, and that she worked as a teenager sweeping the tennis courts of a country club her family could not afford to join.

Sevigny ventured into New York city at age 18, and moved into an apartment in Brooklynmarker. There, in 1993, after hanging out with Manhattanmarker skateboarders, she was spotted on an East Villagemarker street by a fashion editor of Sassy magazine, who was so impressed by Sevigny's style that she asked her to intern at the magazine. She later modeled in the magazine as well as for x-girl, the fashion label of Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. During that time, author Jay McInerney saw her around New York Citymarker and wrote a seven-page article about her for The New Yorker, in which he dubbed her the new "it-girl". She appeared on the album cover of The Gigolo Aunts' 1994 recording Flippin' Out and the EP Full-On Bloom, as well as appearing in The Lemonheads' music video for "Big Gay Heart".

Career

Early roles: 1995–1999

Sevigny made her film debut in the controversial low-budget independent film Kids (1995), directed by Larry Clark and written by independent filmmaker Harmony Korine. In the film, she played Jennie, a New York teenager who discovers she is HIV-positive. According to Sevigny, she was originally cast in a much smaller role in the film, but got the role of Jennie after actress Mia Kirshner was fired.The film was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA for its graphic depiction of sexuality and drug use involving teenagers. Sevigny followed Kids with the independent film Trees Lounge (1996), starring as the object of Steve Buscemi's affection. Sevigny then starred in and worked as a fashion designer on Gummo (1997), directed and written by Harmony Korine. The film details the dysfunctional lives of residents of Xenia, Ohiomarker. She then starred in the 1998 neo-noir thriller Palmetto, directed by Volker Schlöndorff. She then had a leading role in the sardonic period piece The Last Days of Disco (1998), alongside Kate Beckinsale; the film was written and directed by cult director Whit Stillman.



Sevigny rose to prominence after playing Lana Tisdel in Boys Don't Cry (1999), a biopic of transman Brandon Teena, who was raped and murdered in 1993. Tisdel, played by Sevigny, was a young woman who fell in love with Teena, initially unknowing to the fact that he was actually a woman. The film was extremely well-received and praised by critics; the role won Sevigny Best Supporting Actress nominations for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Sevigny also won an Independent Spirit Award, a Satellite Award, and a Sierra Award for her performance.

Later roles and success: 2000–2004

Sevigny then had a supporting role in American Psycho (2000) as Patrick Bateman's (Christian Bale) office assistant, as well as teaming up with Kids writer and Gummo director Harmony Korine once again for the experimental piece Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) and A Map of the World (1999).

Afterward she co-starred in one of the three stories in the Emmy Award-winning television movie If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), pairing up with Michelle Williams as unlikely young lovers. Sevigny here plays a butch lesbian who struggles to fit in the feminist scene in the 1970s. Sevigny reportedly took the role in the film in order to help pay her mother's mortgage payment, and has credited it as the only film she's ever made for financial benefit.

Following this appearance, Sevigny was approached for a supporting role in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde alongside Reese Witherspoon and offered $500,000; she declined. Instead, Sevigny had a small role in Demonlover (2002) and Death of a Dynasty (2003), followed by a semi-large role in Party Monster (2003), playing a friend and fellow club kid of Michael Alig (played by Macauly Culkin).

Sevigny then obtained a role in Lars von Trier's philosophical parable film Dogville (2003), playing one of the various residents of a small mountain town, alongside Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, and Paul Bettany. She also had a small role in the sequel to Dogville, titled Manderlay (2005), which featured Bryce Dallas Howard in Nicole Kidman's role, and took place after the events in Dogville. Her character in Manderlay, however, was unrelated to her character in Dogville.

The Brown Bunny and aftermath

In 2003, Sevigny took on the lead female role in The Brown Bunny. The film is controversial for its final scene, which involves an unsimulated act of fellatio performed by Sevigny's character on co-star and director Vincent Gallo's character. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker, and opened to significant controversy and criticism from both audiences and critics alike. Sevigny, who was reportedly brought to tears during the film's Cannes screening, defended the movie, saying:

After the film's release at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, the William Morris Agency dropped Sevigny as a client, and one source stated that:

Following the film's polarized reaction, director and star Gallo made unexpectedly rude public remarks about Sevigny, referring to her as a girl "from Connecticut, without etiquette, who, when she's not drunk and posing in movies, is busy out spreading Harmony Korine's herpes." Sevigny, though abashed, seemed generally unaffected by the remarks, responding "Well, he's said worse about others".

Despite the William Morris Agency's disapproval toward Sevigny's work in The Brown Bunny (and fear that the actress may have forever tarnished her career), she still gained several roles in film and television directly following the premiere of the film. In 2004, Sevigny guest-starred on the hit television show Will & Grace, playing a lesbian partner of Edie Falco. A string of film roles followed for the actress, including a bit part alongside Bill Murray in Broken Flowers as Jessica Lange's secretary. Sevigny also played a nun dealing with AIDS in Africa in the film 3 Needles, and starred as the lead character in the 2006 independent art house film Lying with Jena Malone and Leelee Sobieski. She also played a lead character in the 2006 Canadian remake of Brian DePalma's horror film Sisters.

2006 to the present

In 2006, Sevigny attained a recurring role in the HBO television series Big Love, about a family of polygamists. She plays the conniving, shopaholic daughter of a cult leader and second wife to a polygamist husband. As of 2009, she is still actively working on the television series. She also had roles in Peter and Catherine, scheduled for release in 2009, and played Jake Gyllenhaal's wife in David Fincher's critically-acclaimed true-crime thriller film Zodiac, which was released in early 2007.

The controversy surrounding The Brown Bunny followed Sevigny for some time: while promoting the new HBO television series Big Love in 2006, Joy Behar of The View brought up the scene from The Brown Bunny in an interview with Sevigny and Big Love co-star Bill Paxton. Sevigny and Paxton were described as going "ballistic" off camera, and although Sevigny had openly talked about the film prior, Paxton didn't want her to "have to relive it" and purportedly vowed to never appear on the daytime talk show again.

In October 2007 the French fashion house Chloé announced that she would be one of the spokesmodels for their new fragrance. In addition, she has been in a number of cover photo shoots and interviews, such as in the January 2007 issue of House and Garden titled "Subversive Spirit". Sevigny is currently releasing a clothing line in conjunction with downtown New York City boutique Opening Ceremony, which is expected to open in mid 2008. She also starred in Smog's 2006 film clip for "Mother of the World". Sevigny also has several film projects that are currently in post-production, including two comedy films: Barry Munday and Mr. Nice; as well as My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, a true-crime/horror film based on murderer Mark Yarovsky, produced by David Lynch.

More recently Sevigny starred in the video to Beck's 'Gamma Ray', as well as being featured in the new Coconut Records video 'Any Fun' alongside legendary skateboarder Mark Gonzales.

As of 2009, Sevigny is still continuing work on Big Love, with the show's fourth season slated to air in January 2010.

Personal life

Sevigny currently owns an apartment in East Village, Manhattanmarker, which she bought for $1.2 million in 2006. Although her father passed away when she was in her early 20s, Sevigny stated in a 2006 interview with Selma Blair that she came from a "close-knit" family, that she speaks to her mother "every day", and that her brother lives three blocks away from her Manhattan apartment.

Fashion

A former fashion model herself, Sevigny has expressed interest in fashion design consistently throughout her career. She has stated in interviews that she would play dress up as a child with trunks of clothing her mother would buy for her at local thrift shops; she described it as "instinctual" for her. Sevigny has since released several collections designed by herself as well in collaboration with others, first beginning in 2007. She currently has a new line of unisex/men's clothing slated for release in fall 2009. Her clothing collections have generally been vintage in style. In a 2000 interview, she cited the eerie 1975 Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock, which features schoolgirls dressed in elaborate Victorian clothing, as an inspiration for her style; she has also cited it as one of her favorite films.

Religion

Sevigny has stated that she is a practicing Roman Catholic, although she admits she rebelled against the church as a teenager. She said that her yearn to attend church services again was re-ignited when she played a Satan-worshipping, Pentecostal teenage murderer in a 1998 off-Broadway production of Hazelwood Junior High: "I had to murder this girl every night on stage, and you know, sodomize her and light her on fire and I got really disturbed. I started having nightmares and thinking horrible things."

Relationships

While she has pursued relationships with men throughout her life (she notably dated director Harmony Korine for a number of years in the late 1990s, as well as starred in some of his films), she stated in an interview with the gay male-aimed Genre Magazine that she has had "lesbian tendencies her whole life", and that she was "teased in school by the other kids" who would call her a lesbian, but that she "has never had a full-on relationship [with a woman]". In 2006 she stated to the New York Post Gossip column: "I've questioned issues of gender and sexuality since I was a teenager, and I did some experimenting." Sevigny has accumulated a fairly large gay fanbase due to her appearances in many LGBT-themed films. Because of this, she has been referenced by some as a gay icon.

Most recently, following her relationship with Harmony Korine (which ended in the late 1990s), Sevigny dated Matt McAuley, a member of the noise-rock band A.R.E. Weapons. The two were together for eight years, but eventually ended their relationship in late 2007.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Kids Jennie Independent Spirit Award for Best Newcomer Actress
1996 Trees Lounge Debbie  
1997 Gummo Dot  
1998 Palmetto Odette  
The Last Days of Disco Alice Kinnon  
1999 Boys Don't Cry Lana Tisdel Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Drama

Sierra Award for Best Supporting Actress

Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress

Nominated -- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

Nominated -- Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress
Julien Donkey-Boy Pearl  
A Map of the World Carole Mackessy  
2000 American Psycho Jean  
If These Walls Could Talk 2 Amy  
2002 Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet Segment #4. "Int. Trailer. Night."
Demonlover Elise Lipsky  
2003 Party Monster Gitsie  
Death of a Dynasty Sexy Woman No. 1  
Dogville Liz Henson  
The Brown Bunny Daisy  
Shattered Glass Caitlin Avey  
2004 Melinda and Melinda Laurel  
2005 Manderlay Philomena  
Broken Flowers Carmen's assistant  
Mrs. Harris Lynne Tryforos TV film
3 Needles Clara  
2006 Lying Megan  
Sisters Grace Collier  
2007 Zodiac Melanie  
2009 The Killing Room Ms. Reilly
Barry Munday Jennifer Farley in post-production
2010 Mr. Nice Judy Marks in post-production
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done Ingrid in post-production


References

  1. Chloe Sevigny Biography (1974-) Retrieved on 2009-04-17.
  2. "Chloe's Scene", The New Yorker, November 7, 1994, pp 182-192
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001721/ Retrieved on 2009-04-07
  4. Sevigny buys Manhattan apartment at the New York Times.com; last accessed May 22, 2007.


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