The seven faces of Parker Posey

 
 

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, indie film goddess Parker Posey discussed seven "iconic Parker Posey characters" she’s played over the years. Her take on the career-defining roles was just as smart, funny, and kooky as the characters themselves. Here’s what she had to say about each:

1. Jackie O in The House of Yes
“What people say about that performance is ‘I don’t know anyone who can play crazy like you can,’ which I consider a big compliment. I think crazy people are fascinating because they think they are always right. I would love to do that movie again with what I’ve been through and how I am now. I should get in touch with the writer Wendy MacLeod and see what she has written. That was her Yale thesis project.”

2. Mary in Party Girl
“To me that movie was iconic because I made the mistake of saying in the press that I was discovered at the Barney’s makeup counter and people didn’t think I was a real actress. But it’s the Holly Golightly role. There is such an exuberance to her and to me as well during that time because that was the first movie I carried. It’s an easy film. You can put it in and it’s just light and there is a lot to be said for that. That’s a certain kind of risk right now.”

3. Fay Grim in Henry Fool
“There is a really iconic scene in that movie when Fay thinks Henry’s proposing to her when he’s on the toilet. He’s nervously playing with a washer or something because he has diarrhea and he just had like, four coffees. She’s in the shower and she thinks he has a ring and is proposing to her, and she’s crying. That is unforgettable, and says a lot about their relationship.”

4. Libby Mae Brown in Waiting for Guffman
“What I love about doing Christopher Guest movies is we really get to build the characters. We get to shop for their clothes, choose their history. I knew that Libby’s father was in jail and she now lives with her aunt and works at a Dairy Queen. I wanted her to wear white shoes to her audition because those are the ones she would wear to church. Those are the nice ones. The sad thing about Libby is she has talent (laughs) to at least be in front of people. What makes her so sad is she wants to reach out to people, but she’ll never get that chance. Not in the cards.”

5. Meg Swan in Best in Show
“I was so connected to my husband, Michael Hitchock that when I shot the pet store scene without him, I was nervous. We had such a tight bond, even with all the dysfunction; it didn’t mean I didn’t miss him. Christopher came up with the idea for them to have braces. He was like what if you two had braces? I said I’m getting them on right now. I didn’t want a retainer because I didn’t want to lisp. I like a prop that is permanent like that. That’s fun for me.”

6. Margaret Burre in Clockwatchers
“I just saw that film. That movie is amazing. It’s about four temps and someone has been stealing quarters from the coffee mug and they suspect Margaret because she has an opinion and she is very volatile and she’s very much of a freak and very much alone. There is a scene there I particularly like where Margaret invites Toni Collette over for a drink and she takes out some airplane lunch trays and airplane booze and they sit there and they drink it. Her roommate is a flight attendant that she never sees. And the next day she wears her roommate’s flight attendant outfit to work with the scarf and everything. It’s so funny, and it’s so sad.”

7. The new world of digital
“Now I’m here with two digital movies this summer: Fay Grim and Broken English. Digital is great because now it’s easier to make more movies with someone like me. You don’t need that to raise so much money. Like in Personal Velocity it allowed us to be very innovative. There were times when we had a stationary camera on a little tripod and a moving camera that followed us. It’s very intimate. And Broken English also had that. The camera is lighter, it’s like it’s not even there."

I’m not crazy about # 7, so I’d suggest in it’s place the catch-all category of "whack job villains in action movies and big budget bombs."

You know the ones: Fiona in Josie and the Pussycats,

Kitty Kowalski in Superman Returns, and, my personal favorite, Danica Talos in Blade: Trinity. Parker’s abundant fangs in the third (and final?) installment of the Wesley Snipes vampire flicks didn’t prevent her from chewing the hell out of the scenery. She pouted, she raged, she sneered, she hissed. In fact, co-star Ryan Reynolds ability to keep up with Posey in Blade: Trinity put him on my radar as a good actor. Only the mighty can share a scene with Ms. Posey and not be turned into set dressing. In one of several great scenes, Posey’s Danica captures former lover Hannibal (Reynolds) and runs her tongue across one of his wounds, telling him. "You’re tasting a little bland, lover. Are you getting enough fatty acids in your diet? Have you tried lake trout? Mackerel?"

What’s your favorite Parker Posey role?

 
 

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