One of your latest film roles is the part of Lisa LaStrada in Todd Hughes’ The New Women. What drew you to this film?
The director was a good friend and the script – by Todd and his partner P. David Ebersole — was written for me. When someone hands you a script that was written especially for you, you have to do the film. That very rarely happens unless you are a big star, but it does happen for me every now and then, and its wonderful. It was a very prosperous collaboration and I enjoyed it very much.
Does “The New Women” carry with it a strong feminist statement, or is it just a good, post-apocalyptic time?
It’s both. It’s a great post-apocalypse film because it carries with it the mythology of the hero, who overcomes an impossible situation. The hero begins in a weak incarnation, that version of her self “dies,” and she is reborn a warrior, who leads humanity to victory. That scenario is very Catholic and the basis for a lot of successful art. We need the mythic. The film is also very feminist without being trite. All the women in this movie have to go through some sort of journey to come out better in the end and they don’t follow the male lead. Men don’t exist. The women work it out on their own terms.
If the film’s situation ever became a reality, would you act as your character Lisa did and “take” your husband as he lie in an elongated slumber?
(Laughs) It would really depend on who my husband was. I might be very happy that he was asleep, but if he was cute and I loved him, I might try it! What else would there be to do? The dog? I would act as Lisa does in trying to go through a rebirth instead of getting depressed and crawling into a hole.
If I’m not mistaken, this is your first major starring role since “Eating Raoul.” Was it a challenge being front and center again?
It wasn’t a challenge, it was a joy! I don’t think of parts as starring or supporting roles. I just think of them as pieces that make up a whole. If I have to carry a whole movie, and it’s a good movie, then it’s not more work – just more involvement, which I love. It’s great.
Watching the film, with its brilliant sense of humor and talented cast, it certainly looks like it was fun to make. Was it? ^ It was fun for me. Nobody was making money and some were more pressed for time, but for me it was a lot of fun. I’m still friends with a lot of people I met on the film. When you do a film like this, there are no perks. Soon, the actors start working with the crew and the producer might be holding the boom and everyone has to become more involved in the production than just doing what they were hired for. Everyone helps out and that’s a lot more fun. No one is worrying about their trailer.
Finally, tell me about your directorial debut.
Well, I ran out of money and was offered a job directing soft core porn for Showtime in a series called “Women: Tales of Passion.” Originally, I was just writing a script and then they said, “Why don’t you act in it?” and before it was over, I ended up directing it. I went on to direct three more. I’m busy writing scripts these days, but really want to direct my script based on my fictional autobiography “Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory.” Really, who’s better to direct my life story than me?
The New Women is now available on DVD from Ariztical.
Posted on April 3, 2003 in Interviews by Film Threat Staff
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