I met up with Chloë Sevigny and her director M. Blash while they were in Austin promoting their latest indie, The Wait. Sevigny, an actress with the most solid hipster mythology – do Sassy Magazine or Kids ring a bell? – showed up, her skin glowing, wearing a miniskirt and 5” stiletto heels. You could totally imagine her pulling off this look even in a grocery store. Her director, M. Blash, is a handsome, gentle soul who kind of reminds me of Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands, sans the grey pallor and odd extremities. Both chatted with me about their latest project.
In the film, two sisters struggle with the prospect of keeping their recently deceased mother at home after a psychic informs them she will be resurrected. Now, an image of a dead loved one just hanging out in a Pottery Barn trundle bed is just disturbing. That’s exactly why this film is worth seeing. Some of the best writing makes you uncomfortable. You cringe; your body feels chills in the warmest of temperatures and you can’t look away.
Through all our banter about death, psychics, and psychedelics, something bigger struck me- how comfortable they are with each other. It’s their second film together. The two first collaborated on Lying, which Sevigny cites as one of her most rewarding opportunities as an artist.
These two don’t compete. They celebrate each other. I was there to talk about their film, but left struck by the PLP (platonic life partner) vibe they have. Here’s what I learned from them about genuine friendship and the types of friends you need to have in your life.
1. The importance of having a “work husband or wife.”
I asked them if they felt working together repeatedly was playing it safe.
Blash: Say you’re neurotic and gay like I am, safety is good. But creatively you can be unsafe. You have to remind yourself that if it feels natural, you should be doing it. There is a certain pressure on me to reach out and be doing other things, but what’s important to me working with Chloë and Jena (Malone) is having a family-like vibe.
Sevigny on their creative romance: Sometimes when you do TV you get a little beaten down by how much you’re contributing. With M, we collaborate and I can push things in a way and be a little crazy. Of course if M wanted to hire another actress I’d be fine with it, she laughed. I’m thinking he’d come back to me… at a later time. Some of my favorite filmmakers worked with the same actresses over and over again.
Everyone needs a work wife or husband that challenges them and brings out their unique strengths that get suppressed by the day-to-day grind. It’s crucial that it’s a sexless marriage. It can be girl on girl, man to man, without saying a damn thing about your sexuality. Take up with someone who has a different talent than yours, but the same end-goal. Sync up and make something you couldn’t do alone. Also, be sure to listen to and filter each other’s critiques without becoming an ego monster. Or your work partner could just be someone who makes you laugh when nothing seems funny, or your lunch buddy. While you two have each other’s backs– you can dish, complain, and advise each other on your work crushes. Because what’s a work marriage with out something on the side?
2. Be friends with people who have respect for women.
“M loves women – he actually has a tattoo you should see,” said Sevigny.
M flipped over his wrist revealing his tattoo that reads “GIRLS”. “I got it long before there was a show called Girls,” said Blash.
“I really hope that when people hear the word, ‘girls’ one doesn’t only conjure Lena Dunham. Because really…girls is a sex of humans,” said Sevigny. “I’ve only seen two episodes, but I do think it’s cool what she’s doing.”
The importance of girls sticking together is the only way women can get ahead. Ladies, being friends with boys who treat women as equals is also just as important. If you support other women in the office and in your personal life, you’re making a huge difference in that person’s life. You’re also a part of a greater thing, which is setting an example to that chick to treat other girls as well as you treat her. That builds to, guess what? You got it, a freaking society of females who live, love and laugh together. When you encounter a fellow woman or man who picks on your appearance or is only happy as long as you’re their subordinate, they are undermining your intelligence and process. There’s a saying in baseball: “Thanks for playing and I’ll see you in the spring.” But, you won’t be seeing this person in the spring, because by the time spring has sprung, you’ll be in the park sipping on lemonade or violating open container laws with a friend who makes you and your day shine.
3. Be friends with crazy people.
I had to ask based on their project if they had a fascination with psychics.
“I’ve tried several mediums on many occasions. Only once did I believe that something extraordinary was happening,” said Sevigny.
“I feel like I’d go and end up altering some part of my life based on what they said,” said Blash.
“You have to go to this woman in Brooklyn named Gemma. I went to the one who did Bob Dylan, and I wasn’t impressed. Then I saw Gemma. Gemma will rattle you to the bone,” said Sevigny.
I’m not telling you skip down a dark alley with someone who thinks members of the FBI are sending them messages through a light bulb. That’s insane. I’m telling your life will be dull if you roll with a bunch of people who 9-5 it in Data Entry and have only travelled to Orlando. Our society labels people ‘crazy’ if they’re smart, passionate, creative, and happy. You’re cast off ‘a nutter’ if you don’t wear beige pencil skirts and have the courage to say, “Hey white man, I don’t agree with you.” Have a least one friend in your life who can convince you to do something you never thought you would.
People like Chloë Sevigny and M. Blash are crazy – authentic artists who are nuts enough to use their unique talents to enhance your life. If you’re not lucky enough to be crazy yourself, then go out and friend someone who is!