Magazine article Out

Driving Miss Posey

Magazine article Out

Driving Miss Posey

Article excerpt

How Parker Posey avoided the spotlight but kept up her act

When I sit down at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan's Union Square with Parker Posey, I thank her for the interview. It's customary and pan of a little game that sometimes happens between interviewer and subject, both pretending the meeting is like one between friends. And I figured, since we chatted amiably in the car ride and walk over from the Brooklyn photo shoot (during which I met and played with Grade, her banana-loving little bichon fuse-Maltese mix) that we'd share platitudes about her gay appeal or something similar. It's happened umpteen times in interviews before. But this is Parker Posey. I should have known better.

"Well, I have a TV show that's coming out," she said. I must have flinched at her candor. "It's true," she continued. "You just have to do this when your things come out. There's something about an interview situation I find very awkward." She's been called outspoken, "the queen of the indies," a gay icon, and "It" girl. But no one accuses Posey of being a phony.

Despite early critical success following a notable string of films at the Sundance FUm Festival in the late '90$, Christopher Guest's ensemble romps, and an appearance in bigbudget fare like Superman Returns, Posey seems positively allergic to playing the game that earns actresses supermarket tabloid headlines and gossipy spots on Extra. And while she isn't interested in tossing out canned quotes to interviewers, she couldn't be warmer or more engaging now: We shared a bowl of the house-specialty pasta ("I'll never give up pasta or cheese"), and she even flipped over my cassette when side A ran out, and hit the RECORD button.

In her first ever television series, TAe Return of Jezebel fames, created by Gilmore Girls mastermind Amy ShermanPalladino, Posey stars as Sarah, a children's book editor with a great job, a no-strings steady date (played by Scott Cohen), and baby fever. When her gynecologist explains that Sarah cannot get pregnant, Sarah seeks out her estranged wild-child younger sister, Coco, to convince her to be her surrogate. Coco, founding out a stellar casting troika, is played by Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under.

A new network sitcom might seem like a quantum leap for an actress so identified with independent film. And while it's become a cliché to discuss successful actresses now gravitating toward TV (Glenn Close, Mary-Louise Parker, Patricia Arquette, Chloe Sevigny, Kyra Sedgwick), it's also actually happening. "It's where the roles are," Posey says. "I'm not telling you anything you don't know. Let's talk about something else."

She read the Jezebel James pilot script while at a Laundromat in Albuquerque, doing her laundry during a filming break on the big-budget thriller The Eye. "I was laughing, and I was really moved by the end," says Posey. "I like Sarah. She's very frenzied and accident-prone, and I like playing know what's wrong with them, who aren't self-aware."

The signature breakneck-paced Gilmore-style dialogue was a bit of a shock to Posey, unaccustomed to working with a 6o-page script each week. "I was fantasizing that words were coming out of my ears and my nose. I was so chock-full of material I was like, you know, thinking about medication. Can I take anything? People are like, "You'll be fine.' It's an actor's nightmare, really, but it's an actor's job."

Asked how she changes her approach to acting for a television series, Posey rolls her eyes and cracks her inimitable downturned smile. "That was very Inside the Actors Studio. I'm a little embarrassed for you. There's a little button I push. Do you want to see it? It's behind my left shoulder blade." Then she answers the question. "All of a sudden you're talking and then your arms are doing this," she says, waving them over her head. "And then you're like, Oh, this happens on TV! It's more emphatic. It can't happen between your eyes and your brain and your heart. …

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