Chloe Sevigny website replies to the open letter about the actress saying Manchester is grim etc

Chloe Sevigny replies with sign language

Recently we ran on open letter to Chloe Sevigny after she made comments about Manchester being grim. It wasn’t meant to be an anti Chloe letter and more done with a dash of humour. We are fans of her as an actress, more baffled by her comments but also would not be surprised if they were out of context in the media- although this right of reply prints them out again…

There was a mixed comments section varying from support for the open letter to qualified criticism to the usual rants. Some of the comments were a bit silly with people having their own axes to grind but this one from Sandra who runs the unofficial Chloe Sevigny webpage is a really good answer so we decided to run it as its own blog.

As I have been so many times since Chloë Sevigny’s Manchester remarks were first scandalized in the media, I am once again profoundly disappointed in the misinformation and disguised bitterness in this article. Let this be my open letter to you on this subject.

Let’s rid ourselves of all pretension from the start. I am a fan of Chloë Sevigny, as an actress and outspoken personality. I’m also not from Manchester. Indeed, I’m not even from the UK. That said, even as someone who follows Chloë and her career closely, I am capable of looking at her and her work critically, and *as* someone who follows her closely am quite up to speed on both her and the media coverage on her, which has been less than unembellished at certain ends.

Let’s start off at this basic premise: Chloë did indeed call Manchester “grim”. In fact, here is the relevant bit from the interview in full:

“Kim Gordon: You were filming in Manchester, right?
Chloë: It was very hard being in Manchester. I know you guys must’ve played there so many times.

Gordon: Depressing!
Chloë: It was one of the grimmest places I’d ever been in my entire life, and I was there for so long. I hardly had any visitors. I was so alone. […] It rained every single day I was there.”

That’s the quotation from Chloë’s feature in the February issue of Interview which the media quickly picked up and re-reported all over as news for the next month. Then The Independent Magazine ran their story on Chloë on April 28 with the following bit:

“Sky are hoping for a second series of Hit+Miss should it prove a hit rather than a miss. Would she be tempted back? ”˜I think I’d like to see how it comes out and what they would have in mind,’ she says. ”˜And more importantly, how long I’d have to suffer Manchester.’ I don’t see the locals putting down the red carpet for her somehow.”

A similar quote was also picked up, most notably by Manchester Evening News, from the June issue of Psychologies. All three interviews were conducted last year not long after Chloë had wrapped nearly six months of filming with a six-day-a-week schedule in a foreign country.

Chloë likely said both things as they have been reported, and she owns that, and especially earlier this year, when the Interview feature was the only thing people had to go on, the uproar was absolutely understandable. Today, however, when Chloë has already several times and publicly explained herself, in the UK press especially, I find your “open letter,” posted only days ago, as short-sighted as you find Chloë.

Since that Interview article, there have been several interviews in which Chloë has explained herself regarding these comments both in the press and the spoken media. Here’s an excerpt from her interview with BBC Radio’s Richard Bacon:

“Richard Bacon: And you filmed in Manchester, which according to an interview with you, you didn’t really enjoy.
Chloë: Man, was that picked up! [laughs]

Bacon: Particularly on Twitter.
Chloë: What I said around that one remark was of course removed, but it *was* hard in Manchester. I mean, the subject matter of the show is really hard, it was the biggest part I’ve ever played, the most demanding physically and emotionally. And so my frame of mind was, you know, really”¦ I was very sensitive. And the weather there is, as everybody knows, not that great. It’s like, in a valley, so it rained for four months straight every day. We had a couple of spots of sunshine here and there, but”¦ And the shooting schedule was really tough and we were out on the moors [with] like, really strong winds and rain, and I was wearing practically nothing, were freezing”¦ just very demanding all around.

Bacon: So when you were interviewed and you gave these comments, you were just a bit drained, at a low ebb.
Chloë: I was, and also I was talking [in Interview magazine] to a close friend of mine, who was in a very famous band called Sonic Youth, and she’s toured a lot and she’d been to Manchester many times, and you know, had a sense of Manchester of her own, so we were kind of finding common ground a little bit.

Bacon: The one quote that particularly stood out to me was [when] I think interviewer had said, ”˜If this show works and Sky Atlantic wants to make a second series, would you like to make a second series?’ And I think you said something like, ”˜It depends if I can suffer Manchester again.’
Chloë: Ooh. Did I? [both laugh] I think I would have to go about [filming] in a different way, because I really isolated myself, I didn’t have any friends come to visit because I was working on the accent and all the physical stuff and I didn’t want them to be a distraction. I think if I went back again it would be different, because I feel more ease in the part, with the accent and whatnot, and therefore I could have more people coming in now. You know, when you’re away from home for six months and you don’t have any of your friends nearby, it can get very lonely.”

Find more comments in a similar vein in e.g. the Summer issue of Attitude magazine, Chloë’s interview on BBC Radio 4”²s Woman’s Hour and the May 13th Sunday Times.

Anyone who also read the late April Independent Magazine feature (another interview conducted just a day after filming had wrapped, as the article states) in full could not have missed the part where the interviewer rather blatantly tries to get a rise out of Chloë by bringing up The Brown Bunny ”” a movie made 10 YEARS ago ”” and its controversial oral sex scene (because in 10 years she has apparently made nothing else worth talking about, including winning a Golden Globe for Nicki in Big Love, one of her most acclaimed ever roles). The interviewer having made his research so well as to know of the film and its content, hardly could’ve expected Chloë to be particularly tickled by this subject, and his overall attitude towards her anyway is pretty apparent throughout the article.

But of course none of this is very interesting, not the least because it turns out Chloë is in fact neither an asshole nor after ”˜your’ hometown. And isn’t it just so much easier to hate on someone than getting all the facts? I mean, God forbid you had to look up another website..!

I’m sorry I have to come out against you in this way, because I’d like to think that if you *had* had the full story you would perhaps not have wanted to be as severe on Chloë as you have been, but this finally needed saying. More than trash you specifically, though, the point I’d like to make is, shame, shame, SHAME on MEN, The Daily Mail, The Independent Magazine & co. for their unfair and appalling sensasionalist reporting. Chloë’s initial remarks may have been inconsiderate, but this kind of slamming she did not deserve.

Regards,
Sandra
Admin of Chloe-Sevigny.org, unofficial fan site

PS. Chloë does not live in an “LA mansion” in “penthouse luxury detachment”. She has apartment in New York, and actually recently paid two visits to the Occupy camp in Union Square Park. :)

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8 comments on “Chloe Sevigny website replies to the open letter about the actress saying Manchester is grim etc”

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  1. Surely Manchester’s purported grimness was the reason the drama was filmed here in the first place. We should be happy to oblige. Detroit, New York, Manchester… MC5, Sonic Youth, Joy Division… Tough cities create good art, music. Those are the rules. X

  2. Arsed??? Not really… Manchester as usual doesn’t give a f…k… which is what we’re best at, Chloe…dear

  3. who is chloe what does she do neverheard of her a lot of citys are grim was born in Manchester. Manchester is what you make it you can have a laugh a drink a concert the theater gallerys and some great places to eat chole couldn’t have hated Manchester that much she was in Oklahoma gift shop everyday. if you hate Manchester that much piss off back to the rock you crawled from

  4. Minie’s comment appear to be falling into the same out of context trap of the original article. I doubt she’s read either. Time to get off Ms Sevigny’s case, I think.

  5. A much-deserved that response, really.

    Of course Manchester’s grim, isn’t that kinda the point? Would we have ever had Joy Division if it wasn’t?

    God only knows where she was filming – if she was coming in on the train to Piccadilly through Ardwick and then filming in, like, Gorton or something, it’s understandable how she might have thought it was a grim place. Every city has grim areas.

    Bit of a unnecessary sensationalism if you ask me, and a rare misjudgement for LTW – the open letter was exactly the kind of defensive, parochial response people from Manchester shouldn’t be indulging in. I thought the correct response was “If you don’t like us, go fuck yerself?”

  6. Robin Brunskill

    “there own axes to grind….a bit silly” OUCH

  7. Robin Brunskill

    Sandra does pick up on the axe to grind that was in my hand. Anti-american-female in the media is real. They are seen as fair game, and its “Acceptable” racism.

  8. I truely honestly cannot wait to leave Manchester. Listen here and listen good. I’ll start by qualifiying every word I say by stating I’ve lived here 23-years and most of my adult life (bar the two I got out) and my life has been marred by having to be here. Socially I can’t find the word, the people are very ‘packaged’ let’s say – I want to say that they all look the same, wear the same clothes, talk the same crap in the same silly accent about the same innane subjects – they don’t but it feels like that!
    The weather here is enough to drive any sane person out. It’s genuinely pissed down every single day between April and June bar that spell of summer we had. I can’t tell you how grim Manchester is anyway – swath after swath of post-industrial dereliction interspersed with council estate – and it’s grim no matter how hard the sun shines, but when it hammers with rain???!
    If you’re alternative you stand little chance. The city will destroy you, it will suffocate you. I know my Rimbaud from my Rambo – all I’d like to do is hold a decent conversation about something interesting down with someone – but I find that the fuckwittedness that permeates every single damn corner of Manchester and almost every person prevents me from doing so. We were in a beer garden the other day just trying to bob along and the people behind us were talking about who they’ve screwed, this that the other. It is a very isolating place where it’s hard to meet people, put it that way, let alone interesting people and I’m not talking about ten-a-penny skaters or Topshop-hipsters either. I’m talking genuinely interesting people of vague artistic or cultured or intelligent vein.
    I’m telling you now, CS hasn’t seen anywhere near the damn worst of it. If she thinks the city centre is hell she wants to try Weaste, Salford(where we encountered Neanderthals who obliged to show their bits to us) or Salford at large (unspeakable) or Longsight or Gorton or Harpurhay or Wythenshawe or Stockport. Yes this dump never ends.
    Sorry, I like Chloe, am a big Morrissey fan (also Sonic Youth are quite decent) so it’s not as if I would abandon everything Manchester, but Moz is so unManchester, he’s articulate, sensitive and expressive and these qualities either are at a premium in this city or people find it hard to bring them to the fore or they find, like me, what’s the damn point?
    People talk about the music as if Saint Louis wouldn’t smash it to pieces (hell-fucking-o Chuck Berry and Miles Davis!!!!!!!!) but I find half the bands embarrassing anyway, doubly so that they are reforming left right and centre (Stone Roses, New Order without Hook) The only culture is a hopelessnegative culture: get pregnant at 16, rob houses, have no aspiration.
    Life is hard anyway, trust me. Living in Manchester isn’t my only problem. Let’s jst say I’m like a lot of young people now and I can’t see a future, find a long-term job or consolidate my life etc – but Manchester isn’t where I want to be with this struggle, it compounds it, really.
    Listen, I can talk the good points about Manchester (the architecture undeniably) but then I’d have to elevate the discussion to a point where it gets lost on people. Most people who chest-thump about Manchester are pretty ignorant to the fact that there’s some great buildings here, and those that do can they really name them?
    Civic pride for civic pride sake is like patriotism only less meaningless.
    I’m getting out, I know I have the will. It’s the lack of resources at the moment (i.e the job to create the cash to create the platform) and that’s frustrating in itself (the picture is bleak
    as I say for the country never mind Manchester, but having to live that horrendous prospectless life on the dole in Manchester is on the edge of the edge.

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