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 ChloÃÂ« 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 ChloÃÂ« 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 ChloÃÂ« 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: ChloÃÂ« did indeed call Manchester “grim”Â. In fact, here is the relevant bit from the interview in full:
“Kim Gordon: You were filming in Manchester, right?
ChloÃÂ«: It was very hard being in Manchester. I know you guys must’ve played there so many times.
ChloÃÂ«: 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.”Â
That’s the quotation from ChloÃÂ«’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 ChloÃÂ« 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? ”ËI think I’d like to see how it comes out and what they would have in mind,’ she says. ”ËAnd more importantly, how long I’d have to suffer Manchester.’ I don’t see the locals putting down the red carpet for her somehow.”Â
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 ChloÃÂ« had wrapped nearly six months of filming with a six-day-a-week schedule in a foreign country.
ChloÃÂ« 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 ChloÃÂ« has already several times and publicly explained herself, in the UK press especially, I find your “open letter,”Â posted only days ago, as short-sighted as you find ChloÃÂ«.
Since that Interview article, there have been several interviews in which ChloÃÂ« 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.
ChloÃÂ«: Man, was that picked up! [laughs]
Bacon: Particularly on Twitter.
ChloÃÂ«: 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”Â¦ 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”Â¦ 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”Â¦ 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.
ChloÃÂ«: 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, ”ËIf 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, ”ËIt depends if I can suffer Manchester again.’
ChloÃÂ«: 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.”Â
Find more comments in a similar vein in e.g. the Summer issue of Attitude magazine, ChloÃÂ«’s interview on BBC Radio 4”Â²s 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 ChloÃÂ« by bringing up The Brown Bunny ”â a movie made 10 YEARS ago ”â 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 ChloÃÂ« 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 ChloÃÂ« is in fact neither an asshole nor after ”Ëyour’ 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 ChloÃÂ« 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. ChloÃÂ«’s initial remarks may have been inconsiderate, but this kind of slamming she did not deserve.
Admin of Chloe-Sevigny.org, unofficial fan site
PS. ChloÃÂ« does not live in an “LA mansion”Â in “penthouse luxury detachment”Â. She has apartment in New York, and actually recently paid two visits to the Occupy camp in Union Square Park. :)