Actress Chloe Sevigny revealed Wednesday that several film directors came close to crossing the line into inappropriate conduct during movie shoots, but admitted at the same time that it can be hard to tell the difference between sexual harassment and everyday Hollywood behavior.
In France for the Cannes Film Festival, the 41-year-old American Psycho star told Variety that three separate directors had behaved inappropriately toward her during auditions for film roles, but declined to name the directors.
“I’ve had the ‘what are you doing after this?’ conversation,” Sevigny told the outlet. “I’ve also had the ‘do you want to go shopping and try on some clothes and, like, I can buy you something in the dressing room’ [conversation]. Just like crossing the line weirdness.”
Sevigny also recalled a director once telling her: “‘You should show your body off more. You shouldn’t wait until you’re as old as this certain actress who had just been naked in a film, you should be naked on screen now.’”
“I would consider it Hollywood,” the actress conceded. “Was it sexual harassment? It’s such a fine line.”
Sevigny’s comments come as the topic of systemic sexism in Hollywood has reached a fever pitch in the film industry.
Earlier this week, fellow actress Susan Sarandon suggested that her Oscar-winning film Thelma & Louise may not have been made in today’s Hollywood due to rampant sexism in the industry. Also this week, Iron Man 3 director Shane Black revealed that the villain in that film was originally written to be a woman, until toy executives told him that a female action figure wouldn’t sell as well.
The charges of bias in the Hollywood have even caught the attention of the federal government; the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is currently investigating claims of gender bias against female directors on film and television projects.
“When women on set become a little emotional, or impassioned even, they’re labeled as hysterical or crazy and have a hard time getting hired again,” Sevigny told Variety. “The double standard of the man being the wild, crazy, mad director is so embraced.”
“We have to allow women to act out… and just be ourselves,” the actress added.
Sevigny is well-known in Cannes for her provocative performance in the 2003 film The Brown Bunny, which was featured at the festival that year. The film features a scene in which the actress performs unsimulated oral sex on her co-star and director Vincent Gallo.
“I’d probably still do it today,” Sevigny said of her role in the film. “I believe in Vincent as an artist and I stand by the film.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum