'Big Love' exclusive: Chloë Sevigny expresses regret, blames exhaustion on her 'awful' outburst

chloe-sevigny-globeImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosIt appears my Katherine Heigl mea culpa-themed cover story is already reaping dividends: Big Love star Chloë Sevigny just rang me up to perform her own act of contrition in the wake of a stinging interview in which she called the HBO’s drama’s most recent season “awful.” Few would argue that season 4 was a big, over-stuffed disappointment, but the actress’ blunt critique — coming just two months after she (deservedly) won a Golden Globe for her role as uptight second wife, Nikki — quickly set off a firestorm. What happened? Did her internal filter malfunction? Was she taken out of context? Allow Sevigny to explain/atone…

Having a rough day?
CHLOË SEVIGNY:
A little bit. I feel pretty terrible.

What happened? Why’d you say it?
SEVIGNY:
[Long pause] I feel like what I said was taken out of context, and the [reporter] I was speaking to was provoking me. I was in Austin [at the SXSW festival] and really exhausted and doing a press junket and I think I just… I wasn’t thinking about what I was saying. You know, after a day of junkets sometimes things slip out that you don’t mean, and I obviously didn’t mean what I said in any way, shape, or form. I love being on the show. I have nothing but respect and admiration for our writers and everybody involved with the show. It’s been the greatest opportunity of my lifetime so far — the best role I’ve ever played, the best part I’ve ever had the opportunity to portray. So I love the show. I think it’s the greatest show on television. I think it’s the weirdest show. I think it is very complex and the content is amazing and it’s just very ironic that this statement would come out and blow so out of control. Because I feel absolutely the opposite. It is difficult being on a show for several seasons and having no control and having things go in different directions where you didn’t think they would go. But that’s also the most exciting part [because] they keep the character really fresh and there’s new scenarios that they come up with. [The journalist who interviewed Sevigny responds to her accusations.]

The fact is, many people were let down by last season. You didn’t really say anything that hasn’t already been said by a lot of fans and critics. Is it possible there was some grain of truth to your remarks and perhaps it just came out too harsh?
SEVIGNY:
Maybe it did come out too harsh. I especially think the third season was so strong, and obviously we only had nine episodes so we couldn’t really explore as much this season, so maybe that was part of it. And I really haven’t seen the whole season because I don’t have a television. I’ve only seen about half of it, so I couldn’t even really comment having not been able to see it all the way through.

What was your primary concern when this whole thing broke yesterday?
SEVIGNY:
My first concern was I didn’t want HBO or Will [Scheffer] and Mark [V. Olsen], the creators of our show, to think that I was biting the hand that feeds me because I obviously love the show and have always been nothing but positive about it. And I didn’t want anybody to misunderstand me or think that I wasn’t, you know, appreciative. I don’t want to be one of those actresses that complains about her work because I love my work and I love being on the show. I just feel like it’s like one small quote out of a million positive ones that’s just really biting me in the ass. And I feel really terrible. And I called Will and Mark and apologized profusely.

What was their reaction?
SEVIGNY:
They accepted my apology. We have a great mutual respect for one another, and they know my work ethic, how I treat other people at work and them, and how I never contest anything they write for me. I’m always willing [to perform what's written]. Even if I have a little trouble with something, they’ll explain it to me in a way that makes perfect sense. So I think that what was so surprising for all of us is that I never really complain or have any problems with anything. I think I was just exhausted in Austin and just spoke out of line and said something that wasn’t really how I was really feeling.

How did the conversation go? Was it short? Long?
SEVIGNY:
It was long. We talked it out. We talked for a while. [Laughs] I was a sob case, of course. I haven’t slept all night because if they said something about me, if they made a statement that they were disappointed in my work, I would feel awful. I always feel, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” And I just feel it was very out of character. I feel really awful. I don’t know what else to say except that I’m really sorry, and I’m really proud of the show, and feel blessed to be a part of it.

Did they give you any assurances that the show would get its groove back in season 5?
SEVIGNY:
They mentioned a little bit about what they were working on in the room. Their schedule is really tough. They’ve been working since we wrapped. They don’t even have the time to sit down and think and breathe for a second. You know, my heart goes out to them because they’re just working constantly. They work really hard, and I want them to know that I appreciate what they do for us and for the viewing public. I think it’s a great show.

Have you spoken to any of your co-stars?
SEVIGNY:
I spoke to Ginnifer [Goodwin] this morning.

What did you say?
SEVIGNY:
I just wanted her to know that I’m sorry if, you know, I dragged her into it in any way. And we talked about how much we love being on the show and how it’s hard work as an actress and how sometimes the press can swing things in a way that you don’t mean them to sound. She was very supportive of me.

Are you at all worried that Will and Mark will retaliate by throwing Nikki in front of a bus in the first episode back?
SEVIGNY:
[Laughs] I don’t know. I mean, I think that the Big Love viewers love me. If [Will and Mark] think that [killing Nikki] benefits the story, than so be it. I’m a team player. I really am. I signed on for six seasons after only reading the pilot and meeting with them and believing in them and seeing their genius, and whatever they choose to do, I’m going to support them and do the best job I can do.

The takeaway lesson here?
SEVIGNY:
[Laughs] The takeaway lesson here is just be more careful with my words and just slow down and breathe during junkets. And to not let journalist provoke me in ways that could be detrimental to others and myself.

Comments (167 total) Add your comment
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  • mike hunt

    fire her

    • Howard Zen

      Nope! She was totally correct the first time!

      • Zach

        Oh, wow, I am so stupid that I’ll check that site out.

    • Ed

      No way. She’s great in the show. Sevigny’s character Nikki is integral to the success of Big Love. Yes, she put her foot in her mouth big time, but fire her? That’s a bit extreme. Let her eat her humble pie and then let her get back to work.

      • Blonde+supporting+award = b*tchy diva

        What about giving suggestions to the writing team or the showrunners on how the plots could evolve instead of dissing your moneymaker? Heigl 2.0. Now let the creators of Big Love find a way to not miss this one as well.

    • Rody

      If they do fire her then there will be zero reasons to keep watching this show after such a season…

      • Daniel

        Unless Barb divorces Bill and takes the house(s). Barb needs to get her confidence back. I want good things for all three wives, and Bill is not good for any of them.

    • Josh Modell

      Visit The A.V. Club for an audio snippet of the interview, and you’ll hear no provocation… http://www.avclub.com/articles/chloe-sevigny-apologizes-for-av-club-interview,39609/

      • mushoo

        Agree! There was no provocation. Good for the A.V. Club for posting the audio from the interview. Journalists get (and, sure, sometimes earn) a bad enough rep, this guy doesn’t deserve I-added-my-own-umlaut girl throwing him under the bus for her own CYA purposes.

      • megatry

        Good for you, Josh!

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      No way. To me, it doesn’t really matter that she said it in the first place. What matters is that now, when she realizes she’s made a mistake, she is very graciously and wisely handling the situation, and I applaud her for it. None of us will ever know exactly how much she meant the words she said, or what the motivation was behind them. But it’s obvious that she understands she can’t ignore this, or take what she said back, and I think she’s being remarkably mature and doing the right thing, which is to kiss some major ass, put her head down, and get back in the game.

      • bondfool

        Blaming someone else is not gracious.

      • Julie E.

        She’s not being gracious, she’s making excuses for what she said, which is really lame.

      • RickAfterDark

        Agree 100% with bondfool and Julie E. It’s always easy to blame the journalist when you’re the star, but it’s clear from the interview and transcript that she served up all of these comments on her own, and they were ENTIRELY in context. She should have just stood behind what she said or blamed exhaustion. But blaming someone else? I’ve really lost respect for her.

    • Jim

      No way! Chloe, we still love you. People aren’t perfect, mistakes were made, lessons learned, time to move on.

      • ramlo

        I don’t care what she said, I don’t care about the journalist, etc. The season was a mess. The best part of it was Nikki showing up at the “wedding” and her coming to realize “she didn’t want to share anymore.” That’s why I’ll turn in for next season.

    • jack meehof

      Hey Mike, it’s your old pal Jack.

    • Tommy

      Ugh, this is the “actress” that blew Vincent Gallo on-camera in that atrocity known as The Brown Bunny.

      What would she know about good or bad filmmaking?

      • jared4ever

        She’s also the actress who played Hilary Swank’s love interest in “Boys Don’t Cry” I defy you to slag that performance. She was sensational. As she was in “Kids” as well.

      • Bob

        I love that scene, I “watch” it all the time

    • em

      we don’t love her.

    • Jason

      wow- some of these comments are just sad. How pathetic your lives must be, if you think they should fire her over this. Typical of my fellow Americans these days, not satisfied until every single person that has a better life is brought to their knee’s, and is completely ruined in all aspects of their lives. Jealous, much? Tragic that so many people feel vindication in watching someone’s career be taken away from them over something as small as this. Then again, you’re probably the same people that wanted Tiger banned from the PGA tour for cheating on his wife. Just sad to see so many people satisfied by the misery of others.

      • Kellie

        Really? the rest of us have no life?

    • jared4ever

      She is one of the best things about Big Love and she was right, the fourth season was terrible. I just wish she didn’t have to apologize for saying what everyone already knows!

  • ______

    Katherine heigl is a ugly wench.

    • Slee

      True

  • Steph

    Actually the lesson would be to stop blaming the media and start taking responsibility for your own actions. But of course, that would be too easy. What a crock of …

    • bondfool

      Seriously, what she said came out of almost nowhere. And you can’t be taken out of context in a verbatim Q&A format.

    • KWise

      This girl is a beeeyatch. Do you remember how she behaved at the Golden Globes? The guy that escorted her onstage accidentally stepped on her dress, and she behaved like a total spoiled brat/diva and KEPT saying, “I can’t BELIEVE he stepped on my dress.” Can’t stand Chloe Sevigny. She seems like a rotten person.

      • ann

        My gosh. I had forgotten about that dress incident at the Globes. She’s a pig.

      • vicki

        Have to agree-she seems awful.

      • mrksgrl

        Thank you for bringing it up first. I sat with my mouth wide open watching the G.G.’s when she made that poor guy feel like hell. She said something, waited and then said something else. Are you kidding me? They get these dresses for free, this kid probably will never work at an event again, because of this “actress”, and she tries to pull off what a nice person she is, BS, I think they wrote her character about her, based on her personality. Spoiled & rotten.

      • Dylan

        “My gosh. I had forgotten about that dress incident at the Globes. She’s a pig.”

        You’re a judgmental gossiper whose too quick to make total character assassinations. That’s a character defect as well.

      • Christina

        I totally agree. I remember being just appalled that she would freak out that much. First of all, it’s not like she paid for the dress. Secondly, it was absolutely hideous so who cares if it got torn? She obviously has an attitude and she needs to chill.

  • Brad

    Sounds sincere

    • Slee

      You mean reads sincere. Doubtful. I mean, do you actually think she would apologize/blame others for this terrible interview if it didn’t get so much negative attention? I’m 99.9% sure that her opinions about the last season of”Big Love” are the still the same.

      • Gabby

        EVERYONE’S opinions on that last season are still the same. It was awful; she would be lying to herself if she tried to think otherwise.

  • sbwm

    Provoked by a journalist at a press junket. Uhmm hum. Because you were there to be interviewed? Sorry you were tired but no excuse. Insult

  • J

    She’s right, though. This season was pretty bad.

    • B

      This.

  • OIC

    Love the show and will watch it to the end, but Chloe is exactly right about this. This season was packed, not bad, but just too much. Maybe Chloe shouldn’t have said this to the press, but everyone knows she’s right.

  • bunker

    Even though she was right about S4, it’s good that she’s covering her ass. I’d hate Nikki’s screentime to be reduced next season. She’s my favorite character.

  • SirLizard

    I don’t think that anything she said was that bad. Even if she was somewhat disappointed in the season, I think that she really does love the show and its creators.

    • Momo

      She could have expressed herself better without using such drastic words such as “aweful,” but I agree that she seems to genuinely care about the show and her co-workers. I think it means a lot, too, that she’s actually trying to clarify herself right away, as opposed to waiting a couple of years. *cough* Heigel *cough*

  • WhitneyD

    Heigl should take note- that’s how you handle an apology. Quickly, and with sincerity. Honestly, I can see how that would happen- and given every other interview with Sevigny, her comments didn’t seem like ones she’d make.

    • WhitneyD

      Also, her actual comments (other than saying the other actresses agreed w/ her) weren’t that bad- she said that she loved the writers, but felt it was awful because it was just too packed to give it the right flow.

      • Alia

        I agree. Her remarks seemed to indicate that last season’s not-so-greatness had more to do with the circumstances than with a poor job on anyone’s part. It felt honest, not whiny (cough*Heigl*cough), but I’m glad she apologized anyway and made it clear that she respects the showrunners and the writers.

    • Caio

      Except she totally threw the reporter who interviewed her under the bus. She volunteered the controversial comments and they were reproduced completely in context. I understand misspeaking out of frustration, but blaming someone else for your mistakes is completely graceless. Boo, Chloe Sevigny.

      • Shey

        I agree-blaming someone else is not an apology. And if you listen to the audio, her comments were not taken out of context at all. In fact, she actually goes on to explain why the show was awful this past season-it wasn’t some off-the-cuff remark.

  • Rody

    It’s not that she didn’t mean any of what she said, it’s that she didn’t mean to say it out loud and to a reporter nonetheless, but I understand why she needs to make a public apology… Like she said these are that hands that feed her… But even a blind person would tell you that this past season of Big Love was one big letdown all around… And the 9 episodes order had little to do with it. It simply was less-than-stellar writing for a show that used to deliver so much better…

    • J

      The majority of complaints I’ve heard deal with the short season. Sorry, but they had an amazing season last year with only 10 episodes. Having one less shouldn’t cause that many problems.

      • Rody

        Chloe smartly mentions in the AVC interview that the season should have focused on the family, and again she was right… Instead they had Bill running for governor then sending him to Mexico after some monogamist clan chief who kidnapped his son, WHILE HE WAS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR! Now if that isn’t ridiculous I don’t know what is…

        Yes, they only had 9 episodes so instead of going with so much new, over-the-top stuff they needed to focus on their strong points like the family ties, the compound etc… Alby’s struggle with his sexuality was one of the topics I was most looking forward to before the season premiered, and how much screen time did that get? 10 minutes of the whole 9 hours… Barbara’s struggle with her faith and the church was also a great topic that did not get the deserved attention. They could’ve taken the show in so many great directions instead they decided to conjure a stupid one.

        I just hope the show will redeem itself next year because it has many great things going for it they just have to use them.

  • LolaSvelt

    The difference between Heigl and Sevigny is that Sevigny was being honest, while Heigl was being annoying and ungrateful!

  • Christina

    Honestly everything she said was right on. There was too much story and only 9 episodes to tell it in. Everyone knew it, she’d the only one brave enough to say it.

  • Martillo

    The lesson from this? This isn’t the porno films you used to do, the media actually covers this and will pretend that you are a legitimate actress. Try acting like one or go back to doing porno movies, you won’t have to worry about journalists caring about your opinion of Ass Lickers 12.

    • myndela

      Chloe never did porn. She performed oral sex in “Brown Bunny”, but she has never been in a porn film.

  • Shel

    I admire Chloe’s comments, and her ability to take responsibility for what she said. Of course, she was there, filming the show all year, so she must have a sense of the season. However, reading that she has not even seen the whole season (because I am sure she is not on set for all the scenes that have nothing to do with her), made me even more disappointed that she initially said what she did. I do not feel she is being muzzled, and in no way do I feel her comments were anything like Heigl’s. Her explanation seems completely plausible to me and I hope she (and other actors) learn from this mistake. It might be better to skip an interview than to do it tired and/or harassed.

    • kevin k.

      she was not harassed. listen to the audio clip. she was relaxed and laughing.

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