Interview (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

interview

After seeing you in Interview, however, I find myself biting my tongue. I endured that lousy Factory Girl film, out of an appreciation for Edie Sedgwick, and left with only one thought, "was I wrong about Sienna Miller?" Certainly, it's been noted the similarities between your own life and that of Ms. Sedgwick, but you injected her with something almost fascinating, far more intriguing than the film itself.

 

 

 

Dear Sienna Miller,

It is with great hesitance that I write this to you, an "actress," up until this point, I have only spoken ill will. On more than one occasion, I've found myself tarnishing your name, which you already do so well yourself. There was that incident in Philadelphia where you were escorted out of a bar and shouted, "I'm the famous actress Sienna Miller! You can't do this!" Infamous, perhaps, was the word you were searching for, when, I doubt at the time, anyone could name more than one film you starred in. And, who can forget when your more famous boyfriend dumped you for his frumpy nanny? That must have hurt, but you sure got your name out there then. To quote Pierre (Steve Buscemi) talking about Katya, your character in Interview, "you're more famous for who you're fucking than anything you've acted in."interview2

After seeing you in Interview, however, I find myself biting my tongue. I endured that lousy Factory Girl film, out of an appreciation for Edie Sedgwick, and left with only one thought, "was I wrong about Sienna Miller?" Certainly, it's been noted the similarities between your own life and that of Ms. Sedgwick, but you injected her with something almost fascinating, far more intriguing than the film itself. Approaching Interview, Buscemi's remake of the late Theo Van Gogh's film of the same name, I'd heard some glowing reviews of your performance, but, as a skeptic, I proceeded with caution. Is Katya not a 2007 version of Edie Segwick, an actress of limited range and flowing beauty? It would have been easy for you to have repeated the performance, wouldn't it? But, you didn't. You played Edie with a fragility and naïveté, a girl blinded by the artificial star created for her. With Katya, you gave me something wholly different, something almost tragic and (dare I say it?) smart.

Interview really could have been something humdrum, as there appears no actual purpose for Buscemi to have remade that film. Plus, it's one of those single-location, limited-character, dialogue-sparring films that belongs on the stage. Yet, though I'm uneasy about using these words, you give the film principle. It's hard to tell whether Buscemi and his co-writer David Schechter place the sympathy on your Katya or if your performance elevates her above the creators' intentions. Sure, your and Buscemi's characters are a pair of nitwits, so self-absorbed and sadistic that the word asshole would seem too docile a description. Somehow, though, the mind games that become so expected of a film of this genre work beautifully, if only because both of you are so stubborn that every jab you take at one another is only remembered to be used as a weapon later.

A lot has been said about actors who play variations of themselves onscreen. Some say it's a piece of cake; after all, Courtney Love did it successfully in The People Vs. Larry Flynt. Others, like myself, think playing one's self is a daunting task, one that requires serious introspection and disassociation. You play Katya and Edie so differently that such a description could only come from someone who wasn't paying attention. You light up the screen beyond general expectation, and, no matter the outcome of the film's evening of squabbling, your crown was awarded in the first moments you walk into the film.

In summation, I suppose this is some form of an apology, though I would never allow myself complete acceptance of fault. In my book, you dug your own grave. And you danced in it. In your defense, however, you allowed yourself to emerge and walk amongst the living, if only (in my small little world) to prove me wrong. Like Buscemi, I lay victim.

Yours adoringly,

Joe Bowman

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