Woody Allen’s latest film ‘Irrational Man’ is now showing in Irish cinemas, check out our interview with the man himself here. We caught up with indie darling actress Parker Posey – who starred in ‘Josie and the Pussycats’, ‘Waiting for Guffman’ and ‘Best in Show’ earlier this year to find out more about how long she waited to work with Woody Allen, women in Hollywood and the future of storytelling on screen.
How long have people been telling you that you should be in a Woody Allen movie? Parker Posey: 20 years! Maybe 10 times a year. ‘You should work with Woody Allen!’ Imagine hearing that for 20 years! [laughs]
What took you so long? PP: Well, coming to a part, or being right for something is luck. It’s just luck. When I heard the news that I was cast I was at the dog run and I just burst into tears. I had this realisation that just hit me; I am a gambler. The path of an actor is so much up to chance and its really scary. Especially in these times, in this culture, to not feel like you belong anywhere as a certain kind of actor. So I was very relieved to land this part… To be right, in his world, because I always felt like I belonged in his world; I always felt like one of his women in his films.
You are! It’s your birthright! PP: [laughs] Oh I was so bitter too! I was so bitter towards his films for the past 20 years of not being in them!
What was your first meeting with Woody Allen like? PP: I met him 20 years ago for ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ and ‘Shadows and Fog’. 20 years later I was at the Krakow Film Festival, they had asked me to come and be on the jury. [Woody Allen’s casting director] Juliet Taylor was on the jury with me, [and] It just so happened that I was right for the part. When we got back from Poland I met with Woody, and it was like three and a half minutes, and you hear this story that if it’s seven seconds don’t worry about it, you could still be in it. I was in there for like three and a half minutes. You have one hand out shaking his hand and a foot out the door; that’s how you meet him. The next day my manager called me and said ‘When are you going to be home, because Woody Allen’s assistant wants to drop off some pages for you, and to see if you’d like to be in his movie’, and I just burst into tears. It was such a relief to read this kind of writing; this naturalism, and to feel like I belonged. I gamble, I gamble… I just know I have standards; there are some things I can’t do. I think of other career options, and the culture is not the best now. I just kind of feel on the outside still. I did all these movies in the 90s, it was like I was in a certain kind of band.
Can you elaborate on the things you feel you can’t do? PP: If something’s too toxic or demeaning, I’d rather not work than do something that feels… And I’ve done it. I’ve done guest stars with material that didn’t feel substantive. I can’t have a one-night stand with my work, and that’s a realisation I’ve come to with therapy [laughs]. It means too much; I wish I wasn’t so precious about it, but for whatever reason, I feel most myself when I work.
How do you feel now that ‘Irrational Man’ is coming out, and it’s all over? PP: It feels surreal to me. I’m appreciative. I feel lucky.
The story centres on a tortured man that every woman falls in love with. Was that part of the appeal for you? PP: I loved it! I was so happy to see this… To play this part. I was like ‘How did he know I’ve seen so many irrational men in my life?!’ [laughs] It’s so compelling and fantastic. Joaquin is the perfect watery, mercurial, elusive, charming hippie actor, he was great. I also love how Rita is in her own fantasy, which really has nothing to do with him. She really holds onto the fantasy, she is inspired by him; he’s a muse to her, and she’s a muse to him. This is Woody Allen, so it’s so cool. I really love it, and I think it’s a very female film; it feels very feminine.
Young women in Hollywood seem to be put on a comet, then just disappear. Did you feel that you were… PP: Abandoned? Absolutely! To be a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture that arts, or that doesn’t nurture the career. We don’t nurture the auteur director in America; they will cast a commercial director to make a film, and not someone who has made a film before, or who went to film school. It’s politics, you know?! I feel like I was part of something in the 90s, and I have mourned the loss of a certain kind of vibe, a certain kind of film and community. I thought the independent film scene that would last and be nurtured. It became who was in what movie that made the most money? Who’s in what TV show that eyes are watching… I have really suffered with that. So to get this was a big relief. It was really moving to be in a set and see Woody Allen there, still doing it – one of the only ones that can. I feel a real loss of stories and filmmaking that could have more of a human impact.