chloë sevigny talks hollywood sexism and creepy directors at cannes

Days after revealing her 'total disdain for directors,' the 'Kitty' director gets more specific about her past experiences behind-the-scenes.

by i-D Staff and Hannah Ongley
18 May 2016, 11:03pm

Hollywood sexism has unexpectedly become one of the most talked about — and one of the most clumsily avoided — topics on the French Riviera over the past two weeks. The Cannes Film Festival premiere of Woody Allen's new film, Café Society, spurred criticism from Allen detractors including his own son Ronan Farrow and outspoken screen queen Susan Sarandon. Chloë Sevigny, in town to debut her buzzy six-minute short Kitty, recently revealed that she now has a "total disdain" for auteur directors. "I don't know if I'd call them exploiters," Sevigny told The Guardian over the weekend. "What I would say is that the most damaging thing about working with so-called auteurs is that I now have a total disdain for directors, and it's very strong, very deep." Sevigny's list of controversial collaborators includes Lars von Trier, Terry Richardson, and Allen himself.

Sevigny has now elaborated on her uncomfortable behind-the-scenes experiences during Variety's Cannes panel, revealing that three male directors have definitely "crossed the line" with her during auditions. "I've had the 'what are you doing after this?' conversation," she said this morning. "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."

One director, who clearly wasn't familiar with Gummo or Brown Bunny, told Sevigny, "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." She refused to do so, and didn't get the part. 

Sevigny avoids naming names, or directly equating the directors' actions with sexual harassment. "I would consider it Hollywood," she said. "Was it sexual harassment? It's such a fine line." But her comments don't stand in isolation. At least, with Kitty under her belt and hopefully more films to follow, Sevigny is becoming part of one very obvious solution: more women behind the camera. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Marcelo Krasilcic, 1994

chloe sevigny
sexual harassment
Cannes Film Festival