Parker Posey is indubitably the first Sundance It Girl, and although she doesn't really come to the festival every year, her persona is inextricably linked to its spirit. This year, she's both hosting the Sundance Film Festival awards and starring in a new film called Price Check , which puts the former Party Girl into a corporate role as a boss who begins to demand more and more from her prize employee.
Although it's the tail end of a whirlwind week for Posey, the New Yorker seems to relish the opportunity to chat about film with other film-lovers, whether they're her own or an obscure art film playing at a little theater in Manhattan.
GQ: I was at the Q&A for Price Check this morning, and I thought it was very interesting that one woman stood up and asked if you thought Susan was pathetic or a bitch. Do you get that a lot about this character?
Parker Posey: No! But the movie just screened last night. It's indicative of how people view movies, which is kind of black-and-white. I think it's something that's missing and it's a big part of independent cinema, is to create interesting dialogue where people are fascinating. Why do they do the things that they do? You just wanna be more French. You want to have a larger conversation, and that's what these independent movies allow us to do, to have this dialogue...I love playing this part and I couldn't wait, because, I think I was saying this earlier today, I've seen women like this. And they're inspiring, and they're terrifying, and you want them to love you and like you, and you can't do anything to help their madness, and there's something really tragic about them. There's something really powerful about them. And being able to play such a character in a script that I think is so well-written and so culturally savvy was great, right?
GQ: I liked what you said in the Q&A about personality disorders and how you researched them in offices—
Parker Posey: I didn't research them in offices. I talked to my friends.
GQ: I think people in offices have really weird boundaries and it's a strange place, but I also feel like the film industry is a strange place, too. You must see some crazy stuff.
Parker Posey: I think there's just no rules in that business, and you have these conversations like, "Is the art world as crazy as the movie business? Is the music business as crazy the art world? Is the fashion industry crazier than showbiz?" I think that our world [is crazier but] at least it's showbiz and people talk to each other. It's so much fun to see that...
Everything has its own kind of theatricality and its own drama...[Susan] wants to consume, and she thinks she deserves exactly what she wants to have. This entitlement, I think, is something that collectively has been going on for a while now, so it was really fun to portray that.
She's got that perfume, she's got the man, she's got the stuff. She's a mess. She's got all the chaos, and all the medicine for her chaos, and all the perfumes and all the hair dryers and all the stuff and the blah and the blah and she wants a baby. She's just burning through her life.
But these are all mythological characters, too. It's fun to play those people with those big destructive forces and those women. That's fantastic. You know, women destroy in different ways than men do, and I had a great time playing her.
GQ: To shift things a little, a lot of the discussion right now is Sundance, and you, and your presence at Sundance, and how indie film is changing, but I'm also curious what you think of how immediate reactions to film have become and how the press cycle has changed.
Parker Posey: That's something that, the quick judging and assessing things, I pay no attention to. I can't. I'm not going to Google this movie, I'm not going to, I think putting that hat on is...I just don't. It's a bummer, because I think films are meant to be conversations after, and one-sided criticism and judgment without thought—I mean, you're looking at when people are watching the film by a writer/director who's saying something about a culture, to judge that in black-and-white is taking the fun out of the experience.
GQ: As an outspoken defender of indie film, how do you consume media? I've read interviews where you say you don't like going to the theater, which I totally relate to, so how do you enjoy consuming media?
Parker Posey: I like MacNeil/Lehrer. [laughs] PBS news. I'm very careful with—I don't have a Facebook page, if I do, it's not me. I don't Twitter, although sometimes I think that I should. I still, I don't know, I feel really old-fashioned, honestly, these days.
GQ: What I really meant was, do you think going to the cinema versus watching things in the comfort of your own home—it's an amazing advantage and opportunity to see films in various cities and places that might not otherwise have access to films that are on-demand in their homes, but does that take away from the cinematic experience?
Parker Posey: It's really fun to see a movie that you've heard about that's really good. I just saw this silent movie that's called The Unknown at the Film Forum, black-and-white, and it's just great, but that's a dialogue that we're all having right now. Like, how are we going to- what do you like more? Do you like the big-screen TV? Which is not that much smaller [than] the screen at Angelika, let's face it. And you can order up that classic movie and watch it and see it just as big, and I think festivals... you know, I live in New York City, so I love to see movies in theaters when I hear that they're good, as long as people can still look at it and project it on the wall and look at it as art and see the shots; like, I bet the fifteen-year-olds that are movie fans now, that have the energy and the time to project an image big on the screen, you know, it's gonna be great, right? We can't stop it. There's nothing...I can't be like, "No! I would never!" Because we're moving forward. We're adjusting to these times and to our culture. But also, people don't go to the theater as much either because they go to film festivals. That's pretty great, because they're popping up all over America.