Chloe Sevigny is known for her atypical roles and on April 18 the "Big Love" vet and Oscar nominee is coming to "Law & Order: SVU" (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC). And viewers who have come to expect those trademark twists and turns from her performances will not be disappointed.
When audiences meet Sevigny's character, Christine, she's video chatting with her husband. But things quickly sour and her husband sees Christine get attacked and kidnapped. As the detectives start their investigation, not everything is what it seems. When the detectives are on the scene for the ransom drop, it's not the kidnapper who shows up for the money, it's Christine. Sevigny's character comes into Detective Benson's crosshairs, providing Sevigny with lots of screentime with series star Mariska Hargitay.
"Ugh, she's the best," Sevigny told HuffPost TV in a phone interview in late March. "I'm so in love with her. She's so inspiring."
"Mad Men's" Rich Sommer, Ron Rifkin, Laura Benanti and Diane Neal also join Sevigny in the episode. Read on for more from Sevigny about "SVU," her new controversial miniseries and her love of quirky girls (or at least some of them).
Is "SVU" something you watch regularly? I'm sure you've seen it.
Well, I don't have a television, so I don't watch anything regularly.
[Laughs.] But it is something you return to. There's a sense of comfort in the repetition and the familiarity of a show like that, but I don't have a TV so I don't watch it, no.
So why did you say "yes" to this role?
Every time I go to the theater, every Playbill I see, every actor has an "SVU" credit and I wanted one. So that's kind of how it happened. My friend Natasha did an episode and we were talking about it while she was there and I said, "I kind of want to do one. Why don't you say something to the producers and see if they'd be interested in having me do an episode?" So she did and I had my manager call and say, "Chloe really wants to do an episode" and they said, "We'll see what we have in the pipeline." And they came back with this, so that's how it happened.
Did you have to do any kind of special research for this?
It was kind of loosely based on this true story that happened in Florida -- so they sent me some of that, some of the press clippings about that. But no, no real research.
Your character has a lot of scenes with Detective Benson -- she gets suspicious of Christine -- so I assume you worked a lot with Mariska Hargitay. How was that?
She's been on that show for so many years and she handles herself so gracefully on it. She's just, she's cool to be around. She's funny, easy and she had good insight into some of the more difficult moments I had. I love an alpha female and she is like the ultimate.
Definitely. She's been carrying that show for 13 years now, so ...
[Laughs.] Especially now that Meloni's gone.
[Laughs.] My editor wanted me to ask you if you missed Stabler.
Aww, I know, I know. I think she's doing a good job carrying on without him.
How was working on "SVU" different than working on "Big Love"?
Well, "Big Love" was my show. [Laughs.] "Law & Order" is Mariska's show. It was very different. I go in for a week; I don't want to upset anybody; I don't want to do anything wrong. I just wanted to have a pleasant time and be easy. You're not as invested in something like that when it's not your show. You just want to go in and do the best job that you can for the people who are the regulars and for the fans, obviously. It's just different in so many ways. You're not very familiar with the character, you don't know the crew, there's not that comfort and ease like when you're on your own set. You just feed off the regular's energy, like Mariska's, which she had so much to spare. It was easy to feel comfortable there.
So your character is kidnapped while video chatting.
Yes. In lingerie.
Oh. A little more than just video chatting, perhaps?
[Laughs.] No, you know, she's talking to her husband! He's out of town. It's playful ... until the kidnapping ensues, of course.
And you're joined by a couple of other guest stars.
Ron Rifkin, Rich Sommer from "Mad Men," who I totally fanned out on and adore to no end. And Diane Neal, but I guess she's more of a regular. She was the laugh-riot of the set. I could barely contain myself.
So I was reading about your new show, "Hit and Miss," that's going to be on DirecTV.
Oh! It's not a show; it's just a miniseries.
You play a pre-op transsexual contract killer? That sounds like nothing I've ever seen on TV.
[Laughs.] I hope not! I got reamed out by The Advocate the other day for saying "tranny." I guess I referred to her as a "tranny" a couple of times and apparently, that's a no-no in the community. I felt really bad! Nobody had ever told me. Did you know that?
I just know that now because I think Blake Lively also said that recently, so ...
Oh, so there's been some uproar.
Reee-donkulous. You can't say anything anymore.
Can you tell me a little bit more about "Hit and Miss"?
It's a six-part miniseries we shot in Manchester, England. I play an Irish boy/girl from a Traveler's community, which is like the Irish gypsies. It's more about her and this family that she kind of falls into, these children she kind of inherits and how she learns to cope with being in a parental role.
So it's pretty different from your "SVU" role and what people are used to seeing you in with "Big Love."
Yes, really different.
I saw you attended the premiere of HBO's "Girls." Did you like it?
I did like it. I love girls, not the show, but the sex. [Laughs.] The age group. I mean, I did love the show, but I love watching girls relating. It was just a fresh take on everything. I think that Lena [Dunham, the creator, writer, director and star] is really such a great talent and just so funny. She deals with subjects we've never seen dealt with before on TV really. It's kind of how I felt when I was like 14 or 15 years old and found Sassy magazine. It was like wow, "Somebody is actually talking about these things." It's great. I'm a huge fan.
It's the talk of the office around here.
I'm sure it is. I also saw Whit Stillman's "Damsels In Distress" the other night and it was equally as good. It's so inspiring. Greta Gerwig's performance is just amazing. She's irresistible. I'm such a fan of these quirky girls!
So have you seen "New Girl" then?
I tried to watch that, but I have to say that I didn't go for. Jeanne Tripplehorn, who was on "Big Love" obviously, is one of my closest friends and she did an episode and said, "Oh, it's going to be on!" So I was at my mother's house -- she has a TV -- so I watched it at her house, but it wasn't the episode. She had the date wrong. I have to say, there was a lot of yelling going on. Maybe it was just the episode I saw and I have to give it another whirl, but I've only seen one episode and it didn't really catch my interest so much.
Chloe Sevigny's episode of "Law & Order: SVU" airs Wednesday, April 18 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC