Parker Posey on 'Price Check' and the 'star-driven' world of indie cinema in 2012
PARK CITY - Is it fitting that Awards Campaign's last report from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is an interview with festival legend Parker Posey?
I spoke to Posey two days before she was set to host the festival's annual awards ceremony which signals the official end of the 11-day event. Anointed the "Queen of Sundance" because her rise mirrored that of the festival in the mid to late '90s, many longtime festival goers were excited that a rejuvenated Posey would bring her hilarious delivery to what is sometimes a painfully boring exercise. Unfortunately, and seemingly at the last minute, Posey was stricken with a bug that also disabled many journalists (including this one), publicists and filmmakers and made the festival more dangerous than an airplane flight in "Contagion." Instead, festival director John Cooper and "The League's" Katie Aselton valiantly gave it their all as last minute hosts, but it just wasn't the same. Posey's withdrawal sort of made the whole evening anticlimactic (unless you were a winner of course).
Rewind to our earlier sit-down. It's the afternoon after Parker's "Price Check" premiered and she's running through a slew of interviews. Sundance press is always an adventure and we found our video setup in a condo bedroom where Posey decided she'd cozy up to me on a king bed for our chat (and if that means I'm responsible for giving her the Sundance flu, deepest apologies to the institute). At first, Posey was energetic about her new workplace comedy where she plays Susan Fielders, a longtime supermarket chain marketing executive who comes in to shakeup a sleepy Long Island chain running on fumes. Posey's driven and hilariously exasperated Fielders is clearly the best thing in the movie that at times takes itself a bit too seriously and could have been more effective as a farce.
"The script reminds me of 'Network.' A social cultural thing," Posey says. "These women who act like men. Do you have to act like a man to be powerful?"
Filmmaker Michael Walker never really answers that question (or resolves his main storyline either), but it was an interesting segue for an actress who turned a bit melancholy on the subject of where she fits into the world of independent film now. Posey was the "it girl" of indie cinema for a long run with roles in films such as "Kicking and Screaming," "The Daytrippers,""Party Girl," "The House of Yes," "Henry Fool" and Christopher Guest's "Waiting for Guffman." She gained more national attention for appearing in Guest films such as "Best in Show," "For Your Consideration" and "A Mighty Wind," but also stole the show in the underrated "Josie and the Pussycats" (no joke), "Blade: Trinity" and was a shockingly poignant Kitty Kowalski in Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns." But besides an impressive performance in 2007's "Broken English," those plum indie roles have dried up over the last decade.
"I don't get a lot of independent scripts," Posey admits. "I think it's very youth oriented. They'll make a movie about 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds, but a movie about 40-year-olds is hard to get made."
Again, Posey turns strikingly sad at this point in our interview. The 43-year-old looks a good 10 years younger, but she seem fixated on a lack of roles for someone her age even as she continues to get regular work on TV on shows such as "The Good Wife" and "Parks and Recreation" let alone the other three features she already has in the can.
"I came here in the beginning. It's changed so much," Posey says of Sundance. "I could do any independent film I wanted in the '90s. And then it changed and to finance a movie you had to get a big star. And that was 2000-2010 [which] was kind of 12 or 13 years of not really being able to work in the way I loved working which I feel is a really pure way of working. A director says, 'I think you're right for the part and I'm gonna cast you. And I'm gonna cast you, you and you. This is my cast. This is my vision. This is my voice. We are all gonna come here and play together.' That all just changed. It's bittersweet for me to come here."
She then added, "I love it though, I do. I can't wait to host the awards."
That obviously didn't happen, but we're hoping the next time Posey hits Park City she truly has something to celebrate.
You can watch the entire fascinating interview embedded at the top of this post.
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