An hour before the premiere of her new film, “Lying,” at the Cannes International Film Festival, Chloë Sevigny is sprawled on a pillow-strewn wooden bench, her ballet flat-clad feet propped on the armrest and the blue linen skirt of her Chloé dress spread around her like a pool of water.
“I hate film festivals,” she sighs, her heavy-lidded eyes drooping from lack of sleep. “I need an Ambien and a nap. I’m an eight-hour girl.” But since deplaning last Tuesday, Sevigny has managed only about five hours of sleep in two days. “I went straight to a party on a yacht, then to a reception for the Director’s Fortnight [“Lying” is in the competition], then to the premiere of ‘Babel,’ then to a dinner.”
Sevigny knows the drill, having been to Cannes four times. “When you are an actor, you don’t really get to see anything or enjoy the town because you’re working, and when you’re in a beautiful location such as this, it’s very frustrating. I want to go in the water and lie on the beach.”
But for now, she has to shimmy into a Lanvin dress hanging over the back of a chair, still in its dry-cleaning bag. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” Sevigny says of toting her own dress to the theater for a quick change, “but that’s the life of an actor. I bought a T. Anthony carry-on specifically for this trip because everyone always loses their luggage in Cannes.”
For day, she brought pieces from Phoebe Philo’s last Chloé collection (“It was all so cute, I want to keep it all”), and for night, Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin, including a dress Stefano Pilati made especially for her. “I wanted him to make it in fuchsia because pink is my favorite color, but he made it black,” she adds.
In “Lying,” the feature debut of young American director M. Blash (it received a generally unenthusiastic reception at Cannes), Sevigny plays Megan, a pathological liar who invites three girlfriends to her country house for the weekend. “She’s really troubled and intelligent and bored with her surroundings, so she’s always trying to create scenarios to heighten situations and test people, for amusement,” says Sevigny, adding, “I’m not like that. I’m very easily entertained, actually.”
It’s been a whirlwind year for the 32-year-old, who finished filming season one of the HBO series “Big Love” in January, followed by “Lying,” David Fincher’s “Zodiac” and “Sisters” with Lou Doillon and Stephen Rea. “I am taking the summer off and decorating my apartment in New York, Dorothy Draper/Billy Baldwin style,” Sevigny says. “They are demolishing my bathroom as we speak, which is very nerve-racking — that I can’t be there to oversee it. I have a decorator, though.”
At the end of August, she’ll return to Los Angeles to shoot season two of “Big Love.” “I’m glad that I can be part of something good on television instead of another crime scene or hospital show,” she says. In the series, she wears hair extensions to achieve Nikki’s superlong braid. “I wasn’t allowed to wear any makeup and I have to dress pretty dowdy, so I said, ‘You have to at least let me have big, beautiful hair, like a lioness.'”