Last week, the A.V. Club interviewed actress Chloe Sevignyy who plays one of the wives on the HBO program Big Love and she gave some shockingly honest responses. In this case, of course, “shockingly honest” should be read as “totally ripped apart the show she works on”. The interview instantly began burning up the blogosphere which is unsurprising considering the high profile nature of the program and the fact that Ms. Sevigny led off with a money quote as fantastic as “It was awful this season.” Ouch.
“It was awful this season, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not allowed to say that! [Gasps.] It was very telenovela. I feel like it kind of got away from itself. The whole political campaign seemed to me very farfetched. I mean, I love the show, I love my character, I love the writing, but I felt like they were really pushing it this last season.”
For those of you who haven’t been watching the past few years, Big Love is a serialized drama on HBO about the adventures of a polygamous secretly living in Utah. In the first few seasons, the show attempted to give a fairly realistic portrayal of what that life would be like. A season one storyline, for example, asked just how a man could really satisfy three separate wives (the answer: secret Viagra prescriptions). Recently, however, the writers seemed to have changed course. Either they decided that episodes focusing on star Bill Paxton’s trips to the drug store weren’t exciting enough or they just got their hands on some Nip/Tuck DVDs. Whatever the case, the recently finished fourth season turned into a big soap opera with a Mexican standoff and a Senate race plotline that had as much political verisimilitude as 24. Critics and fans alike were vocal in their disappointment with the direction of the show. Now, though, it seems the actors weren’t that pleased either.
Sevigny actually gave some pretty thoughtful criticism in the piece and many TV critics had her back. Unfortunately for her, those critics don’t sign her checks. HBO is owned by Time Warner which means the actress and network had plenty of outlets to choose from for the inevitable backtracking and face saving. They chose Entertainment Weekly. First came the network’s official statement, which they issued to the Time Warner owned magazine soon after the story first broke.
“We were surprised to read the comments and knowing Chloe we trust these were taken out of context. The fans thoroughly enjoyed this past season and, like them, we look forward to another exciting year from [co-creators] Will [V. Olsen], and Mark [Scheffer].”
Soon after that, Sevigny herself spoke to EW, a choice we assume was completely her own and not at all requested by HBO. Whatever the case, she decided to repeat their “out of context” claim word for word (we can only assume that the context readers missed was that the interview was held during Opposite Day). She then went one step further and accused Sean O’Neal, the original A.V. Club interviewer of “provoking” her controversial comments.
“The takeaway lesson here is just be more careful with my words and just slow down and breathe during junkets. And to not let journalist provoke me in ways that could be detrimental to others and myself.”
Things could have ended there but, just like the recent season of the show that started this all, there had to be another plot twist. O’Neal, apparently felt a little bit maligned by the EW interview and hit back. He posted another piece on the site which included the entire audio recording of the Sevigny’s comments to prove that he made no undue provocations.
Presumably that will be the end of all this and everything can get back to normal with the Big Love writers punishing Sevigny with embarrassing storylines next year just like the Grey’s Anatomy folks did to Katherine Heigl when she got in a similar scrape a few years back. There is one interesting post script to this all, however. This comes just a couple weeks after another actor got in trouble for an HBO promoting interview. If you’ll remember, Bill O’Reilly just wrapped up a series of episodes bashing Tom Hanks after taking umbrage to comments the actor made while making the rounds for currently-airing miniseries The Pacific. Of course, in that case, Mr. Hanks made no apology. It would seem, then, that the star of Forrest Gump can say whatever he wants at Time Warner but the star of The Last Days of Disco cannot.
Whatever happens, we can all agree that this story has been much more entertaining than the 100th season of Entourage.
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