From Cruel Intentions to Dark Horse – actress Selma Blair opens up about relating to her depressive character Miranda in black comedy Dark Horse, her baby, Arthur, why she’s surprised she’s lived until 40, and starring opposite her “boyfriend in another life”, Charlie Sheen, in Anger Management…
GLAMOUR:Dark Horse is a pretty dark, bleak comedy. What initially attracted you to the role of Miranda?
Selma Blair: “Well, anything, I mean honestly, anything Todd [Solondz] does, you know I would love to be a part of… We did a film called The Storytelling together many years ago, and my character was Vi, and it was one of my favourite experiences and one of my favourite films, so we remained friends. And then when we were talking about the film, I don’t think he was thinking of casting me… Or maybe he was, I have no idea… But we were throwing around my friends’ names and it just didn’t work out. And then he finally, you know, offered it to me. And without even reading it I said yes. It’s my character from Storytelling – it’s the same girl. Her name is Miranda Vi, so she went by Vi in Storytelling and goes by her first name [Miranda] in this one. So, it’s really the same girl.”
G: Miranda is heavily medicated and deeply depressive. How did you prepare for such a complex role like that?
S: “Sadly, I didn’t really have to! Because it’s kind of in my… In my veins. There’s been times in my life, and people who I’ve met who are totally devastated by the state of their lives, and, in a way, that’s remarkably… Un-dramatic. I mean, [I said to myself] ‘Do you play this so over-depressed?’, and I was like, ‘No, that’s just how some people can be.’ That’s how she is. Yeah, it is a movie, whatever, it’s drama, but I thought she was a really real character and she was someone that was very medicated and um, I get it. I wish I could check out half the time. Todd’s writing is so specific, I love it so much that I feel you don’t have to. You just kinda have to stay there and say the script and what he means, you know?”
G: How do you switch off from a depressive role like that? Is it hard not to take some of that home with you?
S: “You know, usually when they say ‘cut’ I’m the type of person that, between scenes, I’m joking with people, I’m wondering where you can get the best French fries, and then I’ll go into a scene and totally be there. So I’ve never been one to carry that voice through. Her character is really normal to me. So, you know, there were a couple of days… Scenes that didn’t even make it into the movie. There are a lot more scenes that I was in, and some of those, and her level of, her monotone way was actually… It is draining a bit. I guess I’d just go home, and I had just fallen in love at the time, so my baby father… That was probably the biggest pick me up. I was pretty happy.”
G: The underlying theme behind the movie surrounds the inevitable passage of time and the irretrievability of youth. Is getting older something that you ever think or worry about?
S: “Well, I don’t worry about it. I mean, I can’t change it and I’d much rather… I never thought I’d live [this long]. I’m going to be 40 tomorrow and I never thought I’d live to see that. I was a very depressive youngster and I thought, ‘Ugh, when I’m 16’ – to me that was ancient – and it’ll just be over and I’ll just kill myself. I’ll never live to be, you know, like the grandma age of 40. And I am and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And now I have a child and I just live for me and for him and things go on. It’s very easy, especially in Hollywood, I think. We are all trying to stop time, because it’s a really difficult culture to get old in, in this consumer, throwaway culture. And so it is worrisome, but I think the best way to encourage getting older is to do it as gracefully as possible. I try not to think about it too much, because getting older is really hard. I mean, getting really old – like painfully old – not 40 years old, like, 80 years old!
“You know, I’ve made a living playing younger characters, until I became a mom… In Kath And Kim I was playing, like, a 15-year-old that’s really, I don’t know what, 28 or 30 or something? I’m really good at playing these kinds of adolescent, juvenile characters. So, yeah, maybe I haven’t come to terms with my own growing up fully.”
G: You’re also set to play the female lead in new comedy Anger Management starring opposite Charlie Sheen. What’s he like to work with?
S: “He’s great to work with. I mean, am I gonna say anything else? But truly, he is. He’s always been a pro from what I know. I mean, you know, about work and everything. And you know he’s really charming and really funny. And if it were a different life he’d probably be my boyfriend, he is so much fun.”
G: Seriously? You’d date Charlie Sheen?
S: “Yeah! I mean he’s a charmer and he makes you feel great and he LOVES women. And he’s really loyal to the people in his life. I mean, I’m sure you can find that verdict debatable, but that’s not my experience. He is great. I think the show is really good. I’m really grateful for it and I thought the writing was really, really good. Of course, I haven’t seen any of it yet, but I think it’s, you know… If people love him on his other shows, they’ll love him in Anger Management. And it was a huge thing for me to get to play an adult. It was the first time. I mean, I played kids really until Dark Horse, and [in Anger Management] I’m playing a middle-aged failure. You know it’s time to come to the reality of how you’re really seen with high definition film, ha ha! So… Now I get to go toe-to-toe with Charlie Sheen. I’m really grateful that Hollywood saw me as a women that’s capable of carrying that type of sarcasm and wit and that kind of energy. It’s a kind of a pivotal moment for me that I’m really grateful for.”
G: Is he really as crazy and party-hard as we like to think he is?
S: “I don’t find him to be that way at all. But then again, I’m not, you know, the biggest party person right now. You know, I’ve had my days but… So, I mean I’m probably not someone he’d want to party with! So I don’t really know.”
G: What can we expect from the series?
S: “I have no idea! I mean, I play the girl he has sex with, and I won’t admit that I like him, you know… romantically. And I’m his therapist, so it’s an inappropriate relationship all around. And I have no idea. We shot two [episodes] a week really quickly, and I had a baby up all night, and then I’d be up all day on that show. Which, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, I don’t remember a lot… I really don’t even remember shooting it, honestly.”
G: How are you finding balancing work and home life now that you’ve become a new mum? It’s something that a lot of women struggle to do…
S: “It’s hard for me to leave my baby, but then there’s moments when I’m like, ‘Be grateful,’ because I need to go to work. I need it for my soul and my mortgage and for my life, and I want to teach Arthur that work is important. And it can be really pleasurable, so I’m really hopeful that that will continue for me. But I really struggle… I’m kind of really lost, you know. I haven’t been exercising, I really haven’t been eating healthily. I’m on my third cup of coffee already today, I’ve been up since 3am with Arthur – he’s an early riser, God bless him – so I’m definitely kind of devoting this year to him. When I work, I’m full on, and then when I’m at home, I’m it. And he doesn’t think I’m that much fun, I’ve realised!”
G: He sounds really sweet…
S: “He’s adorable. He’s been walking since eight months, so, you know, I’ve had my hands full!”
G: You designed a range of handbags and wallets, SB. Is fashion something you’re interested into going into a bit more depth with?
S: “I would love to do something with fashion. The handbags, it didn’t really… It was just kind of a stab, and I didn’t really do much, and then I just kind of pushed that aside. I really like things that are really luxury items, and that was just a really easy kind of trendy endeavour. Yeah I love fashion. I hope I get back into it again, because right now, I wear smock tops and jeans and I just have to make do with that for a while, until I have a bone showing ever again once I stop breast feeding. Fashion doesn’t look as good when you’re four sizes bigger!
G: Our fashion editor [Leisa Barnett] would like to know if you have any tips on staying stylish during pregnancy? We thought you looked great four sizes bigger!
S: “Well, that’s very sweet, thank you! You know, there were actually like a few [pairs of] pregnancy jeans I couldn’t do without and, you know, just a couple of simple pieces. And then I just wore loose dresses and put a belt above the bump. I don’t know, I was SO happy pregnant that I really think it was just that energy that might have been shining through, because normally I might look a little sour, because I don’t like how I look when I smile. So if there’s a paparazzi picture, I look very, very annoyed, as I don’t want to smile. I don’t know, I was happy pregnant and I wore colours for the first time, and I kinda just wore everything except for sweat pants. I think it’s so refreshing to see a pregnant person not wearing sweatpants and sneakers, so that’s all it was, it was regular clothes, which is like a novelty because people are so tired, but I was happy! Now I look like a pregnant person! Now I look like I’m someone who’s schlepping around because I wake up and I don’t have time to get myself together. And the baby, you know, I can barely, you know, wash my face at night – but it’s OK. I mean, that’s OK. But I will hopefully get some inspiration to get myself together soon.”
G: You’re boyfriend Jason [Bleick] is a fashion designer. Does he ever try to influence what you wear or give you fashion advice? How do you take that?
S: “No… I mean, he’s such a huge Margiela fan. He’s, like, the only guy who understands those shoes, you know, like those weird like little cloven hoof shoes. And every other guy is just like, ‘They’re disgusting,’ and he’s like, ‘Get another pair!’ So I guess he tried to ensure that I never have another boyfriend, ha ha! He loves unusual things, but he mostly [designs] motorcycle and skatewear, [he’s in that] kind of world so not high fashion. But no, he’s such a dude, I don’t know. I mean, he loves fashion, but he doesn’t… He’s just happy when I make an effort.”
G: What’s next for you?
S: “Yeah, I’ve got a little [promotion] for Dark Horse… It’s kind of a small release out here, and I wish it weren’t so, because I love it. And I’m probably going to be moving house and getting my life back in order and getting back on track, and getting worked out and fit and feeling a little more invigorated so I can have more energy to play with baby! And I will start promoting Anger Management, which premieres here next week, so then hopefully I can go back to work or I’ll be looking for another job!”