Indie Queen Parker Posey Talks Dancing, Directors And Dorks

Star of 'Fay Grim' gushes about filmmaker Hal Hartley, co-star Jeff Goldblum.

PARK CITY, Utah — “Queen of the Indies” Parker Posey can play any role that comes her way. And she does. In the last five years alone, the multifaceted 38-year-old has starred in over 15 films, including two that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Broken English” and “Fay Grim,” a sequel to 1997’s “Henry Fool.” Posey sat down with MTV to discuss working with “Fay Grim” director Hal Hartley, her atrocious dance moves and why the best films are the ones you need to see 10 times.

MTV: What was your motivation to return to this character after a decade?

Parker Posey: Hal was my motivation. He asked me after we did “Henry Fool,” “Would you be available? Are you interested in continuing this story?” And I said, “Absolutely,” because he always thought that this story, this movie, was an epic, that it had an epic feel. So I would do anything for Hal, he is such an artist. He is the real deal. He is so visual, so musical, so intelligent and I love his style. It’s very beautiful and deep and now, with this one, it’s very political.

MTV: Could you elaborate on his style? What makes a Hal Hartley film different from other films?

Posey: I think his writing is very musical, it’s got a certain pace to it. He has certain themes, there is a tension in the film. I guess like Jacques Tati, or Preston Sturges, or Billy Wilder — any of those. People in those kind of farcical movies had a certain sense about them, a certain essence in how they moved and how they spoke to each other. It’s got a lot of grace, and I love that. Actors love that. It’s movement, people, music, words, ideas and it’s almost like you could listen to his movies on the radio or something. It’s kind of like watching a book with the soundtrack. I don’t know, maybe that’s too heady. It’s not very emotional, but at the same time it’s got a very strong core about people who are really strong.

MTV: How did he direct you differently from last time?

Posey: He is very technical — like a choreographer. Through the movement and direction you fill in the emotional life. It’s this kind of dance and sometimes you don’t know, spatially, the way people are, or how much they say in terms of their physical relationship to each other. There is a lot of that in this movie and how it is crowded within different frames. Or, you know, there are things [in “Fay”] that are very un-Hal-like: I don’t like [scenes of] violence!

MTV: There are quite a few here though.

Posey: Yeah.

MTV: Did you get hurt doing any of those stunts?

Posey: No. I am very easily thrown around. I go out dancing, I used to go out dancing and just fall. Be like, wah!

MTV: What can you tell us about working with Jeff Goldblum?

Posey: I love him as an actor because he has got that brain where there is other stuff going on underneath it all. His intelligence is really fun to watch. He’s perfect for Hal because he’s got a real jazz kind of quality to him. It’s in him. He would start one of the scenes and he would just be snapping his fingers listening to music which was such an amazing impulse and instinct, because in Hal’s work there is a lot of movement and energy. When Jeff and I were working together, you know, this is only a million-dollar movie so we have two or three takes. Jeff [would say], “OK, is that it? That’s good? I was just getting started.” I’m like, “I know, you just have to roll with it.” The constrictions Hal works in are really intense. The stakes are so high.

MTV: Well, that’s why your performance has to be so right on from the beginning of the film to the end as the film kind of darkens.

Posey: Oh yeah, I loved that. It’s one of my favorite things to play, is someone becoming conscious of her surroundings and the choices she has to make. [At the beginning, Fay] is not even thinking about it. She just loves her husband, she has gotten her brother out of jail. She is a good woman and a good mother and she is going to do what she has to do. But there is terrorism involved, and it’s an awakening to a bigger awareness of what is going on in the world and the danger. So she kind of represents, I think, an innocence.

MTV: People need to listen during this film, do you agree?

Posey: Yeah, you know in movies now, it’s like the David Lynch film “Inland Empire.” [Lynch] is like, well, the 10th time you see it, it’s free. I think Hal Hartley is a similar intelligence. You [need] repeated viewings. I can spot a Hal Hartley fan when they come walking up to me. They just look a certain way that you know they’re just art dorks.

MTV: Are you an art dork?

Posey: I can be, yeah. I can be that, I can also be more like the “Dazed and Confused” kind of person.

MTV: You can be the “OH in Ohio” kind of person.

Posey: The kind of “OH in Ohio” person. I can be the “Blade: Trinity” person, I can be the “Superman Returns” person. [I can be] the whatever different kind of person.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Fay Grim.”

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