Chloë Sevigny speaks out against sexual harassment at Variety's Cannes Film Festival panel on Wednesday

By Michael Miller
May 18, 2016 05:10 PM

After decades working in Hollywood, Chloë Sevigny can remember three major directors who “crossed the line” during casting.

“I’ve had the ‘what are you doing after this?’ conversation,” the actress said at Variety’s Cannes Film Festival panel on Wednesday. “I’ve also had the ‘do you want to go shopping and try on some clothes and, like, I can buy you something in the dressing room’ [conversation],” she added. “Just like crossing-the-line weirdness.”

Another time, she remembers a director told her, ” ‘You should show your body off more. You shouldn’t wait until you’re as old as this certain actress who had just been naked in a film, you should be naked on screen now.’ ”

With sexually explicit films like Kids and The Brown Bunny under her belt, Sevigny said with a laugh, “If you know my career, I’ve been naked in every movie.”

Sevigny refused all three directors’ advances, and did not end up landing any of the parts. But Sevigny notes that other actresses might be more willing to make sacrifices for a role. “If you’re young and impressionable and really want the part, it might be a tempting avenue, but I hope not,” she said.

Asked whether she would classify the director’s advances as sexual harassment, Sevigny said there is a lot of gray area in show business. “I would consider it Hollywood,” she said. “Was it sexual harassment? It’s such a fine line.”

The Kitty director also spoke out against gender inequality for female filmmakers. “When women on set become a little emotional, or impassioned even, they’re labeled as hysterical or crazy and have a hard time getting hired again,” she said. “The double standard of the man being the wild, crazy, mad director is so embraced.”

As for the handful of new films with strong roles for women, like The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sevigny said the leading ladies are still being marginalized. For instance, the actress blames the film’s icy box-office reception on the poor material its star actresses (Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron) were given.

“It has those three great actresses and then the male lead [Chris Hemsworth], but I was just like they should have had better material for those ladies,” she said. “Now that movie probably, I don’t think is performing well, and then will they make another movie with three great powerful women after that?” According to Variety the sequel could lose Universal as much as $70 million.