One thing that can be said of Selma Blair: She is by no means your typical Hollywood star. Indeed there’s nothing typical about the actress, who happily drifts from the uniquely cinematic worlds of Todd Solondz on the one hand, to the comically anarchic world of John Waters, whose A Dirty Shame opens in cinemas this week.
Chatting at the end of her day of interviews, Blair is philosophical about her more than interesting career choices. “I admire these directors who have a vision for their movies,” she says. “John Waters is a pioneer of these kinds of loud, schlocky films, and then there’s Todd, who’s a pioneer of these more sensitive, odd films, but both of whom have great stories to tell.” The actress admits that much to her agents’ pain and suffering, she has “no career trajectory. I don’t consider myself a particular kind of actor; I’m just an actor who wants to work the same way as Johnny Depp or Diane Wiest whose careers I’ve always admired. I mean they’re actors, you know, And I’m sure my agents must roll their eyes a bit when some big movie comes along I’m not adverse to doing a mainstream movie if one comes along that I loved, but I’ve also made some big stinkers too, which hopefully you’ll never see”, Blair says laughingly. “At least I’m small enough, under the raider enough, that you wouldn’t notice all the bad movies I’ve made”, she adds, modestly.
That cannot be said of her big-breasted role in A Dirty Shame, the latest comedy from the uniquely twisted John Waters. When the owner of a Baltimore working class convenience store, Sylvia Stickles (Tracy Ullman), suffers a concussion, the injury causes a drastic change in her sexual drive, turning her into a sex addict with crazy, wild and urgent desires and compulsions, much to the joy and then frustration of her husband (Chris Isaak) who has trouble keeping up with her, as her new personality threatens to tear apart the remnants of what wasn’t an entirely perfect family to begin with, including their sex-addicted daughter, played with gay abandon by Blair.
In describing her work relationship with Waters, the actress says that surprised her about working with the director, was “how very gentle he is in person. Some of his movies can be so loud they don’t reflect the real guy. He’s also so incredibly smart and so amazing.” It is ironic, that Selma is once again starring in a film that has hit controversy, garnering a NC-17 for reasons that remain mystifying. Blair’s Storytelling, which she did for Todd Solondz, almost received a similar fate. But Blair, while not understanding why Dirty Shame has been treated so harshly by the MPAA, is non-plussed about her contentious film work. “I never get concerned by it, because I just do the work, and what happens after that is anyone’s guess. Obviously we live in conservative times, and we’re so afraid of sex but can blow each other up without a problem, so the NC 17 is ridiculous, but what can you do?”
At least Selma got to have breast enlargements this time around, without then pain. “How can you be serious on a movie like this? As soon as I put those breasts on, that was it. I knew what a silly, funny movie I was making.” Next up, Selma is certain that Hellboy 2 is on the way to production. “I spoke to Guillermo recently and he’s writing as we speak, but I’m sworn to secrecy. I don’t know where we’ll film, but I know he’s looking at some interesting locations.”