As uncomfortable as the on-screen dinner scenes in, well, The Dinner, can be, it's almost impossible to look away. The thriller, premiering May 5 (based on the Dutch novel of the same name), chronicles two couples who address family issues so deep and dark that an over-the-top, extravagant dinner can't even mask them. Actor Chloe Sevigny's idea of an ideal dinner get-together would go a little bit differently.
In the film, Sevigny plays the ex of Richard Gere's politician character (who's running for governor) and mother of their adopted son. Ironically, Sevigny also stars in the upcoming dark comedy Beatriz at Dinner. When I sit down with the actor, we laugh about all the fictional dinners in her life right now. What are the odds? What's even crazier is that both films address very real issues in American society — ignorance being one of them. But this may not be so coincidental.
Sevigny, who's an extremely keen follower of politics and current events is aware about how these films address substantial problems and can be eye-opening to those who watch. Sevigny tells me she even makes sure to follow outlets and figures opposite her political affiliation to be aware of and understand their points of view. So when I ask who would accompany her at her dream dinner party, it comes as no surprise it would be a table of totally badass women devoting their lives to make change.
Her top picks: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, barrister Amal Clooney, actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie (who she refers to as just "Angelina," obviously), and Palestinian-American-Muslim civil rights activist (and co-chair of Women's March) Linda Sarsour. Safe to say that would be one life-changing meal.
"I just wanna know how their confidence and wherewithal and clarity [prevail]," the 42-year-old says. "How they navigate. I admire all of them so much, especially their resolve and the elegance in which they navigate the world. Yet they never [fall]." When I ask Sevigny what she would say to them, she remains speechless. Understandably so. She would just want to sit back and soak it all in. "Just have a conversation, have a meal."
For now, Sevigny is proud to be part of projects that parallel real-life culture. "It's so great to be part of films that are topical and reflecting what’s going on in society today. That’s what you hope for in a movie," she says. The Dinner tackles topics like motherhood, mental health, money, the negative side of the internet, and the news cycle. Beatriz very strongly tackles a specific topic: white ignorance. "There’s so much in that movie that I hope people I know who swing to the other side will watch and be like, ‘Oh.’"
Sevigny is hoping to shift mindsets and educate through the projects she chooses, and that in itself is work of an activist.