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Chloë Sevigny’s latest project: Transgender hit woman

NEW YORK — When it was announced that Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Chloë Sevigny would be taking on a role as a transgender hit woman in the British series "Hit & Miss," the Internet crackled with snark. But Sevigny, who’s been in the public eye for almost 20 years, has carved out a niche for herself, and for OUT’s August 2012 cover story she talks with Max Berlinger about her mix of daring film roles, her distinctive sense of style, and the ability to stay commercially viable without losing her underground credibility.

For her role in "Hit & Miss," Sevigny went through firearms training, accent coaching and kickboxing lessons, but mastering those wasn’t the things that troubled her.

“I was worried people would be angry that they didn’t cast a real person who was transitioning,” Sevigny says. “I asked why they didn’t, and the producers said they didn’t find the right person. It’s a big responsibility toward that community, and I wanted to do them right.”

That community – the transgender population – has taken Sevigny to task for her use of the word “tranny.”

“I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to use that word,” she says now. “There are all these tenses too. Look, it’s a complex process to go through, and it’s a complex thing to talk about. I’m still not even sure if I’m doing it right, and I really don’t want to offend anyone.” She continues, “I’m just so sensitive these days. I’ve gotten in so much trouble.”

The opening scene of "Hit & Miss" will likely earn plenty of attention. The scene shows Sevigny nude, prosthetic penis and all.

“Being around the men on set, being naked, and having that on, I just felt insecure and uncomfortable. Plus the process to put it on was very involved. I had to shave myself, it’s glued on, painted, like any prosthetic. It’s not fun to have someone right up in your private parts,” she deadpans before letting out her hooting laugh, a signature Chloë-ism.

These days Sevigny seems ambivalent about being on the style-making scene, although she’s still a perennial front-rower at Fashion Week. And although she denies she’s a clotheshorse and says her connections to the fashion industry run deep, she does, in fact, know her place in the fashion food chain. For the British premiere of Hit & Miss she requested about 20 dresses for consideration but received only two. “Aren’t I one of the top searches on Style.com, for crying out loud?” she says with mock disgust. “How hard is it to get a fu*king dress from Valentino?”

Sevigny recognizes that, even after her Oscar nod, she did not travel on the traditional Hollywood trajectory. “Hollywood does not know what to do with me,” she says. “They do not like me. That’s why I end up in these seemingly difficult movies.” These challenges have caused her fans to expect the unexpected from her. “I know. So boring,” she groans. “But it’s been a long time, and I’m still here, damn it,” before adding the afterthought: “Thank God.”

Read the full Chloë Sevigny cover story HERE.