One of show biz’s most colorful longtime personalities, Sean Young, is known for key films, like Blade Runner, Dune, No Way Out, Wall Street, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Now she goes gay—or at least gay indie.
Sean has shot some fun scenes for the in-the-works screwball comedy Nick and Nicky, in which Patrick Askin (who directed) and Ian Whitt play a gay couple getting married, while solving a batch of murders right out of the Thin Man series. Says Askin, "Sean plays Gloria Van Winterbottom, who is very wealthy, has had eight husbands and has one gay son, Nicky. Sean is really fabulous, as she conveys old school Hollywood glamour and exquisite comic timing. Although her character is a diva, she was hardly one on set. She is a joy to work with, plus she brings a lot of experience."
And it’s a hoot when Gloria tells her son,"I don’t mind you being a pansy, but can’t you find someone more suitable?" I got Sean on the phone to talk about her role in this gay indie and her surprising political choice.
First of all, I'm sorry about all the dumb stuff I wrote about you in the '80s. I was scandal-obsessed and trying to make waves, I guess.
That's OK. I don't even remember.
They say if you remember the '80s, you weren’t there. By the way, Patrick Askin really believes in you.
He’s nice. The film is a homage, but it’s really sweet. If he can find the rest of the money, it’ll be kind of a counter-culture thing. It’s cool—it has all the references to movies we love. It could be a cult classic, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
He approached you as a fan?
The casting director told me about it, and I read it, liked it and thought, "This is a good part." I love playing parts where they make me look really beautiful and they do my hair and I look retro and I’m playing a diva. I just finished a part with Ed Asner in a movie called In Vino. I play his third wife and they dressed me up really nice. He’s 87, sharp as a tack. I’m like a lot of people where every day I get older, I want a good dress. [laughs]
Well, you’re beautiful to start with.
That was the easy part. I had nothing to do with that. [laughs]
So you’ve been doing TV?
I’ve done some TV. I live in Austin now. I love my new jobs that I have here. I work for a production company called Production Four. Basically, they bought all my footage that I’ve been shooting for 30 years. I have a YouTube channel called MSYPariah. MSY is Mary Sean Young.
And Pariah must be for someone else. [laughs]
The last one I did was "Mary Sean’s Views on Trump." I was like, "No, I‘m not gonna vote for Hillary." Everybody got pissed off. But these are my views on it.
Wait, you voted for Trump?
Yes. All my little liberal friends were like, "What’s wrong with you?" But this was not about Trump, it was about not having Hillary. She’d had three years to pitch. I thought, "We know this isn’t going to change."
Funny, I was for Hillary because she wasn’t Trump and you were for Trump because he wasn’t Hillary. It’s a shame neither candidate could radiate enough excitement on their own.
They were the lesser of two evils. I don’t even think it’s an election, I think it’s a selection. These people get groomed and they put out their little fans.
So you’ve been telling your own story these days.
I wanted to put out my own narrative. All the shit people say, and who knows why they say it? Maybe I didn’t decline them gracefully. I’m a bit of a prude. I always was.
Weren’t you always a momma’s girl?
My mom was abusive, to tell you the truth.
No, she didn’t beat me with a hairbrush. You know what Jung said: "The unlived life of the parent." I think I lived the unlived life of my mother. She wanted fame and fortune and I just wanted to be liked. I like my job now. I recently went through all my mother’s stuff. They want to do a documentary on me. I didn’t really want to do it. But they said, "We’ll make an offer and give you a job." I said, "OK, that sounds better." Then it turns out I do know how to show up for the office. I have a skill set I was previously unaware of because being an actress for 38 years is more like captivity. They hire you and you’re captive for a while and then you’re free. It’s like getting out of prison, not that prison is that bad all the time.
Is it true what I read online, that you married the same man twice? How Liz Taylor.
It’s not true.
There are so many wrong things online.
About me in particular. They love skewering me. I left a lot of no’s in the doorway. I was married to Bob [Lujan]. We have two sons, who are now 18 and 22. Bob was a good choice in the middle of fame and fortune, but it’s scary. There are a lot of people coming at you. We divorced in 2001.
What’s your favorite film that you’ve made?
The best one is Blade Runner, of course. I loved making Cousins. It’s not the greatest film, but it was one of the best experiences. I loved making The Amati Girls with Mercedes Ruehl, Dinah Manoff,and Cloris Leachman.
And how was your Trump support greeted on the set of a gay indie?
Patrick was, "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary." I called him up and said, "I’m a very loyal person to you and I‘m happy we can agree to disagree and respect each other," and if that’s not what I call an advanced, evolved relationship, I don’t know what is. To take politics and turn it into anything but stuffing—that’s what it is, and it’s stuffing for the turkey, which by the way is dead. It’s not for human beings to turn on each other because they have different political views. It’s never wise to ever put politics before your heart and mind. What a waste of time and energy. If you have bad breath, that’s another matter.
MAMA, I'M A POP STAR NOW!
While Sean Young tries out a gay indie, I’ve rinsed with mouthwash and sung like a bird on a new gay single. Trax Records’ Screaming Rachael Cain likes my voice, so she hooked me up with singer/songwriter Tyler Stone, who produced me singing "I Got Ur Back," a bouncy song he concocted based on an idea of mine. Tyler gave the ditty a lovely reggae feeling, and I trilled my boyish tones on it. This is nothing new for me—way back in the '80s, I fronted a band, and I’ve dabbled in vocalizing ever since—but it’s my first bid at international stardom, or at least a couple of local hoots and hollers from friends and/or drunks. Click on the free link and see if I’m better than Florence Foster Jenkins.
A BRONX TALE GETS MORE THAN A BRONX CHEER
Doo-wop and other sounds permeate the Broadway musical version of A Bronx Tale—the play, then movie, written by Chazz Palminteri, about a boy torn between two father figures in the rough and tumble 1960s. The plot has it that young Calogero has a loving dad, who gave up on his show biz dreams in order to be a bus driver and take care of the family. But the boy falls into the clutches of Sonny, a charismatic gangster who teaches him the ropes while swathing him in cash and glamour.
The kid’s coming of age—and ongoing crisis deciding between love and fear—is well told in this appealing musical, which is expertly cast, slickly staged and dramatically involving. The boy’s Act Two romance with a black girl bogs down a bit in too many misunderstandings, and there may be too many songs about following one’s heart, but still, the creative team did a sturdy job in making this project sing. That’s not surprising, considering the names assembled: Palminteri wrote the book, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater did the score, Sergio Trujillo provided the zesty choreography, and the direction is by Robert De Niro, who directed and starred in the movie version, and four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks. Nick Cordero, who played a mobster in the musical of Bullets Over Broadway (another Palminteri role), does the same here, and is terrific. Hudson Loverro is also sensational as the very young Calogero. In fact, you wish they’d bring Hudson back for some more flashbacks in the second half, but the show actually has integrity and doesn’t pander like that.
Anyway, let me get back to singing—and not for Trump. And thank you, Jennifer Holliday, for feeling the same way. I loved your pro-LGBT rendition of "And I am telling you I’m not going!"