From terrorizing a pet store cashier in Best in Show to orchestrating mass high-school hazing in Dazed and Confused, Parker Posey has made a career out of turning biting comedy into art. But in Woody Allen's 1930s-set Hollywood homage Cafe Society, she adds vintage glamour to her trademark charm, playing Rad, a platinum-blonde mover and shaker. The cult icon talks feminism, gay fans, and squirrels.
Rad seems like such a departure for you.
I love that time period. In Hollywood, there was a strength and an elegance among women, a feminine mystique that was more about etiquette than materialism. My grandmother had it, and playing Rad, I thought a lot about her and about women who didn't feel they had to imitate men to be powerful.
How did you conjure Rad's hip 1930s accent and affectations?
Women had so much personality back then -- even my grandmother acted like a movie star. Rad reminded me of Eve Arden, who was in Mildred Pierce and went on to star in Grease. She had a great wit about her.
You went blonde for this movie. Was it a wig or your real hair?
It's my hair. My friend convinced me to dye it last year, and afterward I wished I had gone blonde long ago to get more work [laughs]. When I was offered the part of Rad, Woody said, "Your hair matches the character." So I kept it.
Your fashion in the film is so stunning and grand. What was your favorite outfit?
Oh my god, the Schiaparelli squirrel-printed dress -- it had squirrels and rats on it! [Costume designer] Suzy Benzinger was like, "We don't know if Woody's gonna go for this." But the look was very important to him, and he was open to being very high-fashion with this character. I mean, she runs a modeling agency.
Are you aware of how substantial your gay fan base is?
Oh, I love the gays. Can we still say that -- "the gays"? Thank god for that community. I feel such a closeness with it. But I'm often surprised by who admires me. There was a 5-year-old boy I met outside a hardware store, and he goes, "Dad, that lady's from Best in Show -- the one with the Busy Bee!" Between my gay fan base and my 5-year-old fan base, I couldn't be happier.
Cafe Society hits theaters on July 15.
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