When Chloe Sevigny played a young, upwardly mobile New Yorker in Whit Stillman’s 1998 dramedy “The Last Days of Disco,” she was primarily known for “Kids.” It was a bit of a gearshift, but it helped establish her as one of the most exciting young actors working. With “Love & Friendship,” she returns to the world of Whit, who this time adapts one of his clearest inspirations: Jane Austen. Based on the author’s “Lady Susan,” an epistolary novella from her teenage years, it reunites Sevigny with “Disco”’s Kate Beckinsale, who plays a 30-something widow scheming for a new husband. Sevigny plays Alicia, her similarly savvy best friend.
Given the film you’d done before “The Last Days of Disco,” how did you convince Stillman you’d be good for the more buttoned-up Charlotte?
I think I may have lied and said I went to prep school, to seem more WASPy, thinking he would like that. I probably said, “Oh, I just came from the train from Connecticut.” I made all of that up. And somehow he cast me. I love that movie. A Halloween or two ago I remember coming out of a party at my brother’s club. And a girl was dressed as me in “Last Days of Disco.” She had my top and my hairdo and my trousers. I took a picture with her.
It’s good you get cited for that and not only “Kids.”
I still have that T-shirt, the one with the blue ringer. They had a 20-year anniversary screening at BAM. I thought, “Maybe I should wear that T-shirt.” Then I thought it would freak people out. Too weird. [Laughs] But I think I should bust it out at some point.
How is a 20-year-old T-shirt not in tatters?
It’s been in a box in a temperature-controlled storage unit in Connecticut.
Looking at “Kids” and the Sonic Youth video you were in, it’s a good reminder that New York is no longer remotely that cool. The Village is all drunk NYU kids.
Yeah. Where are the weirdos? That’s what I always say. I was wearing some crazy outfit downtown, in a restaurant. My boyfriend said, “That couple’s looking at you like you’re nuts.” I was like, “Good, someone’s got to be nuts in this town.” It’s so boring now. It’s all so staid. I hope I can bring a little freakiness down here, for crying out loud.