Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Parker Posey’s first Christopher Guest movie. Back when she was the “Queen of Indies,” the actress’ packed résumé included “Waiting for Guffman,” the first time since “This is Spinal Tap” that Guest made an entirely improvised mockumentary. Posey’s been in every Guest film since, including “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” “For Your Consideration” and the new “Mascots.” This time the subculture of sweet eccentrics in some silly competition are people who dress up in ridiculous costumes to pep up sporting events. This includes Posey’s Cindi, whose mascot is a robotic armadillo who dances to arty electronica.
Posey talks to us about creating her own character from near-scratch and still being scared to do Christopher Guest’s movies.
These are comedies, but since you’re basically coming up with everything yourself, it seems like you have to take these as seriously as you would a drama.
It’s a very intense and focused process. You have to essentially write your character’s dialogue. There’s a lot of collaboration with the person you’re acting with, which in my case was Susan Yeagley, who plays my half-sister. It’s a very intimate, caring, generous process. You really feel like you’re portraying the full life of someone.
Are you still nervous going in front of his cameras, to do whatever you’ve prepared?
You’re scared every time. You show up and you really feel like you’re flying without a net. But I compare it to playing music. You can feel a really good vibe on these movies. The humor, it really doesn’t make fun of anyone. It’s not mean. It comes from a kind place. In all his movies, we care. We care about these subcultures: the dog shows, small town theater, mascots.