SOMETIMES a leap of faith pays off for an actor when they choose to go against the grain with a role.
A household name after starring as Lynette Scavo in the TV series Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman agreed to play a transgender character in the 2005 film Transamerica and won critical acclaim for doing so.
Now Chloë Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, American Psycho, Zodiac, Big Love, American Horror Story) has taken a similar gamble with Hit & Miss, a British drama series.
She is cast as transsexual contract killer Mia, who’s risky lifestyle is thrown into a tailspin when she learns she has an 11-year-old son with her late ex. Not only does she become his guardian, she also inherits his three half-siblings.
On her gravitating to atypical characters, Sevigny says: “I’ve never done a rom-com, I’d like to try. But I have played a normal girl, the girlfriend part, in a few movies. But they don’t stick out, not as much as the controversial ones. I like a little variety. I feel I like to play out all of my rowdiness on screen rather than in life.”
Sevigny confessed to being a bit on edge about her character’s reception. She was hell-bent on her portrayal being authentic.
The character’s demeanour ranges from callous and unforgiving to nurturing and it is not easy flitting from one emotional state to another. Let’s not forget the actress’s uneasiness about being fitted with prosthetic genitalia.
She told GQ magazine: “Everyone is obsessed with this prosthetic! I hated it, it was an awful experience. I had to fight with the producers every time we wanted to have it applied. We talked about how many times you were going to see it. Part of why I was afraid to watch the show is because I was afraid about how they were going to show it. But it is so subtle: these glimpses that are shocking, but quick and fleeting. It is very well done.”
Viewers will undoubtedly identify with the family dynamics in the show, however Hit & Miss has lived up to its title with the network and TV critics.
Yes, Sevigny took a risk that didn’t pay off as anticipated. Such is life – even William H Macy bombed with his unconventional role-play in Shameless.
Besides, Sevigny still has the biopic Lovelace coming out, and redeem herself she probably will.
• Hit & Miss, M-Net Series (DStv channel 114), Dec 18, 10.30pm.