Kim Kardashian and Chloë Sevigny’s Actors Chat Is a Smooth-Brained Delight

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Variety
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Variety

The latest of Variety’s wacky Actors on Actors pairings reads a little bit like one of those old-school clickbait headlines (which I’m told still exist on Facebook, but that’s one cesspool I won’t wade into): “The Ultimate Cool Girl Sits Down with America’s Most Divisive and Derided Celebrity. What Happens Next Will Warm Your Heart.” One might not expect actress, model, Charli XCX video star, and all-around cultural darling Chloë Sevigny to be willing to sit across from Kim Kardashian for a 45-minute chat, but the fates have conspired to give me a little Wednesday afternoon treat. And who am I to question the forces of nature?

At first glance, Sevigny and Kardashian may seem like a strange duo. X users went so far as to call their pairing “appalling” when Variety announced it last week, noting that it feels “like a slap in the face” to Sevigny, as she’s been “acting since 1995 and Kardashian started acting in American Horror Story once everyone stopped watching it.” (To ignore Kardashian’s guest stint on Drop Dead Diva and her cameo in Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor? Unforgivable!) While there’s a degree of merit to those arguments, they’re also positively silly. Kardashian and Sevigny’s conversation makes perfect sense, not just because they were both on Ryan Murphy productions this year, but because these two women are equally unserious.

Sure, Kardashian helms an image-conscious empire, but it’s that death grip on popular culture that ironically enables her to stop giving a fuck. That’s been more and more evident in recent years, from her obtuse Marilyn Monroe moment at the Met Gala, all the way up until her starring role in American Horror Story: Delicate. Kardashian’s controversial decision to borrow Monroe’s archival couture for the 2022 Met Gala even comes up in her and Sevigny’s conversation, and I have to admire the way she talks about it so flippantly. Kardashian could easily talk about it as this big, headline-making moment, but instead she simply tells Sevigny, “I’m a big fan of owning memorabilia. I wore Marilyn Monroe’s dress once, and I just took it all in.”

To her credit, and to the delight of those who all think that Sevigny is too good to be in the same room as Kardashian for a few hours, Sevigny barely reacts to this. Instead, she keeps talking about her role in Feud: Capote vs. the Swans. Their mutual relationship to a Ryan Murphy production is why Variety brought them together, but it’s far from the most interesting part of their conversation. Much like a latte you’d get at a big coffee corporation, Actors on Actors is 85-percent froth. There’s more than a few juicy bits and bobs to sink your teeth into as these two blonde babes chat—well, as long as you’re a fan of minute, gossipy pop culture references and It Girl chatter.

While discussing her upcoming role in another Murphy show, Netflix’s Monsters: The Lyle and Eric Menendez Story, Sevigny—who plays Kitty Menendez, the slain mother of the young brothers—tells Kardashian about adopting an accent for her character. “I’ve done accents before and have been asked to then drop them,” Sevigny says. This anecdote recalls one of the most damning moments of bad accent work in recent history: Cameron Diaz originally doing all of her dialogue for The Counselor in a thick Barbadian accent. Diaz’s dialogue was later entirely replaced with ADR, which is an important moment in cultural history that I can only hope happens to Sevigny in this case. (No offense, Chlo!)

Sevigny, a veteran of Hollywood, candidly offers plenty of wild musings in this conversation, even casually telling Kardashian that she thinks Angelina Jolie committed category fraud at the 2000 Oscars. Jolie and Sevigny were both nominated for the Best Supporting Actress trophy that year, for Girl, Interrupted and Boys Don’t Cry, respectively. “I lost,” Sevigny tells Kardashian, “Angelina Jolie won for Girl, Interrupted, which is not a supporting part, I would say. Not that I’m bitter!” Sevigny can be modest all she wants, but in this case, she’s right, and she should say it. Jolie is more remembered for that movie than Winona Ryder is, and Sevigny was positively excellent in Boys Don’t Cry. This is a wrong that needed to be righted—or at least spoken about—and it took Sevigny shooting the shit with Kardashian to do it.

Even Kardashian, who is notoriously tight-lipped on media depictions of her and her family, spilled a bit about 2017’s American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. Kardashian’s late father, Robert, was featured in the show (as played by David Schwimmer), as he was one of Simpson’s star defense attorneys during the trial. “I remember asking Ryan Murphy, ‘Who were your sources?’” Kardashian tells Sevigny. “Because that was my dad’s exact bracelet. That was our home! They actually rented the home we grew up in at that period of time. Little things were wrong, but minimal.”

I try not to be too much of a Kardashian simp. I’m well aware of the negative impacts they’ve had on the world (and people email me every time I write about their family to remind me, just in case!). But I’ll admit that I get a little bit of a thrill every time they analyze their own place in popular culture. It’s a bit like watching Punxsutawney Phil trying to peer at his own shadow, but not being able to see it. There’s no way for them to understand or own up to any positive or adverse effect that they may have had on the world without tarnishing their brand, but it’s certainly fascinating to watch them try.

The Kardashians Are in Their Flop Era

That’s precisely why Kardashian and Sevigny’s Actors on Actors episode is a little more enjoyable than some of the others I’ve seen over the years. It’s not trying to be anything more than stunt casting, but it offers some insight into the deeper worlds of these two enigmatic women. I’m far more interested in watching them try to dissect their uniquely strange and singular places in the entertainment industry than I am, say, Nicholas Galitzine and Leo Woodall, who also have a conversation in this installment of the series. What are those two going to talk about, being gay for pay? I think I’ll stick with Sevigny panicking to find a way to avoid agreeing with Kardashian that her vocal fry is annoying. If I had my way, there would be a 10-minute portion of this conversation reserved for these two women breaking down the fact that Sevigny shares a name with Khloé Kardashian, but we can’t have everything we want in life.

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