Surface Magazine

Interview Cathy Moriarty

At 22, Clea DuVall has accuired seven tattoos and starred in some 15 films. She made her big splash in the mainstream as the tomboy outider in The Faculty. for her role in Winona Ryder's pet project Girl, Interrupted, she spent 14 hours a day for three months in a mental institution. This spring, she's sent to a hetero-habilitation boot camp in the dark comedy But I'm a Cheerleader. Making a career of letting audiences in on the unglamourous pains of growing into womanhood, Clea shares an intergenerational link with Cheerleader co-star Cathy Moriarty, who made her own anti-ingenue deput in Scorsese's Raging Bull. For *surface, they discuss their positions as girls interupting Hollywood.

Cathy Moriarty [in a deep, scratch voice and diffused Bronx accent]: The *surface editors tell me that you're referred to by your press agent as a "tomboy." Do you concider yourself a tomboy?

Clea DuVall [in a sweet, almost meek, California Girl tone]: Maybe when I wa 13. I'm hard to tag, I guess, and that's just the easiest one. If being a tomboy means that I don't wear pounds of make-up everyday and I don't walk around in skimpy tight dresses, then I'm a tomboy.

Cathy: Then I guess I'm a tomboy too, because I don't spackle and wear the skimpy tight dresses. How do you define feminine?

Clea: Someone who loves being a woman. It's so fun to dress up. You wear the dress and make-up, and you feel like a princess.

Cathy: Did you dress up when you were little?

Clea: I did... I actually liked the uniforms when I was little, and I still kind of do.

Cathy: Did you fantasize a lot?

Clea: Yeah, because I was alone all the time, and I didn't really live in the best neighborhood, so I didn't go outside a lot.

Cathy: Was it a great experience attending the LA County High School for the Arts?

Clea: No.

Cathy: It wasn't!?

Clea: They didn't like me very much. They thought I was just this punk kid and they always wanted to kick me out.

Cathy: You've played a series of "outsider" roles. Were you and outsider growing up?

Clea: At certian points in my life I kept to myself. But I was never shunned by people and mocked or made fun of... I did The Faculty, and people think that's all I've done. But I really have done so many different things, and I'm not always the "outsider/loner" girl.

Cathy: There's so much tunnel vision in this industry. Does it it hurt your feelings when they won't even meet you for something?

Clea: It doesn't hurt my feelings. Because as more things come out that are diffrent that the other things I've done, I think that'll speak for itself. I'm not too worried about it. Because I'm 22 years old, and I want to do this for the rest of my life. I don't want to be "that girl who never worked again."

Cathy: You did Girl, Interrupted with Winona Ryder. Do you consider her to be an "outsider"?

Clea: When she was younger, she would play those roles. She did some of the best movies--Heathers and Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. I saw Beetlejuice like 8,000 times when I was young.

Cathy: When I first met you, I told you that you reminded me of someone. And it was me. Because you had the big smile and the cheekbones. You started acting around the same age i did--I was 17. And I was labeled a tomboy, an outsider. But I also saw something in you--I find you to be very shy.

Clea: I am, I'm so shy.

Cathy: I think you like that quality about yourself, maybe.

Clea: I do, because I can't fool myself. It's jsut such an instinct. Being around big crowds of people, I want to die because I'm so uncomfortable. But when you find someone who breaks through that, you make a friend. It's more genuine, and it means more.

Cathy: You play younger [than yourself], and you play you age I really didn't get that opportunity. My first movie was Raging Bull, but I was already playing a 35-year-old. So nobody has ever cast me as a teenager. I never looked my age. Are you sent scripts all the time that are for a young girl?

Clea: As long as its a good script, I'll play 17, I don't care. I don't think of my age. I'll play anything, as long as it appeals to me.

Cathy: Why did you take But I'm a Cheerleader?

Clea: When I read the script, I didn't like my character because I thought it was too extreme. And that's all you ever see, is the extremes [in gay characters]. I talked to [director] Jamie [Babit] and Brian, the writer, and we all collaborated. It wa the first time I was really cognizant of that much change within a character--she came from one place and went to another, but it was consistent.

Cathy: Do you get angry when you're working with certain directors who don't trust you with how you feel about a certain character?

Clea: I have worked with diretors who want to control me so much that if they could take me out of my body and use me as a puppet, they would.

Cathy: Then they should star in their own movie.

Clea: Exactly

Cathy: Then there's no reason to hire an actor. Because we're not puppets. When I've watched you work, if you don't think you did well enough, you're very hard on yourself.

Clea[laughs]: Yeah, I get really mad. That scene in your office with my parents...

Cathy[roars]: Yeaaah!

Clea: In that scene I was so mad at myself.

Cathy: But you nailed it though, didn't you?

Clea[quietly]: I don't know.

Cahty: Yes, you did. You made us cry. That scene is when oyu say, "raging bull-dyke." And everybody at the screening laughed so hard. I didn't think anybody would get it, but I guess they did.