Hollywood’s brightest stars said some wacky shit long before making the A-list
Before today’s top film talent scored big, basking in the glory of 99 per cent Rotten Tomatoes reviews, they were wet behind the ears. Press tours, glitz, and glam were alien to them – not to mention the watchful eyes of their publicists. Here are a few of the best quotes we dug up from our archives from some of the most prominent on-screen icons back when they were still under the radar.
CHLOË SEVIGNY, DAZED MAY 1996
Even before our sit down with Chloë Sevigny, her debut in Larry Clark’s Kids was starting to generate interest on top of her modeling career – a regular in magazines The Face, Purple, and Sassy. Still on the peripheries of the industry, Sevigny had just completed her second project, Tree Lounge, with co-star Steve Buscemi. He described her as “very real” during the initial audition process. Not just a throwaway fashionista and media it-girl, she was just getting started.
Dazed: I like Susan Sarandon. I find her sexy in an older woman way.
Chloë Sevigny: I find her husband (Tim Robbins) oddly sexy myself. (Laughs).
VINCENT GALLO, DAZED 1997
Dazed caught up with Vincent Gallo before the theatrical release of Buffalo ’66. Prior to the film’s release, Gallo was working his way up steadily – taking on small parts in Goodfellas, The Perez Family, and working on creative projects with Jean-Michel Basquiat. After playing an ex-con in Kiefer Sutherland’s film-noir cop thriller Truth or Consequences, N.M. and scoring a starring role in Palookville, Vincent was starting to make his face known. Was he yearning for fame and international adulation though?
“I would prefer it if nobody knew anything about me. I wouldn’t give a shit if one person in England or the rest of the world knew that I was alive.”
Safe to say his eccentricities and oddball musings haven’t dampened over the years…
“Listen, you pervert, I like girls. I like everything. I like kissing them, touching them, sniffing them, sucking them, holding them, squeezing them, greasing them, pleasing them.”
SAM ROCKWELL, DAZED JULY 1998
In the early to mid 90s, Sam Rockwell was definitely perfecting his niche, playing weirdos, drifters, and crazed characters in Last Exit to Brooklyn, Clownhouse, and The Search for One-Eye Jimmy. His back catalogue was extensive but he was still relatively unknown. Interviewed in 1998 alongside actress Parker Posey, his litany of societal reject performances hadn’t quite caught the public’s attention just yet.
“Art has to be seen. You can’t put art in the closet or there’s no point. You can do Hamlet in your kitchen, but who cares?”
That all changed when he became a baddie in Charlie's Angels, and tearjerker The Green Mile became an all-time classic. If he ever got too confident he would have to do the following: “Do a Brando, go to an island and get fat.”
CHRISTIAN BALE, DAZED AUGUST 1998
By the mid 90s, Christian Bale was on a roll with Velvet Goldmine and A Midsummer Nights Dream – a fresh-faced, upcoming young actor with a lot of potential and talent. Speaking before the release of cult classic, yuppie horror-fest American Psycho, he let us know that he was unfazed by peers telling him the role of Patrick Bateman would tarnish his crendentials – even finding it quite funny.
“I had people call up and say, ‘This is career suicide’. And I just thought, ‘Excellent! That’s great!’ Mary was quite turned on by that as well... by other people thinking it was going to ruin our careers.”
Not only that but he was pretty ambivalent about his public image. “Well even if I walk in somewhere and go, ‘I’M CHRISTIAN BALE’, everyone would go, ‘Who?’”
MILLA JOVOVICH, DAZED JUNE 1999
From laid-back high school hippie in Dazed and Confused to troubled prostitute in He Got Game – Milla Jovovich’s career was simmering in the late 90s. The actress was gaining momentum at a rapid pace after Dazed and Confused, but before that she was starting out with parts in Return to the Blue Lagoon and Kuffs – which weren't particularly big hits. Halfway to becoming an action-film megastar behind the luminous orange bob in The Fifth Element, Milla gave us a glimpse her limitless energy back at her LA apartment in 1999.
“I feel like A LOSER! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I’M FUCKING DOING AN INTERVIEW NOW! I’M SUCH A LOSER! Nyayana! (Affects wielding voice) Sooo how’s your relationship with Luc? ‘Well Luc is weeeealy great, weeeealy weeeeealy great, weeeeeeeeally great.’ Hahaharch!”
THORA BIRCH, DAZED FEBRUARY 2000
Interviewing Thora Birch with the same questions she answered as a child actress made for a fun exchange back in 2000. Before then she was cast in Hocus Pocus, All I Want for Christmas, and Monkey Trouble, before breaking out from kiddie flicks and into more mature parts. Just before American Beauty's cinematic release, she seemed upbeat with huge projects in the pipeline. Since then she’s solidified her status as a counter-culture icon with off-beat comicbook adaptation Ghost World, and tense thrillers like The Hole – though she has slowed her workload down in recent years, she’s still synonymous with some iconic indie breakouts.
Thora Birch: Who or what is the greatest love of my life? Um, any good script that comes along.
Dazed: When you were nine you said Vanilla Malt.
SAMANTHA MORTON, DEC/JAN 2000
After two parts in virtually unknown british films, Samantha Morton found herself working with Woody Allen. Phrases like “hot new talent” and “bright young British hope” weren’t anything new to her, but were becoming more applicable than ever. She made a big splash on Sweet and Lowdown in 1999 but heavily pregerz Morton, photographed by Rankin, told Dazed she would be more enamoured by the likes of Ken Barlow onset than any Hollywood A-lister.
“No, I’ll tell you what: I’d be nervous about working with, I don’t know – someone out of Coronation Street than I would someone like Sean Penn.”
JAKE GYLLENHAAL, DAZED OCTOBER 2002
With Donnie Darko’s complex plot, awesome soundtrack and lines like, ‘I think you’re the fucking anti-christ’, Jake Gyllenhaal spoke to Dazed as his career was on the verge of catapulting to new heights. Gyllenhaal was competing with his sister Maggie as they both made their breakthroughs simultaneously. Up until that point, this was Gyllenhaal’s second lead role after October Sky – his wry, keen sense of humour writ large. We featured him briefly as an actor on the rise in 2002 before the massive blockbuster releases Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead, and Zodiac.
“We do have a little sibling rivalry, especially because she’s older. We’re brother and sister; we do fight like that. We don’t call each other fuck-asses though.”
ELLIOT PAGE, DAZED JUNE 2005
Quick-witted, Nova Scotian actor Elliot Page only starred in Canadian dramas and Wilby Wonderful before scorring the lead in disturbing thriller Hard Candy.
“It does feel strange when I have to do things on-screen that I’ve never experienced in real life, but at least there wasn’t penetration.”
Prior to becoming a household name, Page filled Dazed in on her hunt for badass female parts before we got to see him as feisty, quick-lipped Juno and time-travelling in Inception.
“I was so sick of getting parts that were about stereotypical teenage victim bullshit, then suddenly, here was this kick-ass role, one which I hadn’t seen the likes of since Jodie Foster in Bugsy Malone, who got to do all sorts of cool shit when she was 14.”
ABBIE CORNISH, DAZED OCTOBER 2006
Aussie actress Abbie Cornish gave a fascinating insight into the process of haunting junkie love story Candy – one of Heath Ledger’s final leading roles. Her standout, gut-wrenching performance as a young heroin addict allowed her to branch out from just Australian film and go on to star in Bright Star, Limitless, and Stop-loss.
“Heath and I were living in Bondi. We weren’t allowed to get a tan, or go swimming. We’d sit inside, like hermits, whinging. But at least I didn’t have to worry about how I looked. I’d pretty much just wake up, roll out of bed and go to work with sleep in my eyes.”
JAMIE BELL, DAZED AUGUST 2007
We spoke to Jamie Bell before transitioning to more gritty roles in Filth, Nymphomaniac, and Retreat and well away from Billy Elliot to explore new ground and reveal his darkside. Just reaching his twenties, Jamie had wrapped up playing a small-town loner in lesser known Dear Wendy and teenage pharmaceutical drug-dealer in The Chumscrubber.
“I don’t disapprove of people doing studio films, but I just can’t look my friends in the face and tell them I’m doing that. Granted, it’s also similarly difficult to look them in the face and say, ‘I’m making a film about a kid who wants to fuck his mother’.”
His less systematic approach, going with the flow, has helped him along the way.
“Honestly, I have no fucking idea what I’m doing, I say this all the time to people, and usually the response is, ‘Oh, well you’re just naturally talented’. I don’t know what that means. I think my problem is that I’m still very childlike in some ways.”
MICHAEL FASSBENDER, DAZED MARCH 2009
Long before his Academy Award nod for 12 Years A Slave and amazing performances in Shame, A Dangerous Method, and Inglorious Basterds, Michael Fassbender was fresh to the industry when we encountered his Irish charm in 2009. Laughing about his part in 2008 BBC costume drama The Devil’s Whore, Fassbender wasn’t taking the pressure too seriously.
“It’s about the Devil’s whore!” he shouts wildly. “It’s about this dirty feckin’ bitch!”
He also lamented his organisational skills, back in the carefree days when he smoked imaginary joints.
“I’m totally useless at organising anything, even a plane ticket,” he laughs, toking on an imaginary joint. “… Is it a weekday, man?”
Update (December 4, 2020): This article has been updated to reflect Elliot Page’s announcement on December 1 that he is trans and his pronouns are now he/they.