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Women of Independent Miens

Nicole Holofcener, director of the film
Nicole Holofcener, director of the film "Friends With Money," made a splash at Sundance 10 years ago with her debut, "Walking and Talking." (Lucian Perkins - The Washington Post)

MH: There's a scene in "American Psycho" that to me that was a real dividing line between male and female, the scene where Bateman [Christian Bale] has sex with two prostitutes. Because when I read that scene in the book, clearly it was written as a parody of a Penthouse fantasy. As written, the girls are really hot and everybody's really into the sex and having this insane sex experience, and of course that's a fantasy -- you know that they're prostitutes and they're not getting into it. It's a job. So my direction to the actors, to the girls, was that this is routine. This is a job you have to do. It's not like you're really excited about this. I think the portrayal of prostitution in Hollywood movies is always so ludicrous. The girls are always dressed in designer clothes and they're always gorgeous and have perfect skin and they're always really getting into it.

NH: Well, most Hollywood sex scenes even without prostitutes are ludicrous, right? It's not the kind of sex I have.

MH: Or anybody. I think maybe women are more into demystifying sex.

NH: I'm definitely into demystifying lots of things -- the way people dress, the way people talk, the way people have sex, how desperately insecure everybody is --

MH: That's what I loved in "Walking and Talking," where Anne Heche's character tells Catherine Keener she was home, having routine sex.

NH: Yeah, even the one she envies is still having routine sex, yeah.

MH: Sex is a very hard thing to be honest about.

It's interesting to see what's happened to Catherine Keener's career since she did "Walking and Talking."

NH: And I take full credit for all of it.

But look at the kinds of roles older actresses have been getting -- Catherine Keener, Patricia Clarkson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Diane Lane -- they've all put the lie to the adage that it's hard for actresses over 40.

NH: They're also willing to look 45. I think if they're 45 . . . and they want to keep reading for parts that are 35, they're going to get the facelift and the eye jobs. And then they're going to screw their faces up, and Mary and I aren't really going to want to work with them.

MH: I have to say, in terms of women, that is the single most depressing thing. When I was casting for "Bettie Page," it's set in the 1950s, so even for the extras I sent word out: No face work.


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