Superman Returns Set Visit Report – Part 9
Day 2: Friday July 29th (continued)
Kitty Koslowski – Parker Posey
Parker Posey walked into the room, looking totally at ease in casual clothing. She sat down at the head of the table (in the chair directly next to mine) and immediately noticed the Superman shirt I was wearing. It was quickly obvious that Parker was a woman with a quick wit, a bubbly and altogether charming personality. She curled one leg underneath her on the chair and began answering our questions…
Q: So this is your second comic book movie, right?
Posey: Oh, right. From ‘Blade.’
Q: What is it that you like in these films because you keep doing them?
Posey: It’s so funny that everyone actually believes that you choose what you do, but it actually chooses you. To play kind of the darker parts in Hollywood movies I kind of like. I had heard that they were interested in me for “Superman”, but you hear that and you wait for a couple of months, and I was doing “Hurley Burley” in New York and I was like, “Am I going to get that part or not? Can I read the script?” “No. You can’t read it. It’s top secret.” Then I heard that I’d got cast and they flew the script out with a man who gave it to me to read in a coffee shop in the East Village and I read it once and I felt like I was in a Tom Cruise movie, “Minority Report” or something, because it was so secret and all that type of stuff. So I read it and I got the job and I was really hoping to love it because I loved the original movie so much and I read it and I was so pleased that it kept the emotional life of Lois and Clark and Kitty Koslowski. I think that in a lot of movies like this there’s a graphic element and in the wardrobe and in the way that they behave is slightly exaggerated, but this movie seems to have an attitude of kind of old Hollywood. It’s very grand in that way. It’s warm. And when I read it, it didn’t insult me with the action. I was moved by the, I guess, things that moved me when I watched “Superman” as a kid. Those were the things like a boy who came from another planet who didn’t know who his parent’s were and it’s still a journey to a father. And there’s a mother in the story now, Lois Lane, and Kitty is kind of a mother too with the Pomeranian. And that’s all I’ll talk about [Laughs]. So there was like some really kind of great dynamics going on between Lois and Clark and Lex and Kitty. They have the same relationship that we saw in the Gene Hackman and Valerie Perrine part where she is not really a villain as much as she is a romantic who’s made mistakes. So that’s kind of what Kitty is to me. But also as an actor she’s a character in a movie like this and is kind of in that ’40s tone. The humor in it is sophisticated I think in that there is some pure humor that is sweet and I think that makes it sophisticated today. I’m just rambling on at this point. I haven’t really talked a lot about it because there have only been a couple of journalists on set and I’m not working today.
Q: Do you have snappy patter in the movie?
Posey: Snappy patter? I don’t think so. Smart writing. Oh, God. How to describe her? We talked about in the beginning about Lex as someone who can go under disguise and can be anyone he wants to be. He has his wigs and his things. So Kitty is kind of like that too. She is the female who can go out and go under cover like in the original movie, but what would happen if – it’s the backbone of the original, but it’s just spread out more. She’s just as smart as he is, if not maybe smarter. Although, she doesn’t release her cards which are really close to her chest. That’s where the humor is. She says something really obvious that might sound a little dumb, but she’s actually correct and he’s an ego maniac.
Q: Were you excited about working on this with Kevin Spacey?
Posey: Well, when I was doing “Hurley Burley”, that’s how he got his start. He was the understudy in “Hurley Burley” and then he got discovered when he was doing that play. So I was almost going into this one like, “Do you want to run lines for this play?” That’s a three and a half hour play which is a lot of parts to understudy and I know from doing the play, I’ve heard stories about how crazy it was. So he’s someone who’s had a really full career in theater and in film. He’s very talented. So you never know what to expect when you work with talented and successful people.
Q: And you’re working with another Pomeranian?
Posey: Yeah. Her name is Molly.
Q: Aren’t you not supposed to work with kids and dogs?
Posey: Oh, right because you can be upstaged. Molly can really find the camera and is very special. She’s pretty funny.
Q: Did you let the previous films influence you at all?
Posey: Yeah, I think so. I took a lot from Valerie Perrine too. I took a lot from her. I really saw her in those movies. She’s not really a villain. She just made some bad choices. She’s not mean. She’s really open hearted. I don’t know. There’s a lot to her. It was like wouldn’t it be great if Kitty was really a German spy from the ’60s all of a sudden because this movie kind of has a feeling that it’s an homage to movies. Bryan Singer is such a fan of movies that he brings a lot of intelligence to filmmaking.
Q: I’m sure doing a big Hollywood movie you get asked by Journalists all the time about being the Indie Queen?
Posey: Oh, other people ask me about that too.
Q: Is there as much to create with a bigger movie as there is in a smaller film like in say “Personal Velocity”?
Posey: No. It’s on such a grand scale that I think it’s hard to kind of ground yourself with a little character where the sets cost more than countries. It’s kind of trying to figure out the scale of it, going to the Fortress of Solitude or there is a lot of green screen around and so you have to use your imagination and figure out what your place is in it. Sometimes I felt like I was in “Scooby-Doo” and I didn’t really have a reference. I didn’t know what the tone was and the set was so big. But I watched some dailies and saw some of the footage and there’s a kind of majestic feel to it. There is a weight to it. And then you do the independent films and there’s not a lot of that at all because it’s more intimate on a personal level and not in an art department, prop, character costume level. It’s like the movie can be drawn and sold as a comic. It has that kind of aesthetic to it which is very different than the Chris Guest movies.
Q: Is there a correlation in working with green screen where there’s nothing there and improvising where you don’t have anything to follow?
Posey: Just stuff like, “Where am I and what is this?” You just have to picture it. There’s not a real correlation there because you’re waiting around all day for everyone to light this green screen and these lights on the ceiling that are heating up the room and you just kind of very easily walk around set and go, “Which way do I look?” because you’ve been waiting around. So you can’t really get set and that’s a lot of the work on these big movies, keeping grounded and focused and keeping the story really close to you in your head and in your heart and what you went or have to go through.
Q: Do you have a preference between studio films and Indies?
Posey: No. It’s all the same. It’s not all the same, but it’s just different. It’s just different. I mean, I’ve come in for six weeks, six or seven weeks of shooting and they’ve been shooting since January. There are already dynamics of people. There are already little families and dynamics going on. Sets have been built. Characters have already been developed. So you have to acclimate yourself very quickly and feel at home very quickly.
Q: What surprised you the most in reading the script that you might not have expected in a movie like this?
Posey: Like I said before it kept the background of what the “Superman” movie was, but it just deepened it with more myth. Why is Superman important now? Why do we need Superman now? I met Christopher Reeve when he came to see a play that he had done on Broadway, “The Fifth of July”, which was like the first gay kiss on Broadway. It was a scandal in the early ’80s. He came to see the play a couple of years ago and he was just such an amazing man. What happened as an American in our country, for someone like that to die and the stem cell research and how he handled it with such grace was powerful. So I’m glad for that reason alone that it’s coming out right now and is dedicated to him. It’s intelligent. I mean, I’m not an action movie fan. I didn’t see “X-Men”. Although, my friend saw it and said it was great.
Q: Have you seen any of Bryan’s other films?
Posey: Oh, yeah.
Q: What is it about Bryan that you enjoy and what has he asked you to do with Kitty?
Posey: I don’t know. Some directors, a lot of directors… sometimes I feel like Kitty is Bryan or that Lex Luthor, there’s a part of Bryan in that. I like to work from the director. So his humor is great. He’s got a good sense of humor. But there was no, “This is what I want from Kitty.” We started at wardrobe with an outline of what kind of woman she’s going to be. We have Kitty in kind of a white dress, and well, I don’t want to say anything that reveals too much, but she can be a lot of people. She’s like an actor in that way. So it’s a lot of different layers. It’s been interesting.
Q: Are there any particular sequences during the filming that you were particularly proud of? We heard that you’re in a car crash in one scene…
Posey: No. That was my body double. I haven’t seen it yet. What can you talk about here? There’s stuff that you see that I think is going to be so real seeming and then you’ll have Superman come in and say that Superman thing that’s so charming and honest and truthful. It’s neat to kind of watch Superman in the eyes of Lois and Clark. I like it.
Q: Were you at all worried about doing another film after doing “Blade: Trinity” which I heard was crazy at rimes with actors choking directors and Hell’s Angels on set?
Posey: Where was I?
Q: I don’t know how much you had to deal with that craziness on that film?
Posey: It was kind of weird. You’d walk in and it’s early in the morning and the first thing that you see is a bunch of guys going [Fighting Noises] and you’re like, “Oh, God. This is not fun.” But I had a good time on that. That was fun. It was interesting. Any time that you get like a big kind of vampire movie, a “Superman” movie there’s going to be weird stuff going on. I wasn’t doing that much. Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds did a lot of the action.
Q: I just heard that it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all?
Posey: Why? What? That’s their problem. I don’t know. I loved David Goyer and all of those people.
Q: Did you like Superheroes when you were a kid?
Posey: I liked Isis. She was like a biology teacher by day. It was a kid’s show and you could always see like the strings connecting her. It was really bad. She was like a hot biology teacher. There was that crow in the office and the sets were really bad. It was just the same set over and over again and you could see the wall turning.
Q: If they did an “Isis” movie would you like to do that?
Posey: I’m working on that right now. Why do you think that I’m here talking about it? It’d be a big comedy. And then there’s “Shields and Yarnell”. They’re not superheroes, but I really liked them a lot.
Q: Have you enjoyed Australia?
Posey: I traveled through Australia about six or seven years ago for about a month. I spent all day at the Botanical Gardens yesterday and I went back there today to see the Cockatoos and the Magpies. It’s just amazing. Australia is the same population as L.A. and it’s a country surrounded by water [Laughs]. There are more birds here and animals and insects. There’s like a billion insects that haven’t even been named. There are spiders and snakes that can kill you. And the birds will come right up to you. They’re not really scared. This is their planet. It’s not like New York or America. You can really feel the nature here I think. I read that from ’96 to now the population of people who’ve become Buddhist has doubled in Australia. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga.
Q: So you’ve enjoyed your time here?
Posey: Oh, yeah totally. One of my best friends from San Francisco is here with me. He gets to walk around the city and he doesn’t have a license and he doesn’t drive so he’s a walker. So he goes on walkabout and tells me all the stories. We’ve also been watching a lot of Australian “Big Brother”.
Q: Do you have anything coming up?
Posey: The next Chris Guest movie which is called “For Your Consideration”. It’s a low budget movie that’s being shot in L.A. about the only Jewish family living in the south in the ’40s.
Q: Will it be a lot of the same faces?
Posey: Yeah. Chris is playing the director.
Q: Are you handed a lot of scripts with not as much dialogue for you to create that dialogue?
Posey: They never write women’s parts very well or complicated. So you do end up going, “Can we do something more with this?” I think that this is an interesting time right now with these reality shows and people seeing this big budget superhero movies. I don’t know where it’s going to meet or how it’s going to effect entertainment or DVD sales.
Q: Were they expecting the Frankenstein film to turn into a TV series?
Posey: Yeah. I don’t know. I just do the jobs and I see what happens. I don’t attach myself to the success of something.
Q: Do you want to get into TV?
Posey: I mean, again, I make a living just like everybody else. You take the jobs that pick you. I’m a freelancer.
– STEVE YOUNIS