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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Alexandra Gill

Globe and Mail
Friday, Sep. 12, 2003

''Is Chloe here?'' the breathless stargazers squealed when they rolled up to the red-carpet crush in front of the Elgin Theatre.The 28-year-old American actress hadn't yet arrived for the gala screening of Shattered Glass, in which she plays an editor at the New Republic magazine and close friend of the disgraced writer Stephen Glass, who was fired for fabricating stories. But you can be darn sure Chloe Sevigny will be there. The hardest-working actress at the festival has been everywhere this week.

The coltish blonde with the penetrating stare flew in to Toronto last Sunday and has been working around the clock to promote three festival films in which she stars: Billy Ray's Shattered Glass, Lars von Trier's Dogville, and The Brown Bunny, Vincent Gallo's controversial road-trip flick with the fellatio scene that caused a furor last May at the Cannes Film Festival.

All day, she does press interviews. By night, she attends parties. According to her publicist, Ms. Sevigny has even managed to squeeze in a few restaurant meals, although you would never know it from her tiny, thin frame.

By the time she tottered down the red carpet for the Vanity Fair party Tuesday night, the actress looked so pale and tired that several reporters said they thought she might pass out.

Then when the press conference for Shattered Glass was cancelled Wednesday, rumours began flying. Had she run out of steam?

"No, she's just fine," said the film's publicist, Mary Litkovich. The press conference was cancelled because co-star Peter Sarsgaard was a no-show.

Back at the red carpet, Ms. Sevigny's car arrives five minutes before the film rolls. Flashbulbs pop, fans scream. The actress is escorted to the opening by her personal publicist, Amanda Horton, and manager, Danny Sussman, an old friend who has been kind enough to invite me to the screening.

There is confusion inside the theatre as the VIP entourage is ushered to their seats.

Several rows of seats near the front have been reserved. Ms. Sevigny and the publicist take their seats at the end, while about 20 production and distribution reps mill around in front, unsure of where to go.

"Down in front," the crowd starts hissing. "Where's your star power now?" a man sneers at Ms. Sevigny from a few rows back. Ms. Sevigny and Ms. Horton sigh and roll their eyes.

The director walks out on stage to welcome the audience. As soon as the lights go down, Ms. Sevigny and Ms. Horton bolt from the theatre. They've already seen the film. And there are parties to attend.

"Wasn't Chloe great?" exclaims Mr. Sussman, as we try to hail a taxi after the movie. Well, she didn't really do much, I think, except mope and look sulky.

But I don't say that to her larger-than-life manager, a loud, lovably obnoxious boy from the Bronx, who has represented Ms. Sevigny for the past eight years.

"I pushed her to do this film," he explains. "I wanted her to do a dramatic adult role."

I think he means he wants her to take more mainstream Hollywood parts, as opposed to the offbeat avant-garde art films she has primarily pursued and excelled in.

We arrive at the Hugo Boss showroom on Hazelton Avenue, where the party for Shattered is well under way. Ms. Sevigny is still at the Roots party on Bloor Street. Before that, she dropped into the chic soirée at Chanel.

Mr. Sussman is glad she's not here. The outdoor courtyard is a mob scene.

"I have to call Amanda," Mr. Sussman shouts. "I can't believe they let all these people in. She's gonna freak out."

A door opens to the private showroom inside. It looks so peaceful, with floating candles scattered all around the white leather furnishings.

Ms. Sevigny arrives about 30 minutes later, but she is immediately escorted through a back entrance to the private room, which is closed off to everyone except the most exclusive of the VIP guests.

The actress sits down and makes small talk with Ceri Marsh, the new editor of Fashion magazine. And although she smiles politely, the actress looks elegantly bored.

An illusionist from the Roots party suddenly appears and tries to entertain. Everyone ignores him. Ms. Sevigny is the star here.

The illusionist takes my ring and makes it disappear. Wow. Maybe he should try that with Chloe, I suggest to Ms. Horton.

"Hmm. Maybe," she says, then her attention drifts away.

I congratulate Ms. Sevigny, and casually mention that her manager was enthusiastic about her playing an "adult" role.

"Oh, is that what he said?" she replies dryly, giving me a look so disdainful it threatens to shatter my champagne glass. Then she promptly turns away.

Hmmm. It must have been a very hard week at work.

Does attending all these parties actually help her career? I ask her publicist. "It doesn't really help her," Ms. Horton replies. "It helps the studio sell the film. This is just part of the job."

Ms. Sevigny is now huddled cosily next to Ian Hylton of Flare magazine. A blank smile creeps across her face as she takes another drag from her cigarette.

I go upstairs to use a bathroom. And when I get back, poof, she's gone. ROBTv Workopolis