NEW YORK — Parker Posey, who has made 24 independent films in the last six years and become the poster girl for inde-pendent cinema, has taken her first major starring role in a studio feature. She’ll play Meg Ryan’s rival for Tom Hanks in Warner Bros.’ “You Have Mail,” directed by Nora Ephron and produced by Lauren Shuler-Donner.
It’s the highest-profile role yet for Posey, who’s packing for her third straight Sundance Film Festival, where she stars in direc-tor Brian Skeet’s “The Misadventures of Margaret.” At last year’s fest, Posey won a special acting prize for a trio of roles in “Clockwatchers,” “The House of Yes” and “SubUrbia.”
But Posey feels there’s no reason to hang the Sundance flags at half mast. “It’s weird how everyone compares independent films and studio movies like they’re two separate worlds,” Posey said. “I just take whatever comes along and interests me. If I like the script and the director wants me, then I’ll do the film, whether it’s with a studio or an independent.”
Ephron has been intrigued with Posey for some time. “Nora gave me my first real studio part, a scene in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ in which I flirted with Tom Hanks after hearing him on the radio and knocked on the door of his boathouse,” said Posey. “But the scene got cut out. Then, she made me roller-blader No. 2 in ‘Mixed Nuts,’ and suddenly I’m staying in Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.”
In “Mail,” she plays a highly territorial and aggressive editor at a publishing house who is Hanks’ love interest until he becomes infatuated with the mysterious writer with whom he trades E-mail. Unbeknownst to him, the writer is a co-worker (Ryan) who doesn’t know Hanks is her pen pal and who doesn’t like him. The film is a New York-set story inspired by the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch film “The Shop Around the Corner.”
Posey has averaged about four films each year for the past six years, taking small and large parts in mostly indie films such as Greg Mottola’s “The Daytrippers.” While actors in studio films usually log half that amount, Posey doesn’t find that pace unusual.
“I went to school for this and it’s what I do for a living,” she said. “It’s not that tough.”
Posey’s repped by William Morris’ Michael Gruber and Frank Frattaroli and managed by Brian Swardstrom and Bonnie Bernstein.