Actors always lament the lack of good scripts in Hollywood, but then how do you explain Patricia Clarkson?The New Orleans native, who will receive the ShoWest Independent Award for Excellence in Acting, finds herself in one good project after another, seemingly effortlessly. “I think I’m in a very lucky and fortunate position, because I can choose right now in terms of independent film what I want to do and not do,” Clarkson says. “I have a lot of options, and maybe, just having done this for so long, maybe my eye is keener. Or maybe I’m just fortunate to be sent the great scripts, and I’m not stupid enough to say no.” Most recently seen in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and Isabel Coixet’s “Elegy,” Clarkson believes her career underwent a “seismic shift” after appearing in “High Art,” Lisa Cholodenko’s 1998 drama. “That just shook things up and redefined me in the business,” Clarkson asserts, adding that the film helped show how “many more layers” she had. “It’s been awhile (since then), and so maybe good scripts beget good scripts,” she continues. “Once you start being a part of good films, I think other people seek you out.” Often cast in a key supporting role — she was Oscar-nommed for 2003’s “Pieces of April” and won two guest actress Emmys for “Six Feet Under” — Clarkson will be firmly showcased this fall in “Cairo Time” as a woman who sets out on a journey after going to the Egyptian capital to await her U.N. ambassador husband, who is trapped in Gaza. “It’s a very beautiful film,” she says. “It’s an independent film, but it’s shot 35(mm) wide — it’s big. It’s not some small, little, gritty film.” Between now and then, however, comes another Allen project, “Whatever Works,” a Tribeca Film Festival opener, with Clarkson in a role she is clearly enthusiastic about. “For me, it’s always been quality over quantity. … It’s all part of the choices I’ve made in this business — something that has the right tone for me and the right stretch, and I like the film, because that to me takes me on a bigger journey.”
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