×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Andie MacDowell Remembers How ‘Sex, Lies & Videotape’ Changed Her Career

Andie MacDowell missed the Cannes debut of “Sex, Lies & Videotape” 30 years ago but has made up for it since, walking the festival’s fabled red carpet more times than she can remember. The “Four Weddings and a Funeral” actress, who recently shot “Lovestruck” for Fox and will appear at the fest on behalf of L’Oréal, talked with Variety about her breakthrough role as Ann, the repressed married woman drawn to James Spader’s videotaping Graham, and its outsized impact on her career.

When “Sex, Lies & Videotape” won the Palme d’Or three decades ago, it jump-started your acting career and sent writer-director Steven Soderbergh’s into orbit. How do you think the movie holds up?
I like the intimacy of the film. I think everybody thought they were watching something that was real, that was really happening, because of the way it was done, the rawness of it. When it came out it was very taboo. It wouldn’t be so salacious now, but it was salacious then.

You grew up in the South. Did any part of you relate to Ann’s sexual reserve?
I wasn’t like her at all, but I knew her. I knew so many people that were like that, and I understood why they were so afraid of sex, because in the South, women who are sexual are very, very bad people. When you’re taught that from a very young age, it’s no wonder you can’t have an orgasm. You can’t open up. It’s unavailable to you.
What I thought was going to happen was I would have something to show casting directors. I remember Steven [Soderbergh] calling me from Cannes to tell me that it had won, and it hadn’t even registered when it won at Sundance, it hadn’t hit me that, yeah, something great’s happening. I even said to him, “I guess it’s going to have a distributor. People are going to see it.” And he was like, “Yeah, people are going to see it. It’s going to play in a theater.” It was really just dawning on me.

Popular on Variety

Do you regret not being there?
I hated missing Cannes, not getting to be there. If I had been there, I would have realized what a big deal it was. I had never been to Cannes, so I didn’t understand what was happening. I’m really sad now, in hindsight, that I didn’t go, but I put so much pressure on myself to be what I felt what people wanted me to be and I was huge, I was nursing. I looked like a woman who had just had a baby and was nursing. I lived in fear of criticism, and I’m sad about that, but I’m much better now.

Was the impact on your career immediate or did it take a while to change?
I went from being worthless to very valuable overnight. Right away people wanted me to play the same character, but I didn’t really want to do that.

What are your expectations for Cannes this year?
I will probably end up working a lot, doing interviews and going up the red carpet. But it’s fun to have someone do your hair and makeup and wear a beautiful dress.

More Film

  • Bhumi Pednekar

    IFFAM-Variety's Asian Stars: Up Next Program is Helping Talent Cross Over

    Eight young stars accepted the “Asian Stars: Up Next” award on Tuesday intended to recognize and promote Asian on-screen talent who have established themselves in their home market but have the potential to cross borders onto the global stage. The awards are issued by the International Film Festival & Awards Macao and Variety, and were [...]

  • Mo'Nique

    Mo'Nique to Play 'Badass Black Woman' in New Film 'Mother Trucker'

    Mo’Nique has signed on for the lead role in the independent action-adventure “Mother Trucker.” The movie is written by J. Oyer Tomas, former HBO executive producer, and set during the Congressional impeachment hearings to remove President Richard Nixon from office. Nixon resigned in 1974. Mo’Nique will portray a mother, struggling with anger management issues, who [...]

  • Bellbird review

    Macao Film Review: 'Bellbird'

    Mild, mellow and as life-affirming as a soft fall of springtime New Zealand rain, Hamish Bennett’s charming if overfamiliar debut feature “Bellbird” — so named after a species of avian indigenous to the region, which Captain Cook reportedly described as having a song “like small bells, exquisitely tuned” — is a fondly bittersweet tribute to [...]

  • Wisdom Tooth

    Macao Film Review: 'Wisdom Tooth'

    Slippery and surprising, full of odd details and insights, and leaching significant visual and thematic texture from its unusual setting, Liang Ming’s “Wisdom Tooth” must be one of the year’s most remarkable debuts. Set in a depressed Chinese fishing town close to the Korean border during the first snow flurries of winter, the film is [...]

  • Mattie Do

    'Long Walk' Director Mattie Do Has Fun With Asian Horror

    Laos’ first and only female filmmaker Mattie Do, whose thriller “The Long Walk” screened in the International Film Festival and Awards Macao’s world panorama section, tumbled into her profession with a dose of liquid courage. She’d recently moved to Laos from the U.S. to take care of her father, who’d moved back after her mother [...]

  • Klaus Storyboard Visuals Netflix

    Holiday Movie 'Klaus' Launches Netflix's Animated Feature Ambitions

    Filled with humor and emotion in equal parts, Netflix’s first animated feature, Sergio Pablos’ hand-drawn, feel-good family holiday movie “Klaus,” checks off all the right boxes. The “Despicable Me” creator included something for everyone in this clever Santa Claus origin tale wrapped in the idea that one simple act of kindness always sparks another. Oscar [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content