Lili Taylor is an actor’s actor, beloved for taking interesting minor roles or boring major ones, and making them the focus of the film, as in Say Anything, Six Feet Under, and Mystic Pizza.
The 53-year-old sat down with The Guardian to discuss her life with husband, the poet and memoirist Nick Flynn, and her career in Hollywood.
She said of being married to Flynn: “Yeah man, these poets and memoirists, they don’t have a problem putting their s**t out there! Some [of Flynn’s books] I don’t read. I might not be able to read the next book. You’ll see …”
Taylor also shared insight in working in what has been dubbed the “golden age” of independent cinema in the 1990s with people like convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.
When the stories about Weinstein came out, Taylor said she was only surprised “by the extent of it, and the patriarchal system’s support of it. I always knew [Weinstein] was a pig. I didn’t know he was a rapist and serial abuser.” She never worked with him, but only “because he HATED me. People would tell me: ‘It’s true, he won’t even see you [for a role].’ I could not get a job with Miramax. Granted, a character like Valerie Solanas is not really his cup of tea … ”
Taylor also spoke out about being harassed by her ex Michael Rapaport, who pleaded guilty. She said: “That was hard. I’m not blaming myself, because it’s not my fault that I chose this person. But it made sense to me on a psychological level: I thought about myself in such an undervalued way that I didn’t know I had the right to privacy. That’s some low self-esteem. So since then has been about getting some self-esteem, which has been harder.”
When asked about her Dogfight co-star River Phoenix’s mental state she said: “He wasn’t doing heroin when we did Dogfight, but he was drinking a lot. I knew he was an alcoholic, and I knew he was in a lot of pain, and he was medicating himself. I think he wasn’t able to tolerate a lot of things that were in his psyche. It was after that that he started doing heroin and I was not surprised that he died because I’m an alcoholic, too. I’ve been sober for a long time, but I know what the disease will do to you, and he was going down hard and it was a matter of time if he didn’t get sober.”