Parker Posey: Return of the indie queen 

It wasn’t so long ago that Parker Posey was famously named the Indie Queen by Time magazine — a label that has stuck with her throughout an acclaimed career that began 16 years with a minor role in the HBO drama "First Love, Fatal Love."

Since then, the 38-year-old Baltimore native has clawed her way into the public consciousness with star-making turns in Richard Linklater’s "Dazed and Confused" and the faux documentaries favored by Christopher Guest, including "Best in Show" and last year’s "For Your Consideration."

But lately, the Queen seems to have abandoned her throne, if only temporarily, for high-profile roles in a pair of comic-book adventures, "Blade: Trinity" and "Superman Returns."

No matter. Posey returns to her queendom this week with the release of Hal Hartley’s "Fay Grim," the long-awaited sequel to his 1997 tour de force, "Henry Fool." And that suits her just fine.

"Hal always thought the characters in ‘Henry Fool’ deserved another movie, that they shouldn’t be limited to a single story," she says with a sly grin.

"I always wanted to return to that world. Hal is such an artist, and he is super intelligent. Nobody writes like he does, and he directs you in a way that is completely unique. He’s like Preston Sturges — really old-school. You can listen to his movies during a car ride, whether you’re listening to the rhythm of his dialogue or the original music he creates."

Although Posey was eager to return to her role as Fay Grim, Henry’s capricious and promiscuous lover, she acknowledges that the 10-year waiting period was longer than she expected. She attributes the extended hiatus to the hoops through which even an established indie filmmaker must necessarily jump before getting a chance to pursue his vision.

"It’s really hard right now for an independent director to make his full voice heard, to have creative control," she says. "It’s hard to get a project like this off the ground. And once you do, you’re not working with a ton of money. Hal didn’t have a lot of time to do things like dolly shots because of the low budget, so he went digital, and there’s a certain tension and energy that comes from that kind of filmmaking."

Although Posey seems content to return to her indie roots, there was a time when she craved, with no small frustration, the kind of mainstream exposure that would earn her enough to move out of her tiny, post-college apartment in New York. Today, with "Fay Grim" in theaters and her next film, Zoe Cassavetes’ "Broken English," set for release in June, she is more at peace with the nature of her career — and her new digs.

"I was at Sundance this year, and I hadn’t been there in six years. It felt as if I was going back to my roots," she admits. "But at the end of the day, I still wait for good parts like any other actor. I don’t get to make choices — roles come to me, and if they work out, great. But I’m more settled into how my career works. You’re in a bad place when you’re constantly wondering, ‘Are paying jobs going to be offered to me?’ Well, I finally got paid — not like the stars do, but I’ve moved from Chelsea to the Village. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over. We shot ‘Fay Grim’ in France and ‘Superman Returns’ in Australia. There’s no difference between independent films and blockbusters for me. It’s all work. I’m an actor. This is my job."

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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