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Selma Blair is one of those actresses who will live on forever in pop culture iconography. After appearing in bit roles early in her career, the raven-haired beauty cemented her place in Hollywood when she took on the hapless Cecile in Cruel Intentions circa 1999. The wake of films that followed over the course of nearly two decades — Legally Blonde, The Sweetest Thing, Hellboy, Dark Horse as well as a slew of TV shows — are emblematic of Blair’s ability to pivot from comedy to tragedy and back again. Her latest project, Ally Walker’s Sex, Death and Bowling, falls into the latter category. The Michigan-born actress plays Glenn McAllister, a long-suffering wife who is caring her for ailing husband. (The film costars Adrien Grenier as her “famous” fashion designer brother-in-law who comes home to fill his dying sibling’s spot in a bowling tournament.)
Fortunately Blair is able to balance out the gloom with a bit of froth. She’s also been tasked to play Kris Jenner in the upcoming American Crime Story. Airing next February, ACS is Ryan Murphy’s retelling of the OJ Simpson story and the birth of the 24-hour news cycle. Given how Jenner, then a somewhat meek housewife, has blossomed into the ubiquitous icon that she is today, one might find this role a tad daunting, but not Blair. “I would be open to play any part of Kris Jenner’s life, and for her to adopt me,” the actress told Yahoo Style. “I would also really enjoy that.”
Yahoo Style: The role in Sex, Death and Bowling was a pretty heavy one. You had to be glued to your ailing husband’s bedside while he lived out his last few days. Was it hard to do?
Selma Blair: I welcomed the challenge. I had just had my son and I was exhausted and that role was just perfect for me at that time. I was a hyper attendant mom, my son was having some problems… so it was an easy transition with going to work and I was really grateful to be able to have that outlet. So hypervigilant and loving someone but kind of falling apart.
So you didn’t have to act to portray that you were exhausted?
No. I didn’t. I think it was a makeup-free movie. And Ally [Walker] was such a kind an intelligent director. So to be able to work for her and so clearly understand what she wanted from the character was very refreshing.
What has it been like on the set of American Crime Story? Give us some of the inside scoop.
Well it’s one of the projects that I’m not even allowed to give an inside scoop because Ryan [Murphy] is so careful about his projects. That’s the way he is and I understand it. But I have to say it’s been an honor and a dream to work for him. I love him! I think he is God around these parts. I cannot say enough that I wish that I am in the Ryan Murphy family for the rest of my life because I think he is the most creative incredible visionary, director, and producer, and I love him so much. I love what he creates. So to just have a small part in his project just made me feel so genuinely grateful.
Is it fun to be portraying Kris Jenner? And did you audition for the role or did they approach you?
I did not audition for the role. I have been told I look like Kris Jenner in the past. We’re definitely cut from the same cloth. It’s such a big thing! It was funny, after it was announced that I was playing her, you’d think I had been cast to play the Queen of England! She is such an iconic character in our society, Kris Jenner. I’ve gladly and profusely stated my admiration for her. And it felt really great to be associated with her and to play a small part of her life. I would be open to play any part of Kris Jenner’s life, and for her to adopt me! I would also really enjoy that.
Selma Blair in Sex, Death and Bowling. Photo: Courtesy
I know you got to spend some time with Kris to prep for the role. Did rolling with the Kardashian clan ever get crazy? Were you just being thrown into the paparazzi world?
I’ve never hung out with them as a family. They are just so close knit. Maybe I’ll get in there one day. They are just a loving family and I think they are great. I’ve never been thrust in the middle of their life in any way. My relationship has just been with Kris and that’s pretty much it.
What’s one thing that surprised you about her when you spent time with her?
It surprised me how unbelievably loving she is. Kris is generous. I think from having so many kids, especially daughters, she is such a maternal person and she’s an excellent mother. And I had no idea how endearing she’d be and how thoughtful. I was surprised about that. She’s someone that I wish was in my life more, as I wish Ryan Murphy was in my life more.
Nearly everyone remembers where they were during the Bronco chase; do you?
Yeah. I was watching it on my TV. I had just moved to LA and I was right around the corner from where Nicole lives. I think I was, like, four houses away from where it happened. I was watching it on my little TV in my studio apartment and I just thought, ‘He’s going to kill himself. He’s going to kill himself,’ but he didn’t. I mean he’s slowly killing himself everyday now I guess, but the case was fascinating and I couldn’t believe he was found not guilty.
Switching gears, there’s talk of a Cruel Intentions TV show happening soon too. What are your thoughts on that and would you to ever make a guest appearance?
It’s a movie that’s very dear to me. It was my first big movie. I think it really holds up and I think it will be a great TV show, although I can kind of see it in such a different light because it stands on it’s own. It’s such a cult favorite. I went to Cruel Intentions: The Musical with Sarah [Michelle Gellar] and Reese [Witherspoon] and we thoroughly enjoyed that. It was a fun group that understands the material and how much we loved it when we were teens…well, I wasn’t a teen. I would be very open to playing a part. Of course, I’d probably be someone’s mother now or a teacher or something. But I think it would be fun to play my own character’s mother. I’d be in for it.
Reese Witherspoon recently also hinted that Legally Blonde 3 could be an interesting possibility with all this talk of women in politics. Would you be on board for that?
Yeah, I would do anything with Reese. I think she’s an incredible force. I don’t know if they’d bring my character back as an associate of hers in the future, but yeah. I think people loved those movies. I think the story should go on for sure. People love Elle Woods.
Selma Blair as Kris Jenner on the set of American Crime Story. Photo: Pacific Coast News
That character is very different than the one you play in Sex, Death and Bowling. Did you need a big ol’ glass of wine or a bath after those emotional days on set?
I would just rush home and hold my son and just be with him. But I loved working with a female director. She totally understood my love for my son and some of the emotions, I kind of misplaced and put on my son. God forbid my son was in the place that my character’s husband was in.
It is always a tough place to put your imagination there, but I was so broken down in my life. I was so exhausted. My son didn’t sleep very well. It was lack of sleep and I definitely had postpartum depression so it was – I was really grateful to not have to exert a different kind of energy. That was the energy that was readily available to me at that time.
When you watch your films, do you think about what was happening in your life timeline at the time?
Yeah it’s weird to think we shot this film two years ago. I can see clearly in my face the exhaustion of being a single mom, but I like all of these little markers. I even try to look at paparazzi photos as a little snapshot of my life because I don’t keep a journal.
So you would fit in with the Kardashian clan after all if you are welcoming the paparazzi!
I don’t know. I don’t look like the Kardashians so I don’t exactly welcome the paparazzi. If I were them I’d be like, ‘Sure. Take my picture. I have a beautiful face of makeup on.’ But the paparazzi getting me in broad daylight, no thanks!
Sex, Death and Bowling is currently in theaters and will be on VOD & iTunes on December 15.