"By the skin of my teeth I survived to be, like, a high-functioning, semi-well-adjusted and happening adult. And now you want to fucking saddle me with a kid?"
And then, Lyonne's addiction took centre stage. In 2001, Lyonne was arrested for a DUI in Miami. In 2004, she was arrested again (and evicted from her Manhattan apartment) for harassing a neighbour and said neighbour's dog. The next year, Lyonne was admitted to the ICU for health problems including a collapsed lung and hepatitis C, reportedly the result of heavy heroin use. Then, she finally entered court-ordered rehab in 2006. Afterwards, she kept clean with the support of friends — like Antibirth costar Sevigny. “Chloë and I are best friends of 20 years," she says. "We’re like sisters or something.”
"Sometimes it just seems like things are starting to pick up for her, and then all of a sudden it’s right back where we started. And I guess that really is the story of addiction."
Fortunately for Lyonne, her character in Antibirth is a much less complicated (and, for Lyonne, less relatable) woman handling addiction. “Lou is a classic — what they would call in addiction language — a ‘garbage can drug addict,'" she explains. Lyonne compares Lou to a lot of characters during our conversation: 1970s punk-rocker Johnny Thunder; Denzel Washington at the end of Training Day; “someone out of an apocalyptic David Lynch movie that I haven’t seen yet," she says. But the most apt comparison Lyonne kept coming back to is "The Dude" of The Big Lebowski. “I mean, in his case it’s like a rug, right? In her case, it’s like a pregnancy.”
The point being that, in our sexist 2016 society — which is supposed to be edging towards gender parity, not reenacting Mad Men — no one expects dad to make a statement about how he's planning to balance fatherhood with his career. “I have no idea how it affects [Anderson] — or how it affects most men — because no one ever talks about it. I would love to know how these male giants that I look up to are handling incorporating that next phase of their adult life," she says.
So, what does the next phase of Lyonne's adult life look like? She'd like to take a page from her 17-year-old self, actually, and get back to her film-student roots and work behind the camera. “It’s just much more empowering as a woman," says Lyonne of producing. "It’s not like you’re sitting back waiting for somebody’s approval to choose you. You’re actually a part of getting to make creative choices, so it’s a much more satisfying experience.”