If there's a controversy swirling on Big Love (9 pm/ET, HBO), you can bet that Nicki Grant, polygamist Bill Henrickson's second wife, is nearby. Deliciously played by Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny (1999's Boys Don't Cry), she's uptight, manipulative and often nasty, but can deftly parry any and all accusations of impropriety with a casual "Who, me?" innocence.
TV Guide: After starring in controversial films, is playing a polygamist tame?
Chloë Sevigny: I know my films are labeled that, but I don't take them as such. I thought this show was very much in keeping with my work in films, as far as being outside the norm. [Nicki] is the one people love to hate, but I also [hear], "You're the reason I tune in, because you're always doing something crazy."
TV Guide: What makes these characters so appealing?
Sevigny: Right off the bat, hearing they are sharing a husband makes them more sympathetic. These are three women who are very different characters, and I think people can relate to little things about each of us.
TV Guide: Nicki still relishes her connection to her powerful father, Roman. What does she really want?
Sevigny: She wants to have her cake and eat it, too. I think she would want Bill and Roman to be close; she's still daddy's little girl. Nicki always wants attention. Imagine growing up with 50 brothers and sisters, barely seeing your father, and your mother is kind of a coldhearted bitch. That's why she lashes out in the way that she does.
TV Guide: Does Nicki resent Barb being Bill's one true love? Would she like to be "first wife"?
Sevigny: Oh, definitely. Nicki doesn't think Barb knows how to live the Principle. She was brought up in it and knows the ins and outs of plural marriage. She's like the middle child: jealous of the first child, and, of course, of the newest one, Margene.
TV Guide: You've been a fashion "it girl." How does it feel to trade that for Nicki's conservative wardrobe?
Sevigny: I love [it]. It fits the character and helps me find her every day. What people see on the red carpet is make-believe: borrowed jewels and dresses.
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