If you’ve ever been to the McKittrick Hotel, the site of Punchdrunk’s immersive theater (and mandatory stop for visiting relatives) Sleep No More, you know it can get creepy at night. But even on an afternoon this summer—empty of all Eyes Wide Shut masks, bellhops lip-syncing to Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” or impromptu nude dance sequence in blood baths—the McKittrick still has a looming, menacing presence. Or maybe I was just nervous. After all, I was there to meet Sigourney Weaver, and a dark, semi-abandoned haunted house might have been the wrong call. Why couldn’t I have picked a well-lit coffee shop to interview the star of all the Aliens and Ghostbusters?
If I was skittish, Weaver, already posing for photos when I tentatively tiptoed into an empty bar area, seemed entirely at ease. “Don’t let me forget, they have my meat in the freezer,” Weaver reminded no one in particular between poses. “I really can’t forget to take the meat with me when I go.” Directly following our interview, Weaver would be driving back to the Adirondacks, and the possibility of leaving the meat (never clarified as to how much there was of it, or what kind) was causing her more anxiety than a Hitchcockian faux-tel. Weaver—68 years old and 6 feet tall without heels—can make herself at home in even the most inhospitable of environments.
The notion that Sigourney Weaver is the embodiment of the “DIY and take no shit” authority figure for a generation of young women might sound, in retrospect, like a backhanded compliment. But for those of us who grew up as tomboys in the 80s, Weaver stood as shining beacon of some other way to be. While other girls wanted to be Princess Leia or Jasmine, there were always a few of us who wanted to be Ripley. Or later on, Katharine Parker in Working Girl, a woman so ahead of her time in office politicking that she managed to mash-up Claire Underwood from House of Cards and Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, a solid two decades before either existed.
“I think it’s a perfect time to be different,” Weaver tells me on the topic of beauty standards, as we slide into a dark and quiet booth in the red-curtained bar room. “I think it’s our time.” She notes her obsession with watching the Olympics. “You see the glorious range of what women look like, how strong they are. I think this is all changing on screen, as people want to see themselves reflected a little bit more. They don’t want to see some little stick figure up there all the time.
Full interview: observer.com