Parker Posey was born to high kick in an armadillo costume. At least that’s what it looks like in her scenes as a bizarrely disguised cheerleader in Christopher Guest’s latest comedy, Mascots. The film, which is now available to stream on Netflix, is about a cult-ish group of grown men and women who pride themselves in working as team mascots at sports tournaments. Leave it to Guest, the director behind oddball comedies such as Best In Show, A Mighty Wind and Waiting For Guffman—to uncover yet another hidden society of freaks and geeks in America’s own backyard and cast someone like Posey (who is, in fact, in many of his films) to represent them. “There’s a kind of disillusionment in my character that everyone has within them,” she says of her role in Mascots, a wannabe Broadway star named Cindi Babineaux. “I like people’s blind spots and what they can’t see about themselves.”
For Mascots, Posey took a few steps to fully grasp the extent of Cindi’s jazzercising ways. She spent weeks listening to Kraftwerk, Gary Newman, Grandmaster Flash and early electronica in order to “find Cindi’s movements”—outlandish choreography Posey felt was intrinsic to her character’s psyche. In the process—while poking fun, exaggerating and embracing all of Cindi’s quirks—Posey, ever-the-pro, found ways to embrace her role so that the audience would have an emotional connection to someone whose seems so ridiculous. “It’s completely absurd that this woman has been dancing for the Amelia Earhart basketball team for 25 years,” Posey says, “but we all believe in things that are absurd to other people. Essentially, we’re here to care about the beliefs that we have…. even though they mean more to us than anyone!”
Mascots also brought out some deep realizations for Posey. The Baltimore-born, New York City-based actress—who celebrates her 48th birthday on November 8—swears that after doing this film, she feels just as awkward—and energized—as a teenager. “The older I get, the more unusual and weird I feel,” she says. “It’s like I’m going through puberty over and over again! I know its just indicative of being a better comedic person and artist.”
If anyone can relate to knowing what it is like to be seen as strange or on the fringes, its Posey. After all, her big break was in Party Girl, a one-of-a-kind 90s house music comedy, which centered on the vibrant club scene during the girl-power era. It was as Mary—an aspiring librarian with killer street style who throws illegal parties in her apartment—that she found herself surrounded and embraced by NYC’s burgeoning LGBTQ community. “It was all happening at once… [a now-defunct drag queen event named] Wigstock and the AIDS/HIV pandemic. Beauty and horror. It was a time that was terrible, wonderful and very real,” she says. “On the one hand, you’d see survivors of the AIDS crisis and gay men who suffered losing their loved ones and so many people getting bashed on the streets for having a certain sexual preference,” she recalls. “Then, on the other hand, the 90s were just so free and expressive. You would get done up and go out to clubs. There was a chic kind of lingo you used to communicate. Vogueing and house music influenced fashion into a new era of optimism.”
Posey is extremely stoked about the resurgence of her breakout film—and the subsequent events that still inspires today (namely a Parker Posey Party Girl Film Festival which happens once a year in London). “When that movie was released, those times gave the gay community a real fight and a real bond,” she says. “The movie reflected that and it helped shape me so much. My hope is that it can also help shape a new generation of people in the same way.”
Here is a peek at Parker’s brilliant performance in Mascots:
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