On Monday night, the actress Patricia Clarkson was at Mr. Purple, the bar at the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Wearing a deep v-neck jumpsuit, she made the case for one-pieces on the red carpet.
“Let me tell you something, I love this jumpsuit so damn much,” she said. “I wore it two weeks ago on the red carpet, and I don't care, like Kate Middleton. I'm not Kate Middleton,” she said, and then laughed uproariously.
Clarkson is known as one of the most well-liked character actresses in the business, and you can see why. In a few short minutes in conversation, she manages to charm and relate. It’s why she can get away with appearing in everything from prestige pictures directed by the likes of Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) to a madcap episode of Comedy Central’s Broad City.
Clarkson first worked with Scorsese in Shutter Island, a hit that received almost universally mixed reviews except for Clarkson’s performance as a psychiatrist in the sanitarium of the title. It’s to her credit that Clarkson manages to consistently do this - upstage the material handed to her. With Cooper, she had plenty of good material to work with, a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man that had been the actor’s passion project.
“He's a lovely, exceptional man, who just happens to be a great actor,” Clarkson gushed about her costar. At Mr. Purple, Cooper, whose spiked hair made him the tallest man in the room, couldn't stop smiling as Scorsese whispered on tiptoe into his ear.
What's something we wouldn't know about Cooper?
“Everyone asks that! He's exactly what you think he is. I'm being honest. He was well raised. That boy was well raised,” she said.
He was so well-raised, in fact, that the official reason Cooper and Scorsese threw Clarkson this little Cinema Society soiree was her small independent film, Learning to Drive. The drama with Ben Kingsley came and went with polite reviews in the critical press, limited box office and little chance of getting pickup in the awards race, but all the more reason to raise its profile. Adrien Brody, Amy Ryan, Emily Mortimer and Mamie and Grace Gummer were among those who turned up to pay their respects to Clarkson.
The honoree herself is rooting for Spotlight, the journalism thriller by Tom McCarthy, who directed in The Station Agent, one of her more critically acclaimed performances.
“He had never even made a movie [then],” she said, referring to McCarthy. “I'm just so proud to know him.”
If Clarkson’s being honest, though, she’d much rather skip the awards gossip and talk some more about her Nanette Lepore jumpsuit.
“It was photographed up the wazoo, but I don't care!” she beamed. “I’m with the two hottest men in the world tonight: Bradley Cooper and Martin Scorsese. I'm wearing what I think is hot. And it's this jumpsuit.”