Major studio productions might offer gourmet craft service and luxurious trailers, but Heather Graham likes her indies just the way they are.
“I think that sometimes [smaller production companies] make more original things, because they’re not under the big pressure of money like the big studios are,” Ms. Graham told the Transom on Tuesday, October 2, at midtown’s D’Or at Amalia, which hosted the after party for the premier of her new film, Broken-an independent effort directed by Alan White and co-staring Jeremy Sisto. “I love independent movies. They just feel more raw and sometimes unique,” she added.
In the film, Ms. Graham plays Hope, a girl from Ohio who chases her dreams to Hollywood only to fall headlong into heroin. At 37-years-old, Ms. Graham, who moved to L.A. from Wisconsin as a child, said she could identify with her character on several levels. “Coming to a city with big dreams and just feeling frustrated and [thinking], How do I get started on my career? I’ve had moments of feeling that,” she admitted, before adding: “I mean, luckily I never got into heroin, but I’ve definitely had moments of feeling complete devastation and desperation.”
Though Ms. Graham has managed to stay afloat in Tinseltown’s sea of temptations, she also realizes that a seemingly growing number of young celebrities sink. “It’s so sad, because you see people who are just so successful and you just kind of think, Why do they have a problem? They’re so successful!” mused Ms. Graham, who, beneath a full mane of crimped golden locks, was wearing a calf-length blood-red dress and a pair of strappy heels. “You might say if you’re a homeless person, ‘Well, of course, you need to do that!’ But it’s weird how many successful people have a big drug problem.”
Asked if starring in independent films has lost some of its artsy, coffeehouse cool in recent years, Ms. Graham-who has starred in both big studio films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and, especially recently, a string of low-budget projects-demurred. “If you look at the Academy Awards and you look at last year, Crash-that movie was made for seven or eight million dollars, under ten million dollars-won the Academy Award. I mean, that’s wild!” she said, with ever-widening eyes. “It’s, like, a lot of films made for not huge budgets have been getting a lot of recognition, so I think that’s very hopeful, because it just shows that-there are obviously a lot of great big budget movies-but there are a lot of great independents that are getting recognized.”