The Woody Allen movie "Melinda and Melinda" is about a woman perceived by others in completely different ways.
It's a trick that actress Chloe Sevigny, who co-stars in the film, is trying to pull off in real life.
Last year she was in the high-toned Lars von Trier drama "Dogville," starring Nicole Kidman as a woman abused by an entire town. Shortly after came "The Brown Bunny," the unrated film in which Sevigny -- appearing as director-star Vincent Gallo's long-lost love -- performed a notorious sex act that got tongues wagging, Internet sites buzzing and even graced a billboard in Los Angeles for two days.
But at 30, Sevigny is mellow about it all. After a decade as the poster child for edgy movies, the party girl from Darien, Conn., has let it be known she wants to go mainstream.
"I'd love to be in 'Spider-Man 3!' " Sevigny says. "There's a villain in it who's a blond, buxom girl, and I'm trying to get it!
"That (may) surprise people, since actors are always thought of as their last film or who they were. I think I'll always be drawn to films more difficult to watch, but I don't want to be a snobby cinephile."
It may not be so tough for Sevigny to go a different way, says New York casting director Barry Moss. "I don't think 'Brown Bunny' will be a detriment for her," says Moss. "If you're casting her as Joan of Arc, then it might be a problem. But people who are intrigued by her will want to see her next project. . . . Plus, it shows that she's fearless."
Sevigny says the refined Manhattan wife she plays in "Melinda" "isn't one of the parts that I think of as my 'warning girls' -- as in, 'Be careful, don't let this happen to you.' "
And she has a gallery of warning girls:
Character: Jennie, a wayward good girl who tests positive for HIV after sleeping with a teenage Lothario.
"It was my first film, and it was very controversial when it came out. People pegged me as this sort of street urchin. But I always thought of my character as maybe an upper East Side girl. I think the movie is responsible for a resurrection in coming-of-age films, my favorite genre."
"Trees Lounge" (1996)
Character: Debbie, a teenager who gets involved with a middle-aged loser (Steve Buscemi).
"After 'Kids' came out, I was still working at this clothing store on Lafayette Street (in Manhattan), and I turned down some small roles. But I felt like I knew Debbie, this bored girl living in suburbia, trying to get into bars and wanting to get to the city."
"The Last Days of Disco" (1998)
Character: Alice, an Ivy Leaguer who mourns the death of her favorite Manhattan dance spots and her fab way of life.
"It was a more high-profile movie for me. I love how it captured this WASP-y, preppy world that in the '80s was dying out."
"Boys Don't Cry" (1999)
Character: Lana Tisdel, a real-life Nebraska teen who fell in love with Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank), a girl passing as a boy who was murdered in 1993. Sevigny was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
"Playing a real person was hard, since so many people were affected by that tragedy. I think Hilary could have had more swagger, and played Brandon as a bad boy instead of gawky. I thought the sex in the movie was important, but then, I'm pretty easily swayed, unfortunately! But I just hate when girls have sex with their bras on in movies. Nobody does that!"
"American Psycho" (2000)
Character: Jean, the secretary of Wall Street broker -- and neat-freak killing machine -- Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale).
The director, Mary Harron, "shot scenes that were racier so she'd have something to cut out when the ratings board saw it."
"Party Monster" (2003)
Character: Gitsie, gal pal of club kid Michael Alig (Macaulay Culkin), who embodied the dark side of '90s Manhattan nightlife.
"I did it because I love New York so much, and I knew the people involved. When I moved here I was going to the Limelight and the Tunnel and Club USA, but they didn't like me because I was part of the rave set. I wanted to help tell the story of New York club history."
"The Brown Bunny" (2004)
Character: Daisy, former love of a drifter played by the film's writer-director, Vincent Gallo.
"I really believed in Vincent as a filmmaker. I've known him since I was 17 and he was 29. I dated him when I was a teenager, and I trusted him. It's unfortunate that it came out in such a conservative era.
"I was uncomfortable filming (the sex scene), but I don't want to talk about it too much. You know, I put myself out there; I took a risk.
"I think there are lots of actresses who do risky things -- maybe not as racy or graphic as 'Brown Bunny,' but I have my own path. We'll see where it leads me."