Mary-Louise Parker Compares Paparazzi Stalking To Sexual Assault

Considering the dearth of roles being offered to women over 40 in Hollywood, Mary-Louise Parker bucks the trend and not only has a blossoming film, television, and theater career, but a face with the emotional range of the Botox-free! How does this 43-year-old mother do it all? By not compromising, according to an interview in the New York Times. Parker is starring in a new play, Dead Man's Cell Phone (written and directed by women: Sarah Ruhl and Anne Bogart, respectively), and writer Campbell Robertson paints her as a tough broad who remains mum on her personal life at all times. To dish about her relationship to Billy Crudup, who left her for Claire Danes when she was 7 months pregnant, would be "inelegant".

Even though she wins my heart with most of her back story — she got suspended from art school for challenging her professors; she stands up to Weeds directors who try to rearrange her performances without permissions; she turned down Shannon Doherty's sloppy seconds, declining to takeover for the departed Doherty on Charmed — I'm sort of put off by her high horse stance on paparazzi.

"She bristles at the attitude that tabloid attention comes with the job, comparing that to saying a sexual assault victim was asking for it by wearing a short dress," according to the Times. Parker then goes on:

I understand the fascination, and I understand the curiosity, but at the same time I understand the fascination and curiosity of staring at someone who has fallen off their bicycle and has a bloody nose. Does that mean you should stand there and point and look at them as though they can't see you? I don't think so. Does that mean you should take a picture of them? Probably not. Does that mean you should take out your cellphone and film them so you can put it on YouTube?

The reason I take umbrage with this stance is because Parker began her career as a theater actress. She has always worked on the stage — according to the Times, her role in Cell Phone is the first "after four years' absence — her longest stretch away from the theater since she was 17." She could likely support herself and her children through a career doing plays in New York and London. But she chose to make the leap into feature films and television. It's a rational choice for sure, but the decision comes along with the trappings of fame. Have the paparazzi gone too far? Absolutely. But Parker's attitude towards the plebes who are interested in her life — and comparing herself to a rape victim in the process — is, to use her own word, inelegant.

You're Welcome to See Her Live, Not to Ask About Her Life [New York Times]