The A-List Interview: Rose McGowan

Playing another witch in Conan the Barbarian, the Charmed alum opens up about her gay sister, her education by drag queens, and how she feels about her gay bestie criticizing her outfits on Fashion Police.



Do women hit on you?
No. I got molested one night, but unless they’re really drunk, I think girls are scared of me. My sister says I have no gay vibe, which offended me. I don’t even know what that means. Do I have an invisible penis on my head?

Describe a typical interaction with a fan at a gay bar.
There’s a lot of quoting of my movies. But that’s good, because it’s like a flashback. I’m always like, “Oh, that’s right! What a great line.”

I’d probably quote Jawbreaker, which is certainly a gay fan favorite.
Well, gay men love their bitches. “I made you and I can destroy you just as easily.” How’s that for a line reading? I so want to do a sequel to Jawbreaker. I know everyone says, “I’m really the nicest person,” but I actually am one of the nicest people. That said, I watch a ton of old films, and I fashioned Courtney, my character in Jawbreaker, after Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven. She basically offed everyone who was in her boyfriend’s life, but she also had great witty lines. You’re not going to get that in a typical mainstream American comedy, where, as a girl, I’m going to be a sidekick to the straight man, which is pretty boring.

You’ve definitely managed to avoid boring female roles.
Honestly, I’ll agree to do movies, thinking I’m going to do the man’s role, and when I get to the set it’s like, Oh, right, I’m the girl. I have an intense amount of jealousy that I’m not a man. And I’d vastly prefer to be a gay man. Unfortunately, that’s not how the cards were dealt, and I’m stuck dealing with emotionally underdeveloped straight men. It doesn’t seem fair, really.

Starting with queer cinema pioneer Gregg Araki, you’ve had a fortuitous connection with gay male filmmakers like Scream’s Kevin Williamson and Jawbreaker’s Darren Stein. You also worked with Ryan Murphy in Nip/Tuck’s final season.
You’re right. I’ve never thought about the amount of gays I’ve worked with, but thank God for that. It’s kismet, and it probably has to do with shared sensibility. There’s always been an unspoken mutual affinity there. If I could, I would seek out and only work with gay people.

Yet you’ve never played a gay role.
I’ve never been offered one. I’d be stoked to do a lesbian love scene. When asked if I’ve kissed a girl, I could finally say, “Why, yes, I have. And I got paid.”

If you were to play a lesbian, whom would you want to play your love interest?
Whenever someone asks if I have a crush on any male actors, the problem is that I only like people who are dead, like Robert Mitcham or Cary Grant. So my answer to you would have to be someone like Ava Gardner. I will not be a cliché and say Angelina Jolie.

Have you kept in touch with Ryan Murphy after Nip/Tuck? Your singing skills would be put to good use as a guest star on Glee.
Right? I’d be great on Glee. I’m not sure if Ryan knows I sing. Hello, Ryan. Let’s start a grassroots effort.

I smell a Facebook campaign.
You should start one. Me and Betty White. By the way, you want to know the last time I cried? When the guy who wrote the theme song for The Golden Girls died.

You played Ann-Margret in the 2005 miniseries Elvis. Did you ever hear from her about your portrayal?
I didn’t. But if I ever meet her, hopefully it won’t be too strange. That was a great experience, but it was tough. It’s probably much easier to portray someone who’s not alive.

You’re starring in the upcoming thriller Rosewood Lane, which was written and directed by Powder’s Victor Salva, whose films often reflect his gay sensibility and outsider mentality. Is that the case with Rosewood Lane?
I don’t think so. And I do not have good clothes in that film either; I had to wear office-lady clothes and it killed me. That was an interesting dynamic, because Victor had never done a movie with a female lead, and he was uncomfortable. He really doesn’t relate to women well. He was open about that, which was slightly jarring, because I don’t really know what to do with that information.