Actress Mena Suvari: Sex Abuse Culture in Hollywood Helped Me Nail My Role in ‘American Beauty’

The movie "American Beauty", directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Seen here from left, Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham and Mena Suvari as Angela Hayes. Initial theatrical wide release October 1, 1999. Screen capture. A Paramount Picture. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
CBS via Getty Images

Actress Mena Suvari said that being pulled into the sex abuse culture of Hollywood helped her nail her role in the 1999 film, American Beauty.

In an interview with The Guardian, Suvari explained how her abusive relationship with a lighting engineer she met in Hollywood helped her execute her role as Angela in American Beauty, because she “identified” with the character.

In the film, Kevin Spacey’s character develops an obsession with Suvari’s character, who is his daughter’s insecure but sexually precocious friend.

“I identified with Angela,” Suvari said. “I knew how to play that role, because I was so schooled in it — I felt unavailable in a million other ways, but I knew how to play that card.”

The actress added that she would go home from set, where she felt adored, to “the worst relationship of my life, where I was being extremely abused.”

“It was very dark for me at that time, [and the film] felt like a respite, because I could go to work and be important there,” she said, adding that her boyfriend would call her names and tell her how stupid she was.

The American Pie actress also noted that when she first started out in the entertainment industry, she got into modeling, where she was taught that how she looked was the only thing that mattered.

“Everyone was raving about how I looked 18. But I was 12,” she said of her first modeling shoot. “What was communicated to me was that I was an adult, therefore I can act like an adult.”

From there, Suvari noticed a pattern of attracting older men who, after looking at it in retrospect, she feels used her. The actress reclled once a man in his twenties photographed her nude, alone at his home, when she was just 15.

The actress added that one of her business advisers — who was in his mid-30s — started having sex with her when she was 16.

“I didn’t have anyone telling me, ‘That’s not right, that person shouldn’t be doing that with you,'” she said.

Suvari also recalled a time, after American Beauty came out, when she was encouraged to take her clothes off on a shoot for a magazine.

“I just don’t know what the goal of that is,” she said. “Just sell as much of yourself, as young as you are, for as long as you can?”

Suvari’s experience is just one of many examples of what it’s apparently like working in Hollywood — a left-wing industry that enjoys lecturing the American public on morality.

Last year, actress Keira Knightley noted that every woman she knows has been sexually harassed in some way, which even include threats and violence.

In 2017, three decades’ worth of sexual misconduct allegations against the now-disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein were brought to the light. And over the years, many in Hollywood appeared to have known about Weinstein’s behavior, but said nothing about it.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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