Slapped Actress

Album: Stay Positive (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • The theme of this album is growing old. The concept took shape when singer Craig Finn saw Opening Night, a 1977 John Cassavetes film about a mature screen siren. This song takes its lyrics directly from the film's plot. Finn told Q magazine July 2008: "The movie just killed me. It summed up everything I was trying to say about how we let people see what we want them to see, the constant projection we make."
  • Finn expanded on Opening Night in an interview with Uncut magazine August 2008: "I'm not someone who's emotionally moved by much film, but I got this Cassavetes box set and I was surprised by the impact his films had on me. With Opening Night, I was very drawn to this idea of the aging actress. I mean, if you're trading on your beauty, the aging process is really your enemy. And Opening Night has that as a really tragic thing, her simply getting older. I was also really taken by the scene where Cassavetes wants to slap Gena Rowlands, and he says, 'If I don't really slap you, it won't look real for the performance.' And she says 'It's a play, why would you have to actually slap me, that's the whole point.' That kinda connected with the way I think people are preoccupied with my relationship with the characters I write about. I've always said no one really cares whether Quentin Tarantino kills people or does karate but for a songwriter there's this question of a perceived honesty, that your songs are the story of your life."
  • This song references Ybor City, a party district in Tampa, Florida that has been name-checked in several other Hold Steady albums.

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