The motion pictures by no means actually knew what to do with Anne Heche. Her gamine magnificence and quizzically sharp intelligence weren’t simply absorbed into the Hollywood templates: she was not an apparent heteromantic lead and usually complained that information about her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres within the 90s value her many movie roles, when the overwhelmingly straight trade was in hock to fatuous “lipstick lesbian” stereotypes. (As it occurred, all her different relationships have been with males.)
She was too potent and pointed a presence to be comfortably forged within the conventional supporting roles of sister, colleague or greatest pal. Heche was charismatic and cool, with a terrific digital camera presence, an intriguing and sexually charged opaqueness, on the verge of disillusionment or hostility. Maybe longform TV was a higher platform for her complexity, though it was clear that she was growing some wonderful work in cinema in character roles and darkish comedy.
Heche made her breakthrough within the mid-90s as Maggie, the resentful, bewildered spouse of Johnny Depp’s undercover cop in Donnie Brasco, unable to deal with his unusual unexplained behaviour. She was additionally the indignant and suspicious native lady Missy, within the slasher hit I Know What You Did Last Summer and her spikier brief hair was a telling marker of how very totally different, each as character and actor she was to the lengthy, lustrous-haired feminine leads. In the political satire Wag the Dog, she was the cynical presidential aide, more and more anxious on the outrageous lies that she helps to advertise.
In reality, Heche might and did play a typical feminine lead – reverse no much less an old-school A-lister than smouldering Harrison Ford within the romantic comedy-drama Six Days Seven Nights by which she performs the glitzy trend editor with a normcore fiance (David Schwimmer), who has to take a rickety previous prop aircraft to a shoot in Tahiti and finds herself falling for the boozy alpha-male pilot (Ford) when they’re stranded on a distant island after a storm. The film was a modest success and Heche did nicely, but it surely was an atypical function. That similar 12 months, Gus Van Sant forged her within the Janet Leigh function in his well-known, or infamous, shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Her very existence in that function is fascinating: simply being Marion Crane constituted a refined vital commentary on Marion and her terrible future. Heche had a gimlet-eyed, alienated method, as if she had from the outset absorbed the nightmare of the Bates Hotel.
Her most attention-grabbing roles got here as small elements within the succeeding decade – she was Clara, the sister-in-law to Nicole Kidman in Jonathan Glazer’s eerie thriller Birth, concerning the widow confronted by what seems to be the reincarnation of her late husband within the type of a small baby. She was wonderful in David Mackenzie’s LA film Spread, concerning the older girl who finds herself in a relationship with Ashton Kutcher’s blandly narcissistic gigolo who turns into her “kept man” whereas heartlessly dishonest on her.
My favorite Anne Heche movie is the one that’s the most outrageous, essentially the most forthright concerning the violent power that she appeared in so many different roles to be protecting beneath management: Onur Tukel’s 2016 movie Catfight, the place she performs an experimental artist humiliatingly decreased to waitressing at catered occasions. At considered one of these, she realises that the visitors embrace a faculty modern, a haughty trophy spouse performed by Sandra Oh, whom she remembers being obnoxious. Their intense mutual dislike, which the years have executed nothing to decrease, explodes into violence: an out-and-out fistfight. A 12 months later, Heche confirmed us a form of black-comic genius together with her efficiency as Joyce Dahmer, mom of the infamous serial killer Jeffrey in My Friend Dahmer. She is hilarious because the boozy and incompetent mother, a horrible prepare dinner who could have planted the seeds of Jeffrey’s internal darkness by pleading through the divorce proceedings that she ought to have custody of Jeffrey’s brother Dave whereas her ex-husband must be landed with the creepy Jeffrey.
Heche was stylish and smart – usually radiating a refined refusal to be intimated, which isn’t the identical as cynicism. Her loss of life robs the large and small display screen of a actual expertise.