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Fiona Apple Says ‘Excruciating Night’ With Paul Thomas Anderson, Tarantino Changed Her Life

Apple relives her "painful and chaotic" relationship with Anderson in a new profile ahead of the release of her next album.

Fiona Apple and Paul Thomas Anderson

Fiona Apple and Paul Thomas Anderson


Fiona Apple is the subject of a new profile in The New Yorker to mark the upcoming release of her new album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” Speaking to writer Emily Nussbaum, the musician relives her three-year relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson, who Apple describes as “coldly critical, contemptuous.” The two met in 1997, the same year Anderson became a breakout director with “Boogie Nights.” Both Apple and Anderson would recreationally use cocaine and ecstasy, but Apple says a painful night hanging out with Anderson and fellow director Quentin Tarantino resulted in her quitting the former substance.

As Nussbaum writers: “[Apple] had quit cocaine years earlier, after spending ‘one excruciating night’ at Quentin Tarantino’s house, listening to him and Anderson brag. ‘Every addict should just get locked in a private movie theatre with Q.T. and P.T.A. on coke, and they’ll never want to do it again,’ she joked.”

Apple goes on to call her romance with Anderson “painful and chaotic.” After they met, Anderson followed her to Hawaii where they “solidified” their relationship. Anyone who is familiar with Anderson’s work knows his “Punch-Drunk Love” protagonist Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) does the same thing with the love of his life, Lena Leonard (Emily Watson). Apple says, “I remember going to meet him at the bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and he was laughing at me because I was marching around on what he called my ‘determined march to nowhere.’”

According to Apple, Anderson’s temper made their relationship difficult at times. Apple decided to stay with her dad after the 1998 Academy Awards because Anderson threw a chair across a room following the ceremony. Apple remembers telling herself, “Fuck this, this is not a good relationship.” Anderson was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for “Boogie Nights” but lost to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for “Good Will Hunting.”

Apple also remembers a moment when Anderson was angry while driving her to volunteer work at U.C.L.A.’s occupational-therapy ward. Apple says Anderson shoved her out of his car, but he did not hit her. Nussbaum’s profile continues: “At parties, he’d hiss harsh words in her ear, calling her a bad partner, while behaving sweetly on the surface; she’d tear up, which, she thinks, made her look unstable to strangers.” Anderson did not return The New Yorker’s request for comment. IndieWire has reached out to Anderson’s team for further comment.

Apple’s new album does not have a release date yet. Anderson, meanwhile, is preparing to shoot his next film this year in Los Angeles. Read Apple’s full profile on The New Yorker’s website.

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