When Steven Seagal was sued earlier this week for sexual assault and trafficking women for sex, CBS News dug up an excerpt from a 1998 interview with Movieline where actress Jenny McCarthy appeared to confirm Seagal's tendency for inappropriate behavior. We reached into our back issues to provide you with the entire anecdote.
Movieline's Stephen Rebello conducted the interview with McCarthy to promote her new film BASEketball, and the actress was unusually candid, discussing all the film parts she'd lost, like Mallrats ("Kevin Smith didn't even wait until I was out of the office to start laughing. So rude"), and the ones she'd turned down, like Drew Barrymore's role in Batman Forever ("I didn't want to play a fluff") and Elizabeth Berkeley's in The First Wives Club ("Even though that movie would have let me work with one of my absolute idols, Goldie Hawn, I wouldn't play a girl who sleeps with someone to get fame").
The audition that really wounded her, as Rebello would find out, was the one she had to do in front of Seagal:
When I press her on the subject, the hurt in her voice says she's still freaked. "I went to the audition for Under Siege 2 with, like, 15 other Jenny McCarthys. These girls came in and out of his office and I was last. Steven comes out and goes, 'Hmm, so you're last.' I'm thinking, 'Shouldn't a casting person be doing this?' I go inside his carpet, which has shag carpet and this huge couch, and he's by himself and says, 'Sit on the couch.' I have my [script pages] and I say, 'OK, I'm ready,' but he says, 'No, I want to find out about you.' I knew what was coming. He goes, 'So, you were Playmate of the Year,' and I was trying to go--" Here, McCarthy breaks off and adopts a Laverne & Shirley blue-collar foghorn delivery: "Yeah, but, like, I lived in Chicago, see, and..."
The accent was apparently no turnoff. "I was wearing this very baggy dress," she continues, "which I always wear to auditions, with my hair pulled back. I'm listening to him go on and on about how he found his soul in Asia and is one with himself and whatever. When I said, 'Well, I'm ready to read,' he said, 'Stand up, you have to be kind of sexy in the movie and in that dress, I can't tell.' I stand up and he goes, 'Take off your dress.' I said, 'What?' and he said, 'There's nudity.' I said, 'No, there's not, or I wouldn't be here right now.' He said again, 'There's nudity,' and I said, 'The pages are right in front of me. There's no nudity.' He goes, 'Take off your dress.' I just started crying and said, 'Rent my [Playboy] video, you a**hole!' and ran out to the car." That wasn't quite the end of it. "I'm closing my car door and he grabs me and says, 'Don't you ever tell anybody.' He won't sue me or say anything because he knows it's true. If I saw him today, I would still say, 'You're a f***ing a**hole and I really hope you change your ways.'"
Seagal's lawyer, Marty Singer, said this week about the sex claims: "The lawsuit filed by Kayden Nguyen against Steven Seagal is a ridiculous and absurd claim by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for using illegal narcotics." He also called the suit a "complete fabrication without a scintilla of truth."