Louise Linton says she's tired of the 'Trump effect' impacting her, so she's made a 'bat---- crazy' movie to mark her new start

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Jason Guerrasio
·9 min read
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You Me Madness Stormchaser Films
Louise Linton in "Me You Madness." Stormchaser Films
  • Linton told Insider the scrutiny she's been under the last few years has been "heartbreaking."

  • She believes it stems from her husband, Steven Mnuchin, being Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary.

  • Linton said it's why she created her new movie "Me You Madness" after being in "sterile" D.C.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

You've probably heard of the name Louise Linton after she posted a glammed picture of herself on Instagram walking off a government plane.

Linton then increased her infamy status when she posed in a black ensemble next to her husband, Steven Mnuchin, then-Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary, as the two were holding a newly-printed sheet of currency with Mnuchin's signature on it.

She wants you to know, there's more to her than those two pictures.

Long before being pegged in the press as a modern-day Marie Antoinette, Linton, 40, was a Scottish actress trying to build a career. Admitting she had "stumbles" when first thrown into politics after her husband went from movie financier to Treasury Secretary, Linton is back in Hollywood and looking to make a big return.

Her entertaining directorial debut, "Me You Madness," currently available On Demand, is a looney hard-R comedy influenced by "American Psycho" and 1980s rom-coms. Linton, who told Insider she wrote the "bat---- crazy" script in just two weeks, also stars as the movie's lead, Catherine Black, a no-nonsense hedge fund manager, who is also a bisexual, serial-killing cannibal with a freezer full of men to feast on.

Linton said this is who she really is. No, not the serial-killing cannibal part, but a filmmaker who runs her own production company, Stormchaser Films, and loves to play unapologetically wacky parts. In fact, Linton not only wrote, directed, produced, and starred in "Me You Madness," she's also its main financier (as she noted she didn't use any of her husband's money).

"It was liberating playing a character that is so confident in herself that she doesn't really give a rat's a-- what people are thinking about her," Linton told Insider.

Insider spoke to Linton about making the movie and why being victim to the "Trump effect," as she calls it, has been frustrating to live through.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and his wife Louise Linton, hold up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and US Treasurer Jovita Carranza's signatures. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Linton said living under such scrutiny has been heartbreaking but doesn't want that to define her

Jason Guerrasio: You went through hard moments in the public before writing the script, people calling you Darth Vader and Cruella de Vil - and those are the tamer things said. Would you have written this movie if you had not gone through those things in your life?

Louise Linton: I would have because I love to write screenplays. I very much enjoy being a filmmaker and when this idea came to me it just titillated me. I don't think it was necessarily a result of all the media.

So these crazy ideas were swirling in your mind long before 2018?

Well, no they started swirling in my head in October 2018. I rewatched "American Psycho." I'm a bit of a cinephile.

I don't know if the timing had anything to do with that stuff. Of course, it impacted me. A lot of it was heartbreaking, but I'm a multi-faceted person and I didn't want those specific things to define me.

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Ed Westwick and Louise Linton in "You Me Madness." Stormchaser Films

The filmmaker found the role 'liberating' after being in 'sterile' Washington DC

Did it feel freeing to play this type of character - doing the things your character does and dressing the way your character dresses?

Yeah, certainly. When I moved to DC, I was coming from the world of entertainment where things are much more wild and free into suddenly this much more sterile, serious world.

And obviously in politics you can really end up with a target on your back, because you're more visible and held to a different standard than you are if you're an actor. So yes, that does create a lot of pressure. And as we saw, I had my stumbles along that journey.

But I found playing Catherine and writing her extremely liberating. To me, Catherine is heroic. Yes, she kills people, but she's heroic because she's brave and confident and doesn't care what other people think.

Is it true your character does 42 costume changes in this movie?

Yeah.

Did you give specific notes on what you wanted?

Absolutely. Something that I think people don't realize is how much of a control freak I am. I've noticed in a lot of the reviews that my crew gets a lot of credit, which they absolutely should, but I am very hands on with production and costume design, the lighting, and the shot list. Everything you see on the screen, I definitely had a big role in what it ended up looking like.

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Louise Linton directing "You Me Madness." Stormchaser Films

Linton said it's frustrating that people 'may think' her husband financed her movie

You write the script and start shooting a month later. How did you find the financing so quickly?

I personally financed a large portion of this film. I also had other people that wanted to invest. So we were lucky to jump right into production.

I would imagine with the music clearances alone that's a million dollars right there. The songs in the movie are big ones: "Jump" and "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters; "Blue Monday" by New Order; "Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran.

I had written a lot of these songs into the film. A lot of people have guessed my budget ranged from $5 million to $10 million. I like that people don't know what the film costs because I don't want that to change their opinion of it. But the one thing we did splurge on was the music.

Did your husband help out financially with the movie?

No and as a [then-]sitting Secretary of the Treasury not only would it be illegal but also, under government ethics, not allowed for him to invest in any movie; let alone my movie. But I'm glad you asked me that question because it's frustrating that people may think that. It undermines me as a filmmaker and a competent producer. [Mnuchin left the role after Trump left office back in January.]

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President Donald Trump (C) looks as Steven Mnuchin (R) is congratulated by his fiancee Louise Linton after being sworn in as Treasury Secretary. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Linton thinks film critics are unfair to her movie because of her connection to Trump

The movie has a 20% rating by the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 94% rating by audiences. Do you think you and this movie were unfairly judged because of your relation to the Trump administration?

Yeah, I think they can't get past the Trump effect. And even for those who did enjoy the film they simply could not possibly say that they enjoyed it. I don't really worry about the critics. Also tons of my favorite all-time movies have horrible Rotten Tomatoes scores.

And who knows, art is subjective. Maybe they did dislike the film. I don't know why. It's fun as hell. It's the most fun movie and playful and self-aware. And you know, I found a lot of compliments hidden in some of those reviews. [Laughs.]

Let's talk about the "Trump effect" for a second. Do you feel you have lost work because of your connection to the former president?

I don't really because in the last couple of years I've been 100 percent focused on completing this movie. I do think the "Trump effect" does make people less willing to have open arms for the movie.

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Louise Linton. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty

She believes the Capitol riot hurt the marketing of the movie

Do you think the Capitol riot affected the marketing of this movie?

I would assume so. What's ironic is I'm the biggest liberal you'll ever meet. I do animal rights. I donate to immigrant family organizations. I do the Pride Run every year. I'm a very, very liberal person...

Then it must bug the heck out of you that you are lumped in with Trump.

It has been a frustration to me. And obviously what happened at the Capitol that day, I, like everyone else, was grieving when that happened and crying and disgusted.

And you feel your movie felt the blow back of that?

I can't say for sure because I'm not an omnipresent being so I don't know what conversations may have taken place at various press outlets. I wish I was a fly on the wall, but I would just say it wouldn't surprise me.

But, again, I am my own person and I should be defined by the things that I contribute toward. I mean, I'm married to somebody who was in that administration. We are individuals. I have my opinions. He has his opinions as do many married couples. My husband and I have different opinions on the environment and global warming - [Pause.]

That's so funny. He's calling me right now. [Speaking to Mnuchin] Hi, baby. I'm on an interview. I'll call you right back.

Mnuchin: Alright, bye.

Louise Linton Steven Mnuchin Donald Trump Kevin Mazur Getty
(L-R) First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Louise Linton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence pose at the wedding of Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton on June 24, 2017. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Linton says she's upset people only see her as a 'media persona' linked to Donald Trump

At the end of the movie it seems you break character with the line, "Let's all just be a little kinder to one another." I saw that as a comment about the country being divided.

It was what I see in the world and what I see in social media and how much people are impacted by other people saying unkind things. I just worry; especially with the political division in this country. It's been a rough few years for America.

Despite this movie and the philanthropic work you mentioned, right now you are linked to the Trump narrative. Does that upset you?

I'm upset that my true values and my efforts in the charitable space no one really pays attention to. At times, yes, that is frustrating. At times, I feel really disheartened, but it doesn't take a lot of research to see who I am and the values that I hold. I would just like to be seen as who I actually am rather than some media persona that is really so far from the truth.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Read the original article on Insider