"I WOULD love to foray into film editing. Or become a shepherdess, wandering."
That's "Bates Hotel" actress and Emmy nominee Vera Farmiga, answering The Hollywood Reporter's question: "If you stopped acting what would you do with the rest of your life?"
Ms. Farmiga -- along with Claire Danes (Homeland)...Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)....Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)...Jessica Pare (Mad Men) and Keri Russell (The Americans) -- sat with THR for one of the magazine's let's-throw-these-actors-together-and-see-what-happens articles. Always interesting.
The ladies are all Emmy-nominated and each have tales to tell. It was especially interesting, for those who think show biz is all glitz and glamour, to read of Claire Danes' experience shooting the second season of Homeland. She recalled: "I was pregnant...and the show got more action-packed. At one point we were shooting in an old sewage factory. I was kidnapped, chained to a pipe, it was 4:00 a.m. I was seven and a half months pregnant and I was like 'This sucks!' They were like, 'Sorry!'....the baby was on my sciatic nerve. I also had to do love scenes, pregnant."
All the women have interesting stories about fame, coming up in the biz, losing roles, sex-scenes. (Not much fun -- sorry!) And Ms. Margulies says it all about why TV is hot and satisfying: "Roles written for women are so much more complex on television. The film world is becoming quite flimsy for women."
Vera Farmiga adds: "There's a deeper level of sophistication in the writing of female characters on TV."
So, even if Vera ends up playing a shepherdess, it'll be a very sophisticated shepherdess!
•"SHE WAS a masterpiece of composure; nothing ever ruffled her or made her upset, and though she was not beautiful, her calmness had the magnetic pull of beauty -- a stillness so powerful that the molecules realigned themselves around her when she came into a room."
That's Donna Tartt describing one of the characters in her Pulitzer Prize winning fiction, The Goldfinch. (A character who became the book's most sympathetic figure.)
I covered The Goldfinch back in January. It is real literature and dazzlingly written. Despite the skill, there is some debate with the editing. It's a lot of writing. Too much, at times, beautiful as it is. 700-plus pages. I was reminded of The Goldfinch last week when a good friend of mine announced he'd been given the book and read it in one night! I was flabbergasted.
How, how, how? "I connected" he said. "I know all about abandonment and the choices one makes in life and how they really are your choices. What struck me about the book is that for all the writing, the protagonist, the 'hero' says very little. He's almost monosyllabic. Donna Tartt writes around him, conveys his thoughts. Other characters say much more."
"But that's not like you," I said to my friend.
"No, I talk too much. But I know that guy. I've been to those places. Or at least nearby." When I again expressed astonishment that he could have gotten through all of the book in one night, he snorted, "Please, I just read Portrait of a Lady for the first time, 500 pages. That's a hell of a read -- the language of the 1880's -- and I did it in two nights. I don't kid around when I read." (He's not kidding.)
My friend then suggested The Goldfinch should be filmed. "Not as a feature movie. There's just too much of it to be adapted comfortably. But as a four part series on HBO or Showtime? For sure."
I agree that the novel -- which is partly an essay on ethics, trauma and obsession, and partly a thriller about identity and art thieves -- is too much to squeeze even into a long movie. TV would be better. But if it's ever done, the actor who gets to play "Boris" (the push-pull, scary-comforting best friend of the narrator) has an Emmy and a SAG in waiting. What a role!
•"EVERY MAN I knew fell in love with 'Gilda' and awakened with me." That is Rita Hayworth's most famous remark, a poignant exclamation on stardom and image vs. reality. The tragic reality of Rita was that she evinced almost no enjoyment from her fame. ("I just don't want to do this anymore," she told a studio photographer who was begging for "more Rita" during a session in the early 1950s.) Rita was horrified at the tale that her picture was pasted on the first atomic bomb.
Still, actress that she was, Rita Hayworth conveyed a tremendous amount of energy, joy and sexuality, especially in the early years of her career. A luscious reminder of her power came when I was sent a YouTube link of Rita dancing to the Bee Gee's song, "Stayin' Alive."
Put together by ET7waggel, this compilation video brilliantly melds the Bee Gees music with Rita's movements. It is incredible, covering almost all of Rita's musical films, including My Gal Sal...Down To Earth...Cover Girl...Gilda...Affair in Trinidad...You Were Never Lovelier...You'll Never get Rich (the latter two gloriously paired with Fred Astaire.)
What a woman! What reminder of the fine dance Rita was. And what technical genius it takes to put together a video such as this.
By the way, "Stayin' Alive" remains a remarkably infectious song. The good old days of disco!