This year will be 42 years since the tragic death of Edie Sedgwick: Socialite. Muse. Actress. Icon. For me, her short 28 years in the world has changed my life.
I first learned about Edie Sedgwick when I saw the 2006 production of Factory Girl where Sienna Miller played Edie. At the time, I had been thinking of a topic to write about for my first short film. I wanted it to be a creative story with an interesting and unique central character. After watching the film, I began to immerse myself in the details of her life and involvement with the celebrated Andy Warhol. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with Edie, the prominence and tragedies of her family history, and I realized her story truly spoke to me.
Many remember Edie Sedgwick as an American model, actress, heiress, and famous socialite. Some place her at the epitome of the swinging '60s scene and credit her as one of the architects of the beatnik style. She was quickly labeled an 'It Girl,' 'Superstar,' 'Youthquaker' and the face of the 1960's effortless, edgy, mod glamor. As I delved further into the time before and after her Factory days, I felt there was more to Edie's persona, and to her heart.
Forty-two years later, there is still so much more of Edie to be shared, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Factory Girl did a good job at explaining Edie's time in Warhol's Factory, but it however, did not cover much of her life before or after that.
For example, Edie and her three siblings weren't just children of the elite, and cousins to Kyra Sedgwick, but they all had complex relationships with their father Francis 'Fuzzy' Sedgwick. Fuzzy was a philanthropist, rancher and sculptor of significant wealth and high social status, who was also rumored to be emotionally distant, controlling and frequently abusive to his children. Edie's two older brothers died in tragic circumstances: one took his own life at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut; the other had become self-destructive and suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle crash. Edie was deeply scarred by these two events and in some ways, it is those rarely told stories which really shed light on how much torment might have laid beneath her glamorous smiles and charming disposition.
The message I took away as I learned more about Edie's life was that her contribution was greater than people may have perceived, being able to overcome such a difficult life and to smile during adversity, even for a short time. I continue to be inspired by Edie in my own life. I feel I can live into a potential that is greater than what may seem possible now. I can make a difference and be brave in sharing Edie's true story to inspire others. I can, in a small way, continue in her footsteps yet avoid some of the pitfalls Edie fell into, such as her later struggles with drug addiction.
Thus, I decided to write a short film, Edie, based on her fascinating but troubled life, so that more people today can learn about her. I will also showcase some common elements of the swinging '60s, as well as the lost and forgotten characters whose lives are forever intertwined with those of Edie, Paul America and Andy Warhol. The film will shed a different light on Andy Warhol himself, the famous king of Pop Art. And I will cover some telling statements he made about the way the media and technology would become so pervasive in our lives. Thus I will also add a modern day spin on our society today, particularly involving technology, youth, gay pride and the hippie movement.
For me, Edie's life marks the beginning of my own coming of age. And I feel by sharing her story, her innocence and inspirational charm can live on.