In &#039Carol,&#039 two Women Leap Into An Unlikely Really like Affair

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Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett (right) begin a love affair after meeting in a department store in Carol.

Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett (proper) commence a adore affair soon after meeting in a division store in Carol. Weinstein Co. hide caption

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Director Todd Haynes believes adore can blossom in the most improbable situations. Take his new movie, Carol. The film tells the story of an affair amongst the title character, a married 1950s socialite (played by Cate Blanchett), and Therese, an aspiring young photographer (played by Rooney Mara) who is functioning in the toy section of a New York City department retailer. They meet even though Carol is buying a Christmas present for her daughter.

Haynes tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that the connection the girls make in the shop is a “curious leap” that requires them each “out of their worlds.”

“I think there is anything so lovely about that becoming the way really like usually starts — in the most irrational, inexplicable sort of situations where you place your self out there and you hold going, ‘What am I undertaking? Why am I here?’ ” Haynes says. “But you preserve going back. Each girls do it.”

Phyllis Nagy adapted the screenplay for Carol from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Value of Salt. In her early 20s, Nagy met and befriended Highsmith, a lesbian writer who spent significantly of her adult life in Europe. Nagy says the story is extremely forward thinking, specially contemplating it was originally published in 1952.

“As far as I’m aware, it was the initial relatively mainstream lesbian novel to be published that integrated not only a relatively content ending, but it did not include the death of 1 of its lesbian heroines, or 1 of them going to an insane asylum or nunnery,” Nagy says.

Nagy notes that Highsmith initially published The Value of Salt below a pseudonym, perhaps due to the fact the novel was so private in nature. “It was difficult for her to take ownership of it as a writer for numerous years,” Nagy says. “I was never ever certain if that meant she just did not like it, or if she was so personally attached to the novel that she could not afford psychically, or psychologically, to claim ownership of it till the late ’80s.”


Interview Highlights

On Therese and Carol

Nagy: Therese Belivet … is at a stage in her life, early 20s, where she is searching for the keys to her future. She’s a bit reticent she’s immensely curious, a bit like a sponge, and responds to everything with an alarming honesty — much like Pat Highsmith herself, whom I knew. So Therese is her alter ego.

Carol Aird is older, married … and she is a melancholy creature. She is not a content-go-lucky socialite. The situations of her life do not sit properly with her, or comfortably.

Patricia Highsmith initially published her novel The Price of Salt under the pseudonym &quotClaire Morgan.&quot

Patricia Highsmith initially published her novel The Value of Salt below the pseudonym “Claire Morgan.” Anonymous/AP hide caption

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On the components of Highsmith’s novel that Nagy most wanted to maintain in the screen adaptation

Nagy: Two issues. A single was the radical way in which Patricia Highsmith addressed the sexuality of the protagonists in the novel as organic, as breathing — no certain believed given to what sexuality means to these women — but also an insistence on ignoring, much more or significantly less, the naysayers, which was one more aspect of the novel that was profoundly radical. The second part of the factors that I feel makes the novel actually resonate even today is Highsmith’s specific view of motherhood and what tends to make a excellent mother.

On how The Cost of Salt was received compared to Highsmith’s other novels

Nagy: I think that Highsmith was very surprised by the effect that The Cost of Salt had on publication. And even in the years, four or five years, following its publication, she would get the most wonderful letters from individuals — of course, they had been addressed to [her pseudonym,] Claire Morgan — talking about how the book had touched them profoundly, changed their lives. She wasn’t utilised to that. Surely no 1 was going to say that [her 1950 book] Strangers on a Train changed their lives in really that way, or even [her 1955 book] The Talented Mr. Ripley.

On what Nagy learned from Highsmith about getting a lesbian in the ’50s

Nagy: I feel what I learned from Pat about getting gay in the ’50s, and from pals of hers that she introduced me to, it was a window on a really specific subset of lesbians. Pat herself, I always like to say, was like the studio boss of lesbians in that she was appropriate there chasing women about couches and throwing them down onto beds. … I thought at first that she was probably just pumping up her own reputation as a lesbian stud, but, in reality, her peers — the girls that she chased, numerous of whom truly did remain friendly with her — confirmed those stories. And these females had been all vaguely of the Carol Aird set.

So I felt as if I knew specifically who Carol Aird was. … I consider the married girls suited Patricia Highsmith, who famously did not like to reside with men and women or have that kind of attachment that most affordable folks soon after a time anticipate. … With married girls, that was hardly ever attainable. So they have been, I’d say, the Euro-[equivalent] of wealthy, suburban, mostly married and secretive ladies who most likely, in 1952, are on prototypes of antidepressants and drank a lot and smoked a lot, like Highsmith herself.

On Highsmith trying to date men at a single point

Director Todd Haynes works with actress Cate Blanchett on the set of Carol.

Director Todd Haynes functions with actress Cate Blanchett on the set of Carol. Weinstein Co. hide caption

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Nagy: The unwholesome truth about Pat is she was a lesbian who did not quite a lot get pleasure from becoming about other ladies. So the attempt to dabble with a single man seriously, and probably a few other folks along the way, was to just see if she could be into guys in that way, since she so significantly much more preferred their company. Pat would’ve been a excellent member of [Mad Men’s agency] Sterling-Cooper … and genuinely, I feel, that was the formative psychological trait … that she actually did not like women. She liked to have sex with them and she liked them to go home and shut up, but she much preferred the business of males.

On regardless of whether Haynes had reservations about getting a man directing a film about lesbians

Haynes: No, I did not. Or at least, what I felt was this was a tremendous, gorgeous chance for me to discover this story as a gay man and as somebody who has been in really like and who’s been in Therese’s shoes. … I felt like I had that frequent and universal and poignant knowledge in my personal history and my personal memory and that is what’s so unsentimentally and beautifully described in the novel to commence with. … And I have to say, so several of my dearest, closest buddies in the globe are gay females and this, in numerous ways, was sort of like: “This one’s for all these [girls] who’ve meant so much in my life.”

Arts &amp Life : NPR

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